Sunday, November 1, 2009

Dangerous Chemicals in Fast Food

There is no question we are suffering an obesity epidemic in the United States.  Nearly two out of three people are overweight and one out of three adults are obese.  I have no doubt that the main reason there is so much obesity in the U.S. is due, in large part, to lifestyle choices. In particular,  Americans eat too much fast food. 

Fast food products contain too many bad fats and a large amount of refined salt.  These items supply little or no good nutrition in our bodies.  I believe the body’s reaction to all this bad food that we are eating is to become heavier.  Today, many people are actually malnourished from all this poor quality food. 

I believe the obesity epidemic can be explained by the body trying to compensate for this malnourished state it is in.  In other words, becoming obese is a defense mechanism for the stress the body is in due to eating a poor diet.    

When I say malnutrition, what I am referring to is the food many of us are eating is not supplying the crucial nutrients our body needs to function.  Malnutrition can either be caused by a lack of food or by eating poor quality food. 

What is an example of poor quality food?  Unfortunately we have much to talk about here.  Let me tell you about a recent study from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (Autumn 20009.  VOl. XVIII, No. 4).  The researchers went to six Kentucky Fried Chicken stores and obtained two samples of grilled chicken from each store.  KFC was advertising their grilled chicken as “the better-for-you chicken for health-conscious consumers.”[i]  Tests sent to an independent laboratory found that every piece of grilled chicken contained PhIP which is a chemical that has been shown to increase cancer risk. 

Presently there are no safe levels of PhIP consumption.  Grilled chicken is the largest source of PhIP.  PhIP’s can be found on all meats that are grilled.  Pan frying and barbecuing can also cause PhIP’s to form on meat products.  They are produced by long cooking times and high temperatures. 

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is suing KFC for not informing consumers of PhIP contamination in their products.  KFC is not the only restaurant with this problem. PCRM also filed suit against McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A, Chili’s, T.G.I.Fridays, Outback Steakhouse, Burger King, and Applebee’s for knowingly exposing consumers to PhIP without warning them of the risk.  Only Burger King has posted warnings to its customers that its grilled chicken products contain PhIP.  The other restaurants are fighting the lawsuit. 

We have a right to know what is in our food.  If there are toxic chemicals, we should be informed. Then we can decide if we want to ingest the product.  Most importantly, don’t feed any of these toxic chemicals to our children.  They deserve better.   Fast food products should be minimized, or better yet, eliminated from their diet.
What can we do?  Become informed.  Educate yourself about good food choices.  Avoid food that  has been grilled at high temperatures and for long periods of time.  Remember, if you eat poorly, expect to feel poorly.  More information on a healthy diet can be found in my book, The Guide to Healthy Eating. 

[i] Good Medicine.   Autumn 20009.  VOl. XVIII, No. 4


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