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Read This Before You Open Another Can of BPA Free Coconut Milk

If you frequent this blog you already know coconut is one of my top favorites of like any favorite of all time. 

Once upon a while back I was perusing the net for some show-stopping Paleo recipes when I happened upon a video of a Paleo food blogger making muffins…or perhaps it was rice…anyhow, when she got to adding in the coconut milk she used not one, but three cans of the stuff. I immediately thought, this is the recipe for me! 

And then I thought about the cans, oh my word the CANS! They were full of BPA, poor girl.

Why was I concerned for her?

BPA free canned coconut milk contains a nasty replacement to line the can. If you currently cook with it you won't want to pass this article up. #paleo #coconut #toxic

Coconut milk is so fatty and BPA loves fat. It releases extra BPA scaries into the milk, actually canned coconut milk tests in the highest of all canned foods on BPA levels. So, wow! This chick was making BPA coconut muffins (or rice), not something that would fare so well in the google search engines I imagine. She must have not known about the BPA free options out there

Which got me thinking…
What the hell is replacing the BPA? In the case of coconut milk, it’s not good, it’s not even lukewarm. 

The Low Down On BPA

BPA is toxic stuff…even some mainstream products label that they are without it. BPA is a copy cat, it acts like estrogen in our bodies and disturbs the delicate system of hormone checks and balances. There are mountains of research linking it to cancer, endocrine disruption, reproductive disorders, early puberty, asthma, developmental disorders, sperm disfunction, diabetes, obesity, and on and on (source, source, source). Basically, anyone and everyone should be avoiding the stuff…in no way does it benefit us…and there are always alternatives to it. 

Knowing what I said above many people make efforts to avoid BPA exposure. Ditching the plastic water bottle for a stainless steel, changing baby toys to wooden ones, using stainless steel or silicone kitchen utensils, and only buying canned food with labels that say BPA free. Brands like Eden Foods, Trader Joes, Muir Glen, and Natural Value all have many canned goods that are BPA free. But, again, what is replacing the BPA in the linings?

What are The Alternatives to BPA Linings?

Some of the replacement linings on non-coconut foods are non-toxic, like baked-on oleoresinous c-enamel or polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Eden Foods, uses the c-enamel type of lining with all their products. Which is a blend of oil (usually linseed and tung oils) mixed with zinc oxide paste (that is previously mixed with castor or linseed oil) and is nontoxic (source).

However, not all of the types of can linings that are BPA free are non-toxic. In fact when I contacted many companies regarding what their linings are made of, they said they would not divulge that information (trade secret), or that they would get back to me once they heard from their supplier…good thing I didn’t hold my breath. But most concerning was what I found they line coconut milk cans with. 

Native Forest and Natural Value are the only companies I am aware of that offer organic coconut milk. I contacted both via email and here's what I found. Natural Value said “That's a good question. We are working with each of our can suppliers to get that information and will post it on our web page as it becomes available.” Hmm, not good enough. Until they post what they use, to me it’s as bad as BPA…and this is only considering what I found out about what Native Forest uses. When I contacted Native Forest I got an answer but was shocked when I read the reply. 

Titanium Dioxide! 

One toxic substance is replacing the other…so wonderful right? 

I quickly emailed Native Forest back to ask if any testing had been done to quantify titanium levels in the food and to see if it was nano-sized titanium dioxide. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a response back…concerning to say the least. 

To me this is like a child that refuses to answer you because they know they're doing something wrong. 

Now, understand that there are no studies I could find about levels of titanium in foods contained in titanium dioxide liners. However, I am making the assumption that the titanium does indeed leach into the food. How could it not? The food is literally soaking in it. Afterall, this reason alone is why BPA alternative can liners are difficult to produce, the liners leach into the food, degrading, flavoring, or coloring the food. For me it is not worth the risk, and it shouldn't be to your either...here's why.

Titanium Dioxide Run Fast In The Opposite Direction

So, assuming titanium dioxide does get into the coconut milk, what is the risk to us?

High, especially for those with leaky gut and other GI disorders. (Aren't GI disorders why many people go Paleo anyways?)

Titanium dioxide in food HAS been well studied because it is a common additive. The research is saddening to say the least. 

  • Titanium Dioxide is linked to Crohn's Disease.
  • It has been shown to cause inflammation in the small intestine…hello leaky gut!. (source)
  • Titanium dioxide is classified as “possibly carcinogenic” to humans, (source).
  • Titanium Dioxide was approved for food use in 1969 based on weak evidence. Current research shows it accumulates in organs and cause physiological changes, (source).

So What Should We Do Instead? 

Make homemade coconut milk! It’s easy with only 10 minutes or so of hands on time. It does take a bit of preplanning, but definitely worth the effort. Click here for the recipe.

So, loves, are you going to stop using BPA free canned coconut? There is clearly no safe choice as an alternative liner. With the mounting evidence of health effects from titanium dioxide exposure how could you not? The titanium attacks the gut lining, which as we know, is the start of so many chronic illnesses and autoimmune disorders. Our we going to keep potentially sacrificing the health of our guts for some canned goods? I think not…especially when it is so easy to make at home. So get out those blenders and wiz your way into coconut land. 

References

  1. Lomer MCE, Thompson RPH, Powell JJ. Fine and ultrafine particles of the diet: influence on the mucosal immune response and association with Crohn's disease. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 2002;61(1):123–130. [PubMed]
  2. Manfo FP, Jubendradass R, Nantia EA, Moundipa PF, Mathur PP. Adverse effects of bisphenol A on male reproductive function. Rev Environ Contam Toxicol. 2014;228:57-82. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-01619-1_3. Review. PubMed PMID: 24162092.
  3. Rochester JR. Bisphenol A and human health: a review of the literature. Reprod Toxicol. 2013 Dec;42:132-55. doi: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2013.08.008. Epub 2013 Aug 30. Review. PubMed PMID: 23994667.
  4. Fenichel P, Chevalier N, Brucker-Davis F. Bisphenol A: an endocrine and metabolic disruptor. Ann Endocrinol (Paris). 2013 Jul;74(3):211-20. doi: 10.1016/j.ando.2013.04.002. Epub 2013 Jun 21. Review. PubMed PMID: 23796010.
  5. Jovanović B. Critical review of public health regulations of titanium dioxide, a human food additive. Integr Environ Assess Manag. 2015 Jan;11(1):10-20. doi: 10.1002/ieam.1571. Epub 2014 Oct 29. PubMed PMID: 25091211; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4309481.

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