BPA levels

  1. Canned soups cause dramatic BPA surge

    Soup is good food? Not if it comes from a can!

    I'm sure you already know all about the preservatives, artificial flavors, and just plain low-quality ingredients that fill each can of soup. But believe it or not, that's not even the worst of it.

    Soup cans -- as well as the cans of other foods -- are lined with an estrogen-like chemical called bisphenol A (BPA) to help prevent rust and keep your canned goods from having too much of that metallic taste.

    But this chemical doesn't just sit there in the can lining -- it breaks free and leeches out into the soup. And that means you're getting a secret burst of hormones with every spoonful.

    Now there's something you don't see advertised on the label.

    The latest research finds that all it takes is a can a day for five straight days to give yourself a dramatic surge in BPA levels. So if you're the type who likes to nuke some soup for lunch, you might want to pick a new habit.

    Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health divided 75 volunteers into two groups: One ate a 12-ounce serving of vegetarian canned soup every day for five days... while the others ate freshly made vegetable soup.

    After a two-day "washout" period, the two groups switched places.

    In both cases, urine tests found an average increase in BPA levels of 1,221 percent after five days of canned soup. The researchers say they suspect those levels might be temporary -- but temporary or not, do you really want all those extra hormones surging through your body?

    Of course you don't -- because despite chemical industry claims to the contrary, BPA is unsafe for human consumption.

    It's already been linked to diabetes, heart disease and sexual dysfunction in adults -- while in kids, it's been linked to early puberty and behavioral problems. And that's only what we know so far. It seems like every few weeks, another study finds yet another way this chemical can wreck your body.

    None of this should scare you away from soups and stews, which are perfect winter meals. Just learn to make them yourself -- you might be surprised at how easy it is.

    One recent study found that making the switch to freshly made foods -- and ditching anything stored in BPA-lined cans and containers -- slashed BPA levels by 60 percent in just three days.

    Find out how to get started here.

  2. Slash your BPA levels in just 3 days

    The bad news is that BPA is everywhere - and if you eat and drink from plastic containers, this hormone-like chemical is building up inside you right now.

    The good news is that you can slash your levels in just three days - and all you need to do is swap packaged foods for the fresh stuff you should be eating anyway.

    Three days - so what are you waiting for?

    Researchers recruited five families - two parents and two small kids in each - from the San Francisco Bay area and collected urine samples over eight days: two days while on their normal diets, three days while eating fresh organic meals and snacks stored in glass and stainless steel, and three days back on their normal diets.

    What they found was stunning.

    After three days of eating fresh foods, BPA levels fell by an average of 60 percent. The researchers also found that levels of DHEP - a phthalate used in plastics that's another known endocrine disruptor - fell by 50 percent.

    But those low levels didn't last: Researchers say that when the families went back to their normal diets, those levels shot right back up.

    Lesson: Make the change - just make sure it's permanent.

    Naturally, the chemicals industry claims this study is proof that BPA leaves the body quickly, and is therefore harmless.

    Wrong on both counts.

    In three days, the families who ate the fresh food lost 60 percent of their BPA - a great start, but since 40 percent of the BPA was still present, it's not quite proof that all of it will simply melt right out of the body.

    And even if it did, it doesn't mean this stuff is harmless.

    Studies have linked BPA exposure to diabetes, heart disease, early puberty and sexual problems. One study last year found that men with high levels of it had a range of sperm-related issues including low counts, concentration, vitality and motility. (Read more here.)

    The best way to avoid BPA and the other chemicals hidden in plastics is to avoid anything served or stored in those plastics in the first place... along with metal cans, which are lined with BPA.

    And never, ever microwave your food in plastic.

    That means eating fresh meat and produce - but the benefits go far beyond lower levels of BPA: Real food can help you to lose weight and lower your risk for any number of diseases and conditions.

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