1) HFCS – High Fructose Corn Syrup
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is a highly-refined artificial sweetener made from corn starch and found in almost all processed food such as: bread and baked goods, salad dressing, candies, yogurt, soda etc. And according to some studies has become the number one source of calories in the US.
Indeed, its easy handling and cheap cost made it the number one granulated sugar replacement: The amount of refined sugar we consume has declined over the past 40 years, while we’re consuming almost 20 times as much HFCS.
HFCS is linked with weight gaining, it increases your LDL (“bad” cholesterol) levels, and contributes to the development of diabetes and tissue damage, among other harmful effects.
Also, recent researches published by the American Association for Cancer Research found that the fructose in HFCS promotes cancer growth, specifically pancreatic cancer.
2) Sodium Nitrate & Sodium Nitrite (NaNO3- NaNO2)
Both of them are chemical compound used as a food additive to preserve and give to cured meats, smoked fish and poultry a nice red pinkish color. Although their purpose seems harmless, these ingredients are highly carcinogen and their consume is linked with gastrointestinal cancer and heart diseases.
In fact, under certain conditions, they can form nitrosamines compounds, molecules that cause cancer in animals and humans.
Also, in massive doses, nitrite – and nitrate, which under some conditions changes to nitrite – can lead to a condition called methemoglobinemia. In our body, nitrites, indeed, have the ability to change the structure of the hemoglobin into methemoglobin: the binding of oxygen to whom results in an increased affinity for oxygen in the remaining heme sites. This leads to an overall reduced ability of the red blood cell to release oxygen to tissue and it may occur in tissue hypoxia.
Can’t give up on eating salami, bacon or ham? Choose the uncured ones.
Sodium Nitrate is listed under its INS number 251 or E number E251, Sodium Nitrite has the E number E250.
3) MSG – Monosodium Glutammate
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavor enhancer commonly added to Chinese food, canned vegetables, soups and processed meats. While the Glutamic acid is naturally present in our bodies, and in many foods, such as tomatoes and cheese, the ones exploited by the processed-foods industry is chemically produced through hydrolysis of vegetable proteins with hydrochloric acid to disrupt peptide bonds or by the fermentation of starch, sugar beets, sugar cane or molasses.
The substance produced has the ability to excite our taste buds and make everything taste delicious, which wouldn’t be a big deal if it hasn’t been shown that high levels of MSG can seriously screw with brain chemistry causing damage to areas of the brain unprotected by the blood-brain barrier.
4) Artificial Colors
Food dyes are one of the most common ingredients in processed food used with the purpose to make your meals or drinks more desirable and appealing.
Nothing against that if they wouldn’t have been linked to some serious health problems.
Blue #1 and Blue #2 (E133)
Banned in Norway, Finland, and France. May cause chromosomal damage.
Found in candy, cereal, soft drinks, sports drinks and pet foods.
Red dye #3 (also Red #40 – a more current dye) (E124)
Banned in 1990 after 8 years of debate from use in many foods and cosmetics. This dye continues to be on the market until supplies run out! Has been proven to cause thyroid cancer and chromosomal damage in laboratory animals, may also interfere with brain-nerve transmission.
Found in fruit cocktail, maraschino cherries, cherry pie mix, ice cream, candy, bakery products and more!
Yellow #6 (E110) and Yellow Tartrazine (E102)
Banned in Norway and Sweden. Increases the number of kidney and adrenal gland tumors in laboratory animals, may cause chromosomal damage.
Found in American cheese, macaroni and cheese, candy and carbonated beverages, lemonade and more! (source Food Matters website)
The slogan “Eat the Rainbow” is still cool but go natural, please!
5) BHA & BHT
BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), also listed with the label of E320, and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are two organic compound widely used by the food industry as preservatives due to their antioxidants proprieties as they can prevent rancidification of food containing fats.
Although declared safe from FDA, The U.S. National Institutes of Health reported that they may form cancer – cause reactive compounds in our body potentially leading to cancer.
Also, they can disturb your hormone and neurological system.
BHA is in tons of food: pick up a bag of chips, a box of cereal, a package of frozen sausages or simply eat a gum, and you have a high probability to find BHA and or BHT (or even worse, both of them) in the ingredients list.