Top 10 Food Additives to Avoid

There is no doubt that most of the packaged food we buy at the grocery store is full of harmful additives, preservatives, and artificial flavors and colors, but once in a while you come across some innocent sounding names that may not sound so suspicious but upon investigation you find out that they are quite harmful.

The most exposed victims to the dire consequences of additives are families that enjoy consuming mainly processed foods. Because some are more toxic than others, next time you are heading to the supermarket to shop for groceries, watch out for the  Top 10 following additives:

1. Artificial colors.

Artificial colors are actually made from coal, as in the stuff they burn to generate heat and electricity. It was not ever meant as food to start with, and should never be added in food now.  It makes it to No.1 on this top 10 list of ingredients to avoid because of recent studies linking artificial colors to ADD and ADHD in children and connecting it to cancer. Many European countries have taken the most extreme actions by banned artificial colors that are most popularly used in North America. Now its time for Americas to do the same.

2. Artificial Sweetener

Research has found that the artificial sweetener is a popular contaminant in waste water, surface water, and ground water. Recent tests have taken water samples from 19 U.S. drinking water treatment plants serving more than 28 million people to be examined for sucralose. The sweetener was found to be present in: The source water of 15 out of 19 of drinking water treatment plants tested and the finished water of 13 out of 17 plants, and in  whopping 8 out of 12 water distribution systems.

Don’t let any brand name or slogan fool you. Sucralose is not just any magical calorie-free sugar, despite Splenda’s famous slogan, “Made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar.” It is a chlorinated artificial sweetener cooked up in a factory, and scores of consumers have testified to its devastating effects. It does start off as a sugar molecule—to which three chlorine molecules are usually added. At the end of the  whole process, the chemical composition of the sugar has been altered to the point that it’s actually not sugar.

This type of “sugar” molecule does not occur anywhere in nature, and therefore your body cannot metabolize it. This is why Splenda is advertised as having “zero calories”—because your body does not digest or metabolize it. The item passes right through you. But now studies show that between 11-27 percent of sucraloseis are absorbed into your digestive system and is also absorbed into your fat cells.

3. Trans Fats:

Have you ever walked in Taco Bell and on their menu board it says we only utilize Trans Fat oils. Don’t be conned by the signs, it is not good news for your diet, in fact it means the opposite.

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. Products, such as margarine, chips and crackers, are cooked in trans fat oils.

But not all trans fats are bad.  Milk is a an excellent example and does have some naturally occurring trans fats, but these don’t seem to be as harmful as manmade trans fats. Before purchasing any products with trans fats I would read into it and do a lot of research to find out the health risks.

What is trans fats? Trans fatty acids (trans fats) are a third form of fatty acids (others being saturated and unsaturated). While trans fats do occur in tiny amounts in some foods (particularly foods from animals), almost all the trans fats that are now in our diets come from an industrial process that partially hydrogenates (adds hydrogen to) unsaturated fatty acids. Trans fats can be best described as a form of processed vegetable oils.

4. Caffeine:

Caffeine can be naturally found in tea, coffee, and cocoa. It can equally be added to many soft drinks. It is one of the few drugs — a stimulant — added to foods. Caffeine is dangerous as it promotes stomach-acid secretion, raised blood pressure (temporarily), and dialates some blood vessels while constricting others. Excessive caffeine intake results in a syndrome called “caffeinism,” with symptoms ranging from nervousness to insomnia. These problems already affect children who drink between 2 to 7 cans of soda a day. No wonder most school boards in North America banned them.

Caffeine can be addictive, which is why some people have migraines when they stop drinking it. While small amounts of caffeine don’t pose a problem for everyone, avoid it if you are trying to become or are pregnant. And try to keep caffeine out of you child’s diet.

Note: Caffeine can be ingested in cases of severe migraine headaches to quickly relieve pain. A physician should be contacted if the disease is persistent.

5. Sodium Sulphite: 

According to the FDA, approximately one in 100 people are allergic or have a sensitivity to sulfites in food. Individuals who are sulfite  sensitive may suffer from asthma, headaches, breathing  problems and rashes.

The substance is usually present in wine and dry fruits and  is primarily used in the pulp and paper industry.

6.  High Fructose Corn Syrup:

High fructose corn syrup is a highly-refined artificial sweetener which is the No.1 source of calories in the United States. It is found in almost all processed foods. HFCS packs on the pounds faster than any other ingredient, elevates your bad cholesterol levels, and contributes to the development of diabetes and tissue damage.

The ingredient is most commonly found in: most processed foods, such as breads, candy, salad dressings and canned vegetables and fruits.

7. Potassium Bromate: 

Potassium bromate is one of the best dough improvers in the bakery business. Under controlled baking conditions, potassium bromate is converted into potassium bromide, a harmless additive to consumers. Scientific evidence implicate the bromate substance with possible carcinogens and has been removed as an acceptable additive for flour treatment.

The ingredient is widely used for baking because it has excellent flour improvement qualities. The high levels of protein (glutens) in the flour trap gas bubbles and cause the dough to rise. Potassium Bromate facilitates this process and lowers the levels of gluten, resulting in stronger and voluminous bread.

 8. Sodium Nitrate:

If you fancy meat and especially processed meat products, then it is mandatory to check the percentage of sodium nitrates/nitrites that these foods contain. Because the nitrates are a preservative, they are generally considered harmless. However, when they enter the body and are digested, they break down into carcinogenic substances. The nitrates are known to be hazardous to health and have even been some attempts to vote it out of the meat industry. Yet, they are not banned form the industry simply because they have the ability to turn the meat bright red.

9. MSG Flavor Enhancers:

The MSG flavor enhancer constitutes an excitotoxin known to cause over-excitation of the cells, even to the point of severe damage and death. At the same time, studies show that the E621 or MSG disturbs the hunger neurotransmitters to the brain, particularly the ones that are associated with the saturation sensation and hence, it is yet another factor that can contribute to obesity. The Monosodium Glutamate can be typically found in soups, chips, dressings, frozen foods and other aliments found in restaurants.

 10.  Sulfur Dioxide:

At this point, the use of sulfur dioxide (E220) is completely forbidden in the US and several countries in Europe. The most common utilization of sulfur dioxide in the food industry comprised of maintaining the appearance and taste of dried fruits and vegetables. While it may preserve the taste and looks, the substance will surely destroy important nutrients present in these aliments (vitamins B1 and E).

However, it has been proven beyond any shadow of a doubt that this sulfite is responsible for hypertension, bronchial problems and can even cause an anaphylactic shock. Sulfur dioxide is strictly contraindicated for people with chronic respiratory conditions and particularly asthma. In addition to that, it is highly advisable to avoid vinegar, potato products, soft drinks, wine and cordials that contain this sulfite.

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