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What’s In What You Eat?

April 23rd, 2015

Nutritional content is just the beginning when it comes to healthy eating.

When it comes to “eating right,” it turns out there’s more to worry about than just balancing your intake of fats, carbs, protein, and other vital nutrients. You also need to be aware of what synthetic chemicals may be present in various food choices.

Here’s a scary thought: For many of the chemicals found in conventionally produced food, the safety studies were done or supported by the companies that use them, not independent researchers.

Here’s another concern: Even in cases where reliable research has indicated a given chemical is safe in small amounts, little is known about the long-term effect of exposure or about the risks that may result from exposure to multitudes of these chemicals in combination in our diet.

Let’s take a look at the common types of chemicals that you may be eating without even realizing it.


The EPA sets limits for how much pesticide residue is permitted to remain on food, but with little testing or enforcement it is difficult to say whether every fruit and veggie you see in the supermarket is really safe. Besides taking care to wash all produce thoroughly to protect yourself against toxic pesticide residues, you may want to go organic for the following foods that are most likely to have high pesticide contamination:

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Imported grapes
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes


Synthetic hormones, including estrogen and testosterone, have been used for decades to help livestock gain weight quickly and to help dairy cows produce more milk. Looking back at history is not a confidence-builder in this area. In the 1950s and 60s, an estrogen compound called diethylstilbestrol (DES) was commonly given to beef cattle. In the 1970s, it was phased out due to concerns about the link between DES and increased risk of vaginal cancer.

Today rBGH or recombinant bovine growth hormone is used instead. According to some studies, the increased testosterone and estrogen found in cows treated with rBGH can affect the people who eat their meat or drink their milk. Though the amounts of hormones transferred may be small, even a little bit of one of these vital hormones can disrupt normal body processes, potentially causing cancer or possibly contributing to early onset of puberty in children. Fortunately, rBGH has declined in popularity, but it is still technically considered safe in the US despite having been banned in the EU and several other countries.

Environmental Contaminants

Another very serious concern is that foods may contain contamination picked up from pollution of the environment. One common problem is PCBs, which are often found fish that have absorbed this pollutant from the waters they swim in. According to the EPA, exposure to PCBs has the potential to disrupt reproductive function, harm the thyroid and immune system, and increase cancer risks. Another pollutant commonly found in farmed fish, dibutyltin, interferes with the normal action of the hormone cortisol in the body, causing issues with inflammation and the immune response.

Get Expert Help from Renew Man™

For expert help navigating the hazards of conventionally produced foods, turn to the certified nutritionists at Renew Man™. And for help undoing the damage that chemicals and pollutants in the food chain and the environment can do to your hormones, turn to our experienced doctors for hormone replacement therapy.

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