When someone goes to the grocery store and buys an item off of the shelf, then brings it home to feed their family, there is an assumption on the part of the consumer. The assumption is that since a given product has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration — the supposed guardian of food and medicine safety that it is therefore safe.
There are, however, ingredients in the many common foods that the FDA should never have approved due to their dubious health effects and to the fact that they have been linked to a variety of serious conditions. Five of those ingredients are discussed below.
Sulfites in vegetables were finally banned back in 1986, but are still approved for many other products. The many reason for this ban is the fact that sulfites have been known to trigger severe – and sometimes fatal – allergic reactions and in fact several people did die after eating sulfite-laced vegetables in restaurants. Many wines, for instance, contain this ingredient, though organic wine is free of it.
Red Dye #3
Although red dye #3 is a known carcinogen (and for this reason was banned from cosmetics back in 1990), the FDA still allows its use in many common processed foods, including strawberry milk, cake mixes and yogurts, just to name a few. The food industry lobbied hard and successfully against such a ban in food products.
Partially Hydrogenated Oils
These oils are nearly everywhere in processed and prepared foods. Artificially manufactured by the food industry, these oils have been linked with elevated triglyceride and cholesterol levels and the build-up of plaque in the arteries which can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Some states like New York, however, are taking steps to ban this dangerous substance from foods.
This is a common additive in soft drinks especially and is another good reason to avoid sodas altogether, as it contains a cancer-causing chemical known as 4-MEL for short. The FDA has given it a General Regarded as Safe (GRAS) status, however, and has no plans to regulate or ban this very common carcinogen.
Antibiotics Used as Growth Hormones
The meat industry in the United States is one of the largest consumers of antibiotics in the world, using it on their livestock to promote increased growth and production. However, this is causing the serious problem of antibiotic resistance and the rise of superbugs against which modern medicine has no viable treatment. This is why so many consumers are now buying hormone-free meat.
The best way to avoid these additives is to stay away from processed foods and to either avoid meat entirely or to buy organic meat that is guaranteed to be raised without the use of antibiotics. A whole foods diet that is based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins and that is made from scratch will ensure that exposure to these unhealthy ingredients is reduced or eliminated altogether.
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