Could house dust make us fat?
Keeping your home clean and dust-free could be one way to stay slim! According to researchers, chemicals that harbour in house dust could cause us to gain weight, particularly exposure during pregnancy for the unborn child.
For those of you who remember the comedy series Little Britain may remember a character named Marjorie Dawes. Marjorie was a weight loss group leader who recommended eating dust to keep calories down.
New science suggests that house dust, however, could disrupt metabolic health and trigger an increase in body fat, particularly in children.
Researchers at Duke University in Northern Carolina exposed mouse fat cells to small amounts of house dust that contained chemicals called endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDC) and noted that they caused the fat cells to store more fat.
EDCs are commonly found in cosmetics, food packaging, cleaning products and pesticides and recently they have been linked to a number of health conditions such as cancer, infertility and neurodevelopmental disorders.
Exposure to EDCs whilst pregnant appears to cause children to have a higher risk of obesity.
House dust accumulates residues of EDCs, and this study found that the average household may contain up to 44 of these contaminants. Further tests showed that three of these contaminants had the greatest effect on fat accumulation, and only a tiny amount of them was required to trigger fat cells to become more active.
Whilst these results are interesting, we do have to remember that this is a lab study that used extracted cells from mice. Whether or not the same impact occurs in humans is difficult to conclude, but certainly does give the green light for more research.
Study from Duke University, Northern California
Seb is a writer and blogger of food and nutrition. He holds a bachelors and a masters degree in nutrition science, and has studied sports and exercise nutrition at postgraduate level. He specialises in plant-based nutrition and believes passionately that we can all live with a little less meat.