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Choosing healthy foods is important but making sure the foods have not been altered with additives can be even more important.  Most of us are familiar with the major culprits to avoid like white sugar, white flour, trans fats and artificial sweeteners such as aspartame.

 There are other commonly used additives cleverly disguised with fancy, complicated names.  It is time to uncover the ugly truth behind these more mysterious additives.

High fructose corn syrup has detrimental effects on insulin and the brain in turn causing many health problems including heart disease, diabetes and weight gain.  It is found in sweetened foods such as sodas, tea, flavored drinks, juice drinks, jellies, cookies and pastries. It also appears in foods you may not think of such as bread and condiments.  It is a cheap, artificial substitute for sugar and contrary to recent industry propaganda there is nothing natural about this additive.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG), hydrolyzed yeast and autolyzed yeast are used as flavor enhancers in a variety of processed foods such as soups, meats, vegetarian “meats”, chips, dips, ramen noodles, frozen meals, snack mixes, canned fish, and a wide variety of other dishes – including “natural,” “vegetarian,” and organic ones.  These excitotoxins trick your tongue and destroy your brain as the excitatory neurotoxins causing brain cells to die.  They are especially harmful to kids, the elderly and developing fetuses.   Adverse reactions to these additives include skin rashes, asthma attacks, mood swings, upset stomach, migraines, heart irregularities and seizures.

Hydrolyzed and autolyzed yeast contain some free glutamic acid, another name for MSG, and is used as a substitute for MSG.  Beware of labels that states “No MSG” then in small print confess, “except for that naturally occurring in hydrolyzed yeast”.  Hydrolyzed yeast extract may also be called “natural flavor”, corn gluten yeast extract, yeast hydrosylate or dried yeast hydrosylate.

Potassium Bromate is an additive you may have consume without even being aware of.  Potassium Bromate is a chemical used in flour to improve the action of the gluten.  The potassium bromate added to flour is supposed to bake out as the dough cooks. However, if too much is added, or if it’s not cooked properly, it is possible for some of the chemical to remain in the finished product.  Potassium bromate has been known for over three decades to cause cancer in laboratory animals and is banned in Europe, China, Canada and Brazil.  To avoid exposure, do not purchase foods that have “bromated flour” or “potassium bromate” in their list of ingredients.

BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are other suspected carcinogenic food preservatives.  They are used mainly to prevent oils in foods from oxidizing and becoming rancid.  BHA and BHT can be found in breakfast cereals, snack foods, chewing gum, pies, cakes and processed meats.  Made from coal tar or petroleum, BHA and BHT have been of concern for decades.  BHA is considered a possible carcinogen by the World Health Organization and listed as a carcinogen in California.

When looking at your labels, remember that less is more and avoid those unnecessary additives.

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