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Toxins in Your Food?

By Sara Butler

The word “toxic” gets thrown around a lot, almost to the point you have to wonder if something toxic is as bad for you as it’s supposed to be. A lot of claims about toxic food ingredients can’t be backed by science, but there are some ingredients you can find in a lot of food that, when consumed in large amounts, can actually be a threat to your health. Here are a few ingredients you should be on the lookout for in your food because too much may just be harmful to you.

Refined Vegetable Oil

Oils such as corn, safflower, sunflower, cottonseed and soybean oil are highly refined and lack any essential nutrients. There’s evidence to suggest that when excessively consumed it can increase inflammation in your body and that can damage the lining of your blood vessels leading to a higher risk of heart disease.

These oils also can release harmful compounds when heated, so cooking with them can increase your risk of inflammatory diseases, cancer and heart disease.


Also known as BPA, this chemical is present in plastic containers that house your food and beverages. Canned and packaged foods and bottled water seem to be the most common sources of BPA you can find in the food supply. The BPA contained in the containers these foods come in may leach out into the food you’re eating or beverage you’re drinking.

The problem with BPA is it can mimic estrogen in the body and disrupt normal hormonal functions. This can lead to increased risks of some types of cancer as well as reproductive issues in women.

Avoid exposure to BPA by looking for containers specifically labeled as BPA-free and also increasing your intake of unprocessed, whole foods.

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH)

People love red meat, and it’s a great source of important nutrients and protein in a balanced diet. The problem is when red meat is cooked a certain way it can release a byproduct toxic to you called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAH.

When you smoke or grill meat at higher temperatures, the fat that drips down onto the hot cooking surface creates PAH, which then seeps back into the meat. PAH has been found to be toxic and may even put you at a higher risk of certain cancers, such as prostate or breast cancer. Other factors, such as genetics, play a big part in cancer development too – but be aware that consuming too much red meat that has been grilled or smoked can be a health hazard. It’s all about balance!

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