This no-calorie, artificial sweetener finds its way into our soft drinks and coffees daily. While the lure of a calorie-free sweetener is understandably appealing, its high-risk properties make calories feel like a boon. Aspartame consists of three chemicals: aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol. Linked to the development of cancerous brain tumors, diabetes, birth defects, and even vision issues, aspartame's appearance on the market in the '80s caused much controversy. A 2006 study by the European Ramazzini Foundation (ERF) in Bologna, Italy, concluded it was a carcinogen. However, according to the FDA, the study data made available by the ERF did not provide enough evidence to refute the FDA's conclusion that aspartame is safe. The 20-plus-year debate still wages on, as more tenuous links between illness and aspartame are unveiled.
Common Food Dyes
As a general rule of thumb, when it comes to the color of your food, bland is bad. Colorful foods are great for you, but if those colors didn't occur in nature, you could be headed into a dark zone. Foods with artificial coloring generally cause hyperactivity in sensitive children, plus a multitude of side effects depending on which dyes they're ingesting. Studies of Green 3, Red 3, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 2, and Orange B have all indicated a correlation between the dyes and several types of cancers and tumors. While Blue 1, Citrus Red 2, and Red 40 are not as high risk, they should be monitored according to personal allergies since all are common in junk food.
Sodium Nitrate, Sodium Nitrite
Ever wonder how your bacon keeps its pinkish, appealing color? To preserve meats' color and shelf life, processed meats like bacon, hot dogs, and sausage are infused directly with the additive sodium nitrate. The Mayo Clinic's Martha George, M.D., concluded that sodium nitrate is linked to heart disease and cancer. Dr. George discovered that it damages blood vessels, possibly causing arteries to narrow and harden. A University of Hawaii study also revealed that people who consumed processed meat were 67 percent more likely to get pancreatic cancer than those who refrained from meat consumption. Although the study didn't single out sodium nitrate as the offender, nutrition author Mike Adams notes that your body converts the additive to nitrosamines when consumed, which promote the growth of cancer cells. Though some measures have been taken to lessen the impact of sodium nitrate, there is still debate on how much (if any) should be allowed in meats.
For years, soy has been gracing our tables under the guise of a healthy food, and for those of us who are lactose intolerant, a godsend. However, this additive is linked to many hormonal discrepancies in both men and women. In several studies where female mice consumed higher amounts of soy, their litters grew smaller and in some cases proved to be infertile. In male rats, there was a proven abnormal growth of breast cells. Though the reproductive organs in the males were not feminized, the estrogen levels did alter their behavior. The scary part? Our reproductive systems do not vary that much from rodents, however the average human male would have to consume extremely high amounts of soy to develop such high estrogen levels. But for those who are lactose intolerant, the possibility of breast growth (and flaccidity) is very real. In Diane Gregg's The Hidden Dangers of Soy, the soybean is exposed as a toxin itself, reportedly acting as an enzyme inhibitor and even preventing your body from absorbing nutrients.
Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) and Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)
An additive that preserves fats and oils in your foods and cosmetics will leave you feeling anything but pretty. While hard to avoid because it is so widely used, BHT is an antioxidant that prevents food from going rancid and is found commonly in chewing gum, dry breakfast cereals, and potato flakes. Though considered to be safe, it is linked to adverse interactions when consumed alongside hormonal birth-control methods or steroid hormones. It also may affect chemical balances in the brain and cause sufficient behavioral changes, as was evident in a study of mice offspring that had a diet including 1 percent of BHA. The Select Committee of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (which advises the FDA on additives) recommended further studies to determine the effects of BHT. The reason: The FASEB believes there is a possibility that BHT may convert other ingested substances into toxic carcinogens.
Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils and Trans Fats
When vegetable oil undergoes the process of hydrogenation, hydrogen is added to prevent the oil from spoiling. This allows for a longer shelf life, makes food appear less greasy, and keeps food fresher for longer. While most companies have banned trans fats from their products, labels can be misleading — 0.5 grams of trans fat can legally be printed on a label as "0 grams trans fat." Commercially baked goods and fried foods are the leading products that contain trans fats. The danger lies in that trans fats increase bad cholesterol (LDL) while lowering good cholesterol (HDL). This increases the risk of heart disease, the leading killer of men and women.
Used as a thickening agent in ice cream, yogurt, pudding, and cottage cheese, carrageenan is a water-soluble polymer derived from red seaweed. Joanne Tobacman, M.D., from the University of Iowa, published a review of 45 investigations on the additive's effects, and claims to have found evidence that it causes ulcerations and malignancies in the gastrointestinal tract in tested animals. Though the FDA deemed its usage as safe, Tobacman insists that the additive undergo review, as evidence becomes more conclusive that it causes lesions in the stomach and ultimately leads to cancer.
Though its use in cosmetics make make your face look pretty, what it may do to your insides isn't so flattering. Just like BHA and BHT, propyl gallate is an antioxidant that helps to slow the process of spoilage in food — from meats to chewing gum. Research suggests that there are many adverse effects to using this additive. For one, those who have an allergy to it may experience asthmatic symptoms, irritable skin, and an upset stomach. Further research indicates that consumption will lead to kidney and liver complications, and animal studies point to cancer-causing tendencies.
In theory, Olestra rocks. This additive allows you to cut out the fat in your favorite fatty snacks — literally. This fat substitute takes the calories, cholesterol, and of course, fat, out of food products. Unfortunately, it also prevents your body's ability to absorb essential vitamins. Found in some varieties of common snack-food brands like Frito-Lay's light chips and fat-free Pringles, the FDA still allows Olestra to be used in food products. Some nasty other side effects like gas, loose bowels, and cramps could occur as well.
This oxidizing agent is rare, but still legal in the U.S., and is used as an additive to increase volume in white flour, breads, and rolls. When given directly (orally), it was found to be carcinogenic in rats and nephrotoxic in both humans and tested animals. Tumors also appeared in both the kidneys and thyroid in test subjects.
OMG! These Shocking Food Additives are a Huge Part of your Favorite Junk Foods
If you are a fan of junk food, you are not alone millions of people love these colorful looking food that tantalize your taste buds like anything. But do you know, what do they really contain?
It will take you by surprise to know about the exhaustive list of harmful additives and pesticides it contains! Pesticides, insecticides, additives, adulterants, you name it, they have it. Although most of these foods are FDA-approved, they contain a frightening lot of harmful things to your body! Time to freak out!
8 Food Additives Sabotaging Your Mood
You are probably aware of the physical impact food can have on your body, but what about the psychological? Even when you think you are eating a nutritious snack, chances are that there are hidden additives that could be harming your nervous system -- resulting in fatigue, anxiety, and even depression. Here’s what to look out for:
These oils are used to prolong the shelf life of an item and are also responsible for the trans fat content in foods. Trans fats are particularly difficult for the body to digest, which is why they increase cholesterol levels and body weight. They also can cause moodiness. Avoid these oils by purchasing items that expire within a week or two and opt for healthier oils such as coconut or olive oil.
You may have heard the phrase “the whiter the bread, the sooner you’re dead.” While white flour isn’t exactly killing you, it certainly isn’t good for your waistline or your mood. Its empty calories and high glucose content can leave you feeling fatigued, hungry and cranky. Be careful – this ingredient is tough to avoid, as it’s used as a thickening agent in a wide variety of dressings and soups.
Sugar in all of its forms - dextrose, corn syrup, lactose, sucrose, and fructose - can kill your mood and lead to a host of health problems. Even natural sources of fructose such as agave nectar can lead to insulin resistance and mood instability. This is because they contain concentrated levels of fructose, which can cause sugar highs and lows.
This synthetic yellow dye also known as FD&C Yellow No. 5 is primarily used as food coloring and taste enhancer. Commonly found in sodas, candy, and cookies, this dye is linked to allergies, asthma, and mood disorders. The best way to avoid this chemical is to steer clear of brightly colored foods.
Another commonly used food dye, Allura has been linked to ADHD and hypersensitivity in both children and adults. Try to avoid any bright-red-colored products, which may include frostings, chips, fruit snacks and sports drinks.
This additive is commonly used to extend shelf life and enhance flavor in a variety of frozen meals, chips, soups, and many other products. Consuming MSG can lead to brain fog, fatigue, anxiety, moodiness and nausea. Look for foods labeled organic or “MSG Free,” since the FDA doesn’t require MSG to be listed as an ingredient.
Omega-6 fatty acids are an essential unsaturated fat, but eating too much (a serving of potato chips, for example) can block the mood-boosting omega-3 fatty acids our bodies crave. Omega-6 is also a pro-inflammatory agent, which when inadequately balanced with omega-3 can lead to inflammation. To avoid overconsumption, avoid fried oils and instead of chips, opt for almonds when you crave some crunch.
If you see the words “sugar-free,” chances are that the product contains the artificial sweetener aspartame. Sure, sugar is bad for you, but it doesn’t help when it’s replaced with this chemical, which has been linked to headaches, GI problems, seizures, and mood disorders. If you need a sweet fix, try sweetening snacks with 100 percent raw cane sugar, raw honey, or coconut sugar.
Top 10 Most Addictive Foods
What's your favorite food? You know -- the one you tell people you're addicted to. Salt and vinegar potato chips? Pickles? Chocolate? Oh yeah, chocolate. We all have our weaknesses. But can you actually be addicted to a food -- physically addicted?
Experts say "yes." In fact, studies show that some foods actually have a narcotic-like effect on our brains. So, when you occasionally overdo it on fast food or cheesecake, remember that it's not just a lack of willpower on your part. It's a chemical reaction.
What are the 10 most addictive foods? Well, that's a matter of opinion, of course. But our guess is that many of these would make your list. Some are downright indulgent, while others fill needs that have little to do with our taste buds.
10: Pasta, Bread, Potatoes and Rice
The advantages of a low-carb diet may be getting a lot of publicity these days, but plenty of us still lust after piles of pasta and loads of French-fried potatoes. If you dream about tortellini, fresh sushi rolls, buttermilk biscuits and potato skins, you aren't alone in thinking carbs may be the key to happiness at mealtime.
Eating carbohydrates (more on sugar later) produces a natural, physical high caused by the release of dopamine. The human body likes that happy feeling -- a lot -- and starts craving more of it. Both cocaine use and carb consumption have a similar effect on the brain's pleasure center. Actually, if the idea of eating a chocolate cupcake (mac and cheese or a donut) ever jumped into your head while you were contemplating your taxes or thinking about the dirty laundry, that was your brain bushwhacking your good judgment with a food craving. Can you crash and start going through carb withdrawal? You sure can. Some symptoms include anxiety, headache and irritability.
9: Chips and Other Salty Snacks
Salt occurs naturally in many of the foods we eat, but humans add more -- plenty more. Salty is one of the basic tastes perceived by the taste buds, and it can work in conjunction with sweet and sour tastes to bring new dimensions to the flavors in food. Eating too much salt may eventually hinder your body's ability to get rid of the excess, though.
Like dependence on alcohol or cigarettes, there's a psychological -- as well as a physiological -- component to salt addiction. You crave salt in your diet because it tastes good, and that pleasurable feeling reacts with the reward center of your brain, making it hard to control your salt consumption, even when you realize you should. It gets worse. After ingesting too much salt, your kidneys try to dump the excess through your urine. When your kidneys can't keep up, plan B is to store the surplus salt between your cells for a while. If you're a chronic salt abuser, your kidneys may never catch up. This leads to problems like potassium deficiency, water retention, high blood pressure and even congestive heart failure.
If you're in the habit of throwing salt around your dinner plate and snacking on pretzels, chips and other salty munchies, face it -- you're probably a salt-aholic. Try to start cutting back now, and in the meantime, eat a banana or two a day. Bananas help neutralize some of the negative effects of excess salt in your system by replenishing your body's stores of potassium.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans established in 2005 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the average adult should consume no more than a teaspoon (or 2,300 milligrams) of sodium a day.
That pack of gum in your pocket may have been an impulse purchase designed to keep your breath fresh or even to forestall the urge to smoke. A foil wrapped stick of gum looks pretty innocent, we have to admit. A little vigorous mastication never hurt anybody, right? Well, it's not quite that simple.
Although you don't swallow it (we hope), habitual gum chewing can involve some of the same dependency issues as food addictions, especially if you're hooked on sugary gums as opposed to the sugar-free variety. We aren't talking about nicotine gum, here, just the garden variety gum you're likely to find at the checkout counter of most grocery stores.
It turns out that many activities can become compulsive and somewhat addictive, particularly if they're acting as surrogates for other addictions. If you chew gum when you really want a breakfast pastry (bad), the gum may end up being a better choice, but one that produces anxiety when you can't refresh your wad during the Monday morning meeting. There's also the reassuring feeling that comes from chewing on something -- anything. If all your pencils (and your nails) look liked they've been gnawed on, you know what we mean. If you're a gum chewer, choose a nice sugar free brand and adopt a sedate chewing tempo that won't cause jaw problems later.
You hate it on your thighs, but love it in ice cream. Once upon a time, fat was a good thing. A nice pad of fat around the middle helped early man get through the harsh winter when food was scarce. Fast forward to last weekend, and a predisposition to indulge in nachos, greasy hot wings and pork rinds may have some of you waddling the dog around the park instead of setting a brisk, heart-healthy pace. Fat is another food that affects the pleasure center of the brain. When coupled with salt or sugar (or both), it packs a double whammy that can be irresistible. The fast food industry excels at developing menu options that create the most addictive blends of fat, sugar and salt. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Did you know that Roman soldiers used to be paid in salt? The payment was called their "salarium," which is where we got the word "salary."
6: Foods Advertised as Non-fat, Low-fat or Sugar-free
Oh no! The one bastion of good-for-you-food may be almost as addictive as the other baddies on this list. Here's how it works: You decide to be responsible and eat low-fat crackers instead of the fat-laden alternatives. What's the result? You end up eating twice as many crackers (or more) because you think the low-fat brand you've selected is a healthier choice with a little caloric wiggle room. Actually, low-fat foods are just that, low in fat. There's no guarantee that they're nutritious and also low in sodium and questionable additives. In fact, many foods advertised as low-fat contain increased amounts of sodium to add flavor.
If you automatically reach for low-fat or nonfat options at the market, you may be hooked on the idea that you can cheat the food pyramid with some ingredient sleight-of-hand instead of adopting more responsible eating habits. Ouch. This is a sneaky trap, and frankly, pretty unfair. After a few days of being good and eating low-fat alternatives, many of us start feeling deprived and end up binging on high-calorie indulgences anyway. Then, the cycle starts all over again.
There's a reason so many people call themselves "chocoholics." When we eat chocolate (and other sweet or fatty foods), it releases serotonin into the brain. Serotonin affects the brain cells related to mood, appetite, social behavior and even sexual desire. So, when we eat chocolate, we actually feel happier. Then, we crave that feeling when we're not eating chocolate.
In many women, these chocolate cravings actually occur on a monthly basis, suggesting a hormonal link. Many people report craving chocolate -- and that happy feeling -- during episodes of seasonal affective disorder and premenstrual syndrome. When you claim you love chocolate, you may really mean it.
Beyond the allure of your favorite desserts like ice cream, cupcakes and pies, the sugar in just about any food can be addictive. Believe it or not, sugar addiction begins at birth. Think about it -- human breast milk is very sweet, so even as babies we associate sweetness with happiness and satisfaction.
Here's what happens when you consume sugar. When sugar enters the bloodstream, blood sugar levels (obviously) rise. This causes the pancreas to release insulin. The insulin converts this sugar into energy -- a "sugar high." Unfortunately, excess insulin also encourages fat storage. So, the more sugar you eat, the more insulin you produce, and the more likely you are to gain weight.
A Princeton University study found that rats that were fed sugar became anxious when the sugar was removed from their diets. Some of the rats even experienced withdrawal symptoms like chattering teeth and the shakes.
The Cultural Collapse: Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt has undoubtedly become a go-to in popular dairy treats these days, but those in the know also know that it’s starting to get some bad press, both for environmental woes and health problems . Sure, some people love yogurt, but is it really worth it? Not when there are perfectly delicious alternatives in the store.
Truth be told, some authors, in their former lives, actually aspired to make homemade yogurt regularly and, upon going vegan, briefly gave up the dream. What a fool! Making vegan yogurt is equally as thrilling, simple and natural, including the probiotics if you wish. It’s a simple as fermenting thickened coconut milk for about eight hours and serving chilled.
8 food additives to watch out for in some of your favourite food
Food additives are substances that are added to food to preserve and/or enhance its taste, flavour and texture. While natural preservatives such as oil, vinegar, salt and sugar have been used to preserve foods by pickling or making jams, recent years have seen an increase in synthetic additives that are used to preserve and increase the shelf life of foods.
It can get a little overwhelming to remember which additives to look out for, especially since we are bombarded every few days with forwarded emails and text messages with a different set of additives each time. We have compiled a list of top eight additives that you should be watching out for in your processed food.
Found in – soda, frozen desserts, gum, and fruit spreads, etc.
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that is linked with dizziness, headaches and hallucinations. It may also increase the risk of leukaemia, lymphoma and breast cancer.
Found in – Sugar free foods
Saccharin is an artificial sweetener used in place of sugar because it has fewer calories. Unfortunately foods containing saccharin are known to cause cancer in the uterus, bladder, ovaries and skin.
3. Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)
Found in – chips, gum, cereal, etc.
BHA is an antioxidant that prevents the oil in the foods from turning rancid. Research has shown that this can be carcinogenic for humans.
Found in – “Less Oily” potato chips
Olestra is a fat substitute that causes severe diarrhoea, flatulence and cramping. It also depletes fat-soluble vitamins and carotenoids in the body.
Found in – Most foods requiring artificial colours such as candies, sodas, etc.
Most colouring agents have coal tar as an ingredient. These are known carcinogens that are best avoided. Another side effect of these colouring agents is hyperactivity.
Potassium Bromate is added to dough used for baking breads to increase volume. It has been known to cause cancer in animals. Bromine is an ingredient in Potassium Bromate and is known to be poisonous. Even a small amount of ingestion can cause problems for humans. It has been known to cause gastrointestinal pain, problems in the nervous system and kidney disorders.
7. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
Found in – most Asian foods, canned foods, etc.
MSG is used to enhance the flavour of food. Found in most preserved foods and oriental food, this additive is known to cause extremes of headaches, heart palpitations, nausea and weakness.
Found in – Coffee, caffeinated drinks
Caffeine is a flavouring used in soft drinks, coffee, tea and chocolate that can interfere with sound sleep. High doses of caffeine have been found to cause miscarriage and birth defects. Other problems include making people jittery and cause sleeping problems.
Remember, you don’t need to feel shy about turning over the packets and taking the time to read the information on the packaging before you buy them.
Babysit the clock. A few seconds can be the difference between al dente and oatmeal. Taste the pasta about a minute before the package says it's done, and drain when it's just shy of just right.
Give it a rinse. The grains used in most gluten-free pasta dissolve more easily, leaving a starchy coating, so rinse the pasta in cold water right after draining.
Toss it pronto. GF pasta gets sticky especially fast as it sits in the colander, so make sure your sauce is on standby so you can toss it with the pasta immediately.
Why phosphate additives will be the next taboo ingredient
(Drew Hadley/Getty Images)
Fast food chains are in the hot seat yet again for using questionable ingredients in their products. This time, it’s something most people would consider to be healthy: grilled chicken breasts.
I’m one of the instigators. I was contacted by the producers of “CBC Marketplace,” an investigative consumer TV program, to examine the nutrition and ingredients in fast food chicken breasts.
Along with sodium, that common nutrition and health scapegoat, there was a group of ingredients I flagged that the producers had never heard of before: phosphate additives. And they’re in so much more than fast food chicken.
Mark my words, phosphate additives will be the trans fats of the future at one time prevalent throughout our food supply, and eventually banned due to overwhelming evidence of their negative impact on human health.
Phosphorus is a mineral that’s naturally found in milk products, nuts, eggs and poultry. We need phosphorus in our diets for bone health and other key functions, such as making protein and helping our body store energy.
In the form of phosphate compounds, phosphorus can also be added to food and beverages. These additives help baked goods rise, they act as emulsifiers in processed cheese and canned soup, they add flavor to cola and color to frozen french fries. They also can be added to meat, poultry and seafood to help the protein bind more water, making it juicier after freezing and reheating.
Olga Naidenko, an Environmental Working Group senior science adviser, is concerned that the prevalence of phosphorus additives in all types of packaged foods has led to the average American consuming more phosphorus than is recommended.
Add to this the fact that while only 40 to 60 percent of phosphorus naturally found in foods is absorbed by the body, 90 percent of phosphate additives are thought to be absorbed, according to a study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
It seems possible that we could be getting too much phosphorus. So what’s the risk of overdoing it on this mineral?
According to Megan McSeveney, press officer for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, every type of phosphate additive is “considered by the FDA to be safe for its intended use in food.”
But not all experts agree.
According to the Environmental Working Group, the impact of phosphate additives on our health is of “moderate concern,” since much of the research is based on associations rather than cause-and-effect relationships.
For some phosphate experts, the link to health risks is enough of a reason to limit the use of these additives. Registered dietitian Lisa Gutekunst is part of a research group investigating the impact of phosphate additives on our health.
As Gutekunst puts it, “On my gravestone it will probably say, ‘Phosphates are bad for you.’ I’m one of many people who are in the camp that these phosphate additives aren’t good for the general public . . . not just those with kidney problems.”
If you take a look at the scientific literature, the links between ingesting too much phosphorus and negative health outcomes are difficult to ignore.
Associations between higher phosphorus intake or higher phosphate concentrations in the blood and higher mortality are found not only in people with chronic kidney disease (who need to limit their intake of phosphorus), but also in the general population.
High-normal levels of phosphate in the blood are linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, calcium deposits and hardening of the arteries in the heart, even in healthy young men.
In the Framingham Offspring Study, high-normal phosphate blood levels were found to be a predictor of heart attacks.
Eme rging research has also linked higher intakes of phosphorus to a negative impact on bone health.
Our intake of phosphate additives in fast food and processed foods has more than doubled since the 1990s, from less than 500 mg a day to 1,000 mg a day. This is just from phosphate additives and doesn’t include foods that naturally contain phosphorus, yet it’s still higher than the recommended amount of phosphorus adults should get each day — 700 mg, according to the Institute of Medicine. The institute has also determined a safe upper limit for phosphorus and phosphate intake of 4,000 mg a day for healthy adults.
So we have an idea of how much phosphorus we need and how much is too much. The problem? We have no idea how much total phosphorus we’re consuming.
Phosphorus is not a required nutrient in the nutrition facts table on food and drink labels. That’s why companies aren’t analyzing the amounts of phosphate in their food and beverages.
Even the USDA food composition database is missing information about phosphate amounts in foods. This database is often used for research purposes and by dietitians to analyze people’s diets. You could be hitting or exceeding the safe upper limit for phosphorus and not even know it.
McSeveney states that in 2014, “the FDA found that phosphorus intakes are generally adequate and not of public health significance for the general U.S. population.”
But does getting enough necessarily mean we’re not getting too much?
The links between high intake of phosphates or high phosphorus levels in the blood are linked to a higher risk of health problems and early death, but we need more research to know whether there is a cause-and-effect relationship. Gutekunst asks, “What are these phosphate additives adding to the diet nutritionally? Nothing. Therefore, recommending that people limit their exposure to them may have a benefit.”
While phosphorus amounts aren’t typically provided in the nutrition facts label, phosphate additives are listed in the Ingredients List.
Gutekunst recommends you take the time to look for any word that contains “phos-” in the ingredients list on everything from yogurt and cereal to iced tea. Phosphate additives go by many different names, but seeing “phos” is a sure sign there are some in that product. “Look for an alternative product that doesn’t use those additives,” she advises.
Another tip from Gutekunst: Look for a nutrition label on your meat, poultry or fish. If the sodium content is more than 120 mg for a 4-ounce portion, you know it’s been enhanced with something — potentially a phosphate salt.
When it comes to avoiding phosphate additives and eating well in general, I have to agree with advice from Naidenko and the Environmental Working Group. “The best solution is to prepare your own fresh foods and avoid processed, packaged foods as much as possible.”
Does your favorite food or drink company use phosphate additives? Write to them and ask for a change. There are other ingredients that can be used instead that aren’t linked to health problems.
Leafy Green Superfood
Spinach gets top billing as a superfood thanks to its high content of folate, vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, magnesium, and iron. The nutrients in spinach boost immune function and provide the body with necessary nutrients for cell division and DNA repair. Reap maximum benefits from spinach by eating it raw or lightly cooked to preserve nutrients.
Think Beyond Spinach Salad
Most people are familiar with spinach salad, but how else can you prepare spinach? Surprisingly, there are a lot of ways to enjoy this nutritious, leafy green veggie including
- spinach-artichoke dip,
- creamed spinach,
- spinach lasagna,
- garlic sautéed spinach, and
- spinach and cheese stuffed pasta shells.
Chemical Food Additives: What’s in Your Favourite Foods
For today’s post i decided to do some research on everyday food products we buy in the supermarket and the chemical additives they contain. Additives are used in processed products for a variety of different reasons including acting as an emulsifier, extending the shelf life of a product, adding colour, boosting flavours and changing the texture. Below I’ve chosen products at random to include various items people buy on a regular basis such as Milo, Diet Soft drink and Peanut Butter.
Emulsifier (soy Lechithin) E322
– Helps to stabilise emulsions, extending shelf life.
– Allows fats and oils to mix
Considered safe although Soy is a common food allergen and Soy is a mostly GMO food.
Shapes Light & Crispy Snack Pack – Food Acid E327
Calcium Lactate – Particularly used in tinned fruits and vegetables where it inhibits discolouration and helps prevent the structural collapse of the food, should not be given to babies and small children, as they have not yet developed the appropriate enzymes in the liver to metabolise these forms of lactate.
Cheese Flavoured Corn Nuggets- Food Acid 330
Citric Acid. Used as an acidity regulator, antioxidant, flavour enhancer and preservative.
It is believed to be possible that not all sulphites are properly filtered out and could affect some people with a sensitivity to sulphites. There is also a possibility for citric acid intollerance.
Coles Original Toasted Meusli- Preservative 220
Sulphur Dioxide. Used as preservative, bleaching agent and flour treatment agent.
Is believed to trigger asthma attacks in some cases.
Kraft Crunchy Peanut Butter- Antioxidant 320
Butylated Hydroxyarisole (BHA). Used as and antioxidant preservative.
Believed by some to be a possible human carcinogen.
Found in Diet Soft Drinks, or as We call them in the Health industry, A can of Chemicals. Just have a look at the amount of chemical additives they contain. They are marketed to be sugar-free and better for your health, but the long-term effects of these additives have been well-researched. I often name sugar sweeteners as sugars on steroids, as they have the potential to cause chronic diseases with long-term use including Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancers and osteoporosis. Below is a snap shot of Diet Coke:
Links to potential migraines, fatigue, anxiety and cancer
-Sweetners #951, 950
sweetener without sugar
#950 Acesulphama Potassium K
Not a lot of effects identified, although known to increase cholesterol levels in the blood
#150D – Caramel Colour Class 4 or Sulfite Ammonia Caramel
Water-soluble food colouring. Also serves as an emulsifier in carbonated drinks to prevent the separation of flavour oils.
Linked to gastrointestinal disturbances, asthma and possible increase in blood pressure. Also suggested that it increases cancer risk, however the estimated consumption would need to be more than 1000 cans per day. Caramel can be derived from wheat, barley and lactose so can cause concerns for people with allergies to these substances.
#338 – Phosphoric Acid
Used to acidify foods and drinks also to provide a tangy flavour.
Linked to low bone density, chronic kidney disease and kidney stones. However only a small fraction of Phosphoric Acid comes from soft drinks, it is mostly ingested from meat and dairy products.
#330 – Citric acid
Used as a preservative and to provide a citrus flavor.
Naturally derived from citrus fruits.
No adverse effects reported as a preservative. High doses can cause gastrointestinal upset.
#950 – Acesulphame Potassium
May increase cholesterol and has caused cancer and tumours in animals
#951 – Aspartame
Linked to cancer, asthma, headaches, fatigue, anxiety, migraines, memory loss and depression.
#211 – Sodium Benzoate
Preservative – prevents food from going mouldy
When mixed with Vitamin C forms benzene which is a carcinogen and can cause DNA damage.
KRAFT CRUNCHY PEANUT BUTTER
Possible side effects: Asthma, Rashes & Hives, DNA damage, Depression, Fatigue, headache, insomnia. Prohibited in foods for infants. Recognised carcinogen, suspected respiratory, endocrine, skin, immuno, liver and neurotoxicity & wheezing
This additive is used solely for colour and is made from caramelization of sugar. It has not been found to be toxic but some sources say more research is needed. 150c is also found in Cola, beer, sauces and chocolate.
Coles Raspberry Jam: 330
330 is an acidity regulator and adds a citrus taste to foods. It also functions as a preservative. 330 or E330 is unlikely to cause problems unless someone has an allergy to it. Then possible symptoms include stomach upset, eczema, hives or other skin rash. The additive 330 is widely used and intolerance is uncommon.
INDOMIE MI GORENG INSTANT NOODLES
Sodium Benzoate (211)
Side effects: Skin irritation, headache, Stomach upset, asthma,hyperactivity,avoid if asprin sensitive
Sodium Metabisulphite (223)
Hayfever, avoid if asthmatic, harmful to aquatic organisims
Monosodium L-glutamate or MSG (621)
Function: Flavour Enhancer
Headache, nausea, migraine, dizziness, heart palpitations, heart arrhythmia, hives, neck pain, irritability, pins and needles in upper limbs, bronchospasm in athmatics
Healtheries KidsCare Potato Stix Crunchy Potato and Rich snacks in Chicken Flavour
Silicon Dioxide, Amorphous 551 or E551
– Anti-caking Agent used to prevent powdery and granular foods clumping together.
– Improves the flow of dry products, and also helps absorb water.
Long term use of Anticaking Agent (551) or(Silicon dioxide) has been shown to give kidney damage in some studies .People with pre-existing kidney or heart disease are at a much higher risk if you have a medical history of either cardiac or kidney disease, it is strongly advised that you avoid taking Silicon Dioxide.
If you would like to learn more on chemical food additives, explore the following page links below for more information on food additives and their uses.
Fed-up provides a comprehensive food additive list with colour-coding to show possible negative side-effects:
There are also apps available for download to help assist you in buying food products and be aware of adverse additive:
* Eat Informed
* E Food Additives
* Food Additives 2