Scientists Discover Link Between Carbon Dioxide And Obesity

The Huffington Post UK  |  By Posted: 15/03/2012 13:52 Updated: 15/03/2012 14:51

We've heard that marriage, office snacks and even our house clutter can make us fat, but now experts claim even fresh air can cause us to pile on the pounds.

Danish scientists have found a link between increasing levels of obesity and carbon dioxide in the air.

Researchers from the Glostrup University Hospital studied the weight of both overweight and slim people over 22 years.

They discovered that thinner people were putting weight for no reason and pinpointed a correlation between CO2 concentration and weight gain.

“The normal theory is that fat people get fatter because they don’t move as much as they should,” explains Lars-Georg Hersoug in the Science Nordic journal.

“But the study showed that thin people also get fatter, and this happened over the whole of the 22-year period of the study.”

The study, in association with the University of Copenhagen, tested six young men to see how CO2 levels affect their appetite. Half of the men were exposed to increased amounts of CO2 and the rest in a normal climate.

After seven hours in the assigned room, the men were allowed to eat as much as they liked.

The researchers found that men with greater levels of CO2 in their blood ate 6% more food than those who had breathed in a normal amount of CO2.

Hersoug concluded that orexins – the hormones in the brain that influence energy expenditure and food intake – are affected by CO2. So much so, it alters the metabolism and makes people gain weight.

“We could also see that the extra CO2 caused their heartbeat’s to rise, and this gives us the indication that CO2 affects the brain’s nerve cells – orexins in the hypothalamus – which among other functions, control our appetite,” explains Hersoug.

The theory behind this is because breathing in CO2 makes the blood more acidic which subsequently affects our brain so we want to eat more.

However, researchers added that their findings was not an excuse to ditch outdoor exercise.

“If you’re out running, you get your blood circulating and you can pump much of the CO2 out of your body, so our hypothesis is really further evidence that exercise is healthy. And exercise may be even more necessary in the future, when we can expect even higher CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere,” explains Hersoug.

Loading Slideshow...
  • Unlikely Things That Are Making You Fat

  • Snooping

    Research by psychotherapist Dawn Billings discovered that snooping at your partners phone or Facebook can lead to piling on the pounds. Billings claims that if you find something you didn't want to see, the stress of it all triggers the cortisol hormone, which interferes with the appetite-regulating hormone, letin. This can lead to an increase in hunger, making us lean towards emotional food binges.

  • Shampoo

    Scientists from the <a href="http://www.mountsinai.org/" target="_hplink">Mount Sinai Medical Center</a> claim that phthalates, the chemicals found in 70% of cosmetics including shampoo, throw the body's weight control system off kilter. These chemicals are also linked to depressing testosterone levels in the body, which can increase the risk of weight gain

  • Your Personality

    Recent research by the<a href="http://www.nia.nih.gov/" target="_hplink"> National Institute of Aging</a> found people who are highly emotional, organised and disciplined are more likely to be overweight. They also found that impulsive people have higher BMI's than those who are more relaxed and laid back.

  • Spanx

    Although its sole purpose is to disguise any unsightly lumps or bumps, it could give wearers a false sense of security, meaning they ditch diets as they know their pair of <a href="http://www.spanx.com/home/index.jsp" target="_hplink">Spanx</a> knickers will hold in their muffin top.

  • Diet Drinks

    Those who guzzle diet fizzy drinks in the false hope that they're being healthier than drinking the full fat version, are still at risk of gaining weight. According to a study by the <a href="http://www.utexas.edu/" target="_hplink">University of Texas</a>, people who drink diet drinks see their waistbands expand 70% faster than those who drank normal fizzy drinks. This is because they believe they can drink more because of its lower calorie-count.

  • Your Boyfriend

    Falling in love can make you fat, research by the <a href="http://www.uconn.edu/" target="_hplink">University of Connecticut</a> has discovered. Otherwise known as the 'boyfriend layer', when a relationship becomes more established, couples tend to relax their fitness regime, eat out more - and eat more food. This is because new couples 'bond' over food and spend a lot of time doing sedentary things, like lounging on the sofa or in bed.

  • Work

    Women who are fed up at work are more likely to comfort eat, a study by the <a href="http://www.umassmed.edu/index.aspx" target="_hplink">University of Massachusetts Medical School</a> has found. Those who are hacked off with their everyday routine find comfort in 'emotional eating' when stressed and anxious rather than eating when hungry.

  • Your Bed

    Lack of sleep disrupts the body's natural circadian pattern, which controls moods, alertness and appetite over a 24-hour period. If this is altered, it causes an imbalance in the leptin hormone (the hormone that tells us when we're full) and the ghrelin hormone (the hormone that tells us when we need food for energy). If these are out of control for regular periods, it can lead to weight gain.

FOLLOW UK LIFESTYLE