Jun 19, 2013

The Top Ten Food Additives to Avoid

By: Janan Badier (Guest)


Nowadays, it is uncommon to find wholesome food that is devoid of harmful chemicals and substances. Unfortunately, such chemicals have been added to a wide spectrum of products, including seemingly “natural” foods. Although all artificial ingredients are harmful, it is imperative to avoid the following substances:

1. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
MSG is added to enhance the flavor of processed foods. It is an excitotoxin, which is a neurotoxin that can overexcite and harm nerve cells. Regular consumption of MSG damages brain cells and causes weight gain. MSG has various names including hydrolyzed vegetable protein, vegetable protein extract, yeast extract, malt extract, glutamic acid, and barley malt. It is found in processed foods such as salad dressings, chips, canned soups, and low-fat yogurts.

2. Aspartame
Aspartame is also an excitotoxin and causes headaches and dizziness. It is currently believed to be a carcinogen, which is capable of producing or aggravating cancer. Aspartame contains 10-percent methanol, which is broken down by the body into formic acid and formaldehyde, which is a strong nerve toxin and carcinogen. Aspartame is found in various food products including diet sodas, sugar-free sodas, sugar-free gum, frozen desserts, juices, and breath mints.

3. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
Most HFCS is made from genetically modified corn and is the largest source of calories in the US. It has contributed to weight gain, development of diabetes, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and increased levels of LDL cholesterol. In 2009, mercury was found in multiple samples of HFCS through a study conducted by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. HFCS is also known as corn sugar, glucose syrup, fructose syrup, fruit fructose, iso-glucose, and high fructose maize syrup inulin. It is added to various products including soda, salad dressing, bread, soup, cereal, and yogurt.

4. Agave Nectar
Despite its reputation as a healthy sweetener, agave nectar is harmful and highly processed. It contains more fructose than all other commercial sweeteners and has caused weight gain, Type 2 diabetes, increased blood sugar, as well as high blood pressure. It is often found in ice cream, energy bars, and various condiments.

5. Artificial Food Coloring
Artificial food coloring is synthesized from petroleum and has caused harmful effects on laboratory animals. Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, which are the most commonly used artificial colors, have all been proven to contain carcinogens by the Center for Science in the Public’s Interest (CPSI.) Unfortunately, food coloring has also been proven to cause cancer, and hyperactivity. Artificial food coloring is known by a large variety of terms and is added to nearly all food products such as deli meat, condiments, fast food, candy, pudding, and jams. It is often added to meat and fish in order to increase the appearance of freshness.

6. BHA and BHT

BHA and BHT are both preservatives and have been labeled as possibly carcinogenic by the World Health Organization. These preservatives are widely found in gum, packaging materials, chips, butter, vegetable oil, cosmetics, hot dogs, cereals, animal food, and meat patties.

7. Sodium Nitrite and Sodium Nitrate
Sodium nitrite and nitrate are both utilized to preserve meat; however, both also raise the risk of developing various cancers. Through a study conducted by the World Cancer Research Fund in 2007, daily consumption of 1.8 ounces of processed meat increases cancer risk by twenty percent. Avoiding cured meats, canned meats, smoked salmon, and beef jerky will decrease levels of sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate, which are also known as soda niter and chile saltpeter.

8. Potassium Bromate
Potassium bromate is known as bromic acid, potassium salt, bromated flour, and “enriched flour.” It has caused cancer in animals and is an endocrine disruptor. Potassium bromate has been banned in multiple countries and is found in most baked goods. It is also added to certain toothpastes and mouthwashes.

9. Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH)
rBGH is a genetically engineered hormone administered to cows in order to increase milk production. Milk produced by these cows contains increased levels of a growth factor which causes various cancers if present in high levels in the body. Unfortunately, rBGH is found in all dairy products unless labeled otherwise.

10. Refined Vegetable Oil
Refined vegetable oils are produced through chemical processes which remove vitamins and counter the health benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids, cause DNA damage, and lower insulin response. Most vegetable oils contain trans fats which are known to cause heart disease as well as various cancers. These oils are added to most processed foods including crackers and baked goods.

As Muslims, we must strive to keep our bodies healthy and avoid these harmful food additives, which have a plethora of negative consequences. InshaAllah we will all refuse to purchase such goods, and thus improve the quality of the food industry.

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below! 


Jazakillaah Khayr for this!

Jazakaalah kheyr, this is highly informative! The only problem is, these ingredients are almost unavoidable. They're basically in most of the food we eat from bread, to sweets to ice creams and yogurts, almost everything.

thank you for this list! It is all true! At least we can do our very best to avoid them AND better yet lets try to tell these companies that we dont want their cancer causing garbage in our lives!

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