Body

Save the environment *and* help weight loss? The surprising health benefit to ditching plastic

Another excuse to go green!

By Alex Lilly
It's hard to imagine our lives without plastic, whether it's in the form of our water bottles or the bagged salad we pick up from the supermarkets.
But did you know it could be affecting your weight loss?
Of course, weight loss is affected by numerous factors including a healthy diet, exercise and genetics, but it turns out plastic could be playing a harmful part when it comes to metabolism, which is the process our bodies use to turn food into energy.
A research group at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology looked at 34 different plastic products and found a whopping 55,000 different chemical components in them, identifying 629 of these.
11 of the substances are called metabolism-disrupting chemicals, which are known to interfere with metabolism and can result in weight gain.
"Our experiments show that ordinary plastic products contain a mix of substances that can be a relevant and underestimated factor behind weight gain and obesity," said Martin Wagner, an associate professor at NTNU's Department of Biology.
Wagner's team recently discovered that plastic products leach chemicals into real-world conditions which enables them the enter our bodies.
A new study has found there are health benefits to ditching plastic. (Image: Getty Images)
Previous research suggested that some plastics contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals that can affect our development and fertility.
So add weight loss to that and the harm they do for the environment it's enough to make you want to switch!
Want to know some easy and cost-effective ways to reduce your plastic intake? Check out these five tips.
1. Buy in bulk
Next time you're browsing the supermarket shelves, rather than buying several mini packs of foods like biscuits or chips, get a large single packet instead and portion it up at home. When you buy in bulk you can also meal prep and cook in bulk too so it'll save you big bucks in the long-run too.
2. Bring your own reusable cutlery and boxes
Whether it's those flimsy takeaway containers, plastic cutlery, coffee cups or straws, buy your own reusable products and bring them along next time you're going out for a smoothie or have some food leftover when you dine out.
3. Switch to period underwear and menstrual cups
Some people may be hesitant about this, but once you make the switch you'll never go back! Ignore all those myths that it gets smelly or feels uncomfortable, these products are game-changers for the environment and your wallet.
Period undies are a sustainable way of reducing plastic wrapped pads and tampons. (Image: Modibodi/Instagram)
4. Swap cling wrap for beeswax wraps
How many times have you covered a dish with plastic wrap and chucked it out after one use? Yep, us too. But if reusable containers aren't your jam, beeswax wraps are an awesome sustainable option that you can use again and again.
5. Don't forget your bags
Keep your reusable bags on stand-by whether they're in your car boot or stuffed in your handbag. That way when you realise you need to pop to the shops for some last minute ingredients or supplies, you're prepared and don't waste more plastic and money on yet another bag.
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  • undefined: Alex Lilly