Thursday, July 16, 2015

Don't Microwave Those Leftovers; It Could Lead to Diabetes

We’ve all done it; saved those leftovers from the other night for lunch at work the next day, packaged nicely in that compact Tupperware container. But often, we barely even register what heating Tupperware in microwave could be doing to our bodies. We're just looking for a quick fix.

Well, that quick fix could lead to a slew of health problems, according to a new study. Nuking your food in a plastic container unleashes a slew of toxic chemicals into the food, some of which cause insulin resistance and high blood pressure, two factors in diabetes. Even when unheated, the chemicals enter the body at small doses, Dr. Leonardo Transande, a professor at NYU Langone Medical Center, told the NY Daily News. “Heating enhances contamination.”

Along with his team, Transande studied two phthalates — compounds found in plastic — that have been used in plastic over the past 10 years after a previously used compound was found to be dangerous. It seems that everything comes full circle.

"We examined DINP and DIDP levels in urine samples from children and adolescents (6 to 19 years old), who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2009 and 2012, to assess if these levels were associated with blood pressure measurements," Transande said in an interview with

The study took into account diet, gender, race, age, income, and other factors that contribute to high blood pressure. “A significant association was found between high blood pressure and DINP/DIDP levels in study participants. This is not a cause-and-effect relationship but it suggests that phthalates may contribute to increased blood pressure," the researchers added.

Avoid labeled 3, 6 and 7
Transande went on to lay out a number of different ways you and your children can avoid high DINP and DIDP levels:

Avoid using plastic containers or plastic wraps when microwaving food
Avoid washing plastic containers in dishwashers as plasticizers could leak
Avoid plastic containers labeled 3, 6, and 7. These numbers usually appear inside the recycle symbol

In other bad news for phthalates, a study conducted at Columbia University last year found that prenatal exposure to the compounds may cause the babies to develop with a lower IQ.

Perhaps you should think twice about bringing those leftovers to work in a plastic container, and automatically popping them into the microwave. Instead, use paper plates, bowls, or other forms of dishware to heat up that day-old Chinese.

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