It’s always scary to read about additives and what these chemicals can potentially do.  Part of the scariness is that they are in virtually all processed foods in some form or another and most of us are eating some kind of processed food every day as are our kids.  One food item in and of itself may not make one sick; however, it’s the cumulative effects of these chemicals that pose the most damage.  Drips in the proverbial bucket of life that will, eventually, overflow and result in some kind of discomfort, disease, condition, or illness.  So what is one to do?  The easiest thing to do is to avoid as many processed foods as possible.  Eat foods that don’t come with labels.  It’s simple.  And it’s the best choice.  Always.

In the meantime.  While you phase out processed foods, read labels adamantly and know the additives in this table below in order to avoid them.

Food Additives to Avoid


Name What it’s in Why it’s toxic
Aspartame “Diet” or “sugar free” products (including diet soda), jello, desserts, sugar free gum, drink mixes, table top sweeteners, cereal, breath- mints, puddings, juice drinks, ice tea, chewable vitamins, toothpaste, cough syrup Aspartame is a neurotoxin and carcinogen. Known to erode intelligence and affect short- term memory, the components of this toxic sweetener may lead to a wide variety of ailments including brain tumor, diseases like lymphoma, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, depression and anxiety attacks, dizziness, headaches, nausea, mental confusion and seizures.
Aluminum Used in many commercial baking soda products. It’s not listed on a food label most likely; however, it’s found in food additives, which are used as stabilizers in many processed foods such as sodium aluminum phosphate and sodium aluminum sulfate Aluminum has been linked to neurological damage including cognitive problems, Alzheimer’s disease, and neurological toxicity.
Acesulfame-K This is a relatively new artificial sweetener is found in baked goods, chewing gum, and gelatin desserts. There is a general concern that testing on this product has been scant, and some studies show the additive may cause cancer in rats.
Diacetyl Diacetyl is used as a butter flavoring, in flavored dairy products like yogurt and cheese, and is the source of “brown flavoring” in butterscotch, maple, and fruit-flavored food products. A common chemical in microwave popcorn, this additive has been known cause workplace diseases, respiratory problems such as lung and breathing problems, and cardiovascular system damage.
High Fructose Corn Syrup Most processed foods, breads, candy, flavored yogurts, salad dressings, canned vegetables, cereals High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a highly-refined artificial sweetener which has become the number one source of calories in America. HFCS packs on the pounds faster than any other ingredient, increases your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, and contributes to the development of obesity and diabetes.
Monosodium Glutamate Chinese food, potato chips, many snacks, chips, cookies, seasonings, most canned soup products, frozen dinners, lunch meats MSG is used as a flavor enhancer but also affects the neurological pathways of the brain and disengages the “I’m full” function which results, for many, in weight gain. MSG is an excito-toxin, and regular consumption may result in depression, disorientation, eye damage, fatigue, headaches, and obesity.
Trans Fat (partially hydrogenated oils) Margarine, chips and crackers, baked goods, fast foods, boxed cake mixes Trans fat increases LDL cholesterol levels while decreasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol, increases the risk of heart attacks, heart disease and strokes, and contributes to increased inflammation, diabetes and other health problems.
Food DyesBlue #1 & Blue #2

Red #3 & Red #40 Yellow #6 & Yellow Tartrazine

Fruit cocktail, maraschino cherries, cherry pie mix, ice cream, candy, bakery products, American cheese, macaroni and cheese Artificial colorings, may contribute to behavioral problems like ADD and ADHD in children and lead to a significant reduction in IQ. Animal studies have linked other food colorings to cancer.
Sodium Sulphite Wine and dried fruit According to the FDA, approximately one in 100 people are sensitive to sulphites in food. Individuals who are sulfite sensitive may experience asthma, headaches, breathing problems and rashes.
Sodium Nitrate/Sodium Nitrite Bacon, hotdogs, ham, luncheon meat, cured meats, corned beef, smoked fish or any other type of processed meat Sodium Nitrate is the chemical that turns meats bright red but it’s highly carcinogenic once it enters the human digestive system. There, it forms a variety of nitrosamine compounds that enter the bloodstream and wreak havoc with a number of internal organs: the liver and pancreas in particular. This toxic chemical is linked to many cancers.
BHA and BHT Used as a preservative in potato chips, gum, cereal, frozen sausages, enriched rice, lard, shortening, candy, jello This common preservative keeps foods from changing color, changing flavor or becoming rancid. Affects the neurological system of the brain, alters behavior and has potential to cause cancer. BHA and BHT are oxidants which form cancer-causing reactive compounds in your body.
Sulphur Dioxide Used as a preservative in beers, soft drinks, dried fruit, juices, cordials, wine, vinegar, and potato products Sulphur additives are toxic. Adverse reactions include: bronchial problems, asthma, hypotension, flushing tingling sensations or anaphylactic shock. It destroys vitamins B1 and E in the body. Not recommended for consumption by children.
Phosphates Found in 20,000 known food products (with likely more), fast food, and most processed food items that include a form of meat or bread. It’s used to leaven bread, improve moisture, and improve the texture of both meat and bread. Phosphates have been linked to kidney, heart disease, and even death.
Potassium Bromate Used to increase volume in bread and bread-rolls Potassium bromate is known to cause cancer in animals. Even small amounts in bread can create problems for humans.
Propyl Gallate Found in meat products, chicken soup base, and chewing gum Another preservative, often used in conjunction with BHA and BHT. Animal studies have suggested that it could be linked to cancer.
Propyl Paraben Found in tortillas, muffins, food dyes, and other food products This endocrine-disrupting chemical has been linked to lower testosterone and reduced sperm count in men, and fertility problems in both men and women. It’s also been found to increase breast cancer cells.
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