Food additives are usually added to help with processing, packaging and preserving food. Around 80% of the average consumer’s food budget is spent on processed foods with food additives. Most commercial food additives are the result of chemical processes and have no nutritional value and can cause several health problems. Here is a list of the most common ones to look out for and avoid.
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG/E621):
Used to enhance flavour in foods. It overexcites cells to the point of damage or death. It also affects the part of the brain that controls appetite. Regular consumption of MSG can lead to depression, eye damage, fatigue, headaches and obesity.
Find it in: dressings, chips, soups, noodle bowls, cookies, seasonings, frozen dinners, cold meats and many restaurant foods.
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) or Glucose/Fructose:
(Sugar) A highly refined and popular artificial sweetener for food and drinks. It is the main source of calories in the western diet; it is in basically all packaged food. It increases bad cholesterol, increases risk of diabetes, contributes to tissue damage. It also has added mercury which can cause brain damage.
Find it in: most processed foods, breads, candy, flavoured yogurts, salad dressing, canned vegetables, cereals, sausages and other.
Aspartame (known as Nutrasweet, Equal and E951):
A neurotoxin that produces methanol in the body, a cumulative poison stored by the body. Consumption can affect short term memory, cause brain tumour, lymphoma, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety attacks, nausea, mental confusion and migraines. See Also Acesulfame-K is a newer artificial sweetener linked to kidney tumour.
Find it in: diet foods, sugar free and low fat foods, diet sodas, diet coke, coke zero, some gelatines, desserts, sugar free gum, drink mixes, baking goods, cereal, breath mints, pudding, kool-aid, ice tea, chewable vitamins, toothpaste
Common Food Dyes
Artificial colouring can be found in food and other body care products. It can cause behavioural problems and reduction of IQ. Most common ones to look out for:
- Blue #1 and #2 (E133): found in candy, cereal, soft drinks, sports drinks and pets food.
- Red dye #3 and #40 (E124): banned in 1990, it is still in use in some products until supply is finished, it can cause thyroid cancer and Chromosomal damage. Found in: fruit cocktails, cherry pie mix, ice cream, candy, bakery products and other.
- Yellow #6 and Yellow Tartrazine (E102): found in macaroni and cheese, candy and carbonated beverages.
Used to extend the shelf life of products. It increases bad cholesterol while decreasing good cholesterol, this increases the risk of heart attack, heart disease and strokes, inflammation and diabetes.
Find it in: deep fried fat foods, processed foods, margarine, chips, crackers, baked goods, and hydrogenated oils.
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated Hydrozyttoluene (BHT) (E320):
It keeps food from changing colour, flavour and becoming rancid. Consumption increases the risk of cancer because it works as an oxidant in the body, it can also alter behaviour.
Find it in: cereals, chewing gum, potato chips, vegetable oils, frozen sausages, enriched rice, lard, shortening and candy
Sodium Nitrate/Sodium Nitrite:
Used as a preservative, colouring and flavouring. It is a highly carcinogenic additive, once in the body it enters the bloodstream causing issues with organs especially liver and pancreas. It can make old meats look bright red and fresh.
Find it in: Bacon, some sausages, processed meats, corned beef, smoked fish or any other type of processed meat.
Sodium Tetraborate or borax (E285):
Used to control acidity and preserve products. It can increase the risk of liver cancer.
Find it in: Asian noodles and rice dishes.
Sodium Sulphite (E221):
Some people are very sensitive to sulphites, causing headache, breathing problems and rashes, in severe cases it can even cause death by cardiac arrest.
Find it in: most wines, dried fruit and processed foods.