Do you know that there are more than 10000 chemicals that are being used to grow and process our food? Out of these almost 99 percent of those introduced since 2000 are approved for use by food and chemical companies rather than undergoing proper review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Unfortunately, many of these chemicals are associated with significant health risks such as an increased risk of cancer, developmental harm, and hormone disruption. Despite these potential health risks, these substances are allowed in our food supply due to a legal loophole that allows them to be classified as “generally recognized as safe.”
For decades, food and chemical companies have exploited this loophole, which means that instead of the FDA determining which food chemicals are safe for consumption, the manufacturers of those substances are responsible for their safety evaluation. As a result, many harmful food chemicals end up in our diets without proper safety testing or oversight.
In this article, we will explore the worst food chemicals, their uses, and the potential side effects associated with them.
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
HFCS is a commonly used sweetener in processed foods, soft drinks, and other beverages. It is made by converting corn starch into glucose and then converting some of the glucose into fructose. Studies have linked HFCS to obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that is commonly used in diet sodas, sugar-free gums, and other sugar-free products. It has been linked to a range of health problems, including headaches, seizures, and even cancer.
Sodium nitrite is a chemical used to preserve processed meats such as bacon, hot dogs, and deli meats. It has been linked to an increased risk of cancer, particularly colorectal cancer.
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
MSG is a flavor enhancer that is commonly used in Chinese food, soups, and processed meats. It has been linked to a range of health problems, including headaches, nausea, and allergic reactions.
Potassium bromate is a chemical used in the baking process to strengthen bread dough and improve its texture. It has been classified as a possible carcinogen and is banned in several countries.
BHA & BHT
Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated Hydroxytoluene are antioxidants that are added to processed foods to prevent spoilage and extend shelf life. Both chemicals have been linked to cancer, and BHA has also been linked to hyperactivity in children.
Trans fats are a type of unsaturated fat that is commonly used in processed foods, baked goods, and fried foods. They have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and other health problems.
Artificial colors are added to processed foods to make them more visually appealing. Some of these colors, such as Red #40 and Yellow #5, have been linked to hyperactivity in children and other health problems.
Sodium benzoate is a preservative that is commonly added to soft drinks, fruit juices, and other beverages. It has been linked to allergic reactions, and in combination with vitamin C, it can form benzene, a known carcinogen.
Propylene glycol is a chemical used as a food additive to prevent food from drying out. It has been linked to skin and eye irritation, respiratory problems, and other health problems.
Propylparaben is a preservative used in pastries and some tortillas. It causes developmental and reproductive harm.
Tert-butyl hydroquinone, or TBHQ, is a preservative used in Pop-Tarts and other processed foods. It may harm the immune system and weaken the effectiveness of vaccines.
Titanium dioxide is a color additive used mostly in candy. It may damage DNA.
Brominated vegetable oil, or BVO, is used to stabilize citrus flavors in sodas and fruity drinks. It can cause neurological harm.
The toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl “forever chemicals” known as PFAS are used in food packaging and are known to leach into the food itself. They increase the risk of cancer and damage the immune and reproductive systems, among many other health harms.
Synthetic food dye can be found in many types of food and beverages. They can affect development and cause behavioral difficulties in children. There are seven we’re especially concerned about Red 3, Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1, Blue 2, and Green 3.
Artificial sweeteners can affect the hormones that regulate metabolism and have a negative effect on weight control.
Many baby foods contain dangerous levels of heavy metals, including mercury, lead, cadmium, and arsenic. Exposure can slow growth and development, increase cancer risk and lead to behavioral and learning difficulties. Most metals get into food through water and soil pollution.
In conclusion, as consumers, it is important for us to be aware of the various food chemicals that are added to our food products. While some of these chemicals are considered safe for consumption, others are known to cause harmful side effects. By being informed and making conscious choices, we can protect our health and well-being.