Chemicals in Non-Stick Pans May Contribute to Weight Gain

By Lauren Sigfusson | February 14, 2018 1:52 pm
environmental-chemicals-weight-gain-obesity-pan

Uhoh: Those non-stick pans you love cooking with are often made with a chemical that could contribute to weight gain. (Credit: Shutterstock)

More than 38 percent of American adults and 17 percent of American children are obese. And while there are numerous ways to shed pounds, it’s often difficult for many people to keep them off. It turns out some common items regularly used by people across the world could be the culprit.

study released Tuesday in PLOS Medicine suggests that perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) could be contributing to weight gain and lead to obesity. Since the 1950s, these environmental chemicals have been used in food packaging, non-stick cookware, stain resistant fabrics and carpets, water-repellent clothing, and even some cosmetics. These manmade compounds’ effects on humans aren’t well known, but past studies on animals have shown they may disrupt the endocrine system, or the collection of glands that produce hormones. PFASs have also been linked to cancer, immune issues and high cholesterol.

Down and Up

Over the course of two years, researchers put 621 obese and overweight men and women on energy-restricted diets and tracked their weights. Measuring the plasma concentrations of PFASs, they were able to gather metabolic information including body weight and resting metabolic rate (RMR).

Researchers found that those with higher levels of PFASs at the beginning of the experiment were associated with regaining the pounds they lost, especially in women. Participants lost on average 14 pounds (6.4 kg) in the first six months, regaining almost half of the weight throughout the study. The weight gain could be due to a decline of RMR over the first six months.

“These chemicals may lead to more rapid weight gain after dieting,” Qi Sun, co-author of the study, told the Guardian. “It is very hard to avoid exposure to PFASs, but we should try to. It’s an increasing public health issue.”

With that said, the authors can’t definitively link PFAS chemicals to the weight regain. Some potentially important influences weren’t measured including socioeconomic and psychosocial factors and potential relapses to prior diets weren’t considered. Still, the authors hope this study will lead to further research of environmental chemicals and their possible impact on obesity.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, top posts
MORE ABOUT: obesity
ADVERTISEMENT
  • OWilson

    Behavioural traits are hard control for. Like diet sodas, and fat free ice cream, PFAS cooking gear may just be used as a cheat.

    Successful dieters know that there is no easy way to lose weight, only the hard way!

    Reduce intake and burn off that excess by excercise!

    • Daniel San

      Cast iron skillet. Safer to cook on and they make a great weight for exercising too.

      • WindingVine

        If you season it properly, it’s naturally non-stick. No acronymed chemicals necessary.

        • MusicLover

          Just don’t clean it with soap. Scrub with water and dry it well.

          • OWilson

            Buy a Geoge Foreman mean green grillin’ machine!

          • Eric Risse

            Those are coated with fluoridated chemicals

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+