Sunday, January 22, 2012

Additives in Your Food

Poisons in Your Food
Many additives in the food you eat may be very dangerous to your health. But you'd never know it if you believed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Take, for example, Olestra, also known as Olean. Over the objections of many leading food scientists, this fat substitute was approved and claimed safe by the FDA. However, Olestra causes diarrhea and abdominal cramping. And there is evidence that it can contribute to cancer, heart disease and blindness. Luckily for consumers, all products which contain Olestra must have a warning on the label.

That's not the case for the artificial sweetener Aspartame, also known as Nutrasweet. 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. Aspartame was approved and claimed safe by a specially appointed FDA Commissioner after his own Board of Inquiry that investigated aspartame claimed it unsafe. This FDA Commissioner later left the FDA to work for the drug company that produces aspartame.

Then there's monosodium glutamate (MSG) and free glutamate, flavor enhancers which have been approved by the FDA. MSG may cause a variety of symptoms, including headaches, itching, high blood pressure and allergic reactions. Free glutamate, the active ingredient in MSG, may cause dizziness, shortness of breath, headaches, drowsiness and even brain damage, especially in children. Because of bad publicity, food manufacturers found ways to hide MSG in foods they produce. They list the ingredients that contain MSG but not the MSG itself. Or they use free glutamates instead of MSG. For example, broth may be listed as an ingredient on a label. Broth may contain MSG, but the ingredients in the broth are not required to be listed on the label. Hydrolyzed soy protein, a common ingredient in tuna, is high in free glutamates, but does not contain MSG. The label can legally say no MSG. Even if the label says "all natural ingredients" and "no preservatives," the product could contain harmful additives.

Almost all packaged foods, even so called "health foods", have additives in them, and many are harmful or inadequately tested. The manufacturer hopes you'll think these are healthy natural products, but if you read the list of ingredients, you'll find ingredients that are not common food items. If you learn to interpret food labels, you'll find that many of these ingredients are harmful or of questionable safety.

So, how do you know which foods are really safe to eat? Dr. Christine Farlow, in her handy pocket-sized book, Food Additives: A Shopper's Guide To What's Safe & What's Not, now in its 2004 revised edition, makes it easy to identify which additives are harmful and which are not. She classifies 800 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, the average person can find out if an additive in the food they're buying is harmful to their 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 or contact Dr. Farlow.

Shared by Deborah Mumm, The Allergy Queen

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