A big part of staying youthful is remaining healthy. Food additives are used to enhance the appearance and flavor of food and prolong shelf life. They help ease processing, packaging, and storage but can have negative consequences on your health. Here’s a list to avoid:
Acesulfame-K – Found in candy, baked products, beverage mixes, diet soda, gum, and canned fruit. This additive causes cancer in animals.
Aspartame – Present in Equal and NutraSweet. Used in cereal, soda, frozen desserts, and yogurt. Studies indicate that it may cause cancer and neurological problems.
Saccharin – Used in Sweet’N Low. This additive has been shown to cause cancer in the bladder, uterus, ovaries, skin, and blood vessels in animal studies.
Dyes and Colorings
Caramel coloring – Found in soda, baked goods, precooked meats, soy sauce, chocolate-flavored products, liquors, syrups, wine, and beer. This coloring contains contaminants that have been shown to cause cancer in male and female mice.
Yellow 5 –This widely used coloring can cause allergy-like hypersensitivity reactions. It is used in gelatin desserts, candy, and baked goods.
Yellow 6 – This dye and has been found to cause tumors of the adrenal gland and kidney in mice and is used in baked goods, beverages, and candy.
Blue 2 – Found in beverages and candy and has been shown to cause brain cancer in male rats.
Preservatives and Additives
Hydrogenated vegetable oil (trans fats) – Used to increase the shelf life of packaged foods but can raise blood cholesterol to dangerous levels. Found in crackers, baked and fried foods, and margarine. Trans fats are created by converting liquid oils to solids by adding hydrogen and can raise blood cholesterol to dangerous levels.
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) – Present in butter, cereal, baked goods, beer, vegetable oil, and snack foods. BHA slows the deterioration of flavors and odors in food and increases shelf life. Animals have developed cancer from being exposed to BHA in lab studies.
Propyl gallate – Found in vegetable oil, mayonnaise, and meat products. It slows the spoilage of fats and oils but can cause stomach or skin problems.
Sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate – Used in preservatives, colorings, and flavorings for fish and meats. Cured meat and nitrite consumption are linked with various types of cancer..
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) – A flavor enhancer found in meats, condiments, and soups. People with asthma may suffer a temporary increase in symptoms after consumption.
Mycoprotein – Present in sausages and burgers. Made from dried fungus that may provoke an allergic reaction.
Written by Dr. Forley on April 30, 2013