Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Some big contenders - Food additives

Continuing with our current theme, I have put together a list of some things I avoid when buying groceries. I hope this list of food additives will give you useful information if this is a new subject to you.

Sodium Benzoate- A preservative that causes hyperactivity in some children. Is not carcinogenic on its own, but in combination with asorbic acid or vitamin C, it is a carcinogen. This is found in MANY products including soda, soy sauce, some frozen foods and salad dressings. Note to ponder: Coca-cola has taken it out of its soft drinks... they have reasons.

MSG (aka monosodium glutamate): I’m not sure what is true in all that I’ve read, but symptoms for MSG are pretty bleak! Some of the symptoms I’ve read: headache, hyperactivity, becoming flushed, depression, brain damage (!) and obesity to name a few. Yes, MSG is found in Chinese restaurants, but it is also found throughout your grocery store, including lots of boxed dinner options. I know you can’t believe everything you read, but if you’re interested in reading more here are some websites: Truth in Labeling and MSG myth.

Aspartame: This is a sweetener found in many diet sodas and “sugar free” products. I came across many possible symptoms on this one. Some of them include: anxiety, dizziness, seizures (!), premature birth for pregnant ladies(!) and many more. Here is just one website

High Fructose Corn Syrup: Another sweetener found in most all things that are sweetened. I hear its cheaper than sugar. There are mixed results on possible risks with this one. It is possible that your body doesn’t process the chemical, thus obesity may be an issue. 

Artificial Food Dyes: Found in many colored foods (even white marshmallows!). It is possible that food dyes cause hyperactivity in some children. The FDA is currently reviewing some of these colors. Some European countries require warning labels on foods that contain them.

Sodium Nitrate/Nitrite: This is a color preservative found in most bacons, hot dogs and lunch meats, although you can find these products without the added nitrates/-ites if you look hard enough. The basic problem with them is that they may cause cancer. Most companies will say that you don’t consume enough to cause cancer, but.... limiting it would seem wise.

I know that the above information can make most people feel overwhelmed. I presented it to inform people, not to convince you that you need to take drastic action. Fresh food is always going to be the best and healthiest, that’s common sense. However, making everything fresh is just not practical in most of our lives.

Come back tomorrow and read a list of some of our favorite “safe” junk foods!

1 comment:

sharizat said...

Great info Michelle! I don't think it's overwhelming. What overwhelming is how we stray from natural form in food! And I also believe, no matter how busy we get, we must not pick convenience over quality. All these ingredients are in many 'convenient' foods that we and our kids can live without.