Category Archives: Food

Toxins Make You Fat, Tired and Sick

Slowly building in your body, toxins make you fat and tired. They can also lead to symptoms such as fatigue, depression, headaches, asthma, allergies and arthritis. Toxins also cause diseases such as obesity, heart disease, cancer and Parkinson’s and autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

toxins make you fat and tired

Dr. Walter Crinnion is an Environmental Medicine specialist. In Clean, Green & Lean, Dr. Crinnion describes how normal, everyday exposures to common toxins in our food, water, household, work and environment are to blame. Most people don’t pay attention to what they eat and they never think about how their body care products, carpets and furniture could be impacting them.

America is fighting a losing battle with obesity. Dr. Crinnion states that it is the toxins that are making us fat. “The more toxins your body is storing, the more fat you’re likely to accumulate and retain.” The most frustrating part though, of the 60 million Americans that are obese, more than 9 million of them are children six to nineteen years old.

Toxins Cause Obesity and Rob Us Of Energy

When toxins enter the body, move throughout the tissues and come into contact with mitochondria, the mitochondria are damaged. Mitochondria are our power plants – literally. They are responsible for making ATP that provides our body with energy. All organs – skin, bones, muscles, brain, heart, lungs, liver – rely on ATP. According to Dr. Crinnion, “The difference between optimal and minimal mitochondrial function is the difference between living life to its fullest and barely living at all.”

When mitochondria are damaged, our metabolism is damaged and we gain weight. Mitochondria are unable to burn the fats and sugars for fuel and it turns into unwanted fat. We are robbed of energy and begin to feel sluggish physically. Thermogenesis is also impaired, further diminishing our ability to burn fat. Then our brain starts to feel sluggish.

Toxins are stored in our fat cells — which is why it doubly important that weight is lost slowly. While we “burn” fat, we cannot just burn toxins. The liver and kidneys have to be able to remove the toxins that are released from the fat as it breaks down. But certain chemicals are recycled back through our body (persistent organic pollutants or POPs). Animal products with a high fat content are the most common sources of fat-soluble toxins (the toxins are stored in their fat just like our own) – thus why it is critical that you only eat organic, grass-fed meats. Studies have shown that dieting without detoxing can just make someone sicker and fatter.

Studies done by the Environmental Working Group have shown that newborn babies had, on average, 200 toxins in their cord blood. Each adult tested had an average of:

  • 53 chemicals that have been linked to cancer
  • 62 compounds toxic to the central nervous system (including the brain)
  • 58 compounds toxic to the endocrine (hormonal and reproductive) system
  • 55 compounds that are toxic to the immune system and typically lead to autoimmunity and impaired ability to fight infections.

Common Environmental Toxins And Their Sources:

  • Dioxins – produced when chlorine-containing compounds are made in chemical plants
    • Leading sources: paper production, burning of plastic
  • Volatile and semivolatile compounds—solvents including:
    • Styrene
      • Leading source: indoor air; attributable to emissions from building materials (including carpeting), consumer products, and tobacco smoke
    • Xylene
      • Leading source: used in the production of ethylbenzene, as solvents in products such as paints and coatings, and are blended into gasoline; have been detected in air, rainwater, soils, surface water, sediments, drinking water, and aquatic organisms
    • Dichlorobenzene
      • Leading source: main uses of p-DCB are as an insecticidal fumigant (it is the main ingredient of moth balls) and more generally as an insecticide and as a resin; it can also persist and accumulate in the environment
    • Ehylphenol
      • Leading source: naturally present in crude petroleum, released through fuel emissions; also present in trace amounts in water supplies and food items
    • Halogenated compounds, including those that contain either chlorine or bromine, such as:
      • DDE, DDT, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), 2,4-D, hexachlorobenzene (HCB), chlordanes—chlorinated pesticides
        • Leading sources: wheat, corn, cotton, soy, nonorganic beef, nonorganic dairy products, farm-raised fish (especially salmon and catfish), nonorganic butter
      • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE, flame retardants)
        • Leading sources: furniture, mattresses, auto seats, children’s clothing, computers, TVs, and electrical appliances
      • Organophosphate pesticides
        • Glyphosate – in RoundUp
        • Leading sources: nonorganic vegetables and fruits
      • Naphthalenes
        • Leading sources: mothballs, coal tar, petroleum refining
      • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
        • Leading sources: benzo(a)pyrene (BAP) from cigarettes, tailpipes and other combustion sources
      • Heavy metals, including:
        • Lead-Pb
          • Leading sources: old paint from buildings built prior to 1970, exhaust emissions from leaded gasoline (which settled into soil, water and food supplies), dust in the attic, wall cavity or under floor area (kicked up during construction)
        • Mercury-Hg
          • Leading sources: coal-fired power plants, cement kilns, chlor-alkali industrial plants, trash incinerators, gold mining, amalgam dental fillings, water and food supply
        • Cadmium-Cd
          • Leading sources: cigarette smoke, water and food supply
        • Arsenic-As
          • Leading sources: cigarette smoke, water and food supply
        • Bisphenol A
          • Leading source: plastic containers; note water heated in plastic or food warmed in plastic increased the migration of plastic particles

Many people believe that government agencies have been protecting us from these chemicals. Sadly, that is not the case. Most chemicals brought to the market are allowed in until they can be proven to cause damage. Cause and effect are difficult to establish when it comes to the cumulative effect that toxins have on our body (the total toxic burden or load).

Reducing Your Total Toxic Load

  1. Start with your food sources.
    1. Eat whole foods (foods close to their origin)
    2. Eat many vegetables daily (e.g. 10-12 servings), organic whenever possible. If you can’t buy everything organic, make sure to cut out the Dirty Dozen+ fruits and vegetables and only buy these organic.
      1. Apples
      2. Peaches
      3. Nectarines
      4. Strawberries
      5. Grapes
      6. Celery
      7. Spinach
      8. Sweet bell peppers
      9. Cucumbers
      10. Cherry tomatoes
      11. Snap peas – imported
      12. Potatoes
      13. Hot peppers
      14. Kale & Collard Greens
    3. Animal foods
      1. Meat – pesticides and other toxins bioaccumlate in animal foods; reduce intake of meat and eat only organic, grass-fed
      2. Eggs and Dairy – we eat the food, soil and water sources they have been exposed to; go as organic as possible; free-range, organic; dairy is a common allergen that many people react to, causing inflammation, leading to disease.
      3. Fish – cut out all fish high in mercury (e.g. tuna, tilefish, shark, swordfish, mackerel, etc.), avoid farmed Atlantic salmon
  2. Eat foods that help rid toxins
    1. Berries – high in polyphenols/antioxidants; help prevent oxidative damage to tissues
      1. Blackberries – high levels of anthocyanidin
      2. Red currant
      3. Raspberry
      4. Wild blueberries
    2. Green Tea and Broccoli
      1. Green tea – contains polyphenols and saponins; helps your body release fat from storage, supports the liver to clear toxins and helps fat-soluble toxins leave the body; those who drink one cup per day were 38 percent less likely to develop dementia; those who drink more than two cups daily are about 30 percent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease; drinking a couple cups a day significantly increases levels of normal healthy intestinal flora and decreases levels of disease-causing bacterial and fecal odor
      2. Broccoli (and brassica cousins: cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage & kale) – boosts enzymes that help move caffeine and some airborne pollutants out of food, boosts glutathione (which is needed for liver health and detoxification); broccoli raw and broccoli spouts have the strongest impact; steam very lightly if need
      3. Beets, liberal amounts of turmeric, ginger and rosemary have similar properties
      4. Vegetables high in chlorophyll – effective at helping clear persistent organic pollutants (POPs) from the body (e.g. spinach. matcha green tea, nori seaweed and chlorella); note – while seaweed mobilizes toxins, they are also being found to be highly contaminated with heavy metals
    3. Added oils – eat good, clean fat—and not too much of it (better to eat whole foods)
      1. Fish oil – EPA and DHA have been documentd to improve the brain power of children
      2. Olive oil – has been shown in combination with Mediterranean diets to be healthful
      3. ELIMINATE trans fats – found in processed foods; body doesn’t know what to do with them
  1. Eat LESS sugar and cut out high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners – artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) have been shown to increase inflammation and potentially play a role in cancers; high amounts of sugar, even natural sugar, suppresses immune function, causes fatigue and increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
  2. Remove wheat and wheat products from your diet. Most wheat is sprayed with chemicals (glyphosate has been shown to increase risk of cancer). Gluten, a protein in wheat, causes zonulin to be released, which can cause a leaky gut and/or a leaky brain, which can allow food proteins to cross your blood brain barrier or toxins to enter your brain. Many people react to gluten with inflammation (whether Celiac or Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivie). Inflammation leads to diseases and cancer.
  3. Optimize bowel function and transit time – the bowel is the main pathway for waste to leave the body; the foods you eat should clear your body within approximately 24 hours. But your bowels are also responsible for removing broken down estrogens and other toxins. If you don’t get them out, they can stick around and create damage.
  4. Optimize kidney function – the kidneys are also used to remove toxins
    1. The biggest factor for toxic removal is pH levels (acid or alkaline levels) of your urine; the more acidic the urine, the more toxins are recycled (stay in), the more alkaline, the less is recycled and is therefore removed.
    2. Toxins, infection and inflammation increase the acidity of our body and urine.
    3. You can alkalinize your body by:
      1. Eating more vegetables
      2. Eating less red meats and dairy
      3. Drinking warm lemon water in the morning (i.e. juice from 1/2 to 1 lemon squeezed into warm filtered or spring water)
      4. Drinking sparkling water
      5. Drinking herbal teas such as stinging nettle
  5. Optimize liver function

For more information about environmental toxins and how to avoid, please visit Environmental Working Group and check out their consumer guides, research and more.

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