When it comes to processed foods, we have a lot to be leery of. As of 1973, all imitation foods were no longer labeled, and in came the onslaught of chemicals and synthetic ingredients that have deteriorated our health and the health of our children. Here are the top 5 ingredients that I believe we should all avoid. Is it really “food” or poison? You decide.
1. Artificial dyes: These food colorings, sometimes referred to as “artificial colors,” can be found in everything from children’s foods and vitamins to pharmaceutical drugs. They include Red #40, Yellow #6, Blue #1, just to name a few.
In case you didn’t know, artificial dyes are petroleum based, including propylene glycol (antifreeze), and contaminants, such as crude oil runoff, carcinogens and more. Red dye #3, found in some foods and drugs, for example, has actually been banned by the FDA for its use in cosmetics due to its toxic effects on the body. Blue #2 is actually the same stuff used to color blue jeans. Collectively, these dyes have been linked to a range of diseases, such as hyperactivity in children, thyroid cancer, asthma, diabetes, and much, much more.
Where they’re found: Most processed foods, including store-bought cakes (frostings), candies, chips, packaged snacks, popsicles, restaurant foods, sodas, hot dogs, cheese, lotions, etc. Click here for more information on artificial dyes.
2. MSG: MSG stands for monosodium glutamate but hides under a guise of different names, such as yeast extract. Click here for a more comprehensive list. It is used to “flavor” foods and make them taste as if they are more nutritious than they are.
MSG is an excitocin and has been implicated in “a number of the neurodegenerative diseases, including ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and Huntington’s disease. It is linked to everything from migraine headaches to diarrhea, asthma, obesity, atherosclerosis, diabetes and brain fog and makes cancer grow more rapidly. MSG slowly destroys the connections between brain cells and therefore affects brain function and development even though symptoms may not appear immediately.
Where it’s found: Most processed “foods” that are not organic, including school lunches, hot dogs, seasonings, chips, lowfat dairy products, vaccines, and more.
3. Artificial sweeteners: This list includes aspartame (AminoSweet, Nutrasweet, Equal), sucralose (Splenda) and Acesulfame-K. Overall, these sweeteners are chemical substances, linked to more diseases than food additives and can lead to a number of health issues, including headaches, weakness, ADHD, ADD, nausea, insomnia, seizures, dizziness, etc. Aspartame has also been found to cause brain lesions and tumors. The worst part of it all? These “diet” sweeteners in many ways actually stimulate your appetite and make you hungry after consumption, leading to obesity.
Where they’re found: Chewing gum, diet sodas, teas, mouthwash, and many processed foods. Read this article for more information.
4. Vegetable oils: These include chemically-derived oils, such as canola (usually GMO- see below), vegetable, corn, soybean oils, etc. These oils are believed by many to be the cause of heart disease. Cooking with these oils is even worse since high temperatures make the proteins in the oils rancid and unstable. These rancid oils are then toxic and highly inflammatory to the body. (Click here for safe cooking oils.)
Where they’re found: Most processed foods, including granola bars, cereals, chips, tortillas, breads, pasta and more.
5. GMO foods: These are foods derived from genetically-modified organisms and can be found in non-organic corn, soy, potato, tomato, canola, cottonseed oil, papaya, squash, and currently on the table: salmon. The process of genetic modification involves the injection of the DNA of one organism into another, via viruses and bacteria, such as E. Coli. Tomatoes, for example, may be injected with flounder DNA in order to withstand cold temperatures. Corn has been modified to express its own pesticide, known as BT toxin, which makes its pests’ stomachs burst.
GMO foods have been linked to infertility and a variety of other diseases, including cancer.
GMO foods, however, are the hardest of the group to avoid as the U.S. does not require companies to label GMO ingredients. (It is important to note, that in at least 60 countries around the world, GMO foods have been banned and/or restricted.) In 2012, California attempted to require labeling with Prop 37 but this was overturned after a huge marketing campaign on the part of the food companies. Here is a list of companies that donated against the labeling of GMO foods (scroll to the bottom of the page).
Where GMO’s are found: Infant formula (click here for a healthy alternative), cereals, candies, chips, tortillas, sodas, beverages, hot dogs, and over 70% of all processed foods. Until the law requires labeling, look for the non-GMO project label or organic label to ensure that no GMO ingredients are found in the foods you eat. Here is a list of foods you’ll want to avoid. This non-GMO shopping guide will help you find non-GMO alternatives. Want to keep it simple? Buy organic whenever possible and stick to foods without labels, such as fresh produce, grass-fed beef, pastured chicken, wild-caught fish, etc. (For tips on buying Real Food on a Budget, click here.)
When reading labels for the above 5 ingredients, you may find it overwhelming as many of the processed substances you find on store shelves are filled with these ingredients. It’s upsetting that at the end of the day, these poisons are allowed to be passed off as “foods” to those who don’t know or those who trust that the food industry has their best interests in mind. Further study (see embedded links above) into even one of the five ingredients will quickly prove just how toxic these chemicals and unnatural ingredients are and how negative of an effect they can have on your health. Unfortunately, these connections aren’t often made since they damage the body slowly and over time. A closer look at historical incidences of heart disease, cancer, and other “modern” illnesses will better portray why our society is so much sicker than ever before. We have traded in whole, organic foods for chemical imitations.
It is ultimately up to each one of us to demand better for ourselves and our families. It is up to us to put a stop to this slow poisoning of our children and loved ones. We have the power to say: “No more!” each and every single day, three or more times a day.
What are you doing to avoid these ingredients?