Talk about comfort food and the sinful Mac and Cheese comes to mind. Easy to make and delicious till the last bite, it has been a favourite dish across the globe. There are even readymade Mac and Cheese packs available in the stores to make life easier. But along with your spoonful of macaroni, have you been also taking in a sprinkling of chemicals? In a recent study, experts at the University of Adelaide and the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute joined hands to examine over 1000 male participants who were consuming such cheese products as part of their diet. Traces of phthalates, a harmful chemical commonly used in plastic products, adhesives, soaps, etc, were found in close to 99.6% of the participants.
The prevalence of lifestyle and metabolic ailments like type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure was found to have increased in participants with high phthalate levels. The presence of such chemicals in the body was attributed to consuming food items packed in plastic.
As per a recent study conducted by the Coalition for Safer Food Processing & Packaging, 29 out of 30 cheese products were found to have traces of phthalates with natural cheese products recording the least and processed cheese items containing highest amount of phthalates. “Phthalates can migrate into food products during processing, packaging, and preparation. Phthalates tend to be found at higher levels in highly processed or fatty foods.” noted the report as stated on Kleanupkraft’s webpage.
Though the group of chemicals is never intentionally added to food products, they travel easily from food containers or bottles to the actual food items. These are easily absorbed by body cells and get absorbed into the system.
Phthalates are also capable of disrupting the hormonal balance and cause fertility issues in both men and women. Cheese products were tested for phthalate content as dairy products have been tied to being one of the greatest sources of direct exposure to phthalates (DEHP) in young children and women. The report called for further research to measure phthalate content in various food items and formulation of relevant policies to regulate and monitor the same in food products.