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.