Six Addictive Chemical Food Additives



In our food system there are a multitude of different chemical additive, jam packed with detrimental side-effects. Often we’re never told about these additives, and we continue to consume the foods riddled with them for years before we realize that they are the cause of our poor health. Here are some that you may be unaware of:

1. “Natural” and Artificial Flavoring
When it comes to flavoring labeled “natural” or “artificial”, you will never be ingesting something that is actually natural. These types of additives are designed to taste like an extreme version of the natural flavor, and are created using hundreds of chemicals and refining processes. They contain no nutrients, and because of their intense flavoring alone can be considered addictive. People who struggle with food addiction often report craving junk food so much that they can taste it. Their taste buds are addicted to the chemical additives that create the intense flavor.
According to Dr. David Kessler, former head of the FDA, “We’re living in a food carnival. These flavors are so stimulating, they hijack our brain.”

2. Aspartame
Aspartame is most popularly added to diet sodas, and is known for being extremely addictive. Simply exposing yourself to aspartame can give you headaches, nausea, abdominal pain and cramps. It can trigger hallucinations, manic depression, suicidal tendencies, and cause cancer. Many soda companies are coming to their senses and removing the chemical from their drinks. Recently, however, the chemical was renamed and is therefore less detectable by the consumer upon first-glance of the ingredient label. The new name for aspartame is Amino Sweet (nice and non-threatening, isn’t it?).

According to the American Cancer Society, “In the largest study of this issue, researchers from the NCI looked at cancer rates in more than 500,000 older adults. The study found that, compared to people who did not drink aspartame-containing beverages, those who did drink them did not have an increased risk of lymphomas, leukemias, or brain tumors.”

3. Caffeine
Known for its energizing and highly addicting qualities, this naturally occurring additive has been known to cause gastrointestinal problems, raised heart-rate, cause insomnia, and more. Caffeine can be found in tea, coffee, and soda as well as some brands of hot sauce, chocolate, and coffee flavored ice cream.

Medical News Today says, “The Mayo Clinic state that consuming more than 500-600 mg of caffeine a day may lead to insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, an upset stomach, a fast heartbeat and even muscle tremors.”

4. Sodium Nitrate/Nitrite
This additive is used primarily in meats to preserve freshness, dye it red so it looks more fresh, healthy, and desirable, and add a smokey flavor. It is completely harmless until either cooked, or digested by our bodies. Once this begins to happen, a chemical compound is released that causes our bodies a lot of harm. Unfortunately, long-term consumption is associated with cancer, leaky gut syndrome, and poor blood circulation.

The Cancer Treatment Centers of America says, “A study by the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii and the University of Southern California suggests a link between eating processed meats and cancer risk. The study followed 190,000 people, ages 45-75, for seven years and found that people who ate the most processed meats had a 67% higher risk of pancreatic cancer than those who ate the least amount.”

5. High Fructose Corn Syrup
Though it sounds harmless, (and has been advertised as such by big businesses), this highly processed chemical additive is extremely popular throughout all of the food industry. It can be found in almost every single processed, packaged food item. The long term effects of high fructose corn syrup are diabetes, increased risk of heart attack and heart disease, anemia, and poor immunity to illnesses, along with many more unfortunate side-effects.

According to UCLA researchers, “A new UCLA rat study is the first to show how a diet steadily high in fructose slows the brain, hampering memory and learning — and how omega-3 fatty acids can counteract the disruption. The peer-reviewed Journal of Physiology publishes the findings in its May 15 edition.”

6. Potassium Bromide
This particularly scary chemical additive has been used on our bread since 1913 as an additive that helps the bread to rise evenly, and it give it that nice, soft, pillow-y texture that we all have come to know so well. Unfortunately, it is a known carcinogen, and is even banned throughout Europe.

According to the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, has side effects which affect the nervous system that range from headaches, irritability, impaired thinking, and personality changes.


60 Minutes: The Flavorists; Addictive Flavors of the Artificial Flavor Industry Exposed. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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Aspartame. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Caffeine: how does it affect our health? – Medical News Today. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Hazardous Substance Fact Sheet. (n.d.). Retrieved from

The link between sodium nitrites and cancer | CTCA. (n.d.). Retrieved from

This is your brain on sugar: UCLA study shows high-fructose diet sabotages learning, memory | UCLA. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Mike Bundrant
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