1. Artificial food dye: Makes your food pretty and inhibits nerve-cell development.
Found in: Practically everything we eat: cake mixes, sports drinks, cheese, candy, and even MACARONI AND CHEESE.
Why it’s dangerous: Artificial dyes are made from chemicals derived from PETROLEUM, which is also used to make gasoline, diesel fuel, asphalt and TAR! Artificial dyes have been linked to brain cancer, nerve-cell deterioration, and hyperactivity, just to name a few things.
Where it’s banned: Norway, Finland, Austria, France, and the U.K.
For more information on artificial dyes, visit 100 Days of Real Food.
2. Olestra (or Olean): Lowers calorie counts while causing vitamin depletion and anal leakage.
Found in: Fat-free potato chips, corn chips, and French fries.
Why it’s dangerous: Created by Procter & Gamble as a substitue for cooking oil, Olestra robs your body of its ability to absorb vitamins. Fun side effects include cramps and leaky bowels.
Where it’s banned: The U.K. and Canada.
For more information on Olestra, visit Time magazine’s “50 Worst Inventions.”
3. Brominated vegetable oil: Makes food dye stick to liquid, but also may cause birth defects and major organ damage.
Found in: Sports drinks and citrus-flavored sodas.
Why it’s dangerous: Bromine is a chemical used to stop CARPETS FROM CATCHING ON FIRE, so you can see why drinking it may not be the best idea. BVO is linked to major organ system damage, birth defects, growth problems, schizophrenia, and hearing loss.
Where it’s banned: In over 100 countries.
For more info on BVO, visit Web MD’s “Brominated Vegetable Oil Q&A.”
4. Potassium bromate (or bromated flour): Great for impatient bakers, bad for your kidneys and nervous system.
Found in: Wraps, rolls, bread crumbs, bagel chips, flat breads.
Why it’s dangerous: Derived from the same harmful chemical as brominated vegetable oil, brominated flour is used to decrease baking time and reduce costs. Only problem is, it’s linked to kidney damage, cancer, and nervous system damage.
Where it’s banned: Europe, Canada, and China.
For more information on potassium bromate, visit Live Science’s “The Truth About Potassium Bromate.”
5. Azodicarbonamide: Bleaches flour, plastic, and induces asthma as an added bonus.
Found in: Breads, frozen dinners, boxed pasta mixes, and packaged baked goods.
Why it’s dangerous: Used to bleach both flour and FOAMED PLASTIC (yoga mats and sneakers soles), azodicarbonamide has been known to induce asthma.
Where it’s banned: Australia, the U.K., and most European countries.
For more information on azodicarbonamide, visit Food-u-cate.
6. BHA & BHT: Waxy preservatives linked to cancer and tumors.
Found in: Cereal, nut mixes, gum, butter, meat, dehydrated potatoes.
Why it’s dangerous: Used to keep food from becoming rancid, BHA and BHT are known to cause cancer in rats. And we’re next!
Where it’s banned: England, Japan, and many other European countries.
For more information on BHT and BHA, visit Berkley Wellness’ “Two Preservatives To Avoid?”
7. Synthetic growth hormones rBGH and rBST: Harm cows and can give humans breast, colon, and prostate cancer.
Found in: Milk and dairy products.
Why it’s dangerous: Growth hormones are bad for cows and people, causing infertility, weakened muscle growth, and a whole array of cancers.
Where it’s banned: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, and the EU.
For more information on rBGH and rBST, visit the American Cancer Society’s info page.
8. Arsenic: Basically this ish will slowly kill you.
Found in: Poultry.
Why it’s dangerous: Used as chicken feed to make their meat appear pinker and fresher, arsenic is POISON, which will kill you if you ingest enough.
Where it’s banned: The EU.
For more information on arsenic, visit NPR’s “How Trace Amounts Of Arsenic End Up In Grocery Store Meat.”
I felt relieved that several of the items on the list aren’t on my list of typical foods. However, I’m worried about the chemicals and hormones that are fed to animals that are ultimately consumed by us. Just something to think about and consider before you reach for that sugary cereal or frozen dinner.
(Positive note – The Kashi cereals I have on hand contained no BHA & BHT. These include Simply Maize, Honey Sunshine Squares, and Cinnamon Harvest Whole Wheat Biscuits)