Our food supply is loaded with dangerous food additives to avoid. The following 10 food additives have been linked to many debilitating health problems and diseases. Every single one of these additives can be avoided by simply choosing whole foods.
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
Over the last couple of decades, HFCS has slowly replaced sugar in our diets. Corn subsidies and tariffs on sugar are just a couple of the reasons why high fructose corn syrup is cheaper to produce.
HFCS is widely used in processed foods as a sweetener. Unfortunately, high consumption of fructose causes an increase in triglycerides, blood pressure, and inflammation markers .
Enriched flour is processed flour that has had the bran and germ removed. In doing so, it strips the grain of nutrients. Food manufacturers then try to replace those nutrients by fortifying the food.
The problem? Enriched flour is a refined starch that can wreak havoc on your blood sugar. On top of that, many enriched flours are also bleached.
Artificial sweeteners have caused more confusion than just about any other food. Are they OK to eat? Do they cause cancer? For every study showing a link to cancer, there is another one showing a lack of clear evidence.
Your best bet is to avoid such an unproven food product. It took decades to show a clear link to cancer for some sweeteners. Do you really want to take a chance on another new and unproven one?
Hydrogenating oils is the process of adding hydrogen to unsaturated fats. In doing so, they become saturated. Hydrogenated oils are still being used in vast quantities to give better consistency to foods, and to improve shelf-lives.
Among other negative side effects, trans fats have been linked to an increased risk of coronary artery disease . Read the food label ingredients. Just because it says 0 grams of fat, it doesn’t mean there are no hydrogenated oils. The FDA allows anything under .5 grams per serving to be reported as a zero. Read carefully.
Nitrites are used heavily as a food additive to help preserve meats. They also change the color and taste of the food. Some will argue that nitrites are naturally occurring in food.
While this may be true in some cases, the whole foods that contain the nitrites naturally also have antioxidants that prevent the formation of nitrosamines. Nitrosamines are the real killers. Nitrate ingestion has been linked to impaired thyroid function, vitamin A and E metabolism interference, and reduced brain activity .
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
MSG is used as a flavor enhancer in foods. The bad news is that MSG is not clearly labeled on food packaging and is hidden in many foods.
Many times “natural flavor” is used to identify glutamic acid, which is very similar to MSG. Animals treated with MSG developed brain lesions, caused stunted skeletal development and weight gain, and disrupted the neural centers responsible for hormone function .
Artificial Colors and Flavors
Artificial colors and flavors are used by food manufacturers to add visual appeal, taste, and smell to foods. By combining certain chemicals together, “food chemists” can create a near endless variety of flavors.
Anything on a label that says artificial should be avoided, and if you see a color such as blue, red, or yellow, avoid those too. Artificial colors and flavors promote hyperactivity in children and may be a leading cause of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder .
Pesticides are applied to our food for obvious reasons, but many people don’t realize just how much of these pesticides make it into our bodies from our food supply – even whole foods.
It’s estimated that the average person has had 5 pounds of pesticides used on their food every year. That’s a lot of pesticides, and if even just a little bit of that 5 pounds is ingested, the side effects can be detrimental. You can limit your pesticide exposure by choosing organic foods.
Benzoate Preservatives (BHA/BHT)
BHA is used in food to help prevent oils from going rancid. BHT is “reasonably anticipated to be a carcinogen” by many organizations and states (California), and is also used to produce fuel, petroleum products, and embalming fluid. BHA has been shown to grow cancer cells, and contributes to ADHD symptoms  .
Olestra is used as a fat substitute in food products. It’s calorie free, and passes through the body undigested. In doing so, it takes important fat soluble vitamins with it.
Olestra reduces tissue concentrations of fat soluble vitamins . It also causes many digestive problems such as diarrhea, bloating, and anal leakage. I’d say it’s best to avoid.