May 23, 2013 by Dr. Sana Keller
What’s the big deal about a few additives (like food coloring & flavoring) or preservatives in our food? Obviously the mass food producers would like you to believe that it’s not a big deal at all to eat foods with preservatives on a regular basis—their bottom line depends on people buying such food, regardless of whether or not it contains potentially harmful chemicals that have been found to negatively affect our health. And obviously certain health care professionals believe this to be true since a friend recently shared what she had heard at an educational session for the public at which a health care professional was speaking at: ‘Preservatives are OK–Really not a big deal.’
How could such small amounts of these chemicals cause harm you–you may ask? Read on…
Brominated vegetable oil, also called BVO, (found in Mountain Dew, Squirt, Fanta Orange, Sunkist Pineapple, Gatorade Thirst Quencher Orange, Powerade Strawberry Lemonade, & Fresca Original Citrus) can increase triglycerides and cholesterol as well as damage the liver, thyroid, heart, and kidneys. BVO is an industrial chemical used as a flame retardant in plastics. It is known to cause memory loss and nerve disorders when consumed in large quantities.
MayoClinic.com identified aspartame, sulfites, benzoates and yellow dye No. 5 as preservatives that could worsen breathing problems in asthmatics and others.
A study from the University of Southampton in the U.K. showed that 3-year-olds and 8-to 9 year-olds were significantly more hyperactive after consuming drinks filled with additives including the preservative sodium benzoate and artificial food colors.
According to the Archives of Disease in Children, in a 2003 double-blind study of 1,873 children the consumption of food additives and preservatives led to significant increase in hyperactive behavior. Removing the preservatives or using a placebo didn’t lead to these behaviors, which were measured by both parental and objective reporting
Nitrosamines, which include nitrites and nitrates, interact with stomach and gastric acids to form cancer-causing agents.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) cites Saccharin, Aspartame, Acesulfame-K, Olestra and food dyes as the most harmful additives. They can weaken the metabolism, lead to weight gain, foster a breeding ground for disease and they have little to no nutritional value.
This is by no means a complete list—but I hope you get the point. Daily consumption of food preservatives and additives can have a significant negative impact on our health. Food is not meant to have a shelf life for years on end.
Other challenges with food additives and preservatives include allergic reactions and intolerance. Reports of reactions after eating food with these chemicals are numerous and varied, such as dermatitis, itching, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, asthma symptoms, muscle & joint aches, fatigue, migraine headaches, heart pounding, irregular rhythms, and many more. How many of these symptoms are being ‘treated’ with a medication to suppress—instead of (more appropriately) evaluating potential food reactions?
Yes, there are a few safe food preservatives called the Class I or natural preservatives such as salt, sugar, vinegar, syrup, spices, honey and edible oil. The best option is to choose fresh foods when possible, which provide the best nutrition and health benefits. Minimizing convenience foods will definitely help in cutting down on your intake of preservatives as well.
So check the food labels of what you’re buying. The longer the ingredient list, the more suspect it is…to contain potentially harmful chemicals. Contact me if you’d like more information on this topic–that’s what I do–I educate others on how to build and maintain a truly healthy lifestyle. May you be blessed with great health…
Photo credits: zazzle.com & ifood.tv