Phthalate Chemicals In Restaurant Food, Twice The Nutritional Fun!:
When most of us go to eat, we try to focus on getting good quality food and hopefully not too much.
And if you’re keeping sugar and saturated fats out, people would think you’re OK.
But even if we’ve come to expect unnecessary added-calories in restaurant food,
Most people would also think extra salt & fat are the main dangers of going out.
But according to a recent study, most people would be wrong.
Because it’s looking like dining-out comes with a side-dish of some pretty bizarre chemicals that are getting into our food…
The Future Is… Plastics!:
That’s right, it’s a whole new level of things to worry about when it comes to dining out.
It’s not-even related to food-ingredients, or your nutrition-score.
And it begins with a team of researchers from George Washington University that set out to look for something peculiar:
The equivalent of The BPA Fiasco,
But this time, it’s not in our water-bottles.
The Weird Science In Our Food:
So at-least since the BPA scare, Science has known that chemicals in food-containers can eventually affect your health.
This time researchers found another source: Something called Phthalates, that are in all kinds of plastics.
And the more you have food away from home, the more of them you absorb.
These strength & flex compounds have been shown to mess with our hormones, organs, glands and cells,
They may also eventually screw up your health in ways similar to, or even worse than the ones theorized about BPA in water-bottles,
But not as bad as the brain-melting water from a garden-hose on a hot summer day; nothing is more toxic than that.
So Who Gets It & How Do You Avoid It?:
Strangely, the most-exposed group of people is teenagers who eat out at fast-food restaurants,
And stranger-still, specifically those who consume the most cheeseburgers.
Their average level of phthalate-exposure was 35% Higher than the average person who dines out the least.
And although it’s not discussed in the sources much, GW’s charts also show Adults who eat in Cafeterias also seem to have heightened levels of phthalates, too.
Where Do Phthalates In Food Come From?:
Now what part of the production chain these chemicals come from is unknown so-far.
But it seems that anywhere that plastic touches meat for a sandwich is where it happens.
This could be storage, packaging, prep, cooking, condiments, plastic-wrap, anything.
And as a matter-of-fact, there has also been recent concern that the surface chemicals in nonstick frying pans do a very similar thing.
So far, it looks like phthalates may only stay in the body for a small amount of time.
What Are The Long-Term Effects?:
But this is still early days, and it looks like the effects they create may endure,
And possibly evan accumulate with time.
Since there are few long-term studies on this, it’s hard to tell.
But the issues generally-associated with these chemicals can include:
1) Type-2 Diabetes
2) Cognitive Impairments
3) Behavioral Problems
4) Fertility Disruptions
7) Alzheimer’s Disease
8) Lowered IQ
9) And some even more serious diseases.
The only saving-grace seems to be that infants & toddlers were less exposed to phthalates than everyone else, and less than they would be to phthalates’ cousin BPA if it weren’t outlawed.
No Chemical-Testing Means You Are The Guinea-Pig:
Ultimately, this is just another example of the best-efforts but slightly-reckless chemistry that goes into many parts of our lives.
IE: Very few of the thousands of chemicals we come into contact with are tested at-all.
Including all manner of home, industrial, and now food-service products.
So even if it’s not just for the sake of nutrients or calories,
Now more than ever you have another reason why it’s not just healthier,
But also possibly Safer to cook & eat at home if you want to try to avoid potential hormone-disruptors from plasticizers like phthalates in your diet.
Photo Credits: “burger”, by Flickr user Jim
• Source: GWU
• Source Study: Env.Int’l. – Dietary sources of cumulative phthalates exposure among the U.S. general population in NHANES 2005–2014