What Everybody Ought to Know About Food
by Christine H.
Every day we are bombarded with information about
products that are healthy, all natural, have no artificial ingredients,
no preservatives, low fat, no fat, no cholesterol, sugar free, vitamin
fortified and provide 100% of your daily vitamin requirements. Are
these foods as healthy as the advertising tries to make us believe they
Let's look at the facts. There are more than 3000
different chemicals added to our food. The company that wants to
produce the chemicals or use the chemicals in the foods they produce
usually does the testing for safety. Safety testing has only been done
for individual additives, not for combinations of additives. Nobody knows the effects of the many different additives used in the thousands
of different combinations. To make matters worse, because of political
pressure, the FDA allows manufacturers to add small amounts of
cancer-causing substances to our food. So, not only are many of our
foods not healthy, they're unsafe.
The FDA has even approved, as safe, additives it
known to be unsafe. Take, for example, Olestra, the fat substitute
which was approved by the FDA over the objections of many leading food
scientists. Olestra can cause diarrhea, abdominal cramping and may even
contribute to cancer, heart disease and blindness. Foods containing
Olestra must have a warning label on the package.
Then there's the artificial sweetener aspartame,
known as Nutrasweet. Aspartame was approved and claimed safe by a
specially appointed FDA Commissioner after his own Board of Inquiry
that investigated aspartame claimed it unsafe. Aspartame can cause
birth defects, central nervous system disturbances, menstrual
difficulties, brain damage in phenylketonurics, seizures, death and a
long list of other reactions too numerous to mention. It may cause
irreversible health damage over the long term.
Fats are another story. A certain amount of the
kind of fat is necessary for your nervous system, your immune system,
the formation of cell membranes, and the absorption of the fat-soluble
vitamins. The problem is that over 90% of the food produced today
contain hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil, which contributes
to heart disease, elevated cholesterol and triglycerides, non-insulin
dependent diabetes and cancer. Research even shows an association
between attention deficit disorder and hydrogenated oils.
The next time you grocery shop, look at the label
every item before you buy. Unless you already buy all organic and
natural foods, almost every item you pick up will contain hydrogenated
or partially hydrogenated oils. Instead, choose products that say no
hydrogenated oils. Use raw organic butter instead of margarine, and
extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil or flaxseed oil (flaxseed oil
should never be heated).
If you're eating more chicken, turkey and fish,
it's healthier, you may be surprised to learn that sliced chicken and
turkey from the deli contains nitrites. And nitrites cause cancer.
Nitrites are found in almost all processed meats, including luncheon
meats, hot dogs, sausages and bacon. Then there's tuna, a healthy
choice if it only contains tuna and water and is only eaten
occasionally. But, most tuna contains broth or hydrolyzed vegetable
protein, which contain MSG. And MSG is not required to be listed on the
label because it is an ingredient in the broth, not directly added to
the tuna. This is the way food manufacturers hide MSG in the food they
produce. And hidden MSG can be a very serious problem to those who are
sensitive to it. MSG can cause a wide variety of symptoms including
migraines, numbness and tingling, asthma, seizures, diarrhea, panic
attacks and heart problems.
Other sources of hidden MSG include autolyzed
boullion, stock, malt extract, malt flavoring, barley malt,
maltodextrin, natural flavors, pectin, seasonings, carrageenan, soy
sauce, soy protein, whey protein, anything enzyme modified, fermented,
protein fortified, or ultrapasteurized, fast foods, chips, condiments,
salad dressings, lunch meats, sausages and soups. In fact, most
processed foods contain MSG according to Kathleen Schwartz of the
nonprofit group NoMSG.
So, buyer beware! Even if the label says "all
ingredients" and "no preservatives," the product could contain harmful
additives. So, how do you know which foods are really safe to eat? You
need to read the labels and know how to interpret the information on
Here's a few hints on what to eat and what to
Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, good quality protein and
healthy fats. Avoid these additives:
Here's a general rule of thumb: If the
ingredients is long, there are probably a lot of chemical additives in
the product, and you're risking your health by eating it. If the list
of ingredients is short, it may or may not have harmful additives in
it, so you need to read the label carefully before you purchase it.
- Aspartame or Nutrasweet
- MSG and Free Glutamates
- Artificial colorings
- Nitrites and Nitrates
- BHA and BHT
- Brominated vegetable oil or BVO
- Olestra or Olean
Dr. Christine Farlow has made it easy for you to
identify which additives are harmful and which are not. In her handy
pocket-sized book, FOOD ADDITIVES: A Shopper's Guide To What's
Safe & What's Not,
now in its 2007 revised edition, she classifies 1000 commonly used food
additives according to safety, whether they may cause allergic
reactions and if they are Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by the
FDA. In just seconds, you can find out if an additive in the food
you're buying is harmful to your health. It's clear, concise and easy
to use. Make this book your constant grocery shopping companion and
you'll never again wonder about the safety of the ingredients listed on
the package. You'll know.
Dr. Christine H.
Farlow, D.C. is a
chiropractor, nutritionist and author. She has helped thousands improve
their health through nutrition. For more information on food additives
and healthy eating, visit http://www.healthyeatingadvisor.com
or contact Dr. Farlow.
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