Tags: Obesity | food | additives | GMOs | nutrition | health

5 Worst Additives in Your Food, and How to Avoid Them

5 Worst Additives in Your Food, and How to Avoid Them

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By    |   Wednesday, 16 November 2016 03:18 PM

Pick up a packaged food, like a packet of cookies or a frozen dinner, and you’ll likely find a long list of ingredients more suited to a chemistry textbook than a cookbook.

These are food additives, substances added to foods that are designed to make them taste or look more pleasing, or – more likely – to stay on the supermarket shelves longer.

But many of these additives can cause health problems, and some are downright dangerous, says Bill Bonvie, co-author of new book “Baddatives: The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet – And How to Avoid Them.”

“Food additives affect health, longevity and quality of life for hundreds of millions of people,” Bonvie tells Newsmax Health.

“There is a small percentage of the population that lives off the land or buys only organic food but most of us don’t have the time and so we cruise the supermarket shelves.”

Bonvie, who with his sister, Linda, have been writing about the dangers of food additives for 25 years, says it's the job of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve food additives, ensuring they are safe. But unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way.

“The FDA is in bed with the big food businesses. The agency isn’t active; it is reactive, and only acts when pressure is put on them. So even though the regulators are supposed to be protecting us, they aren’t,” he says.

Consequently, it’s up to shoppers themselves to try to get rid of these additives by using the power of the marketplace, says Bonvie.

“If enough consumers stop buying these products, companies will change them. So that’s why we wrote our book – we want people to know how these ‘baddatives’ got into foods and what they can eat instead,” he adds.

But how do you ferret out these additives? According to Bonvie, they can be lurking in any type of food product – including ones that appear healthful.

“People think that food additives are only in junk food, or products like cookies and crackers, but the problem is that these dangerous additives can also be found in foods that you think of as good for you, such as rice, chicken, or yogurt,” he says.

Here are five top additives to watch out for:

High fructose corn syrup: Also known as HFCS, this sweetener is made from cornstarch processed with an enzyme that makes it extra sweet. HFCS has been linked to obesity and diabetes. Also be suspicious of ingredients that list “fructose,” because this could be HFCS in disguise, as this natural type of sugar is only found in fresh fruit.

Partially hydrogenated oils: These substances are known as PHOs or, more commonly, trans-fatty acids. After studies conclusively linked trans fatty acids to heart disease, the FDA ordered them phased out. But there’s a loophole: Manufacturers are allowed to list foods with up to 0.5 grams of trans fats as zero trans fats foods. So you have to pay attention to the ingredients listing, not just the labels.

Aspartame: This commonly used artificial sweetener, which is 200 times sweeter than sugar, is found in products that range from diet foods to children’s aspirin. It’s been controversial since the FDA approved it in 1974. “Aspartame is a prime example of what happens food additives are approved; they become entrenched in the system and impossible to get rid of,” says Bonvie. Read labels closely, especially when you see terms like “Low-Cal,” “No-Cal,” “Sugar-Free” or “Safe for Diabetics.”

Monosodium glutamate: This flavor enhancer is known also as MSG. Most people equate MSG with a slight allergic reaction that can occur when it’s used in Chinese food, but this additive is far more dangerous than that, says Bonvie.

MSG is found in many other foods as well, and it can cause everything from Alzheimer’s disease-like symptoms to migraines, seizures, and atrial fibrillation, which hikes stroke risk, he says. Ingredients to watch out for are not only MSG, but also hydrolyzed proteins, soy protein, soy protein concentrate and soy protein isolate, autolyzed yeast, sodium caseinate, textured protein, and yeast extract.

GMOs:  Genetically modified organisms are not additives, but some health experts worry they may raise safety risks by allowing crops to be treated with more pesticides and chemicals. 

Grown from organisms that were created in a lab using genetic engineering, there are GMO versions of crops including soybeans, corn, potatoes, papaya, squash, canola, beets, and alfalfa.

You can avoid GMOs by purchasing fruits and vegetables at farm stands or buying only organic produce.


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Additives are commonly used to enhance or preserve food, but how do you know which are safe? A health expert offers tips on which are the worst for your health and how to eliminate them from your shopping cart.
food, additives, GMOs, nutrition, health
Wednesday, 16 November 2016 03:18 PM
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