Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Live outside the box


Dietician Waewta Ekchaona said shopping for food on an empty stomach is one of the most significant threats to health as it can cause adverse health-related impacts.
"When hungry, the blood sugar level becomes extremely low," said Waewta. "So you will end up wanting to eat anything in front of you _ regardless of its cooking process or the food container in which it is served."
According to the nutritionist, food containers play a crucial part in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. These days, unfortunately, a fair number of consumers pay very little attention to food containers when they opt for a quick meal.
Polystyrene foam and plastic food containers are among the most popular choices used by food vendors and restaurants. While foam was introduced to Thailand less than 40 years ago, the urban population has become quickly familiar with it, thanks to tight schedules and the hustle of city life that forces them to depend largely on "to-go" or ready-to-eat meals served in such containers.
Polystyrene foam creates more serious health effects than plastic, added Waewta. Even though there is no scientific research examining the health impacts on humans, a number of laboratory tests have proved that chemicals in the foam can potentially bring about unwanted health issues in animals.
"When exposed to prolonged heat, polystyrene foam releases two chemical substances: Styrene and benzene. Styrene damages the body's nervous system, while benzene is harmful to gastroenterological system," explained Waewta, also a columnist and guest lecturer at the Department of Home Economics, Kasetsart University's Faculty of Agriculture.
"Simply speaking, polystyrene foam is a mix of chemicals. And when chemicals enter the body, they become toxic," she added.
Benzene from polystyrene foam is likely to cause stomachaches, nausea and vomiting, while styrene will accumulate in the spinal cord, bones and brain, which can bring about leukaemia, as well as other diseases associating with immune deficiency.
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