September 6, 2013
Mom, You Shrunk My Penis!
Pregnant women eating chicken parts – specifically, chicken wings – could cause their male babies to have tiny penises.
No, really, that’s what PETA would like you to believe, anyway. You know PETA, right? The People Eating Tast…er.. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. CBS Philadelphia reports that in advance of the National Buffalo Wing Festival that happened in Buffalo, NY over Labor Day, PETA’s associate director Lindsay Rajit sent a letter to the festival founder Drew Cerza.
“The latest scientific evidence shows that the sons of pregnant women who consume chicken are more likely to have smaller penises because of a chemical found in the birds’ flesh. Findings published by the Study for Future Families showed that eating poultry during pregnancy may lead to smaller penis size in male infants. In addition, eating cholesterol-laden chicken flesh during pregnancy may also increase unborn babies’ risk of being born with blocked arteries, which can lead to strokes and heart attacks later in life.” the letter alleges.
Before you panic and swear off chicken forever to protect the swinging size of your unborn baby’s shlong, keep reading.
According to Women’s Health Magazine, the chemical in question is phthalate. Phthalates can cause the damage that PETA claim. If you are a woman in the top 25 percentile of phthalate levels, that is. The study PETA quoted didn’t actually look at chicken consumption at all. Instead, it focused on how prenatal phthalate exposure could affect male fetuses reproductively in a variety of ways, not just penis size.
Phthalates are everywhere in our world. You can ingest them from foods, from plastic containers, even from your personal care products like shampoos and conditioners. Chicken isn’t even very high on the list of foods that contain phthalates, according to Shanna H. Swan, Ph.D., a professor in the department of preventive medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Swan should know, she conducted the study PETA is misquoting. “I think any link between eating buffalo wings—even by pregnant women—and the size of their son’s genitals is very tenuous,” says Swan. In fact, a German study suggests spices are the biggest danger, and those are all plant based, right?
While PETA screwed the pooch quoting the Study for Future Families study, an Australian study published in Fetal and Neonatal Edition of Archives of Disease of Childhood does support the idea that phthalates cause clogged arteries in babies. Children born to overweight or obese women have artery walls that are approximately 0.06 millimeters thicker at birth than babies born to normal weight women. “This thickening is a measure of early atherosclerosis and is consistent with higher risk of heart attack and stroke in later life,” says Michael Skilton, PhD, a senior research fellow at the Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise & Eating Disorders in the Sydney Medical School. “It is worthwhile noting that the arteries are not clogged or blocked at this young age.”
However, once again, PETA didn’t get it quite right. Skilton says that while a mother’s cholesterol level during pregnancy does affect the severity of atherosclerosis in her children’s arteries, he seriously doubts that eating a lot of fatty chicken in one sitting is going to cause it.
So moms-to-be, don’t give up your chicken wings for the sake of your child’s penis. I’m pretty sure that has a lot more to do with genetics than diet.
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