Keep­ing a lid on BPAs

Choose glass food con­tain­ers and keep plas­tic wa­ter bot­tles out of the sun

The Hamilton Spectator - - HEALTH - BAR­BARA QUINN

BPA, UV, poly­car­bon­ate. Yikes. Do we need a chem­istry de­gree to fig­ure out what to eat and drink? Per­haps we do. Af­ter all, the science of nu­tri­tion is about the chem­istry of food in our bod­ies ... and how those chem­i­cal re­ac­tions af­fect our health.

Here’s one ex­am­ple to pay at­ten­tion to as we guz­zle bot­tled wa­ter on these hot sum­mer days. Bisphe­nol A (BPA) is a chem­i­cal used to make some plas­tic food and bev­er­age con­tain­ers. BPA from these con­tain­ers can mi­grate into the food they em­brace — es­pe­cially if the food or bev­er­age is hot.

Stud­ies on an­i­mals ex­posed to BPA have found that, in high doses, it can af­fect the func­tion of cer­tain hor­mones in the body, in­clud­ing those that af­fect re­pro­duc­tion.

At low levels of ex­po­sure, how­ever, BPA is safe, ac­cord­ing to an on­go­ing review of sci­en­tific ev­i­dence by the USDA Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion (FDA). So how do we keep our ex­po­sure to BPA at a min­i­mum?

Avoid BPA-con­tain­ing plas­tics. On the bot­tom of plas­tic food and bev­er­age con­tain­ers, you’ll find a resin code en­cased in a tri­an­gle. A resin code 7 in­di­cates that the con­tainer may be made of a BPA-con­tain­ing plas­tic, says the FDA.

Keep it cool. Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Health (NIH) Tox­i­col­ogy Pro­gram, the de­gree to which BPA leaches into food de­pends a lot on the tem­per­a­ture of the food or the con­tainer. Never mi­crowave foods in plas­tic con­tain­ers, in­clud­ing mar­garine tubs and restau­rant carry-out con­tain­ers, ad­vises reg­is­tered di­eti­tian Jackie New­gent, spokesper­son for the Academy of Nu­tri­tion and Di­etet­ics (AND). And don’t reuse plas­tic con­tain­ers from mi­crowave­able meals. “They are safely de­signed for one­time-use only,” says New­gent.

Use glass con­tain­ers more of­ten. They are safer bets to store and re­heat hot foods.

Keep bot­tled wa­ter out of the sun. Ul­travi­o­let (UV) rays can in­crease the amount of un­de­sir­able com­pounds, in­clud­ing BPA, that leach into bot­tled wa­ter, say food chemists.

And here’s an in­ter­est­ing side note: Stud­ies on an­i­mals sug­gest that high amounts of BPA may harm the abil­ity to re­pro­duce. In hu­mans, one re­cent study on women un­der­go­ing fer­til­ity treat­ments found that soy foods may play a role in pro­tect­ing against the negative ef­fects of BPA. In this study (March 2016 Jour­nal of Clin­i­cal En­docrinol­ogy and Me­tab­o­lism), women whose di­ets in­cluded soy foods had bet­ter birth rates — even with in­creas­ing levels of BPA in their blood — than women who did not eat soy prod­ucts. More re­search is needed, of course.

“Ad­di­tional re­search is un­der­way to en­hance our un­der­stand­ing of BPA,” says the FDA. “We re­as­sure con­sumers that cur­rent ap­proved uses of BPA in food con­tain­ers and pack­ag­ing are safe.”

Bar­bara Quinn is a reg­is­tered di­eti­tian and cer­ti­fied di­a­betes ed­u­ca­tor. Mon­terey County Herald

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.