Food Additives – To Eat or Not to Eat?

Growing up you don’t care or think about what type of food additives you’re eating. All you know is all those things that look pretty and taste yummy are delicious!

Then one day you hear about or read something about additives and how you may want to rethink eating them or at least some of them. Below I have a list of potentially harmful food additives and what countries they’ve been banned in (and not obviously not the United States).But first, let me give you a little background about how I started looking in depth into how the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines food additives.

When I met my husband I just knew he was the person for me.

We liked the same things (mostly), disliked the same things and had similar pasts. Both of us consider ourselves the black sheep of our families (I’ll save that story for a different post!) He often jokes and says I’m the milkman’s kid. Well actually, I’m a little young to have been around for milk deliveries!

The point is we just knew it was the beginning our the rest of our lives together, the happily ever after….


NOT………….. kinda.

Let me explain. We’re still together, raised three kids, but in between our happily ever after he was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia symptoms list includes: pain and tender spots, fatigue, sleep problems, concentration and memory problems to name a few. This disease, has an unknown origin and NO treatment. That’s right no treatment.

Severe pain and muscle weakness are the worst symptoms. I asked my husband to describe the pain so I could try to understand. I asked him if the pain was like a toothache, a stretching or pulling or a throbbing pain. He looked at me for about 10 seconds trying to formulate his words, and then simply said YES and more. The pain and weakness has severely limited his quality of life. We used to hike and bike. I do these activities by myself now. We’re lucky if he has the strength to make a trip around the grocery store. On a very bad day he will refuse to even go out of the house. On a better day we might be able to go to two or three stores with a break in between for him to rest and build up his strength again.

Because the medical field has practically no information on what causes fibromyalgia, we started to research causes ourselves. He is sensitive to foods that contain gluten. Gluten is a group of proteins found in many products especially those containing wheat. However, when he had a test done to see if he did have an allergy to gluten the test was negative!

He can not eat gluten without having an allergic reaction, and he has no allergy to it !

This type of sensitivity is common with fibromyalgia victims. I once watched him drop to his knees clutching his throat as it closed from eating a sandwich with white bread.

Scary stuff. 

And so our journey to discover some of the most disturbing information about additives and coloring in our foods. While you read to the end of this post, keep in mind the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must test and approve these additives.

Harmful Food Additives or Just Hype?

My hope is to help you learn more about some food additives (there are many more), so you can make informed choices. Here’s a list of a few common controversial food additives:

BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) and BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene) – These are both synthetic preservatives made from PETROLEUM.

Ahhhhh what’s better on warm, fresh baked bread then some butter! My mouth is watering as I type this. Ha but hold on, BHA is found in butter and in meat, chewing gum, baked goods, snack foods, and a favorite adult beverage -beer!  These synthetic preservatives were created to extend shelf life of foods – NOT  with your health in mind.  Why?  Profit of course.  Less shelf life = less profit.

BHA is known to cause cancer in rats, and may be a cancer-causing agent in humans as well. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Toxicology Program reports that BHA “is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen” and may trigger allergic reactions and hyperactivity, while BHT can cause organ system toxicity.

BHA and BHT have been banned as a food preservative in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan and throughout Europe.

The FDA defines these as safe for human consumption on a list they themselves have termed, “Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS)”. Generally… recognized as safe.

Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) – First off, just the name itself should put anyone on alert! I don’t know how much more I need to say about this one! GMO crops are popular because they are cheaper for producers to buy and grow. These crops are made to withstand drought and insects. Soybeans, corn and beets are very well know GMO crops.

The Non GMO project defines them as, “… living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering. This creates combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and virus genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.”

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) states findings in mice fed genetically modified food products showed, “significant immune dysregulation, including upregulation of cytokines associated with asthma, allergy, and inflammation.” They also sited changes in the liver, kidney, pancreas and spleen and intestinal damage. Because of the mounting data, the AAEM states it is, “…plausible for Genetically Modified Foods to cause adverse health effects in humans.”

Hmmmm, I wonder if this is part of to the unknown origin/cause of my husband’s fibromyalgia?!

Many European and other countries around the world have banned GMO crops. Except of course the good ‘ole U.S. of A.

Blue Dye No. 1 and Yellow Dye No. 5 

Research has connected Blue No. 1 and Yellow No. 5 with allergies, hyperactivity, learning problems, aggressiveness and irritability in children. Doctor Benjamin Feingold presented an article at the annual meeting of the American Medical Association proposing pediatric hyperactivity and learning problems were due to some foods and additives. He did his own research and believed his own patients were sensitive to food flavoring and preservatives. He claims that 60-70% of the patients he treated became better. Dr. Feingold wrote a book called, Why Your Child is Hyperactive.

I encourage you to test for yourself if you or a family member appears to have a sensitivity to any food colors. Stay away from these colorings and then slowly add them back and see for yourself if there’s a noticeable change in behavior.

Blue No. 1 is banned in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Yellow No. 5 is banned in Finland and Norway.

Dangerous Food Additives List?

Well I don’t know if they are entirely dangerous, but don’t you think it’s unethical if we are not informed so WE can make the choice as to what we eat?

I do know we try our best to keep our family away from these mentioned items and many others like gluten. It is hard because these additives have infiltrated almost everything we eat . I know my husband stays away from all of them, and his overall health is better for it. You’ll have to try for yourself based on the available information.

Good Luck and I hope I provided a small amount of information for you to have more knowledge about our food. Please subscribe to My Healthy Best Newsletter for more detailed information about this health topic and more.

Knowledge is Power!

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