For a long time, food additives have been used to improve the flavor and appearance of food and extend their shelf life. But many of these additives don’t add any value to food.
Instead, they contain many artificial chemicals that can harm our bodies. Often, these additives are difficult to identify since they have numerous pseudonyms and written in tiny font.
Even though they are produced from plant sources, they can still cause harm. Here are the top eight food additives to avoid.
There are two main artificial sweeteners in the market today, aspartame and acesulfame-K. Aspartame, codified as E951 and commonly referred to as Equal and Nutrasweet, is found in most foods labeled ‘sugar-free’ and ‘diet.’
Aspartame is reputed as carcinogenic and is reported to cause more detrimental reactions than all the other food additives combined. It is a carcinogen and neurotoxin and is known to affect short-term memory and diminish intelligence.
The constituents of this deadly sweetener may cause several ailments including:
- Brain tumors
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Chronic fatigue
- Mental confusion
Acesulfame-K is a relatively new artificial sweetener primarily found in gum, gelatin, and baking goods. Although it has not been entirely tested, it has been associated with kidney tumors and defective cognitive memory functions.
It is found in drink mixes, cereals, breath mints, ice tea, toothpaste, chewable vitamins, pudding, cereal, sugar-free sodas, diet coke, coke zero, jello, desserts, etc.
So when you go shopping for soft drinks and other items, avoid those labeled as containing these additives.
Partially hydrogenated oil
This bane of heart health is the prime source of trans fats. Manufacturers love it because it extends shelf life, stabilizes flavors, and reduces production costs. However, it harms consumers worldwide.
Trans fats are harder for your body to dissolve than saturated fats. They have been proven to increase the bad (LDL) cholesterol in your body and lower good (HDL) cholesterol. They are also known to cause cellular deterioration, nutritional deficiencies, heart disease, and diabetes.
Thus, avoid foods that contain trans fats, including vegetable shortening, margarine, chips, bread, salad dressings, cookies, crackers, and baked goods.
High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
Although it is chemically identical to table sugar (sucrose), this less expensive substitute is a highly processed type of glucose that has been converted to sucrose (the kind of sugar found in fruits).
Studies indicate that HFCS inhibits leptin—a hormone that tells your brain that you are full. Although some people contend that it is just sugar, the truth is excessive sugar harms your bodily processes in many ways, including making you susceptible to obesity, diabetes, and many other metabolic disorders.
Sodium benzoate and benzoic acid
These two additives are primarily used in carbonated drinks, fruit juices, and pickles to impede the rise of microorganisms in acidic foods.
Although they are naturally-occurring substances and ordinarily affect individuals with allergies, there is another predicament: if sodium benzoate is used in drinks that also contain ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), this combination can produce small quantities of benzene, a chemical responsible for causing leukemia and other forms of cancer.
Although they are small portions of benzene, you still need to avoid them, especially in foods and beverages that contain acids.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG), also codified as E621, is an amino acid used to enhance the flavor in salad dressings, chips, soups, and many other restaurant foods. It is also referred to as sodium caseinate, yeast extract, citric acid, autolyzed vegetable protein, autolyzed yeast, and maltodextrin.
It is known as an excitotoxin, meaning, stuff that causes cells to be overexcited to the point of injury or death.
Studies indicate that regular consumption of MSG can cause detrimental effects such as eye damage, obesity, headaches, disorientation, and fatigue. It affects your brain’s neurological pathways and extricates the “I am full” function, thus causing abnormal weight gain.
It is often found in seasonings, snacks, chips, cookies, frozen dinners, lunch meats, and Chinese food (Chinese restaurant syndrome).
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHA)
Antioxidants are useful, but not all of them. BHT and BHA are antioxidant preservatives used in chewing gum, potato chips, and cereals to prevent them from going putrid. They have been tagged as carcinogenic by the Department of Health and Human Services. However, the FDA still permits them.
These additives are known to affect appetite and sleep and have been linked to cancer, hair loss, and kidney and liver damage.
Potassium bromate is an additive applied in bread and rolls to produce a fine crumb structure and increase their volume. It has been prohibited in all industrialized countries except Japan and the US.
In the body, it is broken down into inert bromide, but any remnants of potassium bromate in the body have been proven to cause cancer in laboratory animals.
Potassium bromate is also used in the production of some malted barley. So check the labels of your cherished bread and crackers for any hints of potassium bromate. There are lots of other baked foods that shun potassium bromate and employ other safer alternatives.
Studies indicate that food colorings found in fruit juices, soda, and salad dressings may enhance behavioral problems in children and cause a remarkable reduction in their IQ. Animal studies have associated various food colorings to cancer. Specifically, watch out for:
Blue #1 and Blue #2 (E133): Restricted in France, Finland, and Norway. It has been shown to cause chromosomal damage. It is found in sports drinks, soft drinks, candy, cereals, and pet foods.
Red dye #3 and Red #40 (E124): Banned in 1990 after a lengthy discussion for its use in many types of food and cosmetics. These dyes have been shown to cause chromosomal damage and thyroid cancer.
They may also hinder brain-nerve transmissions. They are found in cherry pie mixes, fruit cocktails, candy, ice cream, maraschino cherries, bakery products, and much more.
Yellow Tartrazine (E102) and Yellow #6 (E110): Banned in Sweden and Norway. These colorings have been shown to cause chromosomal damage and gland tumors. They are used in American cheese, lemonade, macaroni, candy, and much more.
Many food additives have been proven to be harmful to human and animal health, and this video explains the dangers of many of these additives.
So when shopping for food products, be keen to read their labels carefully and avoid foodstuffs that contain artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, partially hydrogenated oil, and potassium bromate.