Saying No to Chemical Additives

food coloringFor our grandparents, shopping for food used to be so easy! “Bread” meant wheat, water and yeast. Milk was, well, milk. A cookie meant wheat, sugar, butter, baking powder and maybe vanilla.

But now, with factory-made foods, chemical additives can be found in most of the foods we buy, especially those found on the inner shelves at the supermarket. The list of ingredients on some of these products is downright scary!

Here’s an example – the list of ingredients found in a popular cereal:
Sugar, whole grain corn flour, wheat flour, whole grain oat flour, oat fiber, soluble corn fiber, contains 2% or less of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (coconut, soybean and/or cottonseed), salt, red 40, natural flavor, blue 2, turmeric color, yellow 6, annatto color, blue 1, BHT for freshness.

And here’s the ingredients list of a fat-free sour cream brand:
Cultured Pasteurized Grade A Skim Milk And Milk, Dried Corn Syrup, Food Starch-Modified, Contains Less Than 2% Of Starch, Artificial Color*, Cream**, Maltodextrin, Xanthan Gum, Natural Flavor.

Compare this list with Lilly fat free, that simply contains cultured nonfat milk!

So, do we really need all these additives? The Center for Science in the Public Interest places all artificial colors in the “CAUTION” or “AVOID” category. It recommends cutting back on corn syrup and avoiding BHT. If you scroll down the page, you will find a list of banned additives that makes things even scarier, because it demonstrates how additives that may be considered safe at one time, may later turn out to be toxic.

Since so many companies are using chemical additives with little regard for consumers’ health, it is up to us, the consumers, to read nutrition labels carefully and make sure we buy products that are as clean as possible. So instead of just randomly picking a cereal at the grocery store, read the label, go over the ingredients list, check to make sure there are no artificial colors in the product, no BHT, and as little sugar as possible.

The more consumers demand clean food and avoid chemical-laden products, the sooner food manufacturers will come to realize that they have to become conscious of what they are putting in the food they make. This is not just about shelf life, flavor or look – this is about our health, and we deserve better. We deserve food that looks good, tastes great, and is good for our health.

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