Study Uncovers One More Reason Why Fast Food Can Make Osteoporosis And Osteopenia Worse - Save Our Bones

A proverb says, “Good things come in small packages,” but when the packaging itself is questionable, it makes what's inside even worse. This is true of fast food.

Savers know fast food is unhealthy and that it can worsen osteoporosis and osteopenia. Now a recently published environmental study has shown one more reason to avoid fast food: the fluoride-containing chemicals used in fast food packaging leach into the food, increasing your toxic load and further weakening your bones.

Toxic Forever Chemicals Found In Fast Food Packaging

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are persistent forever chemicals (meaning they accumulate in the body over time) that have been in commercial use worldwide since the 1940s. PFAs have found their way into a wide array of consumer products, from non-stick cookware and stain-resistant carpets to water-repellent clothing and cosmetics, to waxes, polishes, and other cleaning products. They're also found in municipal drinking water.1

While you may have given up non-stick cookware for healthier alternatives such as stainless steel, fluoride, a chemical that damages teeth and bones, and can lead to an underactive thyroid, is hiding in the fast food packaging.

Fluoride is a hidden component of PFAs: that's what the “fluoro-” in “polyfluoroalkyl substances” means.

Fluoride has been scientifically proven to increase hip fracture risk. Like other persistent chemicals, ingested fluoride accumulates in our bones, which can lead to mottling of the teeth and even skeletal fluorosis.

Hip fractures have increased significantly since water fluoridation began in the 1950s. Yet even with the weight of evidence suggesting fluoride added to tap water exacerbates the risk of hip fractures in elderly women and men, the CDC continues to tout water fluoridation as an achievement in reducing tooth decay.

And although PFAs have been extensively studied, their adverse health effects — including the health threat from fluoride — have been suppressed for decades.2

When you look at the myriad ways PFAs can cause harm, it's no surprise big business didn't want the word to get out. PFAs can:

  • disrupt hormonal function3
  • depress the immune system3
  • stunt children's growth and learning3
  • increase cholesterol levels3
  • reduce your chances of getting pregnant3
  • increase the risk of cancer3

PFAs are used in fast food wrappers because they're grease resistant, and as you know, fast food is very greasy.

So how has the bad news about fast food wrappers been kept under wraps for so long?

Corporations with a stake in the results stood to take a financial bath if researchers revealed the presence of PFAs. For example, a 1978 monkey study demonstrated immune system interference, and PFAs were found in umbilical cord blood back in 1981. But neither study was published or followed up.4 And absent scientific proof, the compounds were spread into the environment without further scrutiny.


Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are man-made, persistent chemicals that contain fluoride and are harmful to bones. They can cause damage throughout the body, from suppression of the immune system to learning disabilities to cancer. Companies that manufacture products containing PFAs have suppressed the research that proved its dangers for decades. As a result, PFA use increased, and can now be found even in fast food packaging.

Toxicity In Your Bones, Your Brain And Your Liver

In scientific studies, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), one of the most widely used perfluoroalkanes (PFAs), caused a range of toxic effects in lab rats, including liver and brain dysfunction, along with promoting cancer and the reproductive and developmental delays previously described.5

Considering that your bones and overall health are already at risk from the toxic ingredients in fast food, coupled with the known toxicity of its packaging, it is clearly a poor choice to include fast food in your diet. Yet sadly, the general population still appears to be unaware of the risks. In the first federal study to examine how often adults indulge in fast food, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveyed 10,000 adults over a four-year period. They found that one in three U.S. adults (about 85 million people) eat fast food every day.6

This is an alarming statistic. And, surprisingly, the CDC found those in higher income brackets ate more fast food than people who earned less — possibly because the first group has more discretionary income to spend on such items.


PFAs are toxic chemicals, potentially causing liver and brain damage, reproductive and learning problems, bone fractures, heart disease, and cancer. Yet a CDC study found 1 in 3 American adults eat fast food daily, and people in higher income brackets are more likely to indulge than those who earn less.

PFAs Also Pollute The Water

We touched on the fact that PFAs also contaminate our drinking water. How do they get there? Consumer products coated with fluorinated chemicals, inluding those fast food wrappers, accumulate in landfills and can migrate into groundwater. These persistent chemicals are even permitted in compostable packaging — which makes no sense since chemicals that never break down are the antithesis of compost.

Yet most people are unaware of the danger to our water supply. Once again, a study — funded by taxpayers — was kept secret. According to a new analysis conducted by the Environmental Working Group,

More than 1,500 drinking water systems across the country may be contaminated with the nonstick chemicals PFOA and PFOS, and similar fluorine-based chemicals.

Independent scientific assessments find that the safe level of exposure to PFAS chemicals is about 1 ppt — significantly below the reporting level set by the EPA.7

The EWG findings indicate that approximately 110 million people across the U.S. could have PFAs in their water at levels more than two and a half times the Environmental Protection Agency's safety limit.

While shocking, there is a course of action you can take: filter your drinking water. Drinking enough water is crucial in preventing osteoporosis — but not if the water you're drinking is toxic. We recommend investing in a good water purification system.


PFAs, which contain bone-damaging fluoride, find their way into our drinking water by leaching into landfills and migrating into groundwater. The Environmental Working Group found that more than 110 million people are drinking water containing more than two and a half times the safe limit. One solution is to get a water purification system at your home.

Cook Most Of Your Meals At Home

When it comes to osteoporosis and osteopenia, Savers know fast food is a bone of contention. Now that you know its packaging can compromise your health as much or more than the food itself, it's one more good reason to skip the fast food. Instead, make delicious pH-balanced bone-healthy meals at home.

Eat Your Way to Stronger Bones!

Discover over 200 mouth-watering bone healthy recipes for breakfast, smoothies, appetizers, soups, salads, vegetarian dishes, fish, and plenty of main courses and even desserts!

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1 Laurel A. Schaideret al., “Fluorinated Compounds in U.S. Fast Food Packaging”, Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett., 2017, 4 (3), pp 105–111
DOI: 10.1021/acs.estlett.6b00435. Web.

2 Philippe Grandjean, “Delayed discovery, dissemination, and decisions on intervention in environmental health: a case study on immunotoxicity of perfluorinated alkylate substances,” Environmental Health 201817:62. Web.

3 “Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) and Your Health”. Web:

4 “PFCS: Global contaminants: PFOA is a pervasive pollutant in human blood, as are other PFCS”, April 3, 2003. Web.

5 Mashayekhi V. et al., “Mechanistic approach for the toxic effects of perfluorooctanoic acid on isolated rat liver and brain mitochondria”. Hum Exp Toxicol. 2015 Oct;34(10):985-96. doi: 10.1177/0960327114565492. Epub 2015 Jan 13. Web:

6 Cheryl D. Fryar, M.S.P.H et. Al., “Fast Food Consumption Among Adults in the United States, 2013–2016”, NCHS Data Brief No. 322, October 2018. Web.

7 David Andrews, Senior Scientist, “Report: Up To 110 Million Americans Could Have PFAs-Contaminated Drinking Water”. Environmental Working Group May 22, 2018. Web.

8 WG's Updated Water Filter Buying Guide

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Ellen

    This is such an important subject to share with our loved ones and mine require documentation in respected medical and scientific journals before they’ll look at it. .Please include the reference to the recently published study you were referring to. I didn’t see any study in the last few years from the ones on this list. Thanks very much for that and all the important work you do!

    • Save Institute Customer Support

      Dear Ellen,

      We’re happy to help you with your request, so please check your email inbox within the next 24-48 hours.

      Yours in excellent health,
      Customer Support

  2. Brigitte Yusuff

    I believe in taking an organic plant based supplement has kept my bones and arteries in good shape and I would recommend AlgaeCal Plus . I am 89 years old and happily enjoy my water aerobics and ballet classes once a week. Many years ago when I broke my ankle after pulling hard on the garden hose and fell, bashing my ankle against the wall , the sugeon wanted me to take a drug , but I never did , just have become very careful handling the garden hose.😊

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Thanks for chiming in, Brigitte! Stay healthy and happy 🙂

  3. Abigail Taylor

    Vee, do you have a vegan recipe book? Thanks for keeping me informed.

    Hello all, A happy New Year, and may God continue to reach out to you with His best.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Bone Appetit contains several vegan recipes, but some have chicken, beef, fish, etc.. However, you can replace the animal protein ingredients with vegan alternatives. You can read more about it here:

      I hope this helps!

  4. Abigail Taylor

    Hi Vee, I wish you God’s best in the New Year and beyond. You and a wonderful, loving, kind and helpful to many, including myself. I know God will continue to bless your kind efforts, and good work. So many lives have been saved of unnecessary illness and disease. You mean a lot to me. I pray for you and all of our friends here in our group. Each person is a blessing to someone, as they share with questions, and kind comments. Love and hugs.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Thanks for your warm and kind words, Abigail!

  5. Debbie

    Can you recommend a couple of plant based calcium supplements. What do you think of Bone-Up for a supplement?


    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Debbie, Bone-Up contains calcium hydroxyapatite . While this form of calcium is more bioavailable than carbonate, it isn’t as easily absorbed as citrate or other forms of calcium, such as algae-derived.

      Stay healthy and strong!

  6. Ineke

    I have been a saveourbones follower for some years and although I am a bit spasmodic with the diet I don’t eat takeaway and am careful about packaging. I also filter flouride out of my drinking water. My bones are not perfect but they are stable, I am 72 so don’t expect the bones of a 25 year old now, I don’t take any supplements specifically for bones. I do a lot of research and recently read that taking calcium supplements is not necessarily a good thing, calcium lodges in your brain cells and in arteries where you don’t want it to be. Vivian, do you have any thoughts on that.

  7. barbara

    To make a long story short, in 2012, I became quite ill, meeting a lot of clueless doctors on my way. One day I stumbled on a website, and began to suspect I had a a parathyroid tumor and even though both my gp and endocrinologist said no, I sought out years of medical records and mailed them to Dr.Norman at Tampa General. Dr. Norman’s website is very clear in that you can take all the osteoporosis meds you want but the only cure is removal of the tumorous parathyroid. Turned out all 4 of my parathyroids were tumors. My surgical report read, we left the best one in. I kind of feel up the crick without a paddle. I stopped going to endocrinologists because all of them want me to take forteo or prolia and my question is, How many patients have you prescribed those drugs to that had 4 tumorous parathyroids? Their response is always it won’t have an effect on parathyroids. Why does the TV ad say beware this drug could drop your calcium level… I have been following your diet and taking TRUOSTEO for several years. Last month I fractured my L3 and had a kyphoplasty and have been bombarded with Why are you not treating your osteoporosis? I just can’t bring myself to agree to drugs when I know I have a serious problem that no one can possibly know how a tumorous parathyroid is going to react to it. The muscle spasms and nerve damage I suffered with this fracture really hurt and I feel generally beat up, but I am now improving everyday. I have been thinking about adding some calcium to truosteo and have been considering solaray because it is calcium citrate. I spotted a calcium hydroxyapatite microcrystalline that had some great reviews, said it was made from freeze dried shavings of bovine bone. Then I thought that has to be 100% acidic and wanted to ask you what you thought, they do have a plain solaray calcium. Thank you Barbara

    • claire

      I, also had a tumor on one of my parathyroid glands. I went to Dr. Norman in Tampa and had it removed. Very pleased that my bone density stabilized after that and even improved a little. Good luck, Barbara with your diet and supplements and remember that exercise is important too.

  8. Joanne

    My children & my husband plus 6 doctors are insisting that I go on bone meds because I have had 2 compression fractures in my spine. The last one resulted in having duty to insert a filler. Can you tell me which is the least harmful bone medication? I have Sjogrens Syndrome & I am 82 years old. I have your books & followed it for a long time but loaned it to a friend & have not gotten back on it. However I am a very healthy eater. Thank you for sending your advice. I can no longer cook for myself because of back pain.

    • Grace Regnier

      After reading Vivian’s saving your bones book, and joining Young living I took the food I was eating and changed what was needed.
      I also used YoungLiving supplements to replace what I could not eat. I’ve been over eight years now without taking any medication and my bones have stayed the same or improved I also had bad fractures I have a total thoracic rod but I have not taken any of the bone medications since the eight years
      Praying for you grace

      • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

        Thank you, Grace, for sharing that information and for reaching out to Joanne.

        Joanne, at the Save Institute, we don’t believe there is any safe osteoporosis drug, and no drug is safer than any other. Rather, we focus on drug-free solutions for reversing and preventing bone loss.

        Remember, you’re free to make your own decision regarding osteoporosis drugs (or any drug for that matter). Don’t let your doctors or anyone else pressure you into doing something you’re not comfortable with! And please feel free to search this site to find out more information on osteoporosis drugs and bone health in general.

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