We know it sounds shocking, but there are more than 3000 different food additives that are purposefully added to our food supply to enhance the appearance and taste of the foods we eat. Some of them are known to cause cancer in even small doses!
Here is a list of the most harmful additives in some of the most common foods in your cupboards:
1. Sodium Nitrite
Also known as sodium nitrate, it is used as a preservative, coloring and flavoring in bacon, ham, hot dogs, luncheon meats, corned beef, smoked fish and other processed meats. These additives can lead to the formation of cancer-causing chemicals called nitrosamines.
Some studies have found a link between consuming cured meats and nitrite and cancer in humans.
2. BHA & BHT
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are used to keep fats and oils from going rancid. Used commonly in cereals, chewing gum, vegetable oil and potato chips (and also in some food packaging to preserve freshness), these additives have been found by some studies to cause cancer in rats. And if it is capable of causing cancer in rats, it is capable of causing cancer in humans too!
3. Propyl Gallate
This preservative, used to prevent fats and oils from spoiling has been linked to cause cancer. It’s used in vegetable oil, meat products, potato sticks, chicken soup base and chewing gum, and is often used with BHA and BHT (see above).
4. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
MSG is used as a flavor enhancer in many packaged foods, including soups, salad dressings, sausages, hot dogs, canned tuna, potato chips and many more. According to Dr. Russell Blaylock, an author and neurosurgeon, there is a link between sudden cardiac death, particularly in athletes, and excitotoxic damage caused by food additives like MSG and artificial sweeteners. Excitotoxins are, according to Dr. Blaylock, “A group of excitatory amino acids that can cause sensitive neurons to die.”
Many consumers have also personally experienced the ill effects of MSG, which leave them with a headache, nausea or vomiting after eating MSG-containing foods.
5. Trans fats
Trans fats promote heart disease and diabetes. The Institute of Medicine has advised that consumers should eat as little trans fat as possible. You should avoid anything with these ingredients on the label, which includes some margarine, vegetable shortening, crackers, cookies, baked goods, salad dressings, bread and more. It’s used because it reduces cost and increases the shelf life and flavor stability of foods.
Some great alternatives are organic cold pressed coconut oil (great for cooking), and Udo’s Oil (great source of omega’s 3, 6 and 9, and is fantastic in salads, smoothies etc.
This artificial sweetener is found in Equal and NutraSweet, along with products that contain them (diet sodas and other low-cal and diet foods). This sweetener has been found to cause brain tumors in rats as far back as the 1970s, however a more recent study in 2005 found that even small doses increase the incidence of lymphomas and leukemia in rats, along with brain tumors.
People who are sensitive to Aspartame may also suffer from headaches, dizziness and hallucinations after consuming it.
At most health food stores you can find a healthy, organic alternative to artificial sweeteners called Stevia. Stevia helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels, and supports healthy pancreatic function and digestive function.
Acesulfame-K is an artificial sweetener that’s about 200 times sweeter than sugar. It’s used in baked goods, chewing gum, gelatin desserts and soft drinks. Two rat studies have found that this substance may cause cancer, and other studies to reliably prove this additive’s safety have not been conducted. Acesulfame-K also breaks down into acetoacetamide, which has been found to affect the thyroid in rats, rabbits and dogs.
8. Food colourings (Blue, Red, Green, Yellow)
Use your common sense and you will quickly realise which foods contain artificial colourings which are toxic and contributors to many diseases including the childhood behavioural learning disorders such as ADD/ADHD.
Olestra is a fat substitute used in crackers and potato chips. This synthetic fat is not absorbed by the body (instead it goes right through it), so it can cause diarrhea, loose stools, abdominal cramps and flatulence, along with other effects. Further, olestra reduces the body’s ability to absorb beneficial fat-soluble nutrients, including lycopene, lutein and beta-carotene.
10. White sugar
There is a never-ending list of reasons to avoid white sugar-a few of them include increased risk of cancer, anxiety, hyperactivity, vision problems, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, high cholesterol, high blood pressure.
If you are wanting to sweeten up a dish naturally, try maple syrup or honey instead.
11. Refined, bleached and processed sodium chloride (salt)
I think those words say it all! As soon as we start processing and bleaching things we are reducing its health benefits for the body and increasing its ability to cause all sorts of disease.
The best alternative is himalayan or celtic salt, which contains 84 of the 92 elements naturally occurring in Earth, allowing nervous system as well as the body cell to benefit from a full spectrum infusion of rarely available elements.