Top 10 food chemicals that are making you fat

Posted on Jan 24, 2019


It’s no secret that people care about how they look. Countless gym memberships, health routines, artificial formulas and diet programs are concocted everyday; nevertheless, people still struggle to loose weight.

Diet and exercise are a great way to maintain a healthy weight, but they aren’t the whole story. Many people fail to consider the chemicals in their food that promote weight gain. To make matters worse, these chemicals are often found in foods and sodas that are touted as natural or healthy.

Major food companies add synthetic chemicals to their products in order to improve taste and cut down production costs. Synthetic chemicals that can make you fat are known as “obesogens.” They are added to food to enhance flavor, but obesogens have various side effects, including weight gain. They can be found in nearly everything, including sodas, pretzels, yogurt, faucets, cans and water bottles. In order to stay fit, avoid these top 10 food chemicals that are making you fat.

Monosodium glutamate

Monosodium glutamate, or MSG, is a chemical commonly added to processed food in order to improve taste. It serves as a cheaper alternative to natural sources of flavor in food. MSG is also a dangerous excitotoxin, which overexcites brain cells to the brink of damage or death. Excitotoxins make unhealthy food appealing and even addictive, which can promote weight gain. MSG is used in recipes of almost all families, which can make various weight loss methods futile.


Aspartame is an artificial sweetener used to replace natural sugar. Products that claim to have less or no sugar usually rely on aspartame to provide their sweetness. Aspartame affects the activity of the bacteria in the stomach, which can instigate weight gain. Two major components of aspartame, phenylalanine and aspartic acid, also stimulate two hormones, insulin and leptins, which tell the body to store energy, either as glycogen or fat.


Sucralose is three times sweeter than aspartame. When ingested, sucralose cannot be broken down simply by catalysts found in the body, making it a noncaloric product. Despite being devoid of calories, a study pointed out that a significant intake of sucralose can increase pH level within the intestines, as well as increase body weight.


Bisphenol-A, or BPA, is a compound found in plastic and canned food containers. Because food is usually kept in containers for long periods of time, the BPA from the container walls can seep into the products. When ingested, BPA catalyses the growth of fat cells in the body. A research study showed that women with relatively high levels of BPA gained a pound or more in a year in comparison to women with low levels of BPA. Although BPA exits the body quickly, consuming the chemical regularly can increase the risk of low metabolism.

Perfluorooctanoic acid

Perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, is a synthetic compound often found in non-stick cooking pans, and even in microwavable popcorn. PFOA is already known to be associated with thyroid disorders, low birth weight and kidney disorders. In the United States, a strong correlation has been shown between PFOA and obesity as well.


Atrazine is an herbicide primarily used on corn and sugarcane crops. It was banned in Europe for over a decade because of groundwater contamination. Atrazine can disrupt the proper functioning of mitochondria, which are organelles inside cells that convert energy into a usable form. This can lead to insulin resistance, which inhibits the hormone from converting sugar (glucose) into energy, and thus promotes weight gain.


Mercury is most often found in farmed fish, and high-fructose corn syrup. It is a highly toxic metal that is lethal if consumed by itself. When consumed regularly, mercury can cause numerous physiological complications, including a slower metabolism. The human body cannot burn as many calories with a slow metabolism, leading to an excess of fat storage.

Polychlorinated biphenyls

Polychlorinated biphenyl, or PCB, is a toxic chemical with many industrial uses. Although it was banned in 1979, it still persists in the environment and contaminates fish and animals later eaten by humans. Consumption of PCB has been linked to cancers of the gastrointestinal tract as well as estrogenic effects that can lead to weight gain.


Tributyltin, or TBT, is a form of bioicide applied to the undersides of boats in order to inhibit the growth of marine organisms. The continued use of TBT has contaminated many bodies of water and, subsequently, marine life. TBT is an endocrine disruptor that interferes with the proper functioning of hormones. It can potentially increase the amount of fat cells produced by the body and lower metabolism as well. One study shows that TBT was found to induce the proliferation of fat cells and reduce their production of leptin, a hormone that regulates energy balance by preventing hunger. Leptin resistance is one of the main causes underlying obesity.


Triclosan is a chemical added to hand sanitizers, soaps, toys and surgical cleaning treatments for its antibacterial properties. When not rinsed thoroughly, hands and cooking pans can still contain traces of triclosan, which may contaminate food when in contact. Its antibacterial properties can destroy beneficial bacteria thriving in the stomach and colon. Furthermore, large doses of triclosan can interfere with thyroid hormones which control metabolism and in turn, promote weight gain.

It’s easier to be fat than fit. You can ease the struggle by familiarizing yourself with these counterproductive chemicals and avoiding them. As an informed consumer, can you stop eating synthetic chemicals that make you fat and start eating unprocessed foods that make you fit.

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