Watching the news this morning there was a clip about on an Internet video that’s gone viral featuring two moms who are speaking out against the artificial food coloring added to a popular brand of boxed macaroni and cheese that gives it that fluorescent glow… Good for them! Let’s bring some attention to this subject of food additives and the abundant use of them in manufactured food items.
But did you know that there are more than 3,000 food additives — including preservatives, flavorings, colors and other ingredients — that are added to our foods? Most are so harmful they’re not even allowed in other countries!
Some of the most common to watch for include:
- Preservatives: sodium benzoate, sodium nitrite, potassium sorbate, BHA, BHT
- Sweeteners and artificial sweeteners: fructose, high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame potassium
- Artificial colors: any
- Artificial flavors: any
- Flavor enhancers: monosodium glutamate (MSG), hydrolyzed soy protein, autolyzed yeast extract (the product, MSG, has about 40 different names making it easy for food manufacturers to print “No MSG added” on product labels though a variation may be included.)
Yesterday on AM Northwest I gave quick spiel on the most common culprits to avoid in your diet. Here’s a summary:
What to Avoid:
1) Diet sodas full of fake sweeteners including; aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose . There are so many better choices out there now – I even saw a sparkling coconut water! If you need something sweet – stick with fresh juice diluted with mineral water, or a beverage sweetened with stevia.
2) High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) – this by-product of the corn surplus has been linked to obesity, brain damage – even lower IQ’s! So common in cookies, sodas and especially condiments. Read those labels!
3) Vegetable oils that have been heated over and over again in the manufacturing of chips, crackers, cereals and even “healthy” granola. Not only does the heating process turn them into a toxic substance but most vegetable oils are also genetically-modified (GMOs), including canola, soy, and corn oils. Use healthy fats like grass-fed butter, coconut oil, ghee and even beef tallow for cooking. Also include extra-virgin olive oil (evoo), hemp oil, walnut oil and cold-pressed safflower oil for cold prep like salad dressings.
4) Carrageenan – an additive often added as an emulsifier to foods like nut milks and lunch meats, is derived from seaweed. Carageenan itself is not actually the problem – it’s the “processing” of it that alters it’s chemical structure turning it into a substance called “polygeenan” which can cause gastrointestinal upset and colon cancer. Best to avoid using products that include this ingredient.
5) And finally, refined salt. Added to just about everything these days the refining process removes the trace minerals present in sea and earth salts. The sodium content may be the same in both refined and unrefined salts – but the difference is in the flavor. The intensity of sea salt often means adding much less to your foods.
The bottom line is this – if you want to avoid food additives then you need to eat fresh, whole, living foods prepared in your own kitchen where you have some control over what goes into them. I think it’s great that these moms are bringing attention to this issue of the food color additives….but the bigger question is “why are they eating macaroni and cheese from a box anyway??” 😉