Sunday, November 22, 2009

If you can’t pronounce it, leave it in the package!!!

A good general rule is, “if you can’t pronounce it, leave it in the package, and grab some ‘real food.’” However, most of us don’t live a life of subsistence farming, and grabbing a granola bar or a snacking on sugary treat is par for the culinary course in our hectic lives. So, next time you’re playing food detective, look out for these devilish ingredients.

Artificial Flavoring: Butyl alcohol, isobutryic acid and phenylacetaldehyd dimethyl acetal – found in the gamut of processed foods, from cereals, to beverages, to cookies. Although the FDA has deemed this list of chemicals as safe, it doesn’t mean the research carried out on them was sound. Note to self: Remember when the FDA said it was safe for pregnant women to take Thalidomide?

Aspartame: The devil of the diet soda craze, it’s 180 times sweeter than sugar, but the health outcomes are pretty sour – headaches, dizziness, memory loss, epileptic seizures. And the best reason to ditch the diet can – it’s carcinogenic.

BHA and BHT (Butylated HydroxyAnisole and Butylated Hydroxytoluene): Petroleum-derived antioxidants used to preserve fats and oils. It’s used by food manufactures to boost fat in products like butter, cereals, and cookies. Oh, and you wonder why beer gives you a belly, it’s also been added to your favorite ale. But a gut might be the least of your worries when you’re battling cancer – it’s been shown to cause cancer in the forestomachs of rats, mice, and hamsters.

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS): A corn-derived sweetener representing more than 40 percent of all caloric sweeteners in the supermarket. It will take an entire Encyclopedia Britannica worth of paper to list every item that contains HFCS. You know the drill by now, if it’s sweet and manufactured, it’s lurking in there somewhere. Experts theorize that our bodies metabolize HFCS differently than other sugars, allowing us to store fat more easily. A study published in Environmental Health tested 55 common products with HFCS listed as one of the top three ingredients, and found that a third of them contained mercury.

Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil: By forcing hydrogen gas into vegetable fat to create trans fatty acids, it has a longer shelf life, and gives manufacturers more bang for their buck. And when it comes to heart disease, the buck really stops here, as numerous studies have linked trans fat to cardiovascular disease and complications. Fortunately most cities have approved legislation to ban trans fat in restaurant kitchens.

Red #3 (Erythrosine) and Red #40 (Allura Red): Food dyes that are orange-red and cherry-red, respectively. Red #40 is the most widely used food dye in America. It’s found in candy (think Twizzler-type trappings), beverages and fruit cocktails. The FDA once considered imposing a ban on the use of Red #3 in food, but thus far has not. However, after the dye was linked to thyroid tumors in rats, the FDA had the liquid form of the dye removed from external-use drugs and cosmetics.

Saccharin: An artificial sweetener that’s 300 times sweeter than sugar. It’s found in gum, beverages, sugar-free candy. However, the effects of sucking on saccharine are not so sweet. Studies have shown a link between high doses of the artificial sweetener and bladder cancer. Interestingly, rats on a diet of artificial sweeteners were more rotund than the rats who consumed regular sugar.

Yellow #5 (Tartrazine) and Yellow #6 (Sunset Yellow): The second and third most common food colorings, respectively. You can find these palatable food colorings in everything from chips to cookies, cakes, and condiments. They might brighten up food, but they also turn up hyperactivity in children – a UK study showed that 3-year-olds given a drink containing both dyes were more rambunctious than those who didn’t down the same chemicals. One study found that mice fed high doses of sunset yellow had trouble swimming straight and righting themselves in water – in other words, they failed the aquatic sobriety test.

1 comment:

JAHsun! said...

Muy imformativo!!