10 dangerous additives hiding in your diet


How dangerous is your food? It may be more dangerous than you realize. Food manufacturers do have proper handling procedures in all processed food products, but sometimes accidents happen in food processing, just like with other manufactured products. The problem is that the finished product is meant for human consumption, which can be a problem if those chemicals or unwanted additives become part of the mix.

But there are also food additives that are purposely included in a product formula for various reasons, including color and filler. This class of additives is called excipients, which also are included in many drug compounds as buffers. Multiple studies have been performed on these additives, many showing addiction and potentially toxic results.

Here is a list of 10 undesirable additives that may be hidden in any particular processed food or drugs.

1. BHA and BHT

These two additives are derivatives of the same basic chemical. Butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydroxytoluene are two chemicals that are used to keep oils and fats from going rancid in processed foods. The list of items that contain these cancer-causing agents includes cereals, vegetable oils and potato chips. They are very common, but they have also shown toxic properties in several studies.

2. Propyl gallate

Propyl gallate is often used in conjunction with BHA and BHT. The food types are also similar, but it is specifically used in many foods that include higher levels of the two oil and fat preservatives.

3. Monosodium glutamate

Commonly called MSGs, many people cannot tolerate this crystalline additive in their system at any time. Some individuals experience nausea and vomiting while the chemical is being processed by the body. As with many other additives, the potential for causing cancer is also present.

4. Sodium nitrate

Sodium nitrate is an additive that is used primarily in meat products such as beef jerky, hotdogs and some deli meats. It is intended for use as a preservative, but also adds to product coloration. It also has the potential to develop into nitrosamines.

There has been some buzz among researchers and consumers that the additive carries a potential cancer risk, but the NIH says there is inadequate evidence that it acts as a carcinogen. [1] Still, the Mayo Clinic indicates that it has the potential to increase your risk of heart disease so that is reason enough to keep it out of your diet. [2]

5. Carrageenan

Carageenans are a type of additive that is a prime example of sneaky fillers that are commonly used in many products, but has experienced trouble in maintaining its safety rating. Some reports have even been altered to appear to have come from the United Nations, when in fact they were written by a primary food processor lobbying group. [3]

6. Excitotoxins

Excitotoxins are artificial sweetener excipients that come in various product types, including the newest addition to the list, Sweetmyx, which has been found to be addictive for some people. Known as the food industry’s “dirty little secret,” the FDA has not been involved with the testing of Sweetmyx, and no real data exists regarding its safety that is available to anyone outside of the food industry. [4]

7. Polymers

Polymers are also commonly used in a wide range of products, and they are exactly what the name says. They are various plastics used primarily as coloring agents and filler substances in many foods. The most controversial of these may be the pink slime connection, but they are also used in many supposed health foods that claim to be organic. Polymers are anything but organic, and the toxic qualities of plastic additives have been well studied.

8. Hydrogenated oils

These excipient additives are found in many types of foods because they can add flavor to foods that have been over-cooked in the production process, plus they can enhance the shelf life of many products. However, they do enhance the life of those who consume them, as they are known to cause various types of heart disease, including hypertension, which is known as the silent killer.

High blood pressure affects practically everyone at some point in life, and using foods over a long period of time that include hydrogenated oils can be problematic later in life. They can also impact type II adult onset diabetes development.

9. Stacked sugars

Many products contain multiple ingredients that are all essentially sugars. That is not to mention the commonly acceptable primary ingredients, such as flour, which also have a negative effect on individual metabolism. When the various versions of sugar are added for particular reasons, the end result is a confused consumer who does not really understand what the products are even though the ingredients are listed right on the label. Nevertheless, they are in practically every processed food.

10. Unintended chemicals

While many pharmaceutical and food processing companies use harmful ingredients to improve their profit margins, many times workplace accidents can result in unwanted chemical or objects being included by mistake. Glass or metals can easily get in the mix when an accident occurs unnoticed in the production cycle, and there been many instances of small animals found in processed foods.

Knowing What to Look For

It is important to remember that certain excipients are used in the production of health foods that are touted as being organic, along with being included in certain nutrients. Many people avoid using these products by shopping in organic health food stores that specialize in foods that do not contain any known excipients.

You can also buy excipient-free products in other stores if you know what to look for. According to the Department of Health Therapeutic Goods Information, “The Consumer Medicines Information (CMI) is a leaflet that contains information on the safe and effective use of a prescription or specified over-the-counter medicine.” You can view CMI documents here: https://www.tga.gov.au/consumer-medicines-information-cmi; the documents give you a list of known excipients.

Protect Yourself

Once you know the names of the excipients to look for, you can search for this material on the product labels when you shop. If you are in a grocery store or pharmacy, you should be able to look over the supplement facts and discern which ones are excipient-free.

If you’re shopping at an e-commerce site, you’re in luck, too. Merchants such as Amazon have online tools that you can use that allows you to preview the ingredients on the bottle or package most of the time. For instance, click here to take you to one of the supplement page on Amazon.com.

There are three pictures of the bottle, but hover your mouse pointer over the bottle on the right, and it will magnify the ingredients. The supplement facts label reads that it doesn’t have excipients or carry any other unneeded additives, such as binders or fillers.

If you want your supplements to be free of excipients, there are many merchants that can make that guarantee. Another option out there is to select products that are either in powder or liquid states.


[1] http://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/sodium_nitrate#section=Safety-and-Hazards

[2] http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/sodium-nitrate/faq-20057848

[3] http://buzz.naturalnews.com/001089-carrageenan-organic_food-dangerous_additive.html

[4] http://www.doctoroz.com/episode/addictive-new-ingredient-hiding-your-food


Jade Rich