Does Fast Food Cause Cancer?

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We all know fast food is bad for our waistlines, but a recent study found it may also contain chemicals that cause cancer…

It’s no secret that fast food isn’t good for you. However, we usually think of fat, sugar, and calories as being the main problems with fast food – not harmful chemicals.

However, a recent study found high levels of cancer-causing chemicals in many fast food products.

Most likely, researchers said, the presence of these chemicals is due to the processing methods, and not the foods themselves. Nonetheless, this study underscores the importance of avoiding processed foods as much as possible.

Instead, choose whole, natural foods, and prepare them yourself (check this blog every Friday for a healthy, tasty, simple recipe to try)! Not only will you maintain a healthier weight, but you will also lower your risk of many diseases, including cancer.

Here is more information on the recent study from George Washington University:

The team found that people who eat fast food tend to have significantly higher levels of certain phthalates, which are commonly used in products like soap and makeup to make them less brittle, but have been linked to a number of adverse health outcomes, including higher rates of infertility, especially among males.

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To gauge how fast food affects the presence of certain nonnatural chemicals, the team analyzed federal nutrition surveys for nearly 9,000 people. The surveys included detailed information about the participants’ diets, including what each had eaten in the last 24 hours. They also contained the results of urine samples taken at the same time, which allowed them to measure the levels of three chemicals.

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…Researchers found…that those participants who said they had eaten fast food in the last 24 hours tended to have much higher levels of two separate phthalates — DEHP and DiNP….

There is little consensus on the harms of phthalates, which are widely used in commerce, and give materials like food packaging added flexibility, except for that exposure to them is widespread. But there is a growing concern that the chemicals could pose a variety of risks, particularly in the sort of levels seen in the study.

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A 2012 study found a strong association between the presence of DEHP and diabetes. A 2013 study found that exposure to the industrial chemical can increase the risk of various allergic diseases in children. And a 2016 study concluded that it can affect child behavior.

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Many governments limit exposure to the industrial chemicals. Japan disallowed the use of vinyl gloves in food preparation… The U.S. restricted its use in toys. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services warns that DEHP is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.”

The reason people who eat fast food have much higher levels of potentially harmful industrial chemicals is unclear. But it’s likely because of the sheer amount of processing that goes into such food.

The more plastic, conveyor belts, and processing equipment that food touches, the more likely it is to contain higher levels of phthalates.

Learn more about the study at StarTribune.com

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