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Top 10 Food Additives to Avoid - Like the Plague!

People often ask me to give them a list of food additives to avoid. My quick reply— eat only whole, fresh, natural foodswoman checking ingredient label that don’t contain additives and you don’t have to worry about them! But I’m also a realist and know that for many, eliminating processed foods isn’t going to happen any time soon – if at all. So the wisest thing to do is, at least make the switch to natural-brand processed foods that don’t contain toxic additives.

Monosodium Glutamate / MSG

Neurotoxic flavor enhancer known to cause migraine headaches, brain fog, fatigue, depression, irritability, seizures, weight gain and more.

Found in: 60-90% of processed foods, including soups, broths, bouillon, snacks, chips, salad dressings, cookies, seasonings, frozen meals, ice cream, lunch meats Chinese and other Asian food (Chinese Restaurant Syndrome)

Solution: Purchase only natural-brand processed foods that don’t contain MSG. Check labels, however, as some contain MSG listed as “autolyzed yeast extract,” “yeast extract,” or “natural flavoring.” (See previous article on MSG.)

Artificial Sweeteners

Whether it’s aspartame (Equal, Nutrasweet, Spoonful), sucralose (Splenda), Saccharin (Sweet’n Low), Acesulfame K (Sunette, Sweet One), each one is shrouded in controversy and reports of adverse reactions including anxiety, depression, seizures, headaches, asthma attacks, liver and kidney damage, fibromyalgia, brain tumors, weight gain and more.

Found in: diet or sugar-free sodas, flavored yogurts, Jello, desserts, sugar-free gum, candy, cookies, etc., drink mixes, baking goods, table top sweeteners, cereal, pudding, ice tea, chewable vitamins, toothpaste and more.

Solution: Check labels and generally avoid all processed foods and beverages that are labeled “diet” or “sugar free.” Consider using stevia, a natural herbal sweetener, instead.

Sulfites / Sulphur Dioxide

Carcinogenic color fixatives and preservatives known to cause acute reactions ranging from severe to mild, including acute asthma attacks, seizures, anaphylactic shock, diarrhea, nausea, brain fog, muscle aches, headaches, and extreme fatigue.

Found in: dried fruit, wine, beer, hard ciders, soft drinks, juices, cordials, vinegar, and potato products.

Solution: Avoid brightly-colored dried fruits. Choose un-sulphured dried fruits, usually dark in color instead. Choose wine, beer and hard ciders that don’t contain added sulfites.

High Fructose Corn Syrup / HFCS

Highly-refined sweetener that packs on pounds faster than any other ingredient, increases bad cholesterol, and contributes to the development of diabetes, tissue damage, and more.

Found in: soda, sweetened beverages, breads, candy, flavored yogurts, salad dressings, canned fruits and vegetables, cereals and more.

Solution: Choose natural-brand beverages and treats that contain less harmful sweeteners — or natural, unsweetened juices and herbal teas.

Artificial Food Colorings

Linked to cancer and may contribute to behavioral problems in children and lead to a significant reduction in IQ. Note: even a very small amount, such as that contained in gummy or tablet vitamins, can cause reactions.

Found in: vitamins (gummy and tablets), candy, cereal, soft drinks, sports drinks, pet foods, fruit cocktail, maraschino cherries, ice cream, candy, bakery products, American cheese, macaroni and cheese, and more.

Solution: Stick with quality, whole-food supplements and natural-brand processed foods that use natural, non- toxic food colorings or none at all.

Trans Fats / Hydrogenated & Partially Hydrogenated Oils

?Trans fat, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils extend the shelf life of food products. They’re known to raise bad cholesterol contributing to heart disease and strokes, inflammation, diabetes and more.

Found in: margarine, chips and crackers, baked goods, fast foods, protein and other snack bars.

Solution: Check labels on processed foods and go with natural fats and oils whenever possible, such as extra virgin coconut or olive oil or raw or organic butter.

Brominated Vegetable Oils (BVO)

A toxic chemical that boosts flavor in many citric-based fruit and soft drinks known to increase triglycerides and cholesterol. It’s also associated with damage to the liver, testicles, thyroid, heart and kidneys.

Found in: citrus flavored sodas and sweetened beverages.

Solution: choose non-citrus sodas or those made by natural food brands that don’t contain BVO.

Potassium Bromate / Bromated Flour

Potassium bromate is a carcinogenic additive used to increase volume in products made with white flour that’s banned in countries around the world. It’s also associated with thyroid problems and one of the reasons there has been such an increase in thyroid issues in recent decades.

Found in: white breads, rolls, and other baked goods made from dough.

Solution: avoid or minimize baked goods that contain “potassium bromate” or “bromated flour.” In California, products containing this additive are required to bear a warning on their labels.

Nitrates / Nitrites

Carcinogenic color preservatives that are also known to cause acute reactions such as headaches, irritability, and fatigue.

Found in: processed meats including hotdogs, bacon, ham, luncheon meat, cured meats, corned beef, smoked fish, etc.

Solution: choose processed meats labeled “no added nitrates or nitrites.”

BHA & BHT (E320)

Potentially carcinogenic preservatives that affect the brain and known to cause hyperactivity, asthma, rhinitis, dermatitis, tumors, hives and hormonal imbalance.

Found in: Potato chips, gum, cereal, frozen sausages, enriched rice, lard, shortening, candy, Jello.

Solution: Choose natural-brand processed foods that don’t contain these toxic preservatives

3 Join the Conversation

  1. Gina says
    Jan 23, 2023 at 1:50 AM

    Thank you for the knowledge helpful for people that suffer from lupus.

  2. Joelle says
    Feb 25, 2023 at 2:30 AM

    Woah! Thank you for the easy-to-understand info. It gave me the chill to think that these are all around at the grocery store.

  3. Diane says
    Oct 19, 2023 at 11:55 AM

    Thank you for sharing this list. It is very informative and I like the simple format.

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