Many food additives have been studied and linked to various diseases. Becoming informed about the additives in everyday food items can make for an easier shopping experience and healthier food for everyone.
Here’s a list of some of the most medically questionable and harmful additives in everyday foods:
- Sodium nitrite
- BHA & BHT
- Propyl gallate
- Monosodium glutamate
- Trans fats
- Food colorings (Blue, Red, Green, Yellow)
- Potassium bromate
- White sugar
- Sodium chloride (salt)
Since some of these may not be familiar to you, sodium nitrite is a preservative added most commonly to bacon, ham, hot dogs, sandwich meats, and smoked fish. BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are other preservatives added to foods like cereal, gum, potato chips, and vegetable oils. Propyl gallate is found in meats, chicken soup base, and gum. All of these preservatives have been linked to cancer.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) can cause migraines and other adverse effects. Trans fats are being eliminated from most foods, as the studies linking them to heart disease, strokes, and kidney problems are widely accepted.
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener found in products like NutraSweet and Equal as well as diet foods and soft drinks. And acesulfame-K is a newer sweetener used in soft drinks and some baked goods.
Many food colorings have been banned by the FDA, but some can still be found in foods that require a particular color. Olestra was common for a time in potato chips as an additive that prevented fat from being absorbed in your digestive system. Food colorings have been tied to cancer and Olestra also blocks vitamins from being processed.
Potassium bromate is sometimes added to white flour, breads, and rolls to increase the volume of the products, but it has cancer-causing properties that have prompted some states in America to actually require a label to that effect.
Finally, white sugar and sodium chloride (salt) can be dangerous if not kept to a minimum.