We are surrounded by processed, food-like products that are filled with additives, preservatives, & chemicals that are added to control color, flavor, aroma, nutrition, texture, & shelf life. The scary thing is, over 100 million of these compounds have never been tested for long-term human safety according to the CAS Registry. Emerging research is now connecting these compounds to developmental & behavioral issues in children, obesity, and many other diseases. Become curious about what is actually in your food, read food labels, and begin to replace them with real food alternatives. If you have children, turn label reading into a game and get your whole family involved. Education is empowerment.
Top 10 Food Additives to Avoid
1. Propyl Paraben (e216)Used in: Used as a preservative in foods such as muffins, tortillas, & dyes.
Reasons to Avoid: An endocrine-disrupting chemical that has been shown to decrease sperm counts in rats. May also alter gene expression within breast cancer cells, leading to accelerated cancer growth.
2. Sodium Sulphite (e221) Used in: Used as a preservative in wine and dried fruit like apricots or sultanas.
Reasons to Avoid:
According to the FDA, approximately one in 100 people are sensitive to sulphites in food. Individuals who are sulphite sensitive may experience asthma, headaches, breathing problems, and rashes.
3. Food Dyes (e133 / e124 / e110/ e102)
Used in: Fruit cocktail, maraschino cherries, cherry pie mix, ice cream, candy, bakery products, American cheese, & macaroni and cheese.
Reasons to Avoid: Artificial colorings may contribute to behavioral problems like ADD and ADHD in children and lead to a significant reduction in IQ. Animal studies have linked other food colorings to cancer.
4. Potassium Bromate (e924)
Used in: Used to increase volume in breads.
Reasons to Avoid: Potassium bromate is known to cause cancer in animals. Even small amounts in bread can create problems for humans.
5. Aluminum Additives
Used in: Main exposure is through food stored or baked in aluminum baking foil or packaging. Reasons to Avoid: May have neurological effects upon behavioral, motor, & learning functions. Has been associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions.
6. Sodium Nitrate (e250)
Used in: Hot dogs, bacon, ham, luncheon meat, cured meats, corned beef, smoked fish, or any other type of processed meat.
Reasons to Avoid: Sodium Nitrate is the chemical that turns meats bright red but it’s highly carcinogenic once it enters the human digestive system. There, it forms a variety of nitrosamine compounds that enter the bloodstream and wreak havoc with a number of internal organs; the liver and pancreas in particular. This toxic chemical is linked to many cancers.
7. Sulphur Dioxide (e220)
Used in: Used as a preservative in beers, soft drinks, dried fruit, juices, cordials, wine, vinegar, and potato products.
Reasons to Avoid: Sulphur additives are toxic. Adverse reactions include: bronchial problems, asthma, hypotension, flushing tingling sensations, or anaphylactic shock. It destroys vitamins B1 and E in the body.
8. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG/e621)
Used in: Chinese food, potato chips, many snacks, chips, cookies, seasonings, most Campbell Soup products, frozen dinners, & lunch meats.
Reasons to Avoid: MSG is used as a flavor enhancer but also affects the neurological pathways of the brain and disengages the “I’m full” function which results, for many, in weight gain. MSG is an excitotoxin & regular consumption may result in depression, disorientation, eye damage, fatigue, headaches, & obesity.
9. BHA and BHT (e320 / 321)
Used in: Used as a preservative in potato chips, gum, cereal, frozen sausages, enriched rice, lard, shortening, candy, & jello.
Reasons to Avoid: This common preservative keeps foods from changing color, changing flavor, or becoming rancid. Effects the neurological system of the brain, alters behavior, and has potential to cause cancer. BHA and BHT are oxidants which form cancer-causing reactive compounds in your body.
10. Aspartame (e951)
Used in: So-called “diet” or “sugar free” products, including diet coke, coke zero, jello, desserts, sugar free gum, drink mixes, table top sweeteners, cereal, breath mints, puddings, kool-aid, iced tea, chewable vitamins, toothpaste, & cough syrup.
Reasons to Avoid:
Aspartame is not your friend. Aspartame is a neurotoxin and carcinogen. May lead to a wide variety of ailments including brain tumors, lymphoma, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, depression and anxiety attacks, dizziness, headaches, nausea, mental confusion, & seizures
This week, take some time to look at the food labels in your pantry. Write down some of the foods that contain these compounds & begin to explore some natural alternatives.