I have read plenty of studies showing high grease, sodium and sugar content in fast food is not good for us. A recent report seems to show something more - that people who ate fast food show substances that occur when phthalates (something that makes plastic more flexible) break down.
How do these plastic chemicals get into our body? The study is not saying that we are eating plastic, but it suggests that phthalates could have leached into food during preparation or packaging. Plastic gloves and conveyer belts could be the source and facilitated by heat from cooking.
There were prior studies showing that diet is a source of exposure for plastics chemicals like phthalates and Bisphenol A (BPA), and that processed food may be of particular concern. The new study focuses specifically on fast food, and is the largest study to-date that shows positive exposure and correlation.
The study took a sample of more than 8,800 people, who detailed all the food they ate in the last 24 hours and then provided a urine sample. Two specific phthalate byproducts were identified: DEHP and DiNP. Compared to people who did not eat fast food, those who did and ate 35% or more of their total calories in the last 24 hours had around 24% higher levels of DEHP, and close to 40% higher levels of DiNP, respectively.
According to the study author Ami Zota, “Our study helps shed light on one potential way that people can reduce their exposure to these chemicals through their diet, but it also points to a broader problem of widespread chemicals in our food systems that will require many different types of stakeholders to get involved in order to fix it."
Well said. Findings such as this are a good reminder that we should eat less processed food, and everything in moderation.
Article originally appeared in Time.com