Chinese scientists exposed a group of rats to Beijing’s outdoor air for 19 days and compared the results to the control group of rats who were given filtered air to breathe. Both groups of rats were given the exact same diet over the course of the experiment.
The rats who had breathed the polluted air were found to be heavier — their lungs were literally heavier and their livers were inflammed. The polluted rats had 97% higher total cholesterol, 50% higher DSL cholesterol, 46% higher triglyceride fat, and a higher resistance to insulin typically associated with Type 2 diabetes.
After 8 weeks, the significance of the weight gain leveled out — the polluted rats only had a 10-18% weight gain compared to the control rats.
Of course, most humans aren’t the same as rats, so as with most studies involving redents, the results shouldn’t be taken too seriously. However, the study’s senior author, Junfeng Zhang, warned of the significance of the results:
“Since chronic inflammation is recognized as a factor contributing to obesity and since metabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity are closely related, our findings provide clear evidence that chronic exposure to air pollution increases the risk for developing obesity.
“If translated and verified in humans, these findings will support the urgent need to reduce air pollution, given the growing burden of obesity in today’s highly polluted world.”
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