The Top 12 Harmful Food Additives You Need To Eliminate From Your Diet

First on the list is Sodium Nitrate.  Switching to turkey bacon in the morning is not good for your health.  The reason, sodium nitrate is in processed meats, such as, hot dogs, regular bacon, turkey bacon, bologna and many lunch meats.

What is sodium nitrite? Sodium nitrite is a food additive used as a preservative. It is used to extend the life of meats, and to prevent the growth of bacteria.

What’s the problem? Sodium nitrite is toxic. When you eat it, nitrosamines are formed. These dangerous compounds are highly carcinogenic. During lab studies, researchers inject these compounds into lab mice when they want to give them cancer. Clearly, this is not something we should be consuming. Although you may be consuming less fat by eating turkey products instead of red meat, you are not necessarily reducing your cancer risk. In fact; cancer risk is thought to be higher in meat than other foods, not simply because of the higher saturated fat content, but because of the sodium nitrite content.

Second on the list is BHA & BHT.

BHA and BHT stands for Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT). These are food additives that are used as a preservative to keep food from spoilage. BHA and BHT can be found in butter, meats, chewing gum, snack foods, dehydrated potatoes, and even beer. These additives are approved by the FDA as safe for human consumption. However, they are proven carcinogens. There is proof that some people have difficulty metabolizing BHA and this can result in health and behavioral changes.

“The structure of BHA and BHT will change during this process [of preserving food], and may form a compound that reacts in the body,” says Gerbstadt. “BHA and BHT are not stable or inert. They’re not just hanging out and being excreted by the body.” Gerbstadt says that they are obviously not added for the purpose of giving people cancer, but for some people, some of the time, there may be that risk.

Third on the list is Trans fats.   This one really ticks me off.  Try finding hamburgers without trans fats in them, it is almost impossible.  Hamburgers taste perfectly fine without them adding trans fats.  Also, those who use margarines, they may not list them in the ingredients – but, most have at least  .5% in them and sometimes as high as .7%.

Artificial trans fats are made when hydrogen gas reacts with oil. They can be found in cookies, crackers, icing, potato chips, stick margarine and microwave popcorn. About 80 percent of trans fat in American’s diet comes from factory-produce partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.

Why are they so bad for you?

Trans fats pose a higher risk of heart disease than saturated fats, which were once believed to be the worst kind of fats. While it is true that saturated fats — found in butter, cheese and beef, for example — raise total cholesterol levels, trans fats go a step further. Trans fats not only raise total cholesterol levels, they also deplete good cholesterol (HDL), which helps protect against heart disease.

Fourth on the list is Olestra.  This is the additive that Mad TV did a skit on, because of it’s nasty side effects.

Olestra is a fake fat, used to make non-fat potato chips and other snacks. You’d think, with all the bad rap fat has gotten, a non-fat fat would be great. But Olestra has been shown to bind with fat-soluble vitamins A, E, D and K and carotenoids — substances thought to keep the immune system healthy and prevent some cancers — and to eliminate them from your system. Proctor & Gamble, the company that produces olestra, has acknowledged the problem with vitamins A, E, D and K and is now fortifying it with them. Olestra has also caused digestive upset in some people, especially when they eat a lot of it. Often, it’s not just fat in the potato chips that causes problems for people; it’s the fact that they are displacing healthier foods, such as fruit, so Olestra can just perpetuate an unhealthy habit.

Fifth on the list is Propyl gallate.

This preservative, used to prevent fats and oils from spoiling, might cause cancer. It’s used in vegetable oil, meat products, potato sticks, chicken soup base and chewing gum, and is often used with BHA and BHT.

Sixth on the list is Monosodium glutamate.  Is an amino acid used widely as a flavor enhancer in frozen dinners, salad dressings, chips and restaurant food.  This additive is in my favorite asian foods, like egg rolls and wontons, so I only order chinese take-out now about once a year.  Love the taste but, I pay later – feel sluggish and bloated.

MSG is now so ubiquitous in our food chain (east and west) that you would be very hard pressed to go MSG-free. As you would expect, junk foods and instant foods like soups and other mixes contain MSG. Prepared food in your grocery stores and at fast food outlets (KFC chicken skin is massively loaded with MSG) and fine dining restaurants alike are awash in MSG.

When you see the word “citric acid” in prepared food ingredient lists, think MSG. Industrial citric acid is not made from citrus fruits, its made from corn. Its not pure either.

Why is MSG bad for you?

Early on (in the 50s) studies reported significant issues relating to the exposure of mammals to MSG. If neonatal rats were given a single exposure to MSG, the neurons in the inner layer of their retina were killed. It was also reported that certain parts of their brains were injured as well (the hypothalamus). When considering various findings of MSG exposure in the rat, remember that humans are some 5-6 times more sensitive to MSG than rats.

At one point, researchers determined that rats would be an excellent model for the study of obesity after the exposure to MSG. MSG is a chemoinducer of obesity, type II diabetes and metabolic syndrome X in the rat. (lesion of the ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus (VMH) by administering monosodium glutamate) Thus, MSG is used in the lab to induce obesity in rats.

Seventh on the list is Potassium bromate.

Potassium bromate (KBrO3) is an oxidizing agent that has been used as a food additive, mainly in the bread-making process. Although adverse effects are not evident in animals fed bread-based diets made from flour treated with KBrO3, the agent is carcinogenic in rats and nephrotoxic in both man and experimental animals when given orally. It has been demonstrated that KBrO3 induces renal cell tumors, mesotheliomas of the peritoneum, and follicular cell tumors of the thyroid. In addition, experiments aimed at elucidating the mode of carcinogenic action have revealed that KBrO3 is a complete carcinogen, possessing both initiating and promoting activities for rat renal tumorigenesis.

Eighth on the list is Aspartame.  This is the artificial sugar substitute.   I don’t like the aftertaste of Nutrasweet or Equal, which is made by the Monsanto Corporation.

Although aspartame is added to over 9,000 food products, it is not fit for human consumption! This toxic poison changes into formaldehyde in the body and has been linked to migraines, seizures, vision loss and symptoms relating to lupus, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis and other health destroying conditions.

Besides being a deadly poison, aspartame actually contributes to weight gain by causing a craving for carbohydrates. A study of 80,000 women by the American Cancer Society found that those who used this neurotoxic “diet” sweetener actually gained more weight than those who didn’t use aspartame products. Find out more about the deadly health risks posed by Monsanto’s toxic sweetener on this website:

Aspartame/Nutrasweet (aspartylphenylalanine-methyl-ester) breaks down to its poison constituents at 86 degrees (Aspartic Acid 40%, Phenylalanine 50%, and Methanol 10%). Remember your stomach is at 98.6 degrees! Therefore you should never use Aspartame/Nutrasweet in hot beverages or cooked foods such as Jell-O. How the FDA allows this remains a mystery. There is mounting evidence that the “Burning Mouth Syndrome” experienced by the Desert Storm troops was actually Methanol poisoning from the Diet Coke they drank lots of, after being exposed to desert temperatures.

Ninth on the list is Food colorings (Blue & , Red , Green , Yellow ).

Research on animals suggests that other additives may cause cancer. This includes six artificial food colorings (blues #1, #2, and #3, green #3, red #3, and yellow #6).

Red #40 some side effects are: ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  Red #3 is used in cherries (in fruit cocktails), baked goods and candy. It causes thyroid tumors in rats, and may cause them in humans as well.  Blue #1 is used to color candy and is in beverages, may cause cancer.

Artificial food and supplement colorings are made of coal tar and petrochemicals. Who’d knowingly eat that? Among other things, artificial food colorings are shown to increase hyperactivity in a wide range of children…”

Tenth on the list is Sodium chloride. We know it as salt.  Large doses can lead to heart and blood pressure problems, as well as strokes and kidney failure.

Eleventh on the list is Acesulfame-K. Is a newer sweetener used in soft drinks and some baked goods.   It was approved by the FDA in 1998 for use in soft drinks.

Acesulfame-K—the “K” is the chemistry symbol for potassium—is considered 200 times sweeter than sugar. While Gerbstadt isn’t specifically concerned about this sweetener when used in moderation, there is a general concern that testing on this product has been scant. Some studies showed the additive may cause cancer in rats.

This one should be avoided until further studies are done to know if there are any harmful affects.

Twelfth on the list is White sugar.  This is the one I will never give up, but I do use more honey now to cut back on my intake.

The white crystalline substance we know of as sugar is an unnatural substance produced by industrial processes (mostly from sugar cane or sugar beets) by refining it down to pure sucrose, after stripping away all the vitamins, minerals, proteins, enzymes and other beneficial nutrients.

What is left is a concentrated unnatural substance which the human body is not able to handle, at least not in anywhere near the quantities that is now ingested in today’s accepted lifestyle. Sugar is addictive. The average American now consumes approximately 115 lbs. of sugar per year. This is per man, woman and child.

The damage sugar does is slow and insidious. It takes years before it ruins your pancreas, your adrenal glands, throws your whole endocrine system out of kilter and produces a huge list of damage.

Sugar is the main cause of diabetes, hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia. It is either a significant or contributory cause of heart disease, arteriosclerosis, mental illness, depression, senility, hypertension, cancer.

These additives are some of the many reasons more and more people are turning to organic foods. Not everyone can afford the prices of organic foods but, being informed can make it easier to shop healthier.

24 thoughts on “The Top 12 Harmful Food Additives You Need To Eliminate From Your Diet

  1. Now I’m unhappy…

    “Everyday, gives you cancer” – Joe Jackson.

    Good song, unhappy concept…

  2. Excellent post, freedom. Now if I can just figure out what I can eat.

    Did you know that some health food stores and co-ops sell sugar that hasn’t been processed into poison? Looks funky but it does the job. Definitely better than the licked-a-wet-cat aftertaste from the artificial sweeteners.

  3. Thanks Medjhiesco 🙂 I have seen the sugar that hasn’t been processed yet. The problem is that they don’t sell it around me. I’m going to have to get on the internet and see if anyone in the tri-county area sells it. If not, it will be another thing I’m going to be buying online. I knew processed sugar was bad for you but, I didn’t realize how awful until I did this research.

    I can’t do artificial sweeteners either, they make me gag 😦

    I’m pretty good about not buying processed foods, the only thing I really get are chips for my sons lunch because he loves them so much. Everything else I pretty much make from scratch right down to the bread we eat. It just gets very time consuming though doing that.

    Hope you are having a good day!

  4. You as well, freedom.

    Since you bake your own bread, have you ever tried making your own chips? I’ve got one of those Fry Daddy gizmos and I stoke it with the oil of my choice, break out the mandolin and make my own from time to time.

    Use a sweet potato sprinkled with a touch of sugar for a real interesting treat. Turbinado sugar, ground fine

  5. Fantastic post, FR. I just finished reading “In Defense of Food”. There is a lot to learn about our food or what the big Ag and factory farms tell us is food.

    As for meat, grass fed beef, pork, lamb, chickens etc… are high in omega 3’s. The reason that hamburgers are have trans fats is because of the diet that is fed to the steers. Whatever the animal eats will end up in our bodies when we eat the animal. There is a farmer that butchers his own steers and makes sodium nitrate free hot dogs. They are expensive but much safer to eat. And the steers are grass fed.

    I highly recommend the following two books:
    “In Defense of Food” by Michael Pollen
    “The End of Overeating” by David A. Kessler, MD.

    Both books are eye opening.

  6. There is a meat market here, a couple miles out of town, that offers locally raised meats of all sorts and the prices are pretty competitive.

    This is good because they make their own kielbasa and other types of sausage. No preservatives. There is nothing like grilled kielbasa with a little home made kraut.

  7. That sounds like a great idea medjhiesco, I have a Fry Daddy also. I will have to try that out 🙂 Thank you!

  8. Med, I go out to Amish country now and buy all my meats. It’s a drive but I just stock up big time. The meat tastes so much better.

    Kielbasa and kraut sound so good, mmmmm. I may have to go out tomorrow and buy some sauerkraut.

  9. Freedom, my son’s grandmother makes buckets of sauerkraut every year, which my son shares with me. I’m down to my last bag, waiting for this years crop.

    And good luck with the chips. My kids and friends love those sweet tater ones. The sugar melts nicely, almost glazing the hot chips.

    • I would think salty sweet potato chips would be amazing.

      But I’ve never deep-fried anything in my life, and I’m not going to start now.

  10. The best part about making your own is you can experiment to find out just what you want on the chips. Salt, sugar, spicy. Cheesy is a bit tougher but can be done.

    One of my all time favorites is russet chips with sea salt and a dash of malt vinegar. Another is with Emeril’s Essence.

  11. Hi Freedomrebel!
    Thanks for the tips on chemicals. I passed up the Oscar Mayer Light Beef Franks because of the sodium nitrite. What is the stuff that the plastic bottles is made from that can leach off in the drink contained in the bottles? I think you had a post on that a while back, but I might have heard it elsewhere.
    I buy a brand of tea in gallon jugs made by Milo’s in Bessemer, Alabama, with the splenda sweetener already in it. I can’t get the splenda to dissolve in tea I make myself. I’m having no side effects drinking as much as 2 quarts a day of it, as far as I know. It really cuts down on my sugar intake.

  12. Hi House of Roberts 🙂 No problem, I learned a few things doing this research, wwweeee.. Bisphenol A, they were using is in baby toys and bottles also. I did do a post on that awhile ago, great memory.

    I started cutting back on sugar last year and using honey more. I drink alot of tea myself – that’s were I cut back and started using honey. I actually like it better than sugar in my tea.

    Have a good night HOR 🙂

  13. Freedom, thanks for the public service.

    My coffee/beer/cigarettes diet is looking better and better.

    Doesn’t look a lot like the factory-industrialization of food production in this country ( and elsewhere of course) maintains cancer rates?
    If that’s the case, then all the cancer researchers are looking in the wrong places for a cure, and all those Race for the Cure efforts are a complete waste of time.

    Much of our readily available food is evidently poisoned but billions are being spent to find an antidote when the ‘cure’ is to not eat the poison in the first place!

    The trouble is, how does one avoid the poison when almost everything is poisoned? And apart from carcinogens there are other toxins from inorganic fertilizers and pesticides.

    When I was a kid, cows and cattle ate grass, pigs ate fruit and veg naturally past their prime, chickens were free range and ate cornmeal, horseshit was the fertilizer, crops were rotated and pesticides were used sparingly. Butter was butter and milk was milk There was no such thing as a microwave dinner. Frozen food was peas, eans and carrots.
    There was no such thing as artificial sweetener, no corn-syrup. the only frozen fish was “fish fingers”
    (fish sticks)

    As I recall the only bad foods we had were white sugar and ‘WonderLoaf’ bread. but the biggest bread brand was Hovis which was wholewheat (but like Pumpernickel in a way) and anyway in our household at least we only bought that when lots of sandwiches had to be made—we could always get fresh bread from the local bakers.

    I stopped using sugar about 20 years ago because whenever anyone else (American) sugared my coffee they made it too damn sweet.
    The milk took some getting used-to as it was utterly tasteless at first. But I found in time that when I went back to the UK the full-cream British milk I’d loved so much as a kid was now far too rich and fatty.

    Oh, here’s one food product that I’m sure won’t give you cancer: Marmite. .

  14. Thanks 5thstate 🙂 Your diet sounds like mine the only difference is I’m a tea drinker…

    I eat fruit and veges everyday, I especially love berries and grapes. Best way to eat grapes is bite of the tops and put them in wine. When you get to the bottom of your wine glass you have a treat 😉

  15. med…

    No, Marmite is essentially the goop scraped from the bottom beer-brewing flasks.
    It is yeast extract processed with vegetable extract ans some spices which ends up looking like ( and acting like) axle grease, but it has a very long natural shelf life and is chock-full of B-vitamins and it’s very weird.

  16. Gaaack. I was thinking about getting some breakfast. I suppose it is one of those foods that grows on you. And anything else you put it on.

  17. FR – how are those blueberry bushes that you planted? We have been getting a great deal of rain in Pennsylvania and the blueberries on my property are extra big and juicy this year. Yum…

    A little something about artificial fertilizers… there is a chemical in these fertilizers that causes plants and the animals that eat these plants to grow quickly and larger. Think about it, when we eat these artificially fertilized plants and the animals that have consumed these plants, we too, are eating this growth substance (not to mention the growth hormones given to animals). Could these chemicals be contributing to American obesity?

  18. Hello, On the topic of the additive BHT it has been
    discussed in several books as a possible life extension suppliment. I take one 250mg capsule
    everyday and have since 1983 when the book
    Life Extension was published. I also take numerious other vitamin/minerals as a part of my
    daily health regimen. My health is regularly(every
    3 months) by my family MD.I must say this as a
    man 68.5 years old my health is excellent and still
    work full time.I am not saying here everybody should take BHT just stating that I believe that
    this product has gotton a bad rap, example, all
    oils that are used around the kitchen start to become rancid as soon as they are opened BHT
    stops or slows this dramatically. Oil becomes rancid long before it smells bad.Rancid Oil is
    far more of an insult to you’re body than adding
    BHT to preserve the oil will ever be.Unfortunately
    there is not much helpful information on the Internet about BHT.the two reference books I
    have read are;LIFE EXTENSION & MAXIMUM
    LIFE SPAN both are out of print, you may luck out on Amazon to find them used.

  19. Thanks for asking Cats 🙂 I have three blueberry bushes and they are doing great. Not ready to pick yet, but they are getting there. My strawberry plants have really taken off, I should have fruit around mid to late August. The honeydew melon & cantaloupe plants are loving those 80 and 90 degree days we are having. The veges are doing awesome, what a great growing year this is turning out to be…

    In one of the studies I looked at, some of the scientists truly believe the chemicals are causing some of the obesity issues we are seeing. Aspartame in diet foods is not helping at all – most people gain weight when eating products with this in it.

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