The Top Food Additives to Look Out For

Not all foods are created equal…

Everyday, food companies get away with putting additives, preservatives and stabilizing agents in our food that are deemed GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe). However, when you consume foods on a consistent basis that contain these ingredients, over time they can lead to some pretty damaging health impacts.

Below are some common food additives, preservatives and artificial ingredients to look out for…

1. Artificial Colors

  • FD&C Blue No. 1, 2, 3
  • Yellow 5, Yellow 6
  • Red 40

Associated with allergies, hyperactivity in children (ADD, ADHD), learning impairment/disorders (autism), irritability and aggressiveness.

2. Artificial Sweeteners

  • Sucralose (Splenda)
  • Aspartame (Aminosweet/Nutrasweet/Equal)
  • Acesulfame Potassium (Ace-K/Sunnet/Sweet One)
  • Saccharin (Sweet n’ Low/Necta Sweet)

Associated with weight gain, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases (i.e. Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS)

3. Preservative/Additives

  • MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)/Yeast extract/hydrolyzed yeast extract
  • Sodium Nitrite (deli meat, bacon)
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup (soda, juice, condiments, cereal, fruit snacks, salad dressing)
  • Carrageenan
  • Sodium Benzoate/Benzoic Acid/Benzene (carbonated beverages, salad dressings, pickles, juice, condiments)
  • Trans Fats (i.e. hydrogenated oils/microwave popcorn, margarine, peanut butter)
  • Associated with developmental disorders, autoimmune disease, diabetes, heart disease, anxiety, weight gain

How to avoid these ingredients

The first step is to read every nutrition label. Under the ingredients keep an eye out for ingredients listed above or any you cannot pronounce.

Some food companies will fortify or enrich food products with vitamins and minerals and will usually list the common name (i.e. cobalamin = Vitamin B12). If there is an ingredient you don’t recognize, take out your phone and Google it.

Secondly, don’t be fooled by marketing statements like “made with real fruit juice” or “natural flavors”. Even though a product may have started out using whole fruits, the final product is pure sugar (i.e. fruit snacks). Natural flavors is also a very broad term that food companies are permitted to use without disclosing hidden chemicals they may be using within the “natural” flavors.

The best thing you can do is to be diligent and review all nutrition labels on packaged foods in your home and prior to purchasing.

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