Pesticide used to clean fruits and vegetables may cause obesity ─Study

*Researchers say chlorpyrifos used to clean fruits and vegetables may prohibit the body from burning calories, leading to weight gain

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Earlier studies have highlighted the health risks associated with the use of pesticides on consumer items.

Researchers from McMaster University in a fresh study explored how a commonly used pesticide may be impacting obesity rates around the world.

The study findings indicated that chlorpyrifos, a pesticide banned in Canada that is used to clean fruits and vegetables, may prohibit the body from burning calories, thereby leading to weight gain, agency report said.

Farmer spraying pesticide on vegetables   

Gregory Steinberg, one of the researchers, said: “Lifestyle changes around diet and exercise rarely lead to sustained weight loss.

“We think part of the problem may be this intrinsic dialing back of the metabolic furnace by chlorpyrifos.”

As regards the impact on metabolism for the study, the researchers conducted a study on mice to determine how pesticides can impact metabolism, weight gain, and obesity. They gave the mice high-fat diets and then analysed how exposure to chlorpyrifos affected their health outcomes.

The experts also paid close attention to brown fat cells, which are the cells that aid in burning calories and weight loss.

Ultimately, the researchers found that chlorpyrifos altered the normal function of brown fat cells.

Rather than burning calories, exposure to the pesticide made the mice more likely to store extra calories, which is likely to contribute to weight gain and obesity.

“Brown fat is the metabolic furnace in our body, burning calories, unlike normal fat that is used to store them.

“This generates heat and prevents calories from being deposited on our bodies as normal white fat. We know brown fat is activated during cold and when we eat,” said Steinberg.

It is noted though the study was conducted on mice, the researchers believe the findings can translate to human metabolisms.

They explained that an extra five pounds of weight gain each year can greatly increase the risk of obesity.

Inappropriately, putting on that much weight is not hard. Storing only 40 extra calories per day through chlorpyrifos exposure would be enough to do the trick, according to researchers.

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