Banned Ingredients in our Food

American Public Health Association published a report earlier this year that studied the US death rate compared to 16 other countries, including Canada, Australia, Japan, and several in Western Europe. Surprisingly – and sadly – they found Americans have a consistent pattern of poorer health at every stage of life, from birth to old age. Compared to those in other developed nations, we have a higher rate of death from alcohol and drugs, and suffer from the worst incidents of heart disease, lung disease, obesity and diabetes.

How Can This Be? This is America!

It has been estimated that about 90 percent of the money Americans spend on food goes toward processed foods loaded with these additives. No wonder we are walking around tired, bloated, depressed, and worse – sick.

When foods are processed, not only are valuable nutrients and fibers lost, but the textures and flavors are also diminished. Here come the additives! These additives fortify or enrich the food with synthetic vitamins and minerals to replace the natural ones that were lost during processing, as well as improve taste, texture and appearance. Then even more additives are included to slow spoilage, prevent fats and oils from going rancid, and prevent fruits from turning brown.

There has been a lot of talk in the news lately about a list that was featured in the new book, Rich Food, Poor Food, by nutritionist Mira Calton and her husband Jayson. Their list names ingredients that are banned across the world but are still permitted in America’s food supplies. The following was adapted from their findings, and also includes a few that we can’t help tossing in.

Radiance Rules for Avoiding the Top Toxic Food Additives

Read the Label – If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it!

Preservatives: sodium benzoate, sodium nitrite, potassium sorbate, BHA, BHT, TBHQ. Found in cereal, nut mixes, gum, butter, processed meat, dehydrated potatoes, and beer. BHA,a petroleum by-product may be a human carcinogen. BHT can cause organ system toxicity.

Sweeteners: fructose and high fructose corn syrup are everywhere! Check your ketchup, juices, bread, cereal, and spaghetti sauce. HFCS is associated with heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and dementia, not to mention obesity!

Artificial sweeteners: Aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame potassium (acesulfame-K). Aspertame has been associated with increased risk of developing multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and Leukemia. Anything that actually admits to being artificial cannot be good for you.

Artificial colors: FD&C Blue Nos. 1 and 2, FD&C Green No. 3, FD&C Red Nos. 3 and 40, FD&C Yellow Nos. 5 and 6, Orange B, Citrus Red No. 2. Found in cakes, candy, mac & cheese, sports drinks, children’s vitamins, soda, pet food and cheese.  Most artificial colors are made from coal tar, a known carcinogen.  Also found in floor shine products and head lice shampoo!

Flavor enhancers: monosodium glutamate (MSG), hydrolyzed soy protein, and autolyzed yeast extract can overstimulate the glutamate receptors in your body leading to possible heart, neurological, and eye damage.

Olestra is found in fat free potato chips. Effects are the depletion of fat-soluble vitamins and carotenoids, and oily anal leakage. Many countries, including the U.K. and Canada, have banned it.

Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO) found in sports drinks and citrus flavored sodas, competes with iodine for receptor sites in your body, which can lead to hypothyroidism, autoimmune disease, and cancer. The main ingredient, bromine, is a poisonous, corrosive chemical, linked to major organ system damage, birth defects, growth problems, schizophrenia, and hearing loss. Banned in more than 100 countries across the globe!

Potassium Bromate or Brominated Flour is found in flour found in rolls, wraps, flatbread, bread crumbs, and bagel chips. Associated with kidney and nervous system disorders, gastrointestinal discomfort, as well as disorders listed with BVO above.

Azodicarbonamide is used to bleach the flour in breads, frozen dinners, dried pasta, and baked goods. It has been linked to asthma and respiratory distress. It is also found in your yoga mat and the soles of your gym shoes! It is banned in Europe and Australia, and in Singapore it can get you 15 years in the slammer and a $15 million fine.

Synthetic hormones: rBGH and rBST increases production in dairy cows by 10%. Is it worth it? The resulting milk is supercharged with IGF-1 (insulin growth factor -1), which has been linked to breast, colon, and prostate cancers. Banned in Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and in the 27 countries of the European Union. 

Arsenic promotes growth and pink pigmentation in poultry. EPA classifies inorganic arsenic as a “human carcinogen” causing cancers in skin, lungs, bladder and kidneys. The European Union outlawed it 1999.

What Else Can We Do?

Make an appointment with our functional medicine doctor, Dr. Bobbie Stowe, who can order the tests to assess your tolerance of these and other foods and additives.

Try to eat Certified Organic Meats, Poultry, and Dairy Products

Avoid processed and packaged foods – Prepare your own meals

When filling your grocery cart, ask yourself “Would my great-grandparents even recognize this stuff?”

Eat “In Season” when possible

Try making your own convenience foods: Salad dressings, salsas, etc.

And, of course! Stay out of the drive-thru!

Be heard. Let FDA know how you feel about what you feed your children: consumer@fda.gov or 1-888-SAFEFOOD.

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