The United States allows ingredients in our packaged and prepared foods that have been banned in many other countries! In this article I’ll outline some ingredients you will find in common store bought foods that should raise your eyebrows. Hopefully you’ll decide to put aside these products with poisons posing as foods.
Primarily the blame is on the FDA, which for whatever reason decides to allow these ingredients in our food. From their new book Rich Food, Poor Food by Mira and Jayson Calton:
“For numerous suspicious and disturbing reasons, the U.S. has allowed foods that are banned in many other developed countries into our food supply,”
Covering over 100 countries on seven continents, the authors studied more than 150 ingredients and put together a list of the top problematic products that are forbidden by governments outside the U.S. due to their detrimental, even poisonous, health effects.
If you see any of these following ingredients listed on the ingredients label, don’t buy the product!
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Food dyes / Food colors
(primarily Blue 1&2, Yellow 5&6, but also Red 2&3, Green 3,…)
Hazards: Have all been identified as being, or being contaminated with, potential cancer-causing chemicals according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 are known to trigger reactions in those with allergies. “Today most artificial colors are made from coal tar, which is also used to seal-coat products to preserve and protect the shine of industrial floors.”
Why it is used: “Recent studies have shown that when food manufacturers left foods in their natural, often beige-like color instead of coloring them with these chemical agents, individuals thought they tasted bland and ate less, even when the recipe wasn’t altered,” Calton says. This starts to explain the use of artificial food dyes. The use of the most popular have increased 500% since 1955 : red 40, yellow 5, and yellow 6.
Some common products that contain it: Cake, candy, macaroni and cheese, medicines, sport drinks, soda, pet food, and cheese.
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Olean also known as Olestra
Hazards: Banned in the U.K. and Canada as well as other places, “This fat substitute appears to cause a dramatic depletion of fat-soluble vitamins and carotenoids, robbing us of the vital micro-nutrients,” Calton says. Time magazine names this as one of the 50 worst inventions ever, and mentions side effects include cramps, gas and loose bowels and oily anal leakage!
Why it is used: Procter & Gamble Co.spent a half a billion dollars to create it. They don’t want to lose that investment.
Some common products that contain it: Fat-free Pringles, Bar-B-Q Pringles, Sour Cream & Onion Pringles, Lay’s Light, Doritos Light, Ruffles, & Tostitos Light
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Brominated Vegetable Oil (aka BVO)
Hazards: Banned in more than 100 countries (except the U.S.)! “Because it competes with iodine for receptor sites in the body, elevated levels of the stuff may lead to thyroid issues, such as hypothyroidism, autoimmune disease, and cancer,” Calton says. BVO’s main ingredient, bromine, is a poisonous chemical that is an endocrine disruptor, corrosive and toxic. It’s been linked to major organ system damage, thyroid problems, birth defects, growth problems, schizophrenia, and hearing loss.
Why it is used: A vegetable oil derived from corn or soy, Acts as an emulsifier, preventing the flavoring from separating and floating to the surface of beverages.
Some common products that contain it: Mountain Dew and citrus-flavored sodas.
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Potassium bromate (aka brominated flour)
Hazards: Bromines are common endocrine disruptors (see BVO above). Also associated with kidney and nervous system disorders as well as gastrointestinal discomfort. The International Agency for Research on Cancer,labeled potassium bromate as a category 2B carcinogen.
Why it is used: Potassium Bromate is a dough conditioner found in commercial bakery products and some flours and reduces time needed for baking which cuts down on manufacturer costs.
Some common products that contain it: Bakery goods and some flours often contain a “dough conditioner” called potassium bromate. Mountain Dew, Gatorade, Squirt, Fresca. (But also pesticides esp on strawberries, plastics, medications, fire retardants used in fabrics, hot tub & swimming pool treatments)
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Azodicarbonamide (another version of bromide)
Hazards: linked to asthma, Banned in most European countries as well as Australia. And its use in Singapore has some pretty severe penalties (up to 15 years in prison and $450,000 fine).
Why it is used: While most countries wait a week for flour to naturally whiten, the American food processors prefer to use this chemical to bleach the flour ASAP.
Some common products that contain it: Subway adds Azodicarbonamide to the dough of their flour. Found in many Breads, frozen dinners, boxed pasta mixes, and packaged baked goods
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BHA and BHT
Hazards: California is the only state that recognizes the U.S. National Institute of Health’s report that BHA is may be a human carcinogen, a cancer-causing agent. Also associated with hyperactivity in children.
Why it is used: Acts as preservatives to prevent food from becoming rancid and developing objectionable odors… and they put “for added freshness” on the package label!!
Some common products that contain it: Cereal, nut mixes, gum, butter, meat, dehydrated potatoes, and beer
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rBGH and rBST Synthetic Hormones
Hazards: Prohibited in Canada, Japan, and 27 countries in Europe. “Cows treated with these synthetic hormones often become lame, infertile, and suffer from inflamed and infected udders,” Calton says. Humans, who consume these cows byproducts, are in no better shape, she adds: “The milk is supercharged with IGF-1 (insulin growth factor -1), which has been linked to breast, colon, and prostate cancers.”
Why it is used: Dairy farmers inject cows with genetically-engineered cow growth hormones to boost milk production by about 10 percent.
Some common products that contain it: Milk & Dairy. See wikipedia link for some food manufacturers that are excluding this now.
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Hazards: A Human Carcinogen. The European Union has outlawed the use of Arsenic since 1999!
Why it is used: Arsenic in chicken feed is used in the U.S. to promote growth, improve efficiency in feeding the birds, and boost pigmentation. “The arsenic affects the blood vessels in chickens and turkeys, causing them to appear pinker and, therefore, fresher,” says Calton.
Some common products that contain it: Poultry, rice
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What can you do avoid these poisons in food?
The biggest problem with these ingredients is not single use – there are so many people drinking soda and eating brominated flour bread and so on… daily!! Yet they seem healthy. The problem with most of these ingredients is the long-term toxic load it puts on your body. So dont stress out if you crave a can of soda once in a blue moon, just make sure its not a daily habit.
Cook your own food as much as possible. For a million and one reasons, now more than ever, its best to avoid buying “food” in a can or box.
Even the most purist organic super-cook can’t avoid buying pre-packaged food once in a while – but what you can do is at least read labels to make sure you minimize your intake of this stuff. Of course, eating out at a restaurant, you will never know what you are eating. Probably the biggest problem with eating out is that even with the tastiest meals, you’re getting nasty oils.
Making bread seems like a big deal but I recently dove into this venture and I find that its as easy to make good bread as it is to make dinner. Really! And the benefits are enormous.
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