Report

Bad News for Hand Sanitizer Users

Your efforts to avoid winter illness could be sabotaging your weight loss strategies.

Report

Bad News for Hand Sanitizer Users

Your efforts to avoid winter illness could be sabotaging your weight loss strategies.

We know, we know: it's flu season. You have to protect yourself. So you end up whipping out that bottle of hand sanitizer multiple times a day, scrubbing away those germs. We're sorry to say that, after our research team here at Eat This, Not That! dug into the science, we have some bad news for you: Your hand sanitizer could be making you fat. Triclosan is a synthetic antibacterial agent frequently added to soap. It’s referred to by researchers as an “obesogen”—a compound that can potentially cause weight gain by disrupting the body’s endocrine (hormone) system. Studies suggest that triclosan can negatively affect the thyroid. As thyroid hormones control metabolism, any hit to the organ’s functionally could cause you to gain weight.

The evidence is of particular concern for hospital workers, researchers say, as they’re exposed to the antibacterial agent on a regular basis and often show significantly higher levels of triclosan in their urine. A study in the journal PLOS One found a detectable level was associated with a 0.9-point increase in body mass index (BMI). If you’re a frequent hand-washer, experts recommend sticking to good ol’ soap—not the antibacterial kind—and to buy organic cleansers when possible. So throw out the bottle and try our one day detox to get back on track and feeling your best in no time.