Most parents know that kids are picky eaters, so when you find something they like then it is best to stick with it. One of the foods widely loved by kids for years is that of Mac and Cheese. However, new information has come to light that macaroni and cheese may actually be doing more harm than good to your child’s health.
A recent study, posted in the New York Times, showed an alarming amount of “potentially harmful chemicals” had been detected when testing various samples of macaroni and cheese. The chemicals, known as phthalates, were present in twenty-nine of the thirty targeted cheese products, which included ten brands of macaroni and cheese that included powdered cheese.
This study has a lot of parents worried because as we all well know, kids absolutely love macaroni and cheese.
Phthalates are chemicals used to aid in the softening of plastic and vinyl. Although they are mainly geared to plastic and vinyl, they are in various other products as well including cosmetics, perfume, and detergents just to name a few. And they are in your kid’s macaroni and cheese as well.
Phthalates, if present in a high enough level in the system, function as endocrine disruptors. In other words, they majorly interfere with hormone production in the body. In males, the chemical can interfere with the bodies production of testosterone, and in females, the chemical has shown to lower thyroid function.
The study cited by the New York Times was from an advocacy group and has not been published in any known peer-reviewed journals. Should parents be freaked out by these findings? Probably not as of yet. At least not until more extensive credible research has been offered. A prudent course would be to wait and see, but for the time being maybe limit the amount of macaroni and cheese products your child ingests, as we still do not know the exact amount of phthalates it will actually take to see harmful effects.