Weight, Hormonal Changes, and Obesogens.

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The Kennebec Journal had two short articles of great interest today.  Both came through the AP line so aren’t available on the KJ website.  The first is on the fact that private industry has decided over three thousand compounds are safe in our food without any government oversight.  Anyone who thinks this is a good idea should look at what happens in drug company studies.  The report mentions that there is a “battery of rigorous biological tests” which boil down to “can we kill a rat with this?”

No one is doing large scale human studies on food additives except, well, the American people.  Who are already in trouble.

The second article is on the prolonged effect of HORMONES on weight.  Sorry to shout there, but I feel like I’m drowning in a “calories in/calories out” lemming parade.  Researchers found that a year after losing weight (on five hundred calories- I never said starvation doesn’t work.  Starvation will drop weight short-term.  Anything less than 900 calories is starvation.) dieters still had six different hormones that predisposed them to eat and eat.  But researchers not involved with the study continue to trumpet the in/out simplicity.

Ok, how do these two connect?  Among the three thousand chemicals, don’t you think it’s possible that one or more of them has an effect on weight?  Even if they don’t actually cause the effect themselves, one of their breakdown products is likely to be a factor.  Or, in the most common situation, the intact of many of these chemicals daily can overburden the liver and lead to long-term storage and eventual weight gain.

Are these chemicals bad for us?  Here’s a nice study (below) on food safe dyes after they’ve been exposed to radiation.  That’s sunlight for the rest of us.  Several become carcinogens.

In yesterday’s paper, there was a piece on the possible risks of local, organic foods from pathogens.  How much safer is a processed food with a dozen or more unknown chemicals?  I’ll take my farmer’s market produce.  At least I can wash those off.

Food Chem Toxicol. 1998 Sep-Oct;36(9-10):811-7.

Mutagenicity and DNA-damaging activity of decomposed
products of food colours under UV irradiation.

Ozaki A, Kitano M, Itoh N, Kuroda K, Furusawa N, Masuda T,
Yamaguchi H.




Five synthetic food colours Food Red Nos 3, 40 and 102 and
Food Blue Nos 1 and 2, and their UV irradiated products were tested for
mutagenic activity by means of the Ames test using Salmonella typhimurium
strains TA98 and TA100. Food colours were irradiated with UV light for 14 days.
Food Red Nos 3, 40 and 102 and Food Blue No. 1 were non-mutagenic before and
after irradiation. UV irradiated products of Food Blue No. 2 were mutagenic in
TA98 with or without S-9 mix. The mutagenic activity increased with increasing
irradiation period, reached maximum potency on day 6, and then decreased.
Moreover, Food Blue No. 2 showed DNA-damaging activity after 14 days of
irradiation in rec-assay using Bacillus subtilis strains H17 and M45. The
capillary electrophoresis was applied for the analysis of UV irradiated
products of Food Blue No. 2. The original peak of Food Blue No. 2 was
decomposed into seven peaks after UV irradiation.

PMID: 9737428

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