If you eat fresh fruits and vegetables, unprocessed meats and fish, then you have little to worry about, your diet is probably healthy. However, if you enjoy packaged and processed food and junk food, then there is a good chance that you are consuming some chemicals and ingredients which really are not good for you.
Here we share 10 ingredients which are still legal in the USA, although many are banned in other countries on health grounds. The list includes food colorings, flours, oils, fats and hormones.
Arsenic: Arsenic is a banned substance in Europe, however, traces of it can often be found in chicken feed and swine feed, which then gets into the chickens that we eat. While the National Chicken Council has said that arsenic is no longer added to chicken feed, to be really safe it is wise to pay the extra for organic or free range chickens. While arsenic is found in many places naturally, you should avoid it as much as possible as it lowers the immune system, making us weaker. Alternative: Free range and organic chicken.
Brominated vegetable oil. Brominated vegetable oil (BVO) is added to some soft drinks and sports drinks to stabilize them during processing. The FDA says that it is safe, but there is some evidence to suggest that excess consumption can lead to memory loss, tremors, fatigue, loss of muscle coordination, headache, and ptosis of the right eyelid. There is currently a petition to remove BVO from Mountain Dew, a soft drink made by Pepsi. If you are concerned it is easier to remove mountain dew from your shopping list. Alternative: drink water.
Azodicarbonamide. Azodicarbonamide is used to bleach flour to give us delicious white bread and pasta! It is totally unnecessary and is thought to be an asthma-causing allergen. Banned in the UK and other EU countries, Singapore and Australia. Alternative: eat wholemeal pasta.
Potassium Bromate (Bromated flour). This is used to help bind dough in industrial bread making. It contains bromine, so has the same risks as BVO. It has been banned in Europe, Canada and China, and in California products with Potassium Bromate must carry a health warning.
Olestra. Olestra (also Olean) is a non-caloric fat substitute which is found in some brands of chips. It can lead to malnutrition by blocking the uptake of fat-soluble vitamins and carotenoid. It can also cause diarrhea and stomach problems in some people. It is banned in the UK and Canada.
Butylated Hydroxyanisole / Butylated Hydroxytoluene. These substances are banned in Europe and the UK. They are used as preservatives in breakfast cereals. These can cause irritations, vomiting, diarrhea and damage to the nervous system. Alternative: Check the label and avoid foods with “Butylated” as a listed ingredient.
rBGH & rBST. rBGH and rBST are recombinant bovine growth hormone and recombinant bovine somatotropin (abbreviations really are handy in science). These are a man-made version of bovine growth hormone. It is often found in dairy produce . Although it is generally thought that the hormones are broken down during digestion, The American Cancer Society has stated that they believe there is no risk, other studies have indicated an increased risk of breast and prostate cancer. Alternative: Organic milk and beef.
Blue No.1 and No.2 Food Coloring. Also called Brilliant Blue (E133) and Indigotine (E132), this food coloring has been found in various chips products such as Frito-Lay Sun Chips French Onion. It is also used in Jell-O and Apple Jacks, some soft drinks and candy. Also found in pet food. Banned in Norway, Finland and France. No.1 linked to ADHD, allergies, and asthma and No.2. linked irritation to the skin and eyes. Alternative: Eat fresh fruits and make your own pies.
Yellow No.5, Yellow No.6 food coloring. No.5 (Tartrazine, E102) and No.6 (Sunset Yellow, E110) If you thought blue sounded bad, look at yellow. Banned in Norway and Austria, Yellow No.5 causes genotoxicity which is when genetic material in our cells is destroyed. No.6 is linked with allergic reactions and increased levels of hyperactivity in children. Alternative: Avoid yellow sweets, and the yellow snow ….
Red No. 40. Last but not least, Allura Red AC (E129), is also linked with hyperactive disorders in children. There is also concerns that it may cause immune system cancers. The UK advise against its use, although it is not banned. Found in many red foods, such as cherry pies, cocktails, strawberry ice cream and those red preserved cherries (maraschino). Alternative: Fresh cherries!
Avoid these foods and you should lower your risk of developing many harmful conditions, diseases and illnesses.
- Rich Food, Poor Food: The Ultimate Grocery Purchasing System, by Mira Calton and Jayson Calton. Published by Primal Nutrition, Inc. ISBN-10: 0984755179
- Horowitz BZ (1997). “Bromism from excessive cola consumption”. Journal of Toxicology. Clinical Toxicology. 35 (3): 315–320.
- Experiences with Olestra (or lays light/ruffles light chips 0% fat) – Jun 02 2007, CalorieCount.about.com.
- Does Your Kids’ Cereal Contain BHT or BHA – An Ingredient in Jet Fuels? Mine Did. – Monday, November 14, 2011. MedFriendly.com
- Report on Public Health Aspects of the Use of Bovine Somatotrophin – 15-16 March 1999 – Europa.eu
- 9 Food Additives That May Affect ADHD – Health.com
- Summary of Color Additives for Use in the United States in Foods, Drugs, Cosmetics, and Medical Devices – FDA.gov
- Assessment of Chemical Factors in Relation to Child Hyperactivity by Neil Ward. Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine, 1997, Vol. 7, No. 4 , Pages 333-342 (doi:10.1080/13590849762466)