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Top 10 Food Additives to Avoid
Publish date: Jan 10, 2011
Summary: Food additives have been used for centuries to enhance the appearance and flavor of food and prolong shelf life. But do these food additives really “add” any value to your food?
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Because Americans spend about 90 percent of their food budget on processed foods, they are exposed to a plethora of artificial food additives, many of which can cause dire consequences to your health.
Some food additives are worse than others. Here’s a list of the top food additives to avoid:
1. High fructose corn syrup
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a highly-refined artificial sweetener which has become the number one source of calories in America. It is found in almost all processed foods. HFCS packs on the pounds faster than any other ingredient, increases your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, and contributes to the development of diabetes and tissue damage, among other harmful effects.
2. Trans fat
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. Numerous studies show that trans fat increases LDL cholesterol levels while decreasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol, increases the risk of heart attacks, heart disease and strokes, and contributes to increased inflammation, diabetes and other health problems.
3. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
MSG is an amino acid used as a flavor enhancer in soups, salad dressings, chips, frozen entrees, and many restaurant foods. MSG is known as an excitotoxin, a substance which overexcites cells to the point of damage or death, Dr. Mercola explains. Studies show that regular consumption of MSG may result in adverse side effects which include depression, disorientation, eye damage, fatigue, headaches, and obesity.
4. Artificial Sweeteners
Aspartame, more popularly known as Nutrasweet and Equal, is found in diet or sugar free sodas, gelatins, desserts, and drink mixes. Aspartame is believed to be carcinogenic and accounts for more reports of adverse reactions than all other foods and food additives combined. It produces neurotoxic effects such as dizziness, headaches, mental confusion, migraines, and seizures. Acesulfame-K, a relatively new artificial sweetener found in baking goods, gum and gelatin, has not been thoroughly tested and has been linked to kidney tumors.
5. Common Food Dyes
Studies show that artificial colorings like tartrazine (E102) and sunset yellow (E110), which are found in soda, fruit juices and salad dressings, may contribute to behavioral problems in children and lead to a significant reduction in IQ. Animal studies have linked other food colorings to cancer.
6. Salt (Sodium chloride)
According to the CDC, nine out of 10 Americans eat too much salt, with most consuming more than twice the recommended amount. Too much salt can raise your blood pressure and can cause heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure.
7. Sodium nitrate/sodium nitrite
A coloring, flavoring, and preservative usually added to processed meats like bacon, ham, hot dogs, and corned beef. Studies have linked sodium nitrate to various types of cancer.
8. BHA and BHT
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydrozyttoluene (BHT) are preservatives found in cereals, chewing gum, potato chips, and vegetable oils. BHA and BHT are oxidants which form potentially cancer-causing reactive compounds in your body.
9. Propyl Gallate
A preservative often used in conjunction with BHA and BHT, propyl gallate is sometimes present in meat products, chicken soup base, and chewing gum. Animals studies have suggested that this preservative could be carcinogenic.
10. Potassium Bromate
An additive used to increase volume in some white flour, breads, and rolls, potassium bromate is known to cause cancer in animals. Even small amounts in bread can create problems for humans.
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