Food Additives to Avoid

By: Sheila Reynolds

Any time you venture away from the perimeter of your grocery store, there’s a very good chance that the “food” items on the shelves aren’t really food. For several decades, manufacturers have been adding chemicals to packaged foods for several reasons, all of which eventually come back to increasing their bottom line. Reasons range from improving shelf life, adding vitamins, increasing flavor or attractiveness, and making the foods easier to prepare.

Food Additives to Avoid

Food additives can also be hiding in common ingredients you might be using for your favorite recipes.

Here’s our list of food additives to avoid:

  • Artificial sweeteners. These are in almost any food labeled “sugar free” or “diet.” They can cause behavioral issues, allergies, and even act as a carcinogen in the body, and these effects can be especially detrimental in pregnant women and young children.

  • Sodium nitrite. A common preservative, it is typically found in processed meats such as smoked fish, lunch meat, hot dogs, and bacon. Once consumed, sodium nitrite and nitrate turn into carcinogens in the body, increasing your chances of developing various types of cancer. Some studies have also linked this food additive to avoid to degenerative diseases later in life.

  • Butylated Hydroxyanisol / Hydroxytoluene (BHA / BHT). This is another type of preservative, and is most commonly used to keep vegetable oils, cereals, and potato chips fresher for longer. In addition to keeping foods from turning rancid, BHA and BHT can also cause damage to the nervous system and may increase your risks of certain types of cancer.

  • Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). This preservative and flavor enhancer, which many people are sensitive to, can be hidden anywhere. MSG consumption has been linked to eye damage, headaches, obesity, depression, and a host of other issues.

  • Trans-fats / hydrogenated oils. These days, most people know to avoid trans fats. One of the deadliest types of fat, it increases bad cholesterol while lowering good, putting you at risk of heart disease, attacks, strokes, and a plethora of other potential health issues. If a food contains partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, margarine or is deep fried, chances are there’s some trans-fat present.

If you see any of these ingredients on a food item in your hand, place it squarely back on the shelf. If you avoid these as well as artificial food colorings, you’ll be well on your way to living a healthier, happier life.

Sources: wikipedia honest