DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. - We all know that eating nutritious foods and getting enough physical activity is essential for good health. But when it comes to weight loss, some doctors believe chemicals are changing how our cells function, thereby actually training our bodies to hold onto fat. We went inside one Florida lab where they're looking for answers in people's cells.
"There's a lot that makes us fat," said Dr. David Blyweiss, Chief Medical Officer at Cell Science Systems in Deerfield Beach.
Inside what looks like a regular office building, is a lab analyzing the results of the "ALCAT" or "Antigen Leukocyte Antibody Test." It tests patients' white blood cells against hundreds of foods, chemicals, molds and other substances.
"We identify the foods they shouldn't eat which cause inflammation," said Dr. Blyweiss.
Here's how the test works:
If patients have a minor intolerance, their white blood cell swells up. If they have a severe intolerance, the white blood cell explodes.
"That biological clorox, which is how the white blood cells will kill viruses, is released into your bloodstream. The good news is that inflammation may last about six hours. The bad news is, what do you do after you eat breakfast six hours later? You eat lunch. And six hours later, you eat dinner," explained Dr. Blyweiss.
With more than a third of American adults considered obese by the CDC, Blyweiss and other researchers suggest diet and exercise are not the only factors.
They're focusing on endocrine-disrupting chemicals, sometimes referred to by scientists as "obesogens," found in seemingly healthy foods, cosmetics and other everyday products.
A report done by the White House task force on childhood obesity recommended more research on the effects of "obesogens," believed to lower metabolism and predispose people to gaining weight.
Blyweiss believes if they can pinpoint a chemical, food or substance triggering patients' health problems and they eliminate it, they can get patients back on track.
"There are pollutants in our environment that have now circulated and are in our air, in our water, in our food chains and they are directly causing obesity. And, we eat them, breathe them and drink them everyday," said Dr. Blyweiss.
There are many theories out there on what is fueling the obesity epidemic. While some patients swear by this test, some medical professionals and insurance companies say there's not enough evidence to support it. If you're struggling with weight issues, your best bet is to first ask your doctor for help.