Many additives found in processed foods sold in the US are banned in other countries due to their negative health affects. However, if we decrease our demand for these products, companies must evolve. Lets review the following common culprits that we should begin eliminating from our diet.
1. Artificial food dyes
2. Citric acid
3. Modified Cornstarch
1. We as a society started using Artificial Food dyes/colors when we started eating more processed food. Processing food to increase shelf life etc strips food of its nutrients and also exposes its dull color. Companies therefore started coloring their food to make it look more appealing to customers, especially young children. The coloring helps them camouflage the effects of food processing while making their chemicals look more alive and natural looking. Research shows Red 5 and Yellow 6 is contaminated with known carcinogens. Another dye, Red 3, has been acknowledged for years by the Food and Drug Administration to be a carcinogen, yet is still in the food supply. Artificial food dyes are made from petroleum and approved for use by the FDA. After doing your due diligence, you will find the FDA does not protect our health whatsoever. The same substance that is placed into cars, used to make plastic, chemicals and asphalt and road oils is deemed “safe” to be placed in food. These synthetic dyes are found in high calorie, high sugar, low nutritional value “foods”.
2. Citric acid is an example of how the food industry creates synthetic harmful versions of naturally occurring ingredients. Citric acid can be found in lemons for example but the citric acid found in processed foods is made from mold and other chemical processes. Citric acid is also an example of how innocent certain ingredients sound until you educate yourself on its origin.
3. Modified cornstarch is derived from genetically modified corn and is used as a thickening agent. Modified cornstarch is chemically altered to increase shelf life so it is high in chemicals and preservatives. Corn along with soy is also a top GMO food in the US. Corn is sprayed indiscriminately with deadly insecticides and pesticides. This leads to more and more toxicity entering our food chain.
Animals that are raised for consumption are eating GMO plants that are laden with dangerous pesticides. We, in turn, eat the animals-and thus this chain of events continues. You will find modified corn starch mostly in highly processed and packaged foods, which tend to be high in refined grains, added sugars, and sodium. These types of foods have no nutritional value and stick to the body instead of being properly eliminated. Studies on GMO’s and lab animals show a rise in organ damage, DNA damage, allergic reactions and abnormal behavior. There is continued concern that as GMO crops and their derivatives continue to flourish - chronic inflammatory diseases, degenerative diseases, obesity and malignancies in humans will continue to escalate.
4. Maltodextrin is a white powder derived from GMO corn starch. Various studies show maltodextrin can change your gut bacteria composition in a way that makes you more susceptible to disease. It can suppress the growth of probiotics in your digestive system, which are important for immune system function. It can also spike blood sugar.
Dextrose is similar in the sense that it spikes blood sugar. Dextrose has a higher glycemic value than table sugar. These two additives are very bad for people with diabetes, hyperglycemia etc.
5. BHT is also commonly found in processed foods as a preservative. It’s also allowed in most European countries, but not permissible for use as a food additive in Japan, Romania, Sweden, and Australia. The body has a very hard time to remove this preservative through normal metabolic excretion. Another theme with these chemicals is our bodies inability to digest them. This in turn leads to a clogged body susceptible to obesity, disease and lack of energy.
6. Chemically, MSG is a white crystalline powder that resembles table salt or sugar. It combines sodium and glutamic acid, known as a sodium salt and is found in canned processed soups, processed meats and processed snacks for example. MSG or monosodium glutamate has been labeled an excitotoxin because it is thought to have the ability to overstimulate cells to death. Many people link headaches, flushing, poor attention and other symptoms, as well as diseases like fibromyalgia, to MSG intake.Similar to high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils, consumers need to get in the habit of looking for monosodium glutamate.
Solution: Eat less processed foods!! Always opt for a home recipe of puddings, syrups, brownies, cookies, cereal, frosting and juices/soft drinks for example. A healthier substitute for corn starch would be Tapioca flour and arrowroot powder. They are great binders and thickeners and are also gluten-free and vegan. Arrowroot powder has fewer calories and carbohydrates than cornstarch, and contains protein, potassium, iron, magnesium, B vitamins and vitamin C.