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Natural Awakenings Bucks and Montgomery Counties PA

Local Article: 5 Ways to Reduce Toxicity and Lose Weight

Jan 01, 2013 07:00PM

by Dr. Lisa Rhodes

Weight gain and obesity are on the rise in this country; even child obesity has become an epidemic. It would seem that with all the weight loss diets, no or low-fat products, and weight loss programs, obesity would not exist. Yet weight will continue to be an issue as long as one of the major underlying causes remains unaddressed.

Many natural health practitioners are concerned that one factor in weight gain and the inability to lose weight may be the toxins to which humans are exposed on a daily basis. Renowned author and nutritionist Ann Louise Gittleman explains that, “a toxin is any substance that irritates or creates harmful effects in the body.”

What are the Origins of these Toxins?

Toxins come from many sources and in many forms. Gittleman notes that some, called endotoxins, are natural by-products of the body’s processes. Others, she notes, exist in our environment and are nearly impossible to avoid. Hundreds of chemicals are used in agriculture and food production. Other sources of toxic exposure are industrial pollutants such as mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and petroleum by-products that leach into soil and water. We do not always have control over our toxic exposure. However, numerous personal choices may involve toxins. Toxic chemicals may be found in personal care products, such as moisturizers and cosmetics. Alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes also expose us to toxins.

How Do Toxins Cause Weight Gain?

According to Gittleman, toxins must be processed by the liver—that is, broken down and converted into nontoxic, water-soluble substances that the body can easily excrete. When the liver is overwhelmed by toxins, hormones become imbalanced, the body cannot efficiently burn fat, thwarting weight loss efforts. Researchers that study the endocrine system have shown that the human body often mistakes synthetic chemicals for hormones and disrupts normal hormone action, including regulation of the metabolism. The thyroid gland is particularly sensitive to toxins and any disruption can interfere with one’s metabolic rate and the conversion of fats into usable carbohydrates and energy.

How Can I Reduce my Toxic Load and Lose Weight?

  • Eat certified organic foods; they are grown without the use of antibiotics, steroids, growth hormones, persistent pesticides and herbicides.
  • Avoid processed foods, which typically contain artificial ingredients such as preservatives, nitrates, sulfites and food dyes.
  • Read labels when buying personal care products. Look for items that do not have petroleum-based or synthetic ingredients, such as chemical preservatives and fragrances.
  • Drink water to help flush out toxins. The rule of thumb is to consume daily the number of ounces of water that is calculated by halving one’s body weight.
  • Get the proper amount of sleep. Studies have shown that getting less than six hours of sleep per night increases weight gain, compromises healing and decreases people’s ability to cope with stress.
Considering a Detox?

Any individual considering a detoxification program should consult with a healthcare professional experienced in detox protocols. Too quick of a release of toxins stored within the body can cause an individual to become ill. People that are depleted may need to begin their weight loss and detox program very slowly. Safety is important when pursuing activities geared toward optimizing one’s health.

Lisa Rhodes is a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine and a Licensed Acupuncturist who has practiced holistic, complementary and alternative medicine for more than 10 years. She practices at Integrative Health Care, 5055 Swamp Rd., in Fountainville. For more information, call 215-230-4600, email [email protected] or visit, January 2013.

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