A new study has found that "chemical calories" present in beauty products such as shampoo, body lotions and soap can disrupt the body`s natural weight control system.
Doctors at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York claim that phthalates, chemical ingredients in 70 percent of cosmetics as well as many household cleaning products, are responsible for throwing the body's natural weight control system, a delicate balance of hormones, off kilter.
The researchers suggested that once exposed to phthalates through daily use of such beauty products, the chances of childhood obesity and weight problems in adults become high.
The researchers meted out the study on girls living in the inner city area of East Harlem, by measuring their exposure to phthalates and analysing the children's urine.
"The heaviest girls have the highest levels of phthalates in their urine," the Daily Mail quoted Professor Philip Landrigan, a paediatrician and the study author, as saying.
"It goes up as the children get heavier, but it's most evident in the heaviest kids," he added.nother substance, Bisphenol-A (BPA), also present in containers and bottles, has also been found to provide "chemical calories".
It's the fact they are absorbed into the body that causes most concern. Billed as "endocrine disruptors", they are known to affect the glands and hormones that regulate numerous bodily functions.
According to Zoe Harcombe, nutritionist and author of the Obesity Epidemic, even the slightest disruption to hormone levels "is very bad news" for someone trying to lose weight.
"In men, phthalates and other chemicals have an anti-testosterone capacity that has been linked to obesity," she said.
"In women they mess up our basic genetic hormone balance so that you get disruptions similar to those that might occur during the menopause or at puberty," she added.