Processed, industrialized food is making us sick. When we took the responsibility of food out of the local economy and started looking for ready made, cheap food, we made a horrible mistake. In the quest for the cheapest food they could manufacture, the big food companies started adding chemicals to our foods to make them retain a fresh flavor, have longer shelf lives, have a fresh appearance (food dyes), and add bulk in order to use less food in the process. The following is a list of the ten food additives I believe we should all try to avoid in order to maintain our health. For many of us, until we achieve a place of sustainability with our own gardens and food sources, we may not have access to health food stores, farmer’s markets, or even the funds to purchase all of the foods we would like to. With a list such as this one, we can strive to keep the most harmful ingredients off of our families’ plates.
Top 10 Scariest Food Additives
- BHA and BHT – chemical preservatives for foods containing oils. Studies conducted by the World Health Organization has shown BHA to be carcinogenic to humans. Similar studies have produced the same results with BHT. Both preservatives are unnecessary, and should be avoided. Read your labels.
- Artificial Sweeteners – toxic levels of this substance can lead to mental retardation in the brain (1 in 20,000 babies are born unable to metabolize phenylalanine, one of the two amino acids in aspartame.) Studies also show it can alter brain function and cause symptoms like dizziness in consumers. New studies show that drinkers of diet sodas actually gain weight. It is my belief that diabetics would be much better off without this “fake” chemical sugar in their diets. Look for natural sweeteners that have a low glycemic index, or stick to naturally occurring sweet foods like fruits and sweet potatoes.
- MSG – monosodium glutamate – an additive to many protein rich foods to enhance flavor. This can cause severe reactions in sensitive people, but all would do well to avoid it. It is an excitotoxin and causes brain to react in a state of hyperactivity. It can cause headaches, tightness in the chest, burning in the forearms, and neck pain. MSG can go under many pseudonyms including hydrolyzed vegetable protein.
- Nitrites and Nitrates – Found in many deli style and cured meats. These chemicals are extremely dangerous and carcinogenic when exposed to high heat (as in frying). Nitrites are linked as one of the causes of stomach cancer. Look for meats made without the use of nitrites. Hormel makes a natural deli meat and Oscar Mayer makes a natural bacon. Swaggerty’s makes an MSG/nitrite free sausage. Also, look at the health food stores for additive free meats.
- Artificial Coloring – Most of these are synthetic dyes and have been linked to things like cancer and ADHD/ADD. They have no nutritional value, and should be avoided.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup – This is not a naturally occurring and its safety for consumption is questionable. Considering that much of the corn product in the American diet is genetically modified we would be wise to avoid all corn that is not organically grown. The idiocy that spawned the current commercials about it being safe in moderation is laughable. Read here to educate yourself on HFCS.
- Hydrogenated Oils – These are a cheap butter replacement in processed foods… like margarine. They contain high levels of trans fats which we know are horrible for our bodies. Read here.
- Pesticides – Our conventional store bought produce is laden with pesticides. We aren’t pests. We aren’t trying to kill ourselves with our food. We shouldn’t consume these.
- Potassium Bromate – Used as a flour improver, it has been proven to cause cancer, and has been banned in Europe. It is also linked to hypothyroidism.
- Canola Oil – This oil is masked as a healthy oil by the diet dictocrats and companies looking to make a buck off of us. Learn what it really is here.
Through my research, this is what I have decided to remove from the diet of my family altogether. There are many others that I could add to this list, but these are ones I consider most dangerous at this time with the information I have. I believe that being more conscious consumers of food is a must in achieving a more healthy American population. We have to know that in a capitalist nation we can’t blindly trust companies who are producing food simply to make money. We need to educate ourselves on what our bodies need and don’t need.
I have compiled this list with the help of information from websites like that of Dr. Janet Starr Hull, and other similar lists can be found be searching “food additives” on Google. I have tried to link as many of the additives to more information that I could to help you to make up your own mind about these additives. Please, in the upcoming days, visit The Behrens Family blog to see a list of 10 Foods to Avoid in your diet. Take a look at The Nourished Kitchen for wonderfully researched and accurate information on food choices.