When your great-grandmother sat down for breakfast with her family, it was probably a lot different than the one you ate today.
No doubt, she baked homemade bread and spread freshly churned butter on top. The bacon she cooked came from a pig raised on the farm. And the milk her children drank was raw milk and came straight from the family cow.
Fast forward a century later and, well, your breakfast is not your great-grandmother’s.
After all, your bread came from the store. It has a shelf life of several weeks and was made with a dozen or more chemicals. The milk that you put on your cereal was packaged in a factory thousands of miles away and contains growth hormones. And the bacon on your plate comes laden with sodium nitrate.
As you can see, the food we eat has changed dramatically in the last hundred years. More and more food additives are being put in our food. Instead of being concerned about our health, big food companies are more concerned about making money.
Here are 5 food additives that your great-grandmother never ate and that you should avoid as well:
1. Artificial Sweeteners
You’re probably aware of the dangers of sugar, but did you know that artificial sweeteners are much more dangerous? In 2005, Medical News Today published a report showing that aspartame causes cancer.
“Our study has shown that aspartame is a multipotential carcinogenic compound whose carcinogenic effects are also evident at a daily dose of 20 milligrams per kilogram of body weight (mg/kg), notably less than the current acceptable daily intake for humans,” the authors wrote. Currently, the acceptable daily intake for humans is set at 50 mg/kg in the United States and 40 mg/kg in Europe.
Instead of aspartame, many people turn to Splenda instead. But is Splenda healthy? No. Splenda, otherwise known as sucralose, has chlorine. Research shows that its chemical composition is similar to pesticides. Also, it causes the thymus glands to shrink and leads to enlarged liver and kidneys. Try to avoid Splenda, aspartame and other artificial sweeteners. Instead, occasionally use sweeteners such as raw honey, maple syrup and coconut sugar.
Found in: diet sodas, yogurt, chewing gum, puddings, sugar-free candies, and much more.
2. Potassium Bromate
Potassium Bromate is a chemical also known as “bromated flour” and is used in bread to help the dough rise; however, it’s been linked to cancer. Studies in Japan showed that Potassium Bromate causes thyroid, kidney and other cancers in laboratory rats. Not surprisingly, it’s been classified as a category 2B carcinogen (which means that it may cause cancer in humans) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). It’s been banned in Europe, Canada, Brazil and even China. And it’s also found in explosives. As a good rule of thumb, never consume chemicals that are used to make explosives! Try baking your own bread or buy bread baked without chemicals.
Found in: bread, baked goods … and explosives.
3. Sodium Benzoate
Sodium Benzoate is a preservative that is known to cause cancer. It’s used as a mold inhibitor to extend the shelf life of many products, but the fact is that it may actually shorten your life. According to writer S.D. Wells, it does three things including:
- deprives the cells of oxygen.
- breaks down the immune system.
- causes cancer.
It has also been linked to premature aging, hyperactivity, brain damage, autism, Parkinson’s and other neurological diseases. Always check labels to avoid this harmful preservative. And making your own homemade jelly and jams is a delicious alternative to store-bought ones.
Found in: sodas, sauerkraut, jellies, jams, hot sauce and flavored water drops.
4. Caramel Coloring
Caramel coloring is used more than any other food additive in the world. But does using so much of this food coloring come at a high price? It may. Some types of caramel coloring contain a carcinogenic chemical called4-methylimidazole (4-MEI). In California, any food or beverage sold that contains more than 29 micrograms of 4-MEI is required to have a label. However, a recent study by Consumer Reports showed that many soda companies don’t follow the law in California. And with putting such high levels of caramel coloring in their sodas and other drinks, they are putting consumers at risk for getting cancer. So the bottom line is this: Stop drinking soda. You can also make your own.
Found in: sodas, beer, potato chips, vinegar, candy, doughnuts and other baked goods.
5. Trans Fats
When you eat a doughnut or pastry, you know it’s not a health food. But did you know that the trans fat in it just might kill you? High levels of trans fats such as palm, soybean and hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils can raise your bad cholesterol and lower your good cholesterol. These industrial oils are used in more than 40,000 food products in the U.S., so they’re often hard to avoid. So before you grab a doughnut on your way to work, opt for a healthier snack.
Found in: cookies, crackers, French fries, pie crusts, doughnuts and pastries.
What toxic food additives do you try and avoid? Let us know in the comments section below.