Plastics Can Make You Fat: Bisphenol A is a Problem

September 03, 2008

Plastics Can Make You Fat:  Bisphenol A is a Problem 

 Competency # 18:  Environmental Toxins                    Reference: Science News; 9/13/2008, Vol. 174 Issue 6, p15-15, Environmental Health Perspectives, August 14th, 2008 (Available at 

 Ok, so one month ago the FDA issues a preliminary ruling that bisphenol A is not so bad and that we really don’t have to worry so much about it.  The day before, the above report was published, as reported in Science News this week.  Does the right hand know what the left is doing at the FDA? What is bisphenol?  It’s in plastics.  It’s the chemical you start with to make many plastics, and which helps make plastics softer and more malleable.  It’s in baby bottles, toys, water bottles, soda bottles, plastic bags and even the linings of aluminum cans.  

In the study, 93% of Americans had levels of bisphenol found in their blood.  There are many studies that have reported that BPA is a huge problem.  It’s been known to cause reproductive problems, tumors, and asthma in lab animals. What this study did at the University of Cinncinati with Dr. Nira Ben-Jonathan was take fat tissue from women getting tummy tucks and mammoplasties, fat that would have been disposed of anyway.  They took the live fat tissue and looked at the natural receptors that estrogen and adiponectin bind to.  Estrogen you know.  Adiponectin is a critical hormone that your body puts out to signal between fat cells and the rest of your body.  It helps you feel full after a meal, be more insulin sensitive.  It cuts down on inflammation and thereby helps protect you from heart attacks.  It is made only by fat tissue.  Adiponectin is part of your natural response to food and the more the better.  The more overweight you become, the lower your adiponectin levels, a terrible viscous cycle. 

 What this study found was that BPA blocks the adiponectin docking site at the levels we have in America today.  Estrogen can also attach to that site.  So BPA is blocking the natural signaling that your body does to properly regulate estrogen effects and metabolism.  By blocking that site, you become more insulin resistant.  That’s called diabetes.  You need higher levels of insulin to respond.  That leads to higher levels of insulin.  That leads to the tendency for your body to be in storage mode instead of burning fat mode.  That means it’s even harder to lose weight because the insulin circulating can’t have an effect, so there is more of it.  Round and round, worse and worse and fatter and fatter.  And all the while you are drinking 8 bottles of water a day from plastic as a way to try and help you lose weight. 

This is a problem.  The BPA in our plastics can be part of making us fatter… and more diabetic, and more inflamed, and more heart disease.  All this comes right after our own FDA said they are safe. 

 WWW:  What Will Work for ME.  I just went to a conference called “Food as Medicine”.  Precisely because of this issue, the conference did not serve one item of food on any plastic.  Every single last beverage we had was in glass or ceramic.  Novel concept.  Drinking a glass of water from a glass.  I didn’t switch after that.  I thought they were a little kinky.  But this article was enough for me.  My tipping point is tipped.  I’m trying to get all my containers to be glass or ceramic.  My fat receptors don’t need any more BPA blocking them.  And just think, this is good for our dear planet.  Think of all the landfills I’m not filling.

Column written by Dr. John E. Whitcomb, MD, Brookfield Longevity, Brookfield, WI (262-784-5300)