PFAS and Changes in Body Weight and Resting Metabolic Rate in Response to Weight-loss Diets

April 18, 2018
1:00 pm US Eastern Time

Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of chemicals widely used in many consumer products. In the US, human exposures to these chemicals are ubiquitous. Animal studies have demonstrated endocrine-disrupting properties of PFAS, although human evidence linking these chemicals to cardiometabolic disease risk is still sparse and inconsistent.

To fill the knowledge gap, Dr. Qi Sun and colleagues at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health conducted an investigation in the POUNDS-Lost trial to examine the potential role of PFAS in modulating weight changes during diet-induced weight loss and during subsequent weight regain. The goal of the POUNDS-Lost trial is to examine the efficacy of energy-restricting diets on weight loss. In the study design the causes of weight change are well characterized, which enables investigators to minimize the impact of diseases and other causes of unintentional weight change when evaluating the obesogenic effects of chemicals. In this webinar, Dr. Sun presented the study design and primary findings of this investigation.

Featured Speaker

Qi Sun, ScD, MD, is Associate Professor of Medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He is also faculty in the Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH). Dr. Sun obtained his medical degree from Beijing Medical University and his doctor of science degree from HSPH. Dr. Sun’s research primarily focuses on understanding the role of diet and environmental pollutants in the etiology of diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease (CVD). For example, Dr. Sun has demonstrated that dietary fats, whole grains, rice, fruits, polyphenols, alcohol, vitamin D, and zinc may independently modulate the risk of developing diabetes or CVD. Another major contribution of his research lies in findings linking pollutants with weight gain and diabetes risk. Dr. Sun has served as PI for multiple research grants sponsored by the NIH and has published more than 150 articles in biomedical journals. Overall, his studies have filled several critical knowledge gaps. Dr. Sun’s research is expanding to several new research frontiers, including using metabolomics and microbiome approaches to understand the health effects of environmental pollutants and diet.


This webinar is one in a monthly series sponsored by the Collaborative on Health and the Environment’s EDC Strategies Partnership. The CHE EDC Strategies Partnership is chaired by Carol Kwiatkowski (TEDX), Sharyle Patton (Commonweal), Jerry Heindel (Commonweal), and Genon Jensen (HEAL). To see a full list of past calls and webinars related to EDCs and listen or view recordings, please visit our partnerships page.

This webinar was moderated by Carol Kwiatkowski, PhD, director of Commonweal’s Program in Endocrine Disruption Strategies. It lasted for 30 minutes and was recorded for our call and webinar archive.