Eating too much greasy, sugary junk food gets much of the blame for making us overweight and prone to diabetes and heart disease. But researchers in France have found that common contaminants on your dinner plate are adding to the health dangers.
Scientists supported by the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research used laboratory tests to show the effects of junk food mixed with small amounts of dioxin, PCB, bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates. All four of these toxins are in our food. And most of us have measureable levels of these pollutants in our blood.
PCBs have been outlawed since the 1970s, but they still contaminate food and the environment. (They were used in electronic transformers.) Dioxin is present in air pollution and some animal feed. We often consume it in meat and dairy products.
BPA is found in the lining of food cans and aluminum beverage cans. Phthalates are found in fragrances, personal care products (shampoos) and PVC plastic. That new car smell? You’re inhaling phthalates.
The researchers discovered that these toxic substances accelerate metabolic problems that lead to an increase in the risk for high blood pressure and heart disease. Glucose intolerance is also worsened and the regulation of estrogen is impaired.
Their results indicate that these metabolic dysfunctions are worse in women than men.
“With this study, we have succeeded in providing proof-of-concept that low doses of contaminants, even at levels normally considered to be without health impacts in humans, do in fact affect humans when subjected to chronic exposure, and when the contaminants are combined with a high-calorie diet,” says researcher Brigitte Le Magueresse Battistoni.
To lower your ingestion of these toxins, experts recommend:
- Purchase organic meat from animals that have been grass fed.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables.