Food Additives to Avoid
There are over 14,000 food additives that are added to our foods today. These food additives are not natural foods, but man-made chemicals. Our culture is suffering, because our bodies are not made to be exposed to this level of food chemicals and additives.
At this point in time it is imperative for you to learn about the chemicals that you are consuming. Knowledge is power! We are being played by the food industry in a big way. They expect us to remain ignorant while they fill us with food chemicals. Let’s fight back with knowledge and spend our money on foods that are not chemically laden!
Main Food Additives to Avoid!
Some of the main food additives to avoid are:
- Artificial Colors: Almost all artificial colors are synthetic dyes. They have been linked to cancer and some of them have been banned. They are mostly in highly processed foods like candy, sodas, cereal, and sports drinks. They have been linked with hyperactivity in kids. They are usually listed at the end of the food label.If foods are dyed avoid them, but especially Blue 1 and 2, Green 3, Red 3 and 40, Yellow 5 or E-102 (Tartrazine) linked to hyperactivity in kids and found in yellow, green and blue candies, and Yellow 6. We do not need to eat colorful foods unless those colors are from fruits and vegetables! See Healthy Diet Habits for Kids.
- Benzene: This is a carcinogen that is found in some foods. It forms in soft drinks when benzoate and ascorbic acid combine chemically. The FDA is monitoring it, but feels the amounts are too small to cause damage. Very reassuring!
- BHT and BHA and TBHQ: These preservatives are added to oils to prevent their becoming rancid quickly. BHA is also added to cereals, potato chips and gum to stop them becoming rancid. They have the potential to cause cancer and effect the neurological system of the brain and can alter behavior. Avoid them!
- Caffeine: Caffeine is in tea, coffee and cocoa. Other products like sodas, have caffeine added to them. Caffeine is a stimulant, and can cause nervousness and sleep problems. It can be harmful while you are pregnant. Do not give caffeine to your kids.
- Citric Acid: This is a food additive used in candies, sodas, sauces and many other products. It is also used in cleaning products for removing lime and rust stains. Great! Eating too much citric acid can lead to tooth decay and digestive problems. It’s been linked to the erosion of teeth enamel in teens. There is no limit on this additive. It is in everything! How much is too much? Check labels and you will see that citric acid is in everything. At my house, I checked around and citric acid was in my hummus dip, Tzatziki yogurt dip, crushed pineapple, iced tea with peach drink mix, dried blueberries, crushed tomatoes, Oregon chai tea concentrate, minced garlic, stir fry sauces, and sugar-free jam. I try to eat healthy foods! Scary!
- Diacetyl: This is a chemical that gives the buttery flavor to microwave popcorn. It is tied to a fatal lung condition. Just a scary note: Diacetyl will not be listed on the food label because manufacturers are allowed to group additives into generic categories like "natural flavors" or "artificial flavors." You do not know what is in this generic category! Some ideas to avoid diacetyl would be to: avoid microwave popcorn, especially the butter ones, avoid brands that list artificial flavors, buy real popcorn with only popcorn and maybe salt on the label, or buy organic popcorn. Real popcorn cooked in an air popper, spritzed with a bit of olive oil, bit of salt, and parmesan cheese is awesome!
- Monosodium Glutamate: This is a seasoning that is often added to meats. It can give you headaches, heart palpitations, tightness of the chest, and nausea. Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) and autolyzed yeast can contain MSG also. It is often found in Chinese foods, snacks, chips, cookies, seasonings, processed soups, frozen dinners, and processed lunch meats. Avoid it.
- Sodium Nitrites and Sodium Nitrates: These are preservatives added to meats to preserve them, give them red color, and the smoked flavor. They are found in bacon, hotdogs, sausages, hams, luncheon meats, and deli-meats and processed meats. When nitrites are cooked at high temperatures (like in frying), they form a chemical called nitrosamines, which are cancer causing chemicals. They also mix with the acid in your stomach to form nitrosamines! Either avoid these foods, or purchase nitrate free versions, which are more available now. Trader Joe’s carries several varieties. Do not give these foods to your kids!
- Olestra: This is a new food additive that is put into high fat foods to reduce the calories. It is fake fat. It binds to carotenoids, which are healthy nutrients in your body that help prevent some cancers, heart disease and macular degeneration. It carries carotenoids out of the body! They give you serious diarrhea too. Avoid them.
- Potassium Bromate: This is a chemical added to flour to make bread rise better. It causes cancer in animals also. It is banned everywhere, but the US and Japan! Why serve a cancer causing agent to your small kids!
- Sulfites: These are preservatives that extend shelf life, color and stop bacterial growth in foods. They have been banned because they cause severe reactions to asthmatics. They are still used in some fresh cut potatoes, dried fruits, and wine.
These are a few of the food additives and chemicals that can harm your body. But honestly with over 14,000 food additives, the list could go on for pages! I just wanted you to have a slight clue of what you are eating!
It is not a healthy diet habit to continue to eat chemically laden foods. The best Lifestyle Solution is to quit buying processed foods! Eat real foods. These are fruits, veggies, whole grains, dairy, meats, fish, and nuts; real foods that are one ingredient only. Some savvy investigation may be needed in the beginning to find great sources of these products. Search for organic products with no antibiotics, pesticides, chemicals, and hormones. Read food labels! Locate good sources of fresh real foods in your local area and stick with them.