Hidden Dangers of Food Additives:
How many people actually bother to check the labels on the food they eat to see just
what it is that they are taking into their bodies?
The US Environmental Protection Agency at one time identified 24 chemical
carcinogens that went right through the chain and ‘appeared' on the dinner plate.
These were the herbicides, pesticides and fungicides so liberally applied through the
growing process of plant foods. Animals carry their own hidden "additives" with
hormones for growth and increased milk production, antibiotics freely given to farm
animals to prevent and cure animal sicknesses and residue from various chemicals
given to ward off insects etc. Chickens are given mixtures containing copper sulphate,
lead and arsenic to help growth and many of these remain in the meat and eventually
find their way into the human intestinal tract.
That is all bad enough but then there are the chemicals added to the "finished product"
to increase its shelf life; improve its appearance or to protect it in some other way.
These may be in the form of wax coatings, sprays or through ‘washing'. Some can be
removed by washing but that in no way removes everything and the residue may be
concentrated by cooking.
The most popular chemical additives in the food industry today are benzoates, nitrites,
sulphites and sorbates. These additives kill and prevent molds and yeast from growing
on food. Sulfur dioxide is the most common man-made preservative; it acts as a
bleaching agent in food. There are more than 300 additives used today. A complete list
is available at http://chemistry.about.com/od/foodcookingchemistry/a/foodadditives.
Two particularly troublesome additives that are widely used are aspartame and MSG.
Both aspartame and MSG are excitotoxins. They cross the blood-brain barrier and
excite your brain cells to death. Like aspartame, MSG is not only in food. It can also be
found in cosmetics and personal care products, nutritional supplements, OTC and
prescription medications, and even the chicken pox vaccine.
Consumption of products containing aspartame has been associated with 92 different
adverse reactions, from headaches, dizziness and difficulty breathing to memory loss,
seizures and death. Symptoms associated with MSG include skin rashes, tachycardia
(rapid heartbeat), migraine headaches, depression and seizures.
10 of the most common additives and preservatives to avoid that are
commonly seen in products are:
1. Sodium Nitrate (also called Sodium Nitrite)
This is a preservative, coloring, and flavoring commonly added to bacon, ham, hot
dogs, luncheon meats, smoked fish, and corned beef. Studies have linked eating it to
various types of cancer.
2. BHA and BHT
Butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydrozyttoluene are used to preserve common
household foods. They are found in cereals, chewing gum, potato chips, and vegetable
oils. They are oxidants, which form potentially cancer-causing reactive compounds in
your body. BHA can cause liver and kidney damage, behavioral problems, infertility,
weakened immune system and is classified as a possible carcinogen by the International
Agency for Research on Cancer.
3. Propyl Gallate
Another preservative, often used in conjunction with BHA and BHT. It is sometimes
found in meat products, chicken soup base, and chewing gum. Animals studies have
suggested that it could be linked to cancer.
4. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
MSG is an amino acid used as a flavor enhancer in soups, salad dressings, chips, frozen
entrees, and restaurant food. MSG is in almost all processed foods and most restaurant
meals. It's even in some foods that say "No MSG" or "No Added MSG." Even some
restaurants that say they do not use MSG have it in their food, and they may not even be
aware of it. It can cause headaches and nausea, and animal studies link it to damaged
nerve cells in the brains of infant mice.
5. Trans Fats
Trans fats are proven to cause heart disease. Restaurant food, especially fast food
chains, often serve foods laden with trans fats.
Aspartame, also known by the brand names Nutrasweet and Equal, is a sweetener found
in so-called diet foods such as low-calorie desserts, gelatins, drink mixes, and soft
drinks. It may cause cancer or neurological problems, such as dizziness or
This is a relatively new artificial sweetener found in baked goods, chewing gum, and
gelatin desserts. There is a general concern that testing on this product has been scant,
and some studies show the additive may cause cancer in rats.
8. Food Colorings: Blue 1, 2; Red 3; Green 3; Yellow 6
Five food colorings still on the market are linked with cancer in animal testing. Blue 1
and 2, found in beverages, candy, baked goods and pet food, have been linked to cancer
in mice. Red 3, used to dye cherries, fruit cocktail, candy, and baked goods, has been
shown to cause thyroid tumors in rats. Green 3, added to candy and beverages, has been
linked to bladder cancer. The widely used yellow 6, added to beverages, sausage,
gelatin, baked goods, and candy, has been linked to tumors of the adrenal gland and
9. Ingredients derived from corn, soy, canola or cottonseed
If they are not organic, these ingredients are probably genetically modified. In the U.S.,
60-70 percent of the food on the grocery store shelves contains genetically modified
ingredients. Genetically modified ingredients are not required to be labeled in the U.S.,
and it's not likely it will be required in the near future
10. Potassium Bromate
Potassium bromate is used as an additive to increase volume in some white flour,
breads, and rolls. It is known to cause cancer in animals, and even small amounts in
bread can create a risk for humans.
11. High Fructose Corn Syrup
Watch out for foods with added sugars, such as baked goods, cereals, crackers, sauces
and many other processed foods. It is unsafe for your health, and promotes bad
nutrition. Scientists have linked the rising HFCS consumption to the epidemics of
obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome in the U.S. Drinking high-fructose corn syrup
(HFCS), the main ingredient in most soft drinks throughout the world, increases your
triglyceride levels and your LDL (bad) cholesterol studies show. Fructose contains no
enzymes, vitamins or minerals, and it leeches micronutrients from the body. Unbound
fructose, found in large quantities in HFCS, can interfere with the heart's use of minerals
such as magnesium, copper and chromium.
12. Sodium Benzoate
Found in many soft drinks, fruit juices and salad dressings – Causes some children to
become measurably more hyperactive and distractible. Sodium benzoate has
previously also come under fire because, when combined with the vitamin C in many
soft drinks, it forms benzene, a cancer-causing chemical linked to leukemia. In one
study, at least five brands of soft drinks were found to contain excessive benzene levels.
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