If you love fast food, you may be ingesting harmful chemicals that disrupt your hormones. These chemicals are known as phthalates, which is often linked to obesity. But the truth is that most of us are exposed to phthalates almost every day, so why does being exposed to the chemicals in fast food matter?
The Danger in Fast Food and Phthalates
Phthalates are chemicals that are present in manufacturing plastics. Many fast food restaurants use plastics in the food they serve and therefore these chemicals leach into the food you enjoy eating. According to experts, one of the best ways to reduce phthalates in your system is to avoid eating at fast food chains as much as possible.
Fast food restaurants already serve unhealthy food. Favorite items, such as French fries, soda, and hamburgers are high in compounds that don’t contribute to good health. Since a study claims that phthalates are being served on the side along with the food you order, this is a big reason to avoid eating at these restaurants.
What the Study Says
According to the study conducted by the health researchers at the George Washington University, Washington DC, people who have eaten at fast food restaurants have at least 24% higher levels of phthalates in their system. Here’s a breakdown of what happened in the study:
- The researchers surveyed over 8,800 people.
- The survey was about the participants’ health with questions about their diet, such as how much fast food they had eaten the day before the survey.
- The participants also gave the researchers a sample of their urine.
- The results of the urine samples showed that those who just ate fast food the other day had 24 to 40% more phthalates than those who didn’t eat fast food.
This is very troublesome due to the fact that many people choose to eat fast food instead of home-cooked meals. Aside from obesity, phthalates are linked to several health effects, such as:
- Low IQ in children
- Reproductive health problems in grownups
- Impaired sex drive
- Preterm birth
The Food and Drug Administration does not entirely ban all types of phthalates, so there are several foods and other consumer products that use the chemicals. Unfortunately, phthalates appear to be in high amounts of fast food products as they leak from the food’s packaging. More research should be performed to prove that fast food can impact the levels of phthalates in the body. But while we wait, you can reduce your exposure to the chemicals as well as other harmful compounds in fast food by eating more veggies and fruits.