As the masses become more conscious of the food they are eating and the hundreds of chemicals being added to our foods. It’s no surprise that veganism is becoming one of the fastest growing lifestyle choices not just in the UK but globally! It’s no secret that the average ‘health conscious shoppers’ know that food additives play a huge role on the bad label processed foods have earned over the years. A quick internet search will reveal that some food colours & additives are known neurotoxins, poisons, cancer causing and linked to a host of other ailments. Manufacturers manage to slip in these harmful additives & chemicals under guises & codes, with either names that sound appealing or the average person wouldn’t readily identify with. Labels like: ‘added vitamins’, ‘fat free’, ‘sugar free’, ‘diet’ & ‘from concentrate’ are all the efforts to disguise chemicals used in processed foods. In reality they’re ‘nicer’ ways of advertising factory made synthetic chemicals. If longevity & health sounds like favourable things to have in your life, then knowing what major chemicals to look out for and avoid when shopping is a great place to start.
Artificial sweeteners are sugar mimickers used in commercially processed foods with either one or two starch based ‘fillers’ before being sold to consumers. They are so intensely sweet that dextrose or maltodextrin or both, must be added to dilute their intense sweetness in order to imitate the sweetness of sugar. The dextrose or maltodextrin adds calories to the varying brands of artificial sweeteners sold to consumers. Food and Drug Administration(FDA) regulations permit any food product that has 5 or fewer calories per serving to be labelled as containing “0” calories. Here’s a list of some of the additives & artificial sweeteners…
Acesulfame K(ACE K, Sunette, Sweet One)
Known in Europe as E950(additive code), Acesulfame K is marketed as a “sugar free” “calorie free” sugar substitute. Approved by FDA for use in July 1988, studies show it stimulates insulin secretion, possibly aggravating hypoglycemia (low blood sugar attacks). In lab animals it has also been associated with lung, breast, other organ tumours & chronic respiratory diseases even when less than maximum dosage allowed was administered.
It is carcinogenic(cancerous), known in Europe as E951. It accounts for more reports of adverse reactions than all other foods and food additives combined. Aspartame is a neurotoxin known to erode intelligence and affect short-term memory. The components of this toxic sweetener may lead to a wide variety of ailments including brain tumours, diseases like lymphoma, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, fibromyalgia & chronic fatigue. Aspartame is also and endocrine disruptor whick links it to emotional disorders such as depression, anxiety attacks, dizziness, headaches, nausea, mental confusion, migraines and seizures.
One of the more recent toxic additions to our long list of artificial sweeteners. It is known as E961 in Europe and was manufactured by NutraSweet (former Monsanto division & original producer of Aspartame). The formula for Neotame is based on Aspartame; as a sweetener Neotame is 30x sweeter than Aspartame & 13,000x sweeter than table sugar. Despite approximately 80% of FDA complaints pertain to adverse reactions from Aspartame. Proponents of Neotame claim increased toxicity is no concern because less is needed to achieve desired effects – No studies found showing Neotame is safe. It very well may be a more potent and dangerous neurotoxin, immunotoxin & excitotoxin than aspartame. Ingesting Neotame would induce more powerful reactions to the additive than Aspartame. Recent article on Sott.net said…
“Neotame was approved by the FDA for general use in July 2002 … The FDA loosened all labelling requirements for Neotame as part of a large-scale effort to make it a near-ubiquitous artificial sweetener, to be found on the tabletop, in all prepared foods, even in organics. It simply does not have to be included in the ingredient list.”
Saccharin(Sweet ‘N’ Low)
Prior to 2001 saccharin containing foods had to carry the label ‘use of this product may be hazardous to health’ – this was because it caused cancer to lab animals. Known as E954, Saccharin is present in some pain relief drugs in substantial amounts. Ingestion of these prescriptions drugs in RDA dosages in school aged children under the age of 10 years would provide approximately the same amount of Saccharin contained in fizzy or soft drinks. This amount relative to body weight, if ingested for extended periods of time is considered “heavy use” as defined in a major large scale FDA/National Cancer Institute epidemiologic study. A study found that “heavy use” of artificial sweetners was linked to significantly increased risk for development of bladder cancer. In a series of 42 patients with adverse effects resulting from consumption of saccharin in pharmaceutical agents, pruritus & urticarial were the most common reactions, followed by eczema, photo-sensitivity & prurigo. Other reactions include wheezing, nausea, diarrhoea, tongue blisters, headaches, dieresis, and sensory neuropathy. Ingestion of saccharin-adulterated milk formula by infants was associated with irritability, hypertonia, insomnia, opisthotonos and strabismus, which resolved within 36 hours after ingestion. The American Medical Association has recommended limiting the intake of saccharin in young children and pregnant women
In Europe sucralose is used as food and beverage additive known as E955. Sucralose is extremely sweet. It is 600 times sweeter than sugar. It is 3 times as sweet as aspartame (Nutrasweet). It is twice as sweet as saccharin & because so little sucralose is needed for sweetening, the product is usually mixed with fillers in a ratio of 600 to 1. That is, that yellow packet of Splenda you put into your coffee or tea is actually nearly 99.9% fillers, which may be maltodextrin, a creamy white starch that has a glycemic index (GI) of almost 100 (raises blood sugar levels nearly as quickly as white sugar) or cellulose fibre from wood pulp (feeds bacteria in the colon & is not digestible by humans). Glycemic index is a measure between 0-100 of how quickly carbohydrates are digested and absorbed, causing either spiked or gradual increases in blood sugar levels linked to a high or low GI. Research shows sucralose causes shrunken thymus glands(up to 40%) & inflamed liver & kidneys. It may not be as bad as Monsantos Aspartame but years of prolonged use contributes to serious chronic immunological/neurological disorders.
A highly-refined artificial sweetener which is found in almost all processed foods. The average 500ml can of fizzy drink has about 15teaspoons of sugar… all of it HFCS. It is made by chemically separating glucose and fructose which are normally naturally bonded together. This allows fructose to directly enter the liver and causes it to over produce fat(lipogenesis). Consumption of HFCS also increases your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, tissue damage and is contributing to the development of epidemics in heart attacks, strokes, cancer, dementia, and of course, Type 2 diabetes. Furthermore traces of chemical contaminants can also be found in fructose from the production process e.g chloralkali which contains mercury(most poisonous naturally occurring substance)
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
MSG is an amino acid used as a flavor enhancer to make food taste better & fresher. Its food additive code is E621 in the EU. MSG is a known excitotoxin, a substance that overexcites cells to the point of damage or death. It affects neurological pathways in the brain & impedes the “I’m full” function which explains the effects on weight gain & brain damage. Studies show that regular consumption of MSG may result in adverse side effects which include obesity, learning disabilities, depression, disorientation, eye damage, fatigue, headaches. A lot of MSG is used in Chinese foods & are always contained in ingredients like: Yeast Nutrient, Yeast Extract, Hydrolysed Protein, Textured Protein and Gelatin.
This list is by no means comprehensive but shares some products which these typical food additives & more can be found in. Personally, eating whole fresh foods is the best way to avoid toxins and disease. Furthermore I hope this article has provided points to ponder and consider next time you do your food shopping.
Carbonated beverages, Non-carbonated beverages, some Fruit juices, Beverage concentrates, Alcoholic beverages, Table top sweeteners, Dairy products, Ice cream, Desserts, Gelatin, Fruit and vegetable preserves, Jam and Marmalade Baked goods, Confectionery, Chewing gums, Marinated fish, Toothpaste and mouthwash Pharmaceuticals, Yogurt, Milk products, Breakfast cereals, Processed fruits and vegetables, Salad dressings and sauces, Condiments and relishes, Snack foods, Soups & Vitamins.
Links & resources to learn more: