Tips to reduce weight gain

Those who have a hard time losing weight, there's some good and bad news. The bad news; a new study suggests that common chemicals in the environment may play a role in weight gain. The good news? The study also suggests diet and exercise may counteract these obesity-promoting effects.

The study focused on common chemicals called perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). These are synthetic chemicals used in many everyday products.

PFASs accumulate and stay in the body for a long time, and exposure to them has been linked to certain health problems according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These chemicals may interfere with some hormone systems in the body and cause weight regain after dieting.

Researchers analyzed information from people who were overweight or obese, and prediabetic. The participants were enrolled in the study between 1996-1999, and the original aim was to examine whether a weight-loss program could prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. The participants also gave blood samples at several points during the study, which the researchers used to measure levels of PFASs.

Half of the participants were also assigned to a weight-loss program; counseling and training to help with their weight problem, while the other half were assigned to a placebo group and provided standard information on the importance of diet and exercise, but were offered no counseling or training.

Those in the weight-loss program initially lost the most weight after one year, but they gradually regained most of the weight over time. Those in the placebo group maintained about the same weight, on average, throughout the study.

The research showed that higher PFAS levels in people's blood were linked with weight gain, but only for those in the placebo group. For those in the weight-loss group, PFAS levels were not linked with weight change. It was noted that because the study involved overweight and obese people at risk for type 2 diabetes, the findings may not apply to other groups of people.

However, one thing is clear. That nothing can change the fact that diet and exercise are the easiest and most important factors in trying to promote good health.