Food as the enemy

My relationship with food is becoming very complicated. There’s a very limited overlap between the gall bladder diet and the diverticulitis diet (you can’t eat any fiber during a flareup). Now, after a week eating canned soup, I read this:

Is it safe to eat canned foods?

That’s a question worth asking after a new study found a huge spike in urinary levels of the chemical bisphenol A – commonly known as BPA – in a group of volunteers who ate canned vegetable soup for several days. BPA, which has been linked to a variety of health disorders, is used in the lining of many food and beverage cans.

The results suggest BPA is being absorbed by the canned food and then ingested by consumers.

“We were very surprised by the numbers,” said the senior author of the study, Karin Michels of Harvard Medical School in Boston. “It makes you feel a little uneasy about cans.”

The experiment involved 75 participants. Half of them were asked to eat a 12-ounce bowl of canned vegetable soup at lunch for five consecutive days. After a two-day break, they consumed the same-sized serving of fresh vegetable soup for five lunches in a row. The other volunteers did the experiment in the reverse order – starting with five days of fresh soup, followed by five lunches of canned soup.

Urine samples were collected on several occasions, usually a few hours after the noon-time meal.

The analysis revealed that when participants ate the canned soup they experienced more than a 1,000 per cent increase in their urinary concentrations of BPA, compared to when they dined on fresh soup.

Oh, and Americans had twice as much BPA in their systems as Canadians.

8 thoughts on “Food as the enemy

  1. My family practitioner had something in the examination room about the BPA problem. As expected, he says every visit to remember to shop the perimeter areas of the grocery store. Food that is packaged in the “self boxes” are generally BPA free. As far as making soup, one can buy low sodium broths and bases in these boxes to prepare soups and use fresh produce. Canned soup is loaded with sodium, a double whammy for our bodies. But, I do have to admit a guilty pleasure: Tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich on blustery days! Get well, soon! 🙂

  2. Its in the phenolic coating they put on the inside of the cans that makes it that brownish color, I guess for anti-corrosion. The environmental medicine “chemical sensitivity” people have been on this for a long time.

  3. Susie–

    I suggest that you make large pots of soup at home, and then either freeze it, or jar it up yourself, and pressure can it for future meals. The store-bought stuff is terrible, and bad for you– even without the BPA.


  4. So does the BPA spike in the urine mean that the chemical is passing through rather than being absorbed? (Not that that’s a good thing, either…)

  5. Are the BPA-lined cans the ones that have the whitish lining inside? Or is BPA not visible? I eat a lot of canned beans, because it is so much easier than cooking up pots of them (especially garbanzos which never seem to get tender). But I’ve been trying to buy the brands that look like just plain metal cans inside. Am I fooling myself?

  6. Check into Garden of Eden/ Amy’s Kitchen brand – they might be BPA-free. If you shop at a food co-op, you might be able to get soup mix in bulk for cheap and without the crap additives.

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