You Are What Your Food Touches

April 14, 2016

Fish and Chips Fast FoodYeah, it’s supposed to be “you are what you eat” but when the packaging is seeping into your food, what you eat is often a bunch of chemicals.

A new study has found that the more fast food you eat, the higher your phthalate levels, which impact hormones and other aspects of health.

Didn’t we already fight this battle in 2008 (with BPA and then Phthalates)?

Yep, phthalates dominated headlines in 2008. New plastics were made. Rock-climbers freaked out when they learned that the boiling water they poured into their Nalgenes was pulling out all the chemicals it was made with.

But those new plastics just had a different chemical that early research sad was probably worse. And the soft, bendable nature of phthalate plastics is just too useful to pass up.

Handy in the kitchen? You might be familiar with sous-vide cooking. It’s not even technically fast food, although most mid-range chain restaurants use it as well as some fancier ones.

Basically, you put your meat, egg, noodles, whatever, in a plastic bag and cook it in water that’s the exact right temperature, for the right time, and get a consistent if not amazing meal (think eggs done to butter consistency every time). For a fun science experiment, you can even cook dinner in your dishwasher.

Unfortunately, all that cooking in plastic has a cumulative effect on the toxins in your body, and it’s coming from places you thought were safe.

Then there’s the obvious risks: steel cans/mugs (coated with plastic to preserve flavor), all that food that comes plastic wrapped (packaged cold is probably better than the ready made stuff that’s packaged hot and often has Listeria risks anyway), and of course fast food, that’s pre-cooked and shipped in plastic until it’s fried or reheated at the restaurant, then served in plastic-coated paperware.

As these chemicals break down in our bodies, what are some possible effects?

Messing with hormone levels can affect mood, weight-gain, and even cause problems like migraines. The correlations are pretty strong, but still being studied.

Worried? You can always make some dietary changes by prepping ready-to-eat meals in bulk at home (the internet is full of ideas for every diet). Or go a step further with a safe-detox using Zeolite (it “catches” large particles, rather than asking you to do an extreme fast).

And another concern: researchers found that ⅓ of people had eaten fast food in the past day. That’s not the best nutritional plan, but understandable given its price-point as a ready-to-eat food and many people’s work schedules.

If that’s you, make sure you’ve got a daily multivitamin to take with your first meal that can act as a safety net with all your basic nutritional needs.

What are your thoughts on the modern diet?

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