Family Health

Phthalates in Fast Food: A Serious Concern

Written by andy

One more reason to avoid fast food!

There’s something utterly wonderful about fast food. Perhaps it’s the fact that it’s so convenient, or it’s so delicious! We all know how addicting those Big Macs, Bacon Belly Busters, or Double-Double Animal Style burgers can be. Fast food has grown to become incredibly popular for a very good reason: it’s made with our enjoyment in mind rather than our good health. Sadly, despite its delicious flavors, it’s a food best avoided due to the simple fact that it’s devoid of nutrients and high in calories–a recipe that guarantees obesity.

A new study in Environmental Health Perspectives serves as a very clear reminder of just how dangerous fast food can be!

Phthalates in Fast Food

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention examined data collection from surveys of nearly 8,900 adults and children, all from 2003 to 2010. Of the people studied, roughly 33% of them reported eating fast food within the last 24 hours. The people who consumed a lot of fast food (more than 35% of their daily calories came from fast food) had higher levels of phthalates in their urine. They had between 23 and 40% higher levels of phthalates than those who hadn’t eaten fast food within the 24 hours prior to being surveyed. Even those who ate less fast food still had plenty of phthalates in their blood–between 15 and 29%.

Thankfully, the phthalates found in these participants’ urine was NOT BPA. Bisphenol-A is one of the most dangerous of the phthalates, and has been linked to a number of health problems. It is often found in plastic containers and packages, but thankfully it was not present in fast food.

READ MORE: 9 Dangerous Chemicals in Your Kitchen

However, the phthalates in fast food weren’t completely safe for human consumption. Known as DiNP and DEHP, these phthalates have been linked to brain developmental problems, respiratory health issues, and other health problems. They are not as worrisome as BPA, but why take the risk?

The Takeaway: Cut Fast Food!

This really should go without saying, but we’re saying it anyway: cut fast food from your diet!

Fast food is delicious, absolutely, but it’s almost entirely devoid of nutrients. All of the ingredients have been highly processed and treated, and it is manufactured for flavor rather than nutrition. Eating fast food will provide almost nothing in the way of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and healthy fats. You’re basically just ingesting sugar, refined flour, saturated fats, trans fats, and chemical additives. For those who want to be healthy, these are all big no-no’s!

Fast food is more than just lacking in nutrition–it’s also highly addictive. The substances used to flavor your fast food (such as MSG) are subtly addictive, and they will hook you slowly. The more you eat fast food, the more you crave those flavors–which, in truth, are really just chemicals that are sending signals to your brain and telling it that you’re enjoying the food. That’s what you come to crave, not the food itself.

If you are trying to be healthy, it’s time to cut fast food from your diet! That extends far beyond just McDonalds and Burger King, but includes fast food pizza, hamburgers, tacos, hot wings, chicken, and pretty much anything that is whipped up in a hurry. Unless you are 100% certain that everything is prepared from fresh, raw ingredients AFTER you order it, it’s better to stay away from anything that could possibly be “fast food”. Given time, your body will stop craving the junk food, and you’ll be much healthier as a result!


About the author


Some people get lucky and are born with fit, toned bodies. Andy Peloquin is not one of those people... Fitness has come hard for him, and he's had to work for it. His trials have led him to becoming a martial artist, an NFPT-certified fitness trainer, and a man passionate about exercise, diet and healthy living. He loves to exercise--he does so six days a week--and loves to share his passion for fitness and health with others.

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