Roughly 70% of the American diet is processed foods. Used in these processed foods are more than 3000 chemical additives that are intentionally added.
Additives enable us to enjoy foods we otherwise wouldn’t be able to have access to. It also keeps food prices down because food lasts longer on the shelf and don’t spoil as quickly. They also make foods taste better and look better, so we are more likely to buy and eat it.
Many additives are not toxic, they may even be natural. However according to the EPA,
…the dosage makes the poison…
For example, salt, water and sugar are perfect harmless, even necessary food additives. However, used in extreme amounts they can cause numerous health problems. Water is necessary for good health and we are encouraged to drink it, but extreme amounts are dangerous for our health and can even lead to death.
The average person eats easily over 100 pounds of sugar a year, over 15 pounds of salt and 8 pounds of corn syrup. Remember, it’s the dosage that makes the poison.
According to Britain’s Daily Mail, “Roughly 80 percent of all the packaged foods sold within the United States contain chemicals outlawed in other parts of the world.” Yikes. These include BHA/BHT, Potassium Bromate, Azodicarbonamide, artificial food coloring, formaldehyde, GMOs, Carrageenan and more. Companies make two versions of the same product. One for us and one for them (other countries). Theirs leaves out the questionable chemicals.
Hey…Why are we being feed chemicals that other countries have recognized as too dangerous for it’s citizens to eat?
The average person eats approximately 9 pounds of chemical additives per year. Many of these don’t even start out healthy like some natural additives.
We’ve already discussed the importance of avoiding trans fats added to our diet here. Below are just a few more of the many additives we should avoid.
MSG– A very common amino acid flavor enhancer. Neurotoxic chemical additive. Named an excitotoxin which harms nerve cells (excites them to the point of cell death), also stimulates the appetite. Reactions include headache, facial pressure, chest pain, sweating, numbness in face and neck. MSG goes by many names and is contained in ingredients such as hydrolyzed vegetable protein (hydrolyzed anything), yeast extract, calcium glutamate, calcium caseinate, soy/whey protein isolate, autolyzed yeast and many, many more. Found in many processed foods.
Sodium Nitrite/Nitrate – Preserves meat, maintains meats red color, prevents growth of botulism. It increases the risk of cancer because combined with high heat it causes cancerous compounds. Causes gastric cancers, rise in leukemia, Parkinson’s, COPD. Found in cured meat, deli meats, pepperoni, sausages, hot dogs, canned meat, jerky. Look for “no nitrates” on package. Don’t buy processed meats. Don’t cook at high heat.
Artificial coloring– Used to make food more visually appealing. Dyes dissolve in water. Lakes are used for oils and dry foods like cake mix. Color is mixed with aluminum hydroxide. Derived from petroleum. 9 dyes are known to contain carcinogens and are linked to cancer. Synthetic colors also found to adversely affect the respiratory system, GI track, headaches, behavioral disorders, skin issues, asthma and hyperactivity. Found in drinks, candy, cereal, meat, frosting, ice cream, etc.
Potassium Bromate– Preservation and bleaching agent in flour. It increases the volume in baked goods. Issues include causing cancer in animals, endocrine disruptor, causes thyroid and kidney problems. Also known as bromic acid, potassium salt, bromated flour, enriched flour. It causes tumors in animals and is toxic to kidneys. Found in most commercial baked goods, some toothpastes.
Aspartame– An artificial sweetener. Considered an excitotoxin, like MSG. Found in more than 6000 products. EPA listed it as a “chemical with substantial evidence of developmental neurotoxicity”. 92 side effects have been reported. In liquids it breaks down into methanol and then formaldehyde. They accumulate in the brain and other organs.
BHA/TBHQ – Makes food last longer. Added to vegetable oils and fried foods to prevent rancidity and increase shelf life. An endocrine disrupter, “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen”. Causes reproductive, GI, cardiovascular, liver, lung and skin problems, also DNA damage.
BHT – Potential liver and kidney damage. Contained in 20,000 products to reduce oxidation rates of ingredients. Labeled a potential carcinogen by the World Health Organization. BHT/BHA are found in cereals, bread, crackers, gum, pet food make-up, etc. It is thought BHT can accumulate in the body.
Natural/ artifical flavors– These ingredients do not need to be disclosed. They can and often do contain synthetic chemicals because “natural” is not adequately defined. Could be anything.
Sulfites/Sulfates– Added to foods and medicines to prevent spoiling and browning of fruits and vegetables. Added to wine to stop the fermentation process. Found in alcohol, dairy, fish, pudding, jam, snack foods, processed/dried fruits and vegetables. Increased risk of liver disease. Some people are sensitive to sulfites or don’t have the enzyme to metabolize it. Some people have died from anaphylactic reactions.
Carrageenan– This is red seaweed extract used as a thickener and emulsifier. Found in cheese, dairy, low fat products, desserts, cereal, drinks, baby formula, gums, non-dairy milk. Often found in natural and organic foods. Issues include inflammation of the colon and GI system, glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, chronic inflammation. Can be replaced with locust bean gum or guar gum or just shake your stuff up. Fortunately, many health/organic foods have started removing this ingredient. Some studies indicate carrageenan is safe, but until it is proven safe you may want to avoid it.
There are many more additives. They claim in tiny amounts they are safe. This could be true, however, if 70% of our diet is processed food, it is unlikely we are eating small amounts of anything. Remember, “the dosage makes the poison”.
Let’s stop and chew on that for a moment…
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18