I recently came across an article called "Banned Ingredients that Are Still Legal in the U.S." (http://shine.yahoo.com/healthy-living/banned-ingredients-still-legal-u-132100120.html). I wonder how up-front food companies really are about the ingredients they put in foods to keep them looking appealing and shelf-stable. I also wonder why it is that these ingredients are banned in other countries yet still allowed to be sold here. Seems like, sometimes, large food companies are more interested in their bottom line than in our health.
Here are some ingredients banned in other countries and available in the US that should stay out of your pantry:
1. Food coloring - this is just bad stuff. Usually made from coal tar, which is used to kill head lice, and seal-coat products, food coloring is used in a variety of products, beyond just candy. Specifically, medicines, soda, cheese and cake. These have been found to be neurotoxic and can cause brain tumors, cancer and learning issues.
2.Brominated vegetable oil - this is something found in those wildly-colored sports drinks. Brominated vegetable oil contains bromine, a chemical found in flame retardant products. When it builds up in the body, it can affect the thyroid, cause neurological impairment, and early onset of puberty.
3.Brominated flour (Potassium bromate) - this contains the same ingredient in brominated vegetable oil, and is used to strengthen dough so that less baking time is needed.
4. rBGH and rBST - these are synthetic, genetically-modified growth hormones usually fed to cows to increase milk production. Not only do these hormones affect the animals that get it (for which the animals need to be treated with antibiotics), they have also been show to cause allergies in humans and who knows how else the accumulation of these chemicals in our bodies is affecting us.
5. Olestra - this is a synthetic fat that is used in potato chips. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, "Olestra can cause diarrhea and loose stools, abdominal cramps, flatulence, and other adverse effects. Those symptoms are sometimes severe."
Here's what you can do:
- Eat fresh and local. The more fresh, whole and real foods you can incorporate into your diet, the healthier you will be.
- Read the labels. If a product contains more than 5 ingredients, likelihood is that it contains a lot of chemicals and preservatives.