There’s lots more than are on this list, but we’re going to focus on some of the most popular food additives to watch out for. The food industry is sneaking them into our food, and unfortunately they are causing more harm than good! Read your nutrition and ingredient labels to make sure you’re not buying any of these harmful additions to your groceries. And take a look at this list and spring clean your pantry today!
1. Artificial Sweeteners
Aspartame, more popularly known as Nutrasweet and Equal, is often found in foods labeled “diet” or “sugar free”. This food additive is one of the worst out there! It is shown to be carcinogenic and accounts for more reports of adverse reactions than all other foods and food additives combined. Negative side effects include eroding intelligence and affecting short-term memory, in addition to a long list of health ailments. Artificial sweeteners and their side effects have been linked to brain tumors, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue, emotional disorders like depression and anxiety attacks, dizziness, headaches, nausea, mental confusion, migraines and seizures.
What it’s in: “diet” foods, “diet” sodas, desserts, sugar free gum, drink mixes, baking goods, table top sweeteners, some cereals, breathmints, pudding, kool-aid, ice tea mixes, some chewable vitamins.
2. Monosodium Glutamate
Also known as MSG, this food additive is an amino acid used as a flavor enhancer in soups, salad dressings, spice mixes, chips, frozen entrees, and many restaurant foods. Even worse, MSG is known as an excitotoxin, a substance which overexcites cells to the point of damage or death. Negative side effects of eating foods with MSG include depression, disorientation, eye damage, fatigue, headaches, and obesity.
What it’s in: Chinese food, packaged snack foods, chips, cookies, seasonings(i.e. taco seasoning), most canned soup products, frozen dinners, lunch meats, soup packets.
3. Sodium Nitrate
This food additive is used as a preservative, coloring and flavoring in bacon, ham, hot dogs, luncheon meats, corned beef, smoked fish and other processed meats. One of the most controversial food additives, sodium nitrate was under review to be banned by the USDA but food manufacturers fought back and it’s still used in preserving packaged meat products and other similar foods. So what does this food additive do that is so harmful? Well it is actually highly carcinogenic once it enters the human digestive system and does serious damage on our internal organs, especially the liver and pancreas.
What it’s in: hotdogs, bacon, ham, luncheon meat, cured meats, corned beef, smoked fish, or any other type of processed meat.
4. Potassium Bromate
Watch out for this when you head to the bakery section of the store! Potassium bromate—a food additive used in breads and rolls to increase their volume and produce a fine crumb structure—has been banned by every other industrialized country other than the U.S. and Japan. Yep you read that right! Our government allows this deadly additive in our foods. This chemical will hang around in the body and has been shown to cause cancer in lab animals.
What it’s in: Wonder breads, Gold Medal flours, certain brands of bread, baked goods, and crackers.
5. Trans Fat
You’ve probably heard of this one before, but it’s worth mentioning again since it seems to sneak its way into lots of foods out there. Trans fat is used to enhance and extend the shelf life of food products and is among the most dangerous substances that you can consume. Trans fats are formed by a process called hydrogenation and are found in deep-fried fast foods and certain processed foods. Scan the ingredient list on the package and see if what you’re buying is made with margarine or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Why is it so bad for you? Well, numerous studies show that trans fat increases LDL cholesterol levels while decreasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol, increases the risk of heart attacks, heart disease, diabetes, and strokes.
What it’s in: margarine, chips and crackers, baked goods, fast foods.
Now that you know some of the dangerous food additives to watch out for, you’ll be a better shopper and bring home only the healthiest foods for your family!