Your Guide To Great Health & Better Living

10 “Potentially” Unsafe Food Additives – 2

Continued From 10 “Potentially” Un-Safe Food Additives – 1

#6. High Fructose Corn Syrup

HFCS is the most common added sweetener in processed foods and beverages.

Research has given mixed results about the possible adverse effects of consuming high-fructose corn syrup. Although high-fructose corn syrup is chemically similar to table sugar (sucrose), people are concerned because of how high-fructose corn syrup is processed. Some believe that your body reacts differently to high-fructose corn syrup than it does to other types of sugar. But research about high-fructose corn syrup is evolving.

HFCS is believed to pack on the pounds faster than any other ingredient, increases your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, and contributes to the development of diabetes and tissue damage, among other harmful effects.

Found in: most processed foods, breads, candy, flavored yogurts, salad dressings, canned vegetables, cereals

#7. Trans Fats

Using trans fats in the manufacturing of foods helps foods stay fresh longer, have a longer shelf life and have a less greasy feel.

Trans fat is among the most dangerous substances that you can consume. Numerous studies show that trans fat increases LDL cholesterol levels while decreasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol, increases the risk of heart attacks, heart disease and strokes, and contributes to increased inflammation, diabetes and other health problems.

You should also be aware of what nutritional labels really mean when it comes to trans fat. For example, in the United States if a food has less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving, the food label can read 0 grams trans fat. Though that’s a small amount of trans fat, if you eat multiple servings of foods with less than 0.5 grams of trans fat, you could exceed recommended limits.

Found in: Shortenings, some margarines, crackers, cookies and cakes — and many fried foods, such as doughnuts and french fries.

#8. Sulphites

In the 1980s, Sodium bisulfite was banned from use on raw fruits and vegetables in the US following the deaths of 13 people who unknowingly consumed produce treated with excessive amounts of the substance.

Sulfites have been used as food additives since they delayed the effect of bacteria on foods; maintained the softness of bread dough; delayed the oxidation, or browning, of sliced vegetables and fruit; and also reduced the formation of black spots on shrimp and lobster.

According to the FDA, approximately one in 100 people is sensitive to sulfites in food. The majority of these individuals are asthmatic, suggesting a link between asthma and sulfites. Individuals who are sulfite sensitive may experience headaches, breathing problems, and rashes. In severe cases, sulfites can actually cause death by closing down the airway altogether, leading to cardiac arrest.

Found in: Wine, dried fruit, some bread doughs, prepared salads and seafoods.

#9. BHA and BHT

Both BHA and BHT protect fats from oxidation, which is damage due to exposure of the fats to oxygen.
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Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydrozyttoluene (BHT) are preservatives, often added to potato flakes, dry breakfast cereals, enriched rice, and foods containing animal fats and shortening. This common preservative keeps foods from changing color, changing flavor or becoming rancid.

It’s listed as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” by WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, and some studies have demonstrated that it causes cancer in rats, mice and hamsters. While it’s considered safe at the low level of use permitted, BHA can be replaced in foods by safer chemicals (such as vitamin E), safer processes or simply left out. Check labels if you want to avoid it.

Found in: Potato chips, gum, cereal, frozen sausages, enriched rice, lard, shortening, candy, jello

#10. Potassium Bromate

It’s a flour “improver” that strengthens dough and allows for greater oven spring and higher rising in the oven.

The main concern regarding the use of bromates in baking is its relation to cancer in laboratory animals. It was first found to induce tumors in rats in 1982. Despite the results, since 1991, instead of outright banning bromate, the FDA, with somewhat limited success, has merely encouraged bakers to voluntarily stop using it.

Bromates have been banned in numerous countries, including the United Kingdom in 1990 and Canada in 1994. In addition, in 1991, California declared bromate a carcinogen under the state’s Proposition 65. As such, baked goods sold in California would have to bear a store level cancer warning if they contained more than a certain level of bromate. As a result, most California bakers have switched to bromate-free processes.

Found in: Breads

What can you do to protect yourself?
1. Select organic fruit and vegetables whenever possible. Wash or peel non-organic produce.
2. Choose fruits and vegetables in season. This means that your exposure to the chemicals used to delay ripening, prolong shelf-life, preserve color and so on, will be limited.
3. Supplement your diet with antioxidant nutrients-vitamins A, C, and E, and the minerals zinc and selenium-since the detoxification of many pesticides involves these nutrients.

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  12. Killing Ourselves with Food
    Unnatural alterations to our food are detrimental to our nation’s health and we must change the way we eat or our chronic illnesses will only continue to get worse. The world’s health is quickly diminishing as we continue to consume more and more manufactured foods containing additives and preservatives. We have degenerated from a more sensible lifestyle of growing and raising our own food, or purchasing our neighbors fresh food, to going through the drive thru and buying a burger that contains meat from several different factory cows. Food companies add many unnatural substances to our food such as artificial food coloring, monosodium glutamate (MSG), high fructose corn syrup, butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA). Many of these additives are being linked to chronic illnesses such as ADHD, obesity, heart disease, arthritis, asthma, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cancer. Each person must take individual responsibility for their own actions. We must lead by example or our children won’t know better than to go through the drive-thru, or eat microwaveable snacks such as ramen noodles or hot pockets when they are hungry. People need to continue and question each substance added to our rations. Each individual should start taking steps to living and eating healthier and this can be achieved through a balanced diet and exercise. A great place to start this change is at your local farmers market.

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