Maintenance – Food Additives

Many people are familiar with the term “additive” but was is it really.  Basically an additive is a chemical added to food to alter it in some way. This could be to make it last longer, look fresher, or taste better.  The problem with these chemicals is that they are proven to be bad for our health.  The toxic effect of these chemicals won’t kill you after just one serving, but long term effects could be devastating.  These additives are linked to many problems as minor as eczema, to more serious ones like depression and even cancer. I do believe that depression is a real illness.  I do believe that modern medicine can help “cure” depression.  It would just be nice if people were also informed that proper food choices could also be a “cure”. If you believe that taking medicine ( a chemical) can alter your brain for the good, then it is reasonable to assume that taking chemicals (in the form of additives) could also alter your brain (for the bad).   This is a list of some of the worst food additives out there.

SODIUM NITRITE or NITRATE – a preservative and a taste and color enhancer found in meat.  Usually found in hot dogs, lunch meat, bacon, sausage and canned meats.   Studies have shown this to be a carcinogenic that can cause prostate, stomach, and breast cancer.

MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)  a flavor enhancer that although once associated with foods in Chinese restaurants, is now used by most fast food chains and in many foodstuffs, particularly processed foods. This is the stuff that makes food “just taste real good!”  (We are being “tricked” to eat more).

HYDROGENATED or PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED OILS – these are saturated fats that have been processed with hydrogenation which increases their “shelf life”.  These are often referred to an trans fat. Unlike other dietary fats, trans fats are not essential, and they do not promote good health.  Heart disease is the number one killer in this country.  Heart disease comes primarily from consuming saturated fats.  Do the math.  Avoid these fats!

ASPARTAME (Equal & Nutrasweet) – this controversial artificial sweetener has been behind 75% of all FDA food complaints.  It has been linked to headaches, memory loss, nausea, vision loss, seizures, and more recently CANCER.   The FDA stands by its assurance that it has been well tested and is safe at the current consumption.  I am under the general assumption that if it seems to good to be true then usually it is.  Let us not forget that this was invented in a lab by a chemist.  Not sounding too “Whole Food” to me.

POTASSIUM BROMATE – this chemical is often found in bread and pizza dough and is used as a flour improver, strengthening the dough.  It is also a carcinogen that has been banned from use in food products in Europe, as well as the United Kingdom in 1990, and Canada in 1994, and most other countries. It was banned in Sri Lanka in 2001 and China in 2005. It is also banned in Nigeria, Brazil and Peru. In the United States, it has not been banned (although 3 states have banned it).  I am a bread lover/maker.  I hadn’t even heard of this additive until recently.  How is that countries all over the world have banned a substance that I am potentially consuming on a regular basis AND I HAVEN’T EVEN HEARD OF IT.  It seems SO absurd to me.  I am one “those” people actually looking for information; imagine the unassuming American eating this everyday.  Shouldn’t they be informed that it can cause CANCER?

BHA and BHT (Butylated Hydroxyanisole and Butylated Hydroxytoluene) – are often added to foods to preserve fats. BHA is generally used to keep fats from becoming rancid. It is also used as a yeast de-foaming agent. BHA is found in butter, meats, cereals, chewing gum, baked goods, snack foods, dehydrated potatoes, and beer.  There is strong evidence that these are carcinogens.

A few other notable mentions that you should be wary of:



Sodium Chloride (Salt)

High-Fructose Corn Syrup


Food Colorings

For a fantastic summary of the many different types of chemicals added to our food go to:

The more knowledge we have the more powerful we are.  Take 10 minutes and educate yourself on these additives that are EVERYWHERE.  What you don’t know CAN kill you.  Dramatic….okay maybe…, but definitely true.

Source: WFM Blog 16

Leave a Reply