In 1958 the government passed the Delaney Clause Food Additives Amendment which prohibited companies from adding known harmful chemicals to our food. But in spite of this, there are still dangerous chemicals that are still being added to our food and it is important to understand which chemicals these are and what the potential dangers are.
The only defense we have as consumers is that all packaged food is required to list all the ingredients on the label. It is for us to educate ourselves on the dangerous food additives and scrutinize the labels of the food we buy. The challenge however, is that food companies tend to make finding these suspicious ingredients somewhat tedious, hiding them in hard-to-find areas of the package and making the print extremely small so as to discourage their discovery.
The names of these chemicals themselves can complicate matters. They tend to be extraordinary long and hard-to-remember and most people just ignore them rather than investigating them further. Food companies are also notorious for masking their products with health-related rhetoric that leads people into believing that the product is free of "bad stuff". For instance, "Natural Flavors" or "No Preservatives" are commonly found on packaged food products, but does this mean that the product is free of harmful food additives? Absolutely not. Again, you must check all the ingredients to determine whether a product is completely free of food additives.
Here is a helpful tip that relies on basic common sense. If you are reading the ingredient list and you find it is long and loaded with long words that you are unfamiliar with, guess what? This product almost assuredly has plenty of chemical food additives.
Here is a list of twelve food additives that you should definitely try and avoid. This is not an exhaustive list, however, these food additives have been linked to health concerns and harmful side effects.
Sodium Nitrate or Sodium Nitrite
Found primarily in lunch meat and hotdogs, this is a preservative and color and flavor enhancer and has been linked to cancer.
BHA and BHT
Butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydrozyttoluene are used as a preservative. You can find them in things like chips, cereals and even chewing gum. They have been linked to cell oxidation which in turn is linked to cancer.
Also a preservative. There has been evidence that this can be linked to cancer.
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
MSG is one of the more well-known food additives and is primarily used as a flavor-enhancer. Much of the restaurant food we consume is flavored with MSG. This food additive can cause reactions in some people such as headaches and nausea.
Trans-fats are proven to cause heart disease. Restaurant food, especially fast food chains, often serves foods laden with trans-fats.
Aspartame is a sweetener and is also known as NutraSweet. The brand of sweetener called Equal is also aspartame. This food additive has been linked to cancer and neurological problems.
A new sweetener used in baked goods and candy, Acesulfame-K has had limited testing and there has been some evidence that it may cause cancer in lab rats.
Food Colorings: Blue 1, 2; Red 3; Green 3; Yellow 6
Food colorings are basically just a form of paint. They can liven up the walls in your living room but should definitely be avoided in food. Blue 1 and 2, found in beverages, candy, baked goods and pet food, have been linked to cancer in lab animals. Red 3, has been shown to cause thyroid tumors in rats. Green 3 has been linked to bladder cancer. Yellow 6 has been linked to tumors of the adrenal gland and kidney.
Olestra is a chemical fat that is used in chips and can have a wide array of side effects. Additionally, Olestra can impede the absorption of vitamins from fruits and veggies.
This food additive is found in many breads and products that use flour. It has been linked to cancer in animals.
White sugar is white because of bleach. Eating foods that add a lot of white sugar is very bad for you.
AKA... salt. Most of the commercial foods we eat are loaded with Sodium Chloride. This additive has been proven to cause heart disease.
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Article Added on Saturday, June 21, 2008
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