Top Ten Food Additives To Avoid

In the early 90’s, after the birth of my daughter, I began to read food labels.  I decided that I wanted to eat  better for myself and my family.  I had a horrific diet and it showed up in my health and well being. I thought to myself –if I wanted to be around to see my grandchildren I better get my act together.

I created a workshop titled Healthy Choices For Children based on my own self exploration and discovery.  It took me two years to switch my pantry and clean up my habits.

The list below is an information sheet that was used as a basis for discussion. It is all referenced from a book that inspired me.

Decades later, and to my horror,  much of these food additives still exist; saccharin is pervasive in toothpaste and gum, maraschino cherry supplies have yet to run out, aspartame is a horrific addiction issue for many. Blue foods had a recent resurgence.

The fact is these additives are exactly that – additives – they are not necessary or nutritionally valuable for us to eat.

Sourced from: Diet for a Poisoned Planet – How to choose safe foods for you and your family. (1990) by David Steinman Read about his recent campaign about the concerns of 1-4 Dioxane

Top Ten Food Additives to Avoid:

1. Aspartame

Also known as NutraSweet or Equal. Used as a sweetener. See methanol poisoning – page 190

Found in: Diet Pop, table top sweeteners, cereal, breathmints, pudding, jello, kool-aid, ice tea, chewable vitamins, gum, toothpaste and more….


Preservative- keeps foods from changing color, changing flavor or becoming rancid. Effects the neurological system of the brain, alters behavior and has potential to cause cancer

Found in: Potato chips, gum, cereal, frozen sausages, enriched rice, lard, shortening, candy, jello

3. Blue #1 and Blue #2

Often not listed on the label

Banned in Norway, Finland and France

May cause chromosomal damage

Found in: candy, cereal, soft drinks, sports drinks and pet foods

4. BVO ( Brominated Vegetable Oil)

Used as an emulsifier and as a clouding agent

Bromate the main ingredient is a poison

Traces can be found in human fat tissue

Found in: orange pop, sports drinks

5. Citrus Red #2

Used to color skins of Florida oranges

May cause cancer and chromosomal damage

FDA has recommended a ban

6. MSG ( monosodium glutamate )

A food flavor enhancer that effects the person ingesting that food. Common symptom is headaches other symptoms include: flushing of the skin, tightness of the chest, heart palpatations and nausea. Can trigger allergic or asthmatic reactions. Also found in two other commonly used additives hydrolyzed vegetable or plant protein and autolyzed yeast.

Found in: chinese food ( Chinese Restaurant Syndrome ) many snacks, chips, cookies, seasonings, most Campbell Soup products, frozen dinners , lunch meats and more

7. Red dye # 3 (also Red #40 – a more current dye)

Banned in 1990 after 8 years of debate from use in many foods and cosmetics. This dye continues to be on the market until supplies run out! Has been proven to cause thyroid cancer and chromosomal damage in laboratory animals, may also interfere with brain-nerve transmission

Found in: fruit cocktail, maraschino cherries, cherry pie mix, ice cream, candy, bakery products and more! Red #40 is suspected of being a carcinogen

8. Saccharin

Ten years after the FDA proposed banning, saccharin is still on the market. Studies in Canada confirmed what American studies have suggested: saccharin poses a significant risk of cancer for humans.

Found in: soft drinks, gum and toothpaste

9. Sodium Nitrate

Prevents spoilage that could lead to botulism and to retain color in meats. Nitrates can form cancer causing compounds in the gastrointestinal tract. Food with Nitrates should always be ingested with vitamin C rich foods. Often food companies will add vitamin C to nitrate cured foods.

Found in: cured meats such as bacon, ham and luncheon meat, hot dogs, anything smoked.

10. Yellow #6

Banned in Norway and Sweden

Increases the number of kidney and adrenal gland tumors in laboratory animals, may cause chromosomal damage.

Found in: American cheese, macaroni and cheese, candy and carbonated beverages, lemonade and more!

Foods To Avoid —  Red Light Foods or pesticide saturated foods – Peanuts, raisins, hot dogs, salami, bacon, bologna, fast food burgers ( including buns etc. ) ground beef, liver, pork sausages, roast beef, sirloin, veal, venison. Fish ( see book ) Milk products including cheese. Processed foods such as: French fries, frozen pizza, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate cake, coffee cake, milk chocolate, pumpkin pie, dill pickles, peanut butter, potato chips, hydrogenated oils, cottonseed, palm, coconut, “pure” olive oil, soybean oil

toxic flickr image

K a r e n     H a n r a h a n
Wellness Educator/Nutritional Consultant
Mentoring YOU to Health Success

Weight Loss

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8 Responses to Top Ten Food Additives To Avoid

  1. Michelle says:

    Karen,You’ve hit the nail on the head! Food additives are horrible. In the past year I’ve made an effort to eliminate processed foods and eat mostly whole foods. The change has been astounding. For example, I ate at my sister’s on Sunday night and she had prepared a “meal in a bag” Within minutes of eating, I felt horrible and about an hour or so later my body was eliminating the ‘poison’ from my system. My sister says that “I’m too sensitive to food” and I tell her that it’s not food! It’s chemicals. I fished the label out of the garbage and couldn’t pronounce half of the ingredients. Some might consider me weird, but I tell them that I’m going back to the basics. I’m preparing food the way it was made 100+ years ago. It doesn’t take more time, just a little getting used to and shift away from the “I want it now” instant gratification culture in which we live!

  2. Karen Hanrahan says:

    Michelle, Congratulations! You are a pioneer!! Meal in a bag? Seriously?

  3. NANCY says:

    People get so frustrated by me when I tell them what they are ACTUALLY eating. I think I’ve come to the conclusion that if they don’t want to listen to reason and continue to willing pay for an early death, then I’m just gonna let them! It’s easier to play dumb. My closest friends listen to my rants…and thankfully I’ve helped some people see the light behind all of this evilness going on in this corporate world. I’ll be the first to say I love a good candy session…but I’m not willing to continue to poison myself on purpose.

    A doctor friend of mine told me a story about a lady that was given 6 months to live with the cancer that took over her body. She and her husband completely changed their way of life and made EVERYTHING from scratch…she’s living 4 years cancer free. Too ironic to not be related… people are so ignorant and afraid of the truth..that’s why they get frustrated! Wouldn’t you rather KNOW the harm you’re dong to your body and stop the bad habits?! Blows my mind.

    Thanks for the article! Very informative.

  4. Excellent stuff, thanks a mill for this.

  5. Andrew Scott says:

    Its generous of you to inform the public of such harm that occurs from food additives and I have listed them in my diary. Isn’t it strange that governments point fingers at each other for doing the wrong thing by its citizens7and or other nations, and yet turn a blind eye on its own people and their full understanding of this topic, and allow people to suffer slowly.
    Your site and information empowers people to take charge of their own choices in the supermarket and garden. I will pass this information on.
    Thanks for making it easily accessible. Please keep the movement going.

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