Children's Health Magazine : Babies : The New American Diet
Exposure to pesticides and other toxins in pregnancy and early childhood can set your baby up for obesity later in life. Here's your stay-safe plan.
Of all the scary things to worry about when you're pregnant, there's one that's probably not on your radar, even though it affects almost every baby born: exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs).
When we began researching the forthcoming book The New American Diet (Rodale, 2009), we knew that traditional diet advice just wasn't working anymore. Simple principles--eat less fat, choose chicken or fish over beef, eat plenty of vegetables--were based on science from the middle of last century, and the world has changed since then.
From the hidden calories in many processed products to the way our meat and produce are being raised, today's food is very different from what we ate 50 years ago, and traditional diet advice simply doesn't take those factors into consideration.
But the deeper we dug, the more we realized that America's obesity epidemic had a sneaky underlying cause few of us consider in making our nutritional choices: Simply put, we're eating and drinking too many EDCs.
They enter our food chain through pesticides on produce, and through plastics that leach into our food and water. In a recent statement by the Endocrine Society, the largest organization of experts devoted to research on hormones and the clinical practice of endocrinology, researchers noted that the rise in the incidence of obesity matches the rise in the use and distribution of EDCs, and concluded that they may be linked to the obesity epidemic.