Excess weight and toxins: what you need to know

To understand the link between excess weight and toxins, we must first grasp the idea of toxins in the body. Toxins are harmful substances that can enter the body through various sources such as food, water, air and environmental pollutants. Once inside the body, toxins can accumulate in tissues and organs, posing a risk to health and well-being.

Toxins undermine our health. And excessive toxin exposure especially undermines our health. Repeated intake of toxins can be a factor in chronic disease and illness. If we’re healthy with good immune function and good eliminative function, we’re able to manage day-to-day toxins.

Smoking stresses our lungs. Overeating refined carbohydrates causes the pancreas to work harder. Excessive intake of protein (particularly low quality protein), fried foods, poor oils, alcohol and use of pharmaceutical drugs all cause the kidneys and liver to work harder. When these exposures occur day after day, month after month, year after year, we increase the toxic burden in our bodies, and we overwork and stress our organs.

Frequent exposure to a few toxins is one thing, but repeated exposure to numerous toxins can cause the accumulation of these poisons in the body, since many of these substances (e.g., synthetic ingredients in processed foods) cannot be broken down by the body. Over time, recurring exposure to toxins increases our opportunity for ill health and chronic diseases.

People who frequently overeat may develop issues related to congestion and stagnation, characterized by a clogging effect in the body that impedes the elimination of waste. Symptoms of congestion can include lethargy, heaviness, fatigue, excess mucous, mental dullness and an overall feeling of slowness. Foods that contribute to congestion include hydrogenated fats, fried foods, refined carbohydrates, dairy products and meats. Individuals who overeat tend to consume excessive amounts of these foods while often neglecting to consume adequate amounts of fiber and plant-based whole foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.

Unclean foods contain pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, industrial chemicals, stimulants, growth hormones and antibiotics. Processed and refined foods contain synthetic chemicals, such as food additives and artificial colors that our body is ill-equipped to metabolize, since we don’t have the enzyme function necessary to break down these substances. As a result, these toxins are stored in our tissues – especially our fatty tissues.

One of the body’s natural mechanisms for managing toxins is to store them in adipose tissue, or fat cells, as a protective measure, shielding vital organs and tissues. But when individuals carry excess weight, the body’s fat stores increase, providing a larger reservoir for toxin accumulation. This means that individuals who are overweight or obese may have higher levels of toxins stored in their fat cells compared to those at a healthy weight.

With 74% of Americans who are overweight and 43% who are obese, nearly two-thirds of Americans are dealing with extra pounds, and it’s not just about how it looks in the mirror. It so happens, there’s a connection between carrying extra weight and hoarding toxins in our bodies.

As we know, overeating creates a recipe for ill health. Since many of the toxins we ingest are stored in adipose tissue, the more adipose tissue on the body, the more toxins in the body. This is why obesity is linked with toxicity. Obese people therefore, have a toxic burden, which is risky. Since obese individuals are storing so many toxins in their bodies, this is overloading their organs, making their organs work harder and weakening them in the process. When we pack on the pounds, we’re giving those toxins a bigger playground to hang out in. And as our fat cells expand, they become less efficient at getting rid of the toxins, creating a messy cycle of weight gain and toxin buildup.

During weight loss, these toxins are released into our bloodstream. This is why losing excess pounds helps detoxify the body.

There’s no getting away from toxins in our food, water and air. We can filter our water and purchase organic foods; but we should do more to minimize the toxic burden on our organs. We should all be mindful of the numerous, repeated assaults by toxins on our body, and we should strive to minimize these assaults.

The relationship between excess weight and toxins is further compounded by the body’s metabolic processes. As fat cells expand to accommodate excess energy stores, they become less efficient at metabolizing toxins. This can lead to a vicious cycle where the body struggles to eliminate toxins effectively, leading to further weight gain and toxin accumulation.

Research has shown that certain toxins, known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs), have a particular affinity for fat cells. These toxins, which include chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins and pesticides, can remain in the body for extended periods, posing a significant health risk. Studies have linked exposure to POPs with a range of health problems, including metabolic disorders, hormonal imbalances and increased risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Also, excess weight and obesity are associated with chronic low-grade inflammation, which can further exacerbate the body’s response to toxins. Inflammatory processes triggered by excess fat tissue can disrupt normal metabolic functions, impair detoxification pathways and contribute to the accumulation of toxins in the body.

You already know.

  1. Get moving – Exercise helps us sweat out those toxins and supports our body’s natural detox systems.
  2. Eat your veggies – and your fruits and antioxidants, which can give our liver a boost and help clear out the junk.
  3. Limit exposure – by choosing organic foods, filtering our water.

In a nutshell, the connection between excess weight and toxins is a serious one, but it’s not all doom and gloom. By understanding how these two things are linked and taking steps to support our bodies’ natural detox processes, we can take control of our health and feel our best.


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