Each day, millions of Americans are unwittingly cooking extra fat into their meals. But it has nothing to do with their food choices! In fact, you can’t even see, hear or taste this nasty little weight-gainer. Startling Dangers of Non-Stick Pots and Pans
What’s the culprit? It lives in common cooking utensils likely in your cupboard right now…
… non-stick pots and pans!
Specifically, the PFAS (perfluoroalkyl substances) found in non-stick pots and pans. PFAS are man-made chemicals commonly used to prevent food from sticking to cooking surfaces. But they’re also used to make fabrics waterproof and stain resistant… and even help fight petroleum-product fires! (Stain resistance and fire fighting? It’s scary to think those PFAS are coursing through our bloodstream on a daily basis.)
But what do PFAS have to do with weight gain? Plenty, according to new research out of Harvard Medical School and Pennington Biomedical Research Center in LSU.
The unsettling truth about PFAS
Researchers looked at PFAS exposure in 621 overweight and obese subjects between 30-70 years old. The subjects were part of a 2-year weight-loss study measuring a variety of metabolic levels.¹
Though the subjects lost an average of 14.1 pounds in the first 6 months, they put back on 5.9 pounds from then till study’s end. No, this wasn’t entirely due to PFAS. But here’s the concerning part:
The subjects who gained the most weight tended to have the higher PFAS levels prior to the study. And this PFAS link to weight gain was even more pronounced in women.
But what explains the PFAS weight gain? Well, there isn’t a definitive answer. However, PFAS are endocrine disruptors– that is, PFAS interfere with our metabolism which affects our weight, hormones and more.
And in the first 6 months when the subjects lost weight, higher PFAS blood levels decreased metabolic rates. That means subjects’ bodies with higher PFAS burned less calories than their peers. Their bodies were less efficient at dropping excess weight!
But that’s not all.
Look what happens to your bones too…
The scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives discovered PFAS also contributed to excess bone loss.² Here, researchers examined 1,914 participants with an average age of 43.
They found that osteoporosis was far more prevalent in women in the highest quartile of PFAS than those in the lowest. In fact, researchers saw decreased bone mineral density in all key DXA scan sites: the femur; femoral neck; and lumbar spine.
Remember, PFAS are metabolism-destroyers. They can upset your bone metabolism and cause bone-resorbing cells to attack healthy bone. (Something to keep in mind the next time you pull out those teflon-coated pans to cook!)
Now, you may be wondering…
How Can I Avoid The Damage?
The simplest answer is: Throw those non-stick pots and pans away now!
Then, get some stainless steel cookware. (If you’re pre-menopausal, I’d recommend cast iron; you don’t have to be as vigilant about iron exposure as postmenopausal women.)
You’ll not only avoid toxic PFAS, but also have reliable, effective cookware for the next half century or so! In fact, I’ve enjoyed my stainless steel cookware for the last 35 years now!
They still look like new, don’t emit toxic fumes, and continue to cook a yummy stir fry.
Now, you may be thinking, “OK, that’s all well and good, but won’t the stainless steel or cast iron cookware make my food stick to the pan?”
Great question. Well, you can simply warm up your stainless steel pan and add a bit of organic coconut oil, organic butter from pastured cows, or organic canola oil to the pan. Swirl the oil or butter around to coat the pan before adding your food. You don’t want the butter or oil to smoke, so be sure to add your food as soon as the butter or oil melts. And that’s it.
So, if you’re concerned with your weight, your bone density, or your overall health… take a look in your cupboards and act accordingly!
Author: Lara Pizzorno, MDIV, MA, LMT
Lara Pizzorno is the author of “Your Bones: How You Can Prevent Osteoporosis and Have Strong Bones for Life – Naturally” and a member of the American Medical Writers Association with 29 years of experience specializing in bone health. Lara is the Resident Bone Health Expert at AlgaeCal, the Editor of Longevity Medicine Review, a Senior Medical Editor for SaluGenecists Inc., and Integrative Medicine Advisors, LLC.