Thanksgiving is in the rearview mirror and the season of overeating is upon us. Next stop, Christmas then New Years, and I am sure the food choice will be a broad scope of the good, the bad and the ugly.
Let’s take another look at more specifically the bad and ugly aspects of toxic food additives we love to eat. The United States has been a leader in world food production and cutting-edge food science for many years, but when it comes to what we eat, we are not very wise with our chemically enhanced food ingredients.
You may all remember a few years ago the sandwich franchise that announced it would remove azodicarbonamide from its bread recipes. This chemical is also known as ADA and is used to enhance elasticity in yoga mats among other things. So how have we come to the point where our food production and supply has become so chemically dependent?
With metabolic syndrome, obesity, and digestive disorders on the rise and cancer risks that are linked to food additives and obesity, you would think we would be making this a health priority to correct or minimize these factors.
Let’s take a look at the following 10 most notorious food additives we should try to avoid.
• Sodium nitrate: This additive can cause the formation of nitrosamines in your body which have known links to cancer.
• MSG: An amino acid widely used in many processed foods as a flavor enhancer. MSG is a known excitotoxin, a substance that can cause cell damage in the human body. Many people have adverse reactions to MSG and studies have shown that consumption of MSG can lead to anaphylaxis, fatigue, headaches and weight gain.
• High fructose corn syrup (HFCS): This sweetener is used in the vast majority of processed foods. New studies have shown a clear connection between consuming HFCS and the development of diabetes and tissue damage.
• Trans fats: These were developed to help extend the shelf-life of processed food. Trans fats are heavily used in the process of cooking fast foods and in the manufacturing of processed foods. The process called hydrogenation, where corn, vegetable, and seed oils are chemically altered from a liquid state into solid shortening state forms trans fats.
• Potassium bromate: an additive used to increase volume in some heavily processed refined flour, breads, and rolls. Potassium bromate has been linked to cancer and even small amounts have been shown to cause health issues for humans.
• Artificial food dyes and colorings: Some have been linked to toxicity concerns and may cause behavioral changes in some children. A double-blind study done in Britain and supported by a similar Harvard study showed that removing foods and beverages that contain artificial food coloring helped relieve the symptoms of children diagnosed with ADHD.
Many of these dyes and colors are found in soda, fruit juices, candy, and boxed pasta products. In the United States, the FDA’s approved list of these food dyes includes Blue No. 1, Blue No. 2, Green No. 3, Red No. 3, Red No. 40, Yellow No. 5 and Yellow No. 6. A number of these dyes that are approved in the U.S. are banned in many European countries.
• Aspartame and Acesulfame-K: Relatively new artificial sweeteners found in many food products. They are considered neuro-toxic chemicals that can lead to nerve damage, dizziness, and headaches. It is well understood that aspartame works like a pesticide, as the aspartic acid contained in it is an excitotoxin and can stop an ant problem in its path.
• Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT): These are widely used as preservatives and are found in cereals, meal packs, chips, candy products, and vegetable oils. These chemical preservatives have been shown to affect the human neurological system. Both chemicals are considered oxidants, which have been linked to the development of cancer in the human body.
• Sulfur Dioxide: This additive is toxic and the FDA prohibits its use on raw fruit and vegetables. Sulfur dioxide is still found in many products like dried fruit, soft drinks, and wine.
• Bovine Somatotropin (BST): This protein hormone is naturally produced in the pituitary glands of cattle. In 1993, genetically engineered E. coli bacteria developed the recombinant version called rBGH/rBST. There have been many studies that have shown an association between dairy consumption and breast cancer in pre-menopausal women. Many products are now marked with “no rBGH” on their packaging.
I have stated that there is a lot of truth to the statement we are what we eat. Food and nutrition is the one thing we really need to pay the most attention ensuring a healthy life. Diet and exercise can make the difference between feeling great or illness, so read food labels, watch what your children are eating and avoid highly processed foods.
Judd Jones is a certified primal health coach and fitness consultant. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org www.jhanawellness.com.