Did you know, more than 3,000 preservatives, flavorings, colors and other ingredients are added to food in the United States? Not to mention the extra additives leaching into foods from the packaging alone such as bisphenol-A (BPA), bisphenol-S (BPS, and phthalates!
Yet none of them are required to undergo testing for estrogenic activity, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Crazy right?!
A company can simply hire an industry insider to evaluate a chemical, and if it’s determined ‘safe’ according to federal safety standards, it can be deemed GRAS without any involvement from the FDA. No independent third party objective evaluation required.
Whilst further testing is required to assess safety of the individual chemicals in humans, it’s important to realise that it’s more about the chemical cocktail we’re ingesting on a daily basis, and how they could be adding to the total effect of hormone disruption in our bodies.
Many food additives have an estrogen-mimicking effect. These are known as xenoestrogens and have been linked to reproductive problems in animals and perhaps humans. 12 of the worst were listed recently by the Environmental Working Group.
"There is no end to the tricks that endocrine disruptors can play on our bodies: increasing production of certain hormones; decreasing production of others; imitating hormones; turning one hormone into another; interfering with hormone signaling; telling cells to die prematurely; competing with essential nutrients; binding to essential hormones; accumulating in organs that produce hormones."
We’ve outlined the top food-related hormone-disruptors to avoid below:
Such as DEHP interfere with the creation of the male sex hormone, testosterone, and exposure has been linked with birth defects of male genitals, and later in life, poor sperm quality, and infertility. They are of concern because they interfere with the synthesis of the male sex hormone, testosterone, and exposure has been associated with birth defects of male genitals and later in life, poor sperm quality and infertility.
Reduce your food-related exposure by:
a.Limiting dairy, meats, and cheeses, and non-organic produce.
2. Propyl paraben
Is a preservative and known endocrine disruptor that is used in processed foods such as Sara Lee Cinnamon Rolls, Weight Watchers cakes, tortillas, muffins, food dyes and more. The European Union (EU) removed propyl paraben from its list of safe food additives in 2006, due to its potential health hazards. Yet tests show more than 91 percent of Americans have propyl paraben in their urine, and around half the tested samples of beverages, dairy products, meat and vegetables sold in the US contained the chemical. Propyl paraben acts as a weak synthetic estrogen altering the expression of genes, including those in breast cancer cells and has been linked to impaired fertility in women by scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Reduce your exposure by:
a.Limiting processed, packaged foods.
3. Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
An additive that the International Cancer Agency categorizes as a possible human carcinogen and the European Union classifies as an endocrine disruptor. At higher doses, it can lower testosterone and the thyroid hormone thyroxine and adversely affect sperm quality and the sex organs of rats. A wide variety of foods contain BHA, including chips and preserved meats as it is added to fats and to foods that contain fats and is allowed as a preservative in flavoring.
Reduce your food-related exposure by:
a.Limiting processed, packaged foods, especially those high in fat.
While we can’t avoid absolutely all additives and hormone disruptors, we can take steps to reduce our daily exposure. It all starts with awareness!
How do you take care of your hormones?