When purchasing food keep in mind the food industry’s top concern is NOT your health. Their job is to sell food. Your health, and the health of those you care for, are your responsibility. Do not expect the food industry to take care of that for you.
While it would be ideal, amazing, and simply good morals, for all food to be free of harmful food additives, that is not the current state of our food supply. Thus it is up to the consumer to read and understand food labels in order to bring home healthy food.
Here are five food additives to watch out for when grocery shopping:
Artificial Food Dyes
If you see a color-number combo on a package of food, leave it be! Examples would be Blue 2, Caramel Coloring (we’ll talk about this one some more), Red 3, Red 40 and Yellow 5. For the most part, these type of food dyes are petroleum-based chemical concoctions.
The one natural exception is Red 40, which is made out of cochineal bugs — yes, bugs. Bugs that happen to be relatives of shell fish — a huge problem for people with shellfish allergies.
These dyes are often cited for being associated with health problems ranging from skin breakouts to ADHD to cancer. If you stop to think about it though, how awesome can it be for your body to have chemicals bouncing around in your digestive tract and blood stream?
Furthermore, why do our foods and supplements (check your vitamins!) need to be dyed in the first place? And if we’re going to dye them, why can’t we stick with plant pigments that provide color and nutrition?
For more information on food dyes, check out this report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
BHA and BHT
Butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydroxytoluene are used to prevent foods from rancidity and oxidation, aka going bad. They’re also suspected of causing cancer, which is worse than spoiled potato chips.