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Written by: Dr. Rob Neposlan

What happened to our food?Food Additives

More than 3,000 food additives (preservatives, flavorings, colors and other ingredients) are added to foods we eat every day. While each of these substances have been approved for use in our foods, the question of whether they are safe for us in long term use is another matter. Now, consider that 90% of the average food budget is spent on processed or man made foods which are loaded with these 3,000 or so additives. You get an idea of just how toxic our diets are.

Many of these food additives have been studied and linked to various diseases. In the interest of bringing “home” the message, I will point out a few “biggies” that you will want to eliminate at all costs.

Food Additives to Avoid

Here’s a list of some of the most medically questionable and harmful additives in everyday foods:

  • Sodium nitrite
  • BHA & BHT
  • Propyl gallate
  • Monosodium glutamate
  • Trans fats
  • Aspartame
  • Acesulfame-K
  • Food colorings (Blue, Red, Green, Yellow)
  • Olestra
  • Potassium bromate
  • White sugar

 Since some of these may not be familiar to you, here is a quick review of where these can be found. Sodium nitrite is a preservative added most commonly to bacon, ham, hot dogs, sandwich meats, and smoked fish. You want to limit these in your diet!!

BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are other preservatives added to foods like cereal, gum, potato chips, and vegetable oils.

Propyl gallate is found in meats, chicken soup base, and gum. All of these preservatives have been linked to cancer.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) can cause migraines and other adverse effects. Trans fats are being eliminated from most foods, as the studies linking them to heart disease, strokes, and kidney problems are widely accepted.

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener found in products like NutraSweet and Equal as well as diet soft drinks and foods.

And acesulfame-K is a newer sweetener used in soft drinks and some baked goods.

Many food colorings have been banned by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration), but some can still be found in foods that require a particular color. Children’s candies are filled with colouring!! A study published in the journal The Lancet concluded that a variety of common food dyes, and the preservative sodium benzoate — found in many soft drinks, fruit juices and salad dressings — cause some children to become measurably more hyperactive and distractible. The study also found that the E-numbered food dyes (such as tartrazine (E102), ponceau 4R (E124), sunset yellow (E110), carmoisine (E122), quinoline yellow (E104) and allura red AC (E129) do as much damage to children’s brains as lead in gasoline, resulting in a significant reduction in IQ. Olestra was common for a time in potato chips as an additive that prevented fats from 1) becoming rancid and 2) being absorbed in your digestive system. Olestra also blocks vitamins from being absorbed in the body.

Potassium bromate is sometimes added to white flour, breads, and rolls to increase the volume of the products, but it has cancer-causing properties that have prompted some U.S. states to actually require a label to that effect.

Finally, white sugar. According to Dr. Russell Blaylock, high sugar content and starchy carbohydrates (common in processed foods) lead to excessive insulin release, which in turn leads to falling blood sugar levels, or hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia causes your brain to secrete glutamate in levels that can cause agitation, depression, anger, anxiety, panic attacks and an increase in suicide risk. The glutamate that causes this is identical to the flavor-enhancing monosodium glutamate (MSG) and its chemical cousins, which are found in thousands of food products, further exacerbating the problem.

In the long run, becoming informed about the additives in everyday food items and taking actions to eliminate them will lead to a healthier life. That’s our goal!!