While fast food is easy, the chemicals in fast food might add some worry to that ease after a new study suggests that fast food leaves behind chemicals that could be harmful in your system. The study might have you looking at fast food in a different way now that it is known it comes with these added chemicals that could pose health risks.
A significantly large study was done, one that was big enough to reasonably reflect the U.S. population. Researchers took urine samples of 8,877 people to be analyzed for chemicals, reports Fox News on April 13.
Those who had consumed fast food within the last 24 hours showed higher levels of phthalates than those who didn’t eat fast food. The phthalates the researchers looked for are potentially harmful to human health.
The subjects in this research were from all different age groups starting at 6-years-old and up. About one third of the group indicated that they had consumed fast food within the last 24 hours. In that one third, the chemicals researchers were looking for were detected in a much higher level than those who didn’t eat fast food.
The study defined fast food as “processed or packaged food, carryout or delivery food, and food obtained from restaurants without waiter service,” according to Fox News. The urine samples were used to test for two specific phthalates, “DEHP and DiNP.”
Chemicals found in urine through these tests reflect what the subjects had consumed in the last 24 hours. The subjects were asked to specify what they had eaten in that short time period. The tests showed 23.8 percent higher levels of DEHP and nearly 40 percent higher levels of DiNP metabolites reflected in the urine tests of the people who reported the highest consumption of fast food.
According to News Max today, “Researchers believe that these chemicals may be leeching into food from machinery used for processing, packaging, or from gloves worn by workers.” Researchers have concerns about pregnant women and children ingesting these chemicals via fast food.
The effects of these chemicals on humans is not fully known, but the research noted that they “may adversely impact human health.” Concerns of ingesting these chemical are especially worrisome for pregnant women and children.
The lead author of this study was Ami Zota, ScD, MS. He is an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health at George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. He reports on this study:
“Not only are our results highly statistically significant, you also want to look at whether the effects are meaningful,” Zota said. “In our case, we saw a 20 to 40 percent difference between those who didn’t eat fast food and the high consumers, which we also found was striking. This is after accounting for differences in age, sex, ethnicity, household income and BMI.”
The findings from this study were published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives on Wednesday.