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Use Of Plastic Water Bottles May Lead To Weight Gain, Here's How

Expertly reviewed by Dexter Macalintal, MD · Internal or General Medicine

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Aug 04, 2022

    Use Of Plastic Water Bottles May Lead To Weight Gain, Here's How

    The World Health Organization has long declared that obesity is a growing global epidemic¹. Not only do many people have excessive weight, but cases are on the rise at a fast rate. Of course, changes in diet and lifestyle can explain the majority of the cases, but experts theorize that nutrition and inactivity are not the only contributing factors. They believe that the chemicals in everyday plastic materials change something in our metabolism that makes us more vulnerable to excessive weight gain. Can something as ordinary as a plastic water bottle lead to weight gain? Find out here. 

    What’s In A Plastic Water Bottle? 

    It turns out that ordinary plastic products, such as the highly common plastic water bottle, contain “metabolism-disrupting chemicals” or MDCs that promote obesity in cell and animal models. 

    Some highly common chemicals in plastics that are identified as MDCs are phthalates and bisphenols. 

    In a study, researchers analyzed 34 everyday plastic products. They found more than 55,000 chemicals, 629 of which were unique, and at least 11 were MDCs. 

    That’s why they concluded that everyday plastic products have a mixture of MDCs. Therefore, they can be a “relevant, yet underestimated contributing factor to obesity.²

    Alarming: Chemicals From Plastic Products Can Enter The Body

    At this point, you must be wondering: How would plastic chemicals affect me if they don’t enter my body? The problem is that it’s possible for plastic chemicals to enter your body by way of leaching. 

    Leaching is the process where a solute (chemical) detaches from its carrier (plastic) by way of a solvent (water). 

    Now, scientific investigations have already proven that plastic products leach chemicals. In fact, authorities say a plastic water bottle may leach chemicals into the beverage it contains, especially with increasing time and due to the heat it is exposed to⁴.   

    The amount may be miniscule, but scientists are still looking into their long-term effects. After all, many people use various plastic products on a daily basis. 

    More on Metabolism-Disrupting Chemicals (MDCs)

    We now know that plastics contain MDCs and understand that plastic products may leach them (and therefore enter our body). But, how exactly do these chemicals contribute to obesity?

    In the study mentioned above, investigators noted that the disruptors increase the size and number of fat cells in the mice models2. They do this by “reprogramming” precursor cells to develop as adipose or fat cells. 

    What’s even more alarming is that studies show that MDCs not only increase our vulnerability to obesity. Experts worry that they may also contribute to the development of other metabolic disorders, such as type 2 diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The chemicals may either cause the disease or increase our sensitivity to it. 

    How To Reduce Your Exposure To MDCs

    Since we know that a plastic water bottle or other plastic products may contribute to weight gain, it’s a good idea to reduce our exposure to them. How do we do it? 

    The first step is, of course, to avoid using plastic products, even ones as ordinary as a plastic water bottle whenever we can. Consider going for glass bottles. And definitely do not store water in plastic for a long time or drink the beverage when the container has been exposed to heat. 

    As much as possible, too, do not heat food in plastic containers. If you can transfer it to another microwave-safe container, that’s better. 

    It may not be possible to eliminate plastic from our life, but we can at least limit the amount of time our food and drinks are exposed to them. 

    Key Takeaways

    Something as ordinary as a plastic water bottle can contribute to weight gain. Research shows that they – and many other plastic products – contain metabolism-disrupting chemicals that increase the number and size of fat cells. Hence, try to reduce the amount of time our food and drinks are in contact with plastic.

    Learn more about Healthy Eating here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Expertly reviewed by

    Dexter Macalintal, MD

    Internal or General Medicine

    Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Aug 04, 2022

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