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.
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.
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.
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?
BPA-containing plastics. On the bottom of plastic food and
beverage containers, you’ll find a resin code encased in a
triangle. (See picture). A resin code 7 indicates that the
container may be made of a BPA-containing plastic, says the
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 carryout containers, advises
registered dietitian Jackie Newgent, spokesperson for the
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). And don’t reuse
plastic containers from microwavable meals. "They are
safely designed for one-time-use only," says Newgent.
glass containers more often. They are safer bets to store and
reheat hot foods.
bottled water out of the sun. Ultra-violet (UV) rays can
increase the amount of undesirable compounds, including BPA,
that leach into bottled water, say food chemists.
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.
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