You might want to put down that bag of potato chips, because it may contain some of the worst toxic food ingredients on the planet. There are over 3,000 food additives (preservatives, flavourings, colours, oils, etc.) added to processed foods, most of which you should try your best to avoid.
The next time you embark on your grocery store adventure, take a look at the ingredient list on your favourite food products. If any of these toxic food ingredients cross paths with your label inspection, put down the product and keep walking – your health is worth so much more than a cheap ingredient filler that’s just waiting to cause major disease and illness in your body!
Here are 10 of the WORST toxic food ingredients you’re probably eating:
1. Partially Hydrogenated Oil
Found in: crackers, chips, store-bought baked goods, fried foods
These oils are basically trans fat, and can produce diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS), cancer, diabetes, decreased immune function, and reproduction problems. Synthetic trans fats are also a major culprit of inflammation, which manifests as chronic disease and illness.
2. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
Found in: candy, condiments, icing, processed cereals and baked goods, snack bars, candy, soda, concentrated juices
This is one of the worst ingredients you could think about putting in your body. This sugar is a huge contributor to the obesity epidemic and contains mercury contaminants that are not regulated or measured by the FDA. HFCS
3. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
Found in: chips, soy sauce, ranch dressing, gravies, Chinese food, frozen dinners, cold cuts, salty flavoured snacks, many restaurants (McDonalds, Applebee’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, etc.)
This synthetic taste enhancer is used by companies because it is cheap, and stimulates the nervous system (neurotoxin) to enhance the flavour of cheaply made foods. This chemical compound is also highly addictive, and leaves you coming back for more. Common MSG symptoms include headaches, migraines, sweating, chest pain, heart palpitations and nausea. It triggers conditions like asthma, depression, obesity, diabetes, and heart irregularities and has been implicated in neurodegenerative diseases like MS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Sometimes MSG is labelled as something else, so stay clear of these labelings: glutamate, glutamic acid, gelatine, calcium caseinate, textured protein, monopotassium glutamate, sodium caseinate, yeast nutrient, yeast extract, yeast food, autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed protein, hydrolyzed corn gluten, natrium glutamate
Found in: potato products (chips, fries), cereals, coffee, crackers or breads, dried fruits and a variety of other starch-heavy foods
This naturally-occurring compound occurs when starchy, carbohydrate-rich foods are heated to incredibly high temperatures (aka. deep-fried or oven-cooked). Acrylamide has been linked multiple times to cancer development in animal studies, and even the FDA recommends against consuming fried or heavily over-cooked carbohydrate products.
Note: steaming and boiling your potatoes instead of frying or baking them will significantly reduce the amount of acrylamide produced.
5. Sodium Benzoate & Potassium Benzoate
Found in: soda, juice, pickles, condiments, pre-made salad dressings (aka. Kraft)
Steer clear of these preservatives, as they are known carcinogens that are also linked with serious thyroid damage. This product is used to help prevent mold from growing, but it is also the cheapest mold inhibiter on the market (so, really, what’s the point?). The FDA warns for these chemicals to never be mixed with vitamin C or E, but this is problematic as most products contain ascorbic acid (vitamin C). When mixed with vitamin C, the compound called benzene is formed, which is a known carcinogen.
6. Potassium Bromate
Found in: bread products, doughs, frozen pizzas, fast-food sandwich buns
This chemical compound is banned in Canada, Brazil, and China, because it is highly cancerous (particularly renal and thyroid cancer). It is used to bleach dough so that it appears white, and makes the bread product more soft and appealing. I don’t know what’s more appealing though, cancer, or a bread product that isn’t stark white and soft?
7. Artificial Sweeteners
Found in: low-calorie, low-sugar (or no-sugar), and low-fat products (diet soda, yogurt, flavoured water, juices, gum, snack foods)
Artificial sweeteners are one of the worst products on the market today. You may recognize the typical names like acesulfame potassium, aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal), glycerol, HSH, isomalt, lactitol, maltitol, polydextrose, sucralose (Splenda) and saccharin (Sweet’N Low, SugarTwin). These sugar substitutes are harder to digest and metabolize than standard refined sugar. They also cause cancer, and don’t really help us lose weight.
8. Artificial Colours (red, yellow, blue, green)
Found in: colourful candy, chocolate bars and cereal, kraft dinner, juices, sports drinks, pet foods
Artificial food dyes have been linked with ADD and ADHD in children and adults, as well as cancer. Blue 1 and 2, green 3, red 3 and yellow 6, have all been linked to thyroid, kidney bladder, adrenal and brain cancers. Steer clear of foods with artificial colours, and stick with colour-free natural food products (the dye is just for looks, anyway, so who really cares?).
9. BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) & BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene)
Found in: crackers, potato chips, butter, cereal, instant foods (i.e., mashed potatoes), beer, baked goods, dry dessert mixes, meat, chewing gum, and many other products
These preservatives, which could easily be replaced by an all-natural preservative, vitamin E, are used to help prevent the breakdown of fats. They affect the nervous system, cause behavioural problems, and can cause cancer and allergic reactions.
10. Sodium Nitrate & Sodium Nitrite
Found in: meat products like deli meats (lunch meat), bacon, hot dogs, breakfast sausage, jerkies, and meats used in canned soup products
These two chemical preservatives have been heavily linked to colon cancer, metabolic syndrome and diabetes. They are used to help with meat preservation, but come with a heavy burden of cancer. In the end, it’s your choice!