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 has 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:
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….
2. BHA, BHT, TBHQ
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
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!