How meal prepping can be dangerous
Meal prepping has become a growing phenomenon among health and fitness junkies.
Many food prep enthusiasts share photos and recipes on social media to inspire others to join in on the movement. As of July 26, “#mealprep” had more than 5.7 million posts on Instagram of photos of people’s colorful and organized weekly meals.
Although there are many benefits to meal prepping, including portion control and avoidance of fast food temptations, many people fail to consider the negative effect that chemicals from commonly used plastic containers can have on their weight and overall health.
Dr. Emelie Ilarde, a family medicine physician at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn Ill., advises, “A healthy diet does not just consist of making smart decisions about what foods you eat, but also what containers you store and heat your food in.”
Avoiding chemical exposure is extremely important when it comes to getting the healthiest results from your meal-prep diet. Many meal-preppers portion each meal ahead of time and store them in plastic containers that are made with the hazardous hormone-disrupting chemical, bisphenol A (BPA).
BPA is found in plastic products such as canned food linings and Tupperware containers. The largest harm from your food coming in contact with BPA happens when these plastic containers are heated up. Heating plastic containers by zapping them in the microwave or putting hot food into them can draw out the BPA, causing it to go directly into your food. Even containers labeled “BPA-free” are not very safe, because they replace the harmful chemical with bisephenol S and bisephenol F, which have similar hormone-disrupting effects.
BPA affects the body by confusing the endocrine system, which regulates hormones. Researchers have found various other health risks linked to BPA including diabetes, infertility and cardiovascular disease. Other effects of too much BPA exposure are directly opposed to weight loss and healthy eating objectives.
A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives showed that BPA is not simply excreted from your body, and it can disrupt your metabolism.
“Exposure to BPA can interfere with your weight-loss goals by making it harder for you to feel full,” Dr. Ilarde explains. “While meal prepping can help you control your portions, the BPA in plastic food containers may be causing you to eat larger portions than you intended. Instead of using plastic containers for your meal prep, opt for glass or stainless steel alternatives to avoid chemical exposure and stay on par with your health goals.”
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