Chatting on your mobile phone might be making you fat !

brain being drained of energy by a cell phone

Chatting on a mobile phone definitely changes brain energetics –it creates a brain funk that increases the odds, you’ll put down the phone and  load up your plate.

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Chatting on your mobile phone  might be making you fat !

cell phone sucking energy out of brainYou LOVE your phone !  Not only do you spend hours scrolling, you also enjoy deep meaningful conversations, on the run.  You talk with colleagues and friend, catch up with family and take care of business.

You’ve got a weight problem…………

Could your phone be making you fat ?

Let’s be honest…

Chatting on the phone is the norm.

So is obesity.

Could they be connected ?

Well at first glance,  the timing is “right”.  Mobile phone use became a thing, around 30 years ago, so did obesity.

This makes the idea, that cell phones make you fat,  plausible.

This is what a team of researchers based in Finland set about investigating. Now to be fair, they are not the first people to question whether  mobile phone emitted radiation (RE-EMFs),  could make you fat.

It does happen in mice

mice eating more when being exposed to cell phone radiationNumerous rodent studies have shown, animals exposed to EMFs have  increased food intake and body weight.  But  zapping mice in cages with high dose  radiation 24/7 is not very relevant to humans.

  • The doses are wrong.
  • The areas exposed are wrong.
  • The timing is wrong.

And the elephant in the room is  this set up generates heat.   Leaving the question of whether cell phones make you fat, wide open.

Could  it  also happen in humans ?

This is what the Finnish team set about testing.   They exposed 15 healthy young men, without weight problems, to a “normal” cell phone experience.

“Normal” is relative !

The guys had a head set strapped to their head for 30 minutes, whilst  they lay in a MR scanning machine, talking to NO ONE.

cell phones make you fat experimental setup

Not once, but three times.

In the name of science

The set up is still  a little contrived, but it does mimic a human having a seriously LONG conversation on an OLD phone.

And it is REAL science…

There is an experimental group, actually there are two experimental groups, using different models of phone and a control group, which used a phone that had not been turned on.

Which phones cause problems ?

I know you want to know which models of phone  were tested and more specifically,  did they test the model of phone, you’re using.  Probably  not.

The researchers  opted to use commercially available mobile phones from way back when, rather than the latest greatest models.  The reason was strategic.  They didn’t want to get into “trouble” with the industry. 

The phones they tested, included

  • A Motorola L2  – which has a specific absorption  rate of 0.97 W/kg
  • A Nokia 5800d-1  – which has slightly higher specific absorption  rate of 1.33 W/kg

Mobile Phone Radiation Exposure

The somewhat bizarre headset arrangement was designed to control the positioning of the phone.  By popping the phone into the headset, the team was able to position the antenna over the right temporal region of the brain and ensure that the phone stayed there……..

Eish !  500 g can feel like 500 kg if you’ve held it up to your head for 30 minutes.

The other plus of the head set was the team could keep the activation state of the phone “a secret”.  Allowing them to compare what happened when the phone was operating and when it wasn’t.

Thanks for your time

The reward for the “torture” was free food…..

open door leading to a buffet

Of course, this is science……… so the spread was not a free lunch, it was the experiment.  Behind the scenes how much food was being consumed was being carefully monitored.

And our team worked hard to make sure, that the trigger for eating was THE PHONE and not something else.  They did this, by issuing a list of instructions to the participants as to what to do, the day before the experiment.  The list   included

  • no gym,
  • no coffee and
  • get into bed by 11.30 pm

 “Talking” on the phone is hard work

The team found almost all of  the participants (13/15), felt compelled to top up their plates with a little more, following a 30 minute exposure to the transmitting phone. In terms of the numbers….. total calorie consumption was 22 % – 27 % more.

graph showing total calorie consumption in cell phones make you fat study

Calorie consumption after mobile phone exposure for 30 minutes. © 2022 Ewelina K. Wardzinski et al

This is enough to make you fat, if it happens on a regular basis.

Interestingly,  talking on the mobile didn’t change circulating glucose levels,  nor did it move the needle on insulin or C-peptide levels.  So for once, the problem has NOTHING to do with insulin.

 Talking on the phone caused a brain funk

The MR scanner was able to capture the effect of the mobile phone exposure on phosphate inside the brain.

Both ATP and phosphocreatine levels had dropped.

graph showing brain being drained of energy after cell phone conversation

Effects of mobile phone exposure on neuroenergetic measures of relative ATP levels in the brain after a 30 minute exposure to cell phone radiation. © 2022 Ewelina K. Wardzinski et al

The graph above shows the impact on ATP levels.   ATP is what is actually used for energy and phosphocreatine is an energy reserve. It’s a bit like a powerbank.  If you would like to learn more,  I’ve shared more about it, in this story on phosphocreatine in the “Ups and Downs of insulin resistance” series.

Interestingly the effects on energy in the brain were seen within the first 5 minutes of exposure to the EMF radiation.  That’s not very long.  I am not a big phone person, but I do 5 minute phone calls on a regular basis, I bet you do to. 

graph showing time line of change in brain energetics following cell phone chat

Time line of the effects of mobile phone exposure on neuroenergetic measures of  relative brain ATP levels. Solid circle shows when brain is expose to EMF radiation. Open circles show levesl when there is not exposure.  © 2022 Ewelina K. Wardzinski et al

And even more disturbing, brain energetics  hadn’t normalized 30 minutes after the phone call was terminated. Ouch !

Cell phones COULD BE  behind the obesity epidemic

What is clear from this research is  “talking” on a mobile phone,  definitely changes brain energetics. Our team speculated that this change was what sparked the calorie loading at the buffet table.


Cell phones could  be contributing to the obesity epidemic  !

I know it’s far out there…..

And, even if it’s true,  let’s face it, cell phones aren’t  going to go away any time soon.

Awareness is power

We are moving into a world with 5G and, as individuals becoming increasingly dependent on our mobile phones – so ditching the phone is not a practical strategy, for weight watching.

Maybe a tinfoil hat will help shield you from the radiation.

man wearing a tin foil hat in response to idea cell phone makes you fat

But a more pragmatic approach is  awareness.

It impacts your  body chemistry and NOT  always FOR THE BETTER.   The impacts are both direct , as demonstrated in this study, as well as indirect.

Take precautions………..

Distance is your friend

When it comes to EMF Distance is your friend.  The closer the phone is to your body, the higher the level of radiation you will be  exposed to.  So using your phone on speaker mode is going to automatically dial down the level of exposure.

And don’t leave it directly next to your body for hours at a time.

Especially watch your child’s exposure

If you have kids, be especially vigilant.   Children absorb more  radiation than adults because

  • their brain tissues are more absorbent,
  • their skulls are thinner and
  • their relative size is smaller.

Use your phone strategically and wisely.

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Further reading

Want to discover more ways to create BETTER BODY CHEMISTRY ?

Author: Taylor Payne