Food Scrounge News

Click on the Food Scrounge News tab for the latest interesting, or strange food related stories.  It will be updated at least once per week.  I don’t write em, I just find em.

Canned Soup: More things to worry about

From, written by Alice Park (she has a Facebook page)

Study Finds Spikes in BPA From Eating Canned Soup

 Wednesday, November 23, 2011

David Stuart

We may not know all the ways in which the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) affects our health, but we can be assured that we’re exposed to it frequently — BPA is in many plastic products and lines nearly all food and beverage cans.

Exposure to BPA, an endocrine-disrupting compound that mimics the body’s hormones, has been linked to heart disease, diabetes and obesity, and to potential problems during development in fetuses and young children. In Canada and Europe, the chemical has been banned outright from baby bottles, and while many manufacturers have removed BPA from baby products in the U.S., it hasn’t been regulated yet by the government.

Researchers led by Jenny Carwile, a doctoral student in epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, sought to figure out just how much BPA you get from eating food from cans. Carwile and her colleagues recruited 75 fellow students and staff members to participate in the study. Half of the participants were asked eat one 12-oz. can of vegetarian soup each day for five days, while the other group ate soup made from fresh ingredients. Then, after a two-day interim of no canned soup, the two groups switched roles for another five days. This way, says Carwile, she could be sure that whatever else the participants were eating during the two-week study wouldn’t affect their BPA levels, since the only thing that changed was the source of their soup.

To measure levels of BPA, the researchers asked all the participants to give urine samples after each soup-eating period. Carwile found that in the fresh-soup group, average levels of urinary BPA were about 1.1 micrograms per liter, roughly equivalent to what’s seen in the average American adult. After five days of eating canned soup, however, those levels rose to 20.8 mcg per liter, a more than 1,000% increase.

The study — the first to measure how much BPA is absorbed by eating canned food — found some of the highest recorded levels of BPA in urine outside of manufacturing facilities where BPA is used. “We were surprised,” says Carwile. “Other studies have quantified the amount of BPA in canned food itself, so we were expecting a modest association. But this is really big.”

Although the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, looked only at canned soup, the results likely apply to other canned foods and beverages as well.

The researchers did not explore the health effects of the spike in BPA levels or how quickly those levels may return to normal. Other studies have noted that BPA levels do fluctuate depending on people’s exposure to the chemical, but it’s not clear yet whether repeated spikes of BPA concentrations are particularly harmful or not. “We see an increased amount of BPA in urine. We don’t know how long that lasts, and we don’t know the effect of a fluctuating BPA level on health outcomes. But the results definitely deserve further study,” says Carwile.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 93% of Americans have a detectable amount of BPA in their bodies. BPA comes not only from food and drink in cans, but also those packaged in polycarbonate plastic. The chemical is also found on thermal register receipts, which people receive at checkout at nearly every retailer.

The Food and Drug Administration says the small amount of BPA exposure we typically get doesn’t appear to be toxic, but notes that recent studies have led to “some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants and young children.” A growing number of studies also links BPA exposure to changes in liver and heart function, and to detrimental effects on insulin levels. In a study involving a U.S. government health database, for example, British researchers reported that people with the highest levels of BPA in their urine were twice as likely to have heart disease or diabetes as those with lower levels.

The FDA is currently conducting further studies on the effects of BPA exposure and supporting other research seeking alternative ways to manufacture food and beverage cans without BPA in the lining. In the meantime, the agency is continually urging manufacturers to stop using BPA in baby bottles and feeding cups.

Read more:

From MSN News: vitamins and debauchery. More things to worry about

Popping a multivitamin can lead to debauchery

Could taking one of these vitamins lead you down the path of bad behavior? Yes, say researchers.

By Linda Carroll

Taking supplements may lead to poorer health, not because of what they do to your body, but what they do to your mind.

When people take supplements they get a false sense of invulnerability, a new study shows. And that can translate into a greater tendency to head down the path of risky behavior.

The intriguing study published in Psychological Science, found that people didn’t even need to be given real supplements for this devil-may-care attitude to develop – they just needed to be told they were swallowing something healthful.

For their study, Taiwanese researchers gave placebo pills to 82 volunteers, half of whom were told the capsules contained vitamins. The rest were told the truth – that these were simply sugar pills.


The big surprise came when the researchers surveyed the two groups. Those taking phony supplements reported a greater sense of invulnerability and less of a desire to exercise. They also were more likely to consider engaging in casual sex, sunbathing and binge-drinking.

At the end of the study the two groups were told they could choose between a healthful meal and an all-you-can-eat buffet. Sure enough, more of those in the group who were told they’d taken a supplement said they’d prefer the buffet.

The findings come as no surprise to Leslie Bonci, director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

“You see this even in professional athletes,” Bonci said. “Sometimes they attribute to supplements superhuman properties that let them off the hook for healthy behaviors. They’ll say, ‘I’m taking this supplement so it doesn’t matter what I eat.’”

Bonci lays the blame on ads that show healthy fit people taking supplements. You don’t see this kind of advertising for all the foods that actually do lead to good health she said.

And those ads lead to unreasonable expectations, Bonci said.

“We this face challenge every day,” she added. “And it’s not just athletes. There are many patients who believe there is exercise in a bottle.”

People have just come to expect that pills can cure everything, said Dr. Andrew Leuchter, a professor of psychiatry and director of the Laboratory of Brain, Behavior and Pharmacology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“We live in a society that is very oriented towards taking medication,” Leuchter said. “People feel like they can take a pill and it will almost immunize them from any unhealthy lifestyle choices”

And then there’s the fact that human beings are very good at keeping two contradictory ideas in their heads at once. “It’s one of those quirks of human nature,” Leuchter said. “We do something we think will enhance our health but at the same time we’re happy to do something that may in the long term be detrimental.”

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