Healthy Living: Local News
Bisphenol A (BPA) linked to Diabetes and Obesity
Story Updated: Apr 20, 2012
Most of us know that the food we eat directly affects our health --our energy, our digestion, our weight. But did you know that there are chemicals in food packaging that can caught you to gain weight? BPA or Bisphenol A, is a compound used in many plastic products, most notably food and beverage containers. Recent research has come out indicating that even minuscule amounts of BPA in our bodies can alter our hormones, tricking the pancreas into secreting more insulin than needed, and dropping our blood sugar down to lower than normal levels. Over time, the body stops responding to this flood of insulin, mimicking the insulin-resistance seen in Type II Diabetes. This same flood of insulin can also cause the body to absorb more fat than it needs, potentially leading to weight gain and obesity. You can find more information on the link between BPA, diabetes, and obesity here.
Many other negative associations between BPA and health have been noted. In 2008, the National Institute of Health also noted links between BPA and neurological issues in fetuses in babies. And, links have been made between BPA and breast cancer, among other malignancies.
Where can you find BPAs and how to find Alternatives
Food can linings: Most cans have an inner lining that contains BPA. Instead of canned vegetables, buy fresh or frozen. Eden sells beans in BPA free cans. Or make your beans from dried. Use canned tomatoes? Pomi brand comes in a BPA free box. Or better yet, grow your own or stock up on tomatoes in the summer when they are in season and cheap.
Baby bottles, sippy cups, pacifiers and breast pump parts: When registering or shopping for food and drink containers for babies or children, PLEASE look for the words 'BPA Free' on the label. Here is a great page with alternatives to BPA filled plastic products for children.
Cash register receipts: Yes, some receipts have BPA's on them! Wash your hands well after handling register receipts and try to avoid your children handling/playing with them.
Disposable water botles: Throwaway water bottles don't actually contain BPAs, but they may have 'estrogen like compounds that may have the same effects as BPA.' [link]
Instead of buying those disposable packs for 24 water single-use bottles, use a regular drinking glass at home. For on the go--buy a reusable water bottle, preferably stainless steel like Kleen Kanteen. If you do choose plastic, look for 'BPA free' on the label of some plastic bottles like Camel Bak.
Baby Formula: Choose powdered formula when possible, or liquid formula in glass or plastic containers. Avoid all liquid formula in metal cans. Source
And don't heat plastics! Applying heat causes BPAs and other chemicals to leach into your food, providing an unhealthy ingredient you hadn't asked for. Avoid microwaving plastics and washing plastics in the dishwasher to prevent the breakdown of BPA-containing products.