The foods currently lining U.S. supermarket shelves contain hundreds of additives designed to enhance color, texture, flavor, and shelf life. There are also dietary additives, such as vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and others. Dr. DeHaan is a purist, which means he believes that nature made it exactly the right way, with the right proportions, colors, textures, flavors, etc. If food items need additives, flavors, colors or to be fortified, they are not a good choice to eat.
How many additives does one need to put in an organic salad with multi colored vegetables? When additives are used, it is generally because a food has been processed and stripped of its original nutrients and they attempt to balance the item by "adding" or "fortifying." And yet the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently has approved more than 3,000 food additives for use in the United States. While approved for human consumption, food additives still threaten our health. This is one of many reasons why it is better to purchase organic, whole foods, just the way nature makes them.
Once approved by the FDA, food additives are considered fit for human consumption—but they may not be entirely safe. Some food and color additives have induced allergic reactions, while others have been linked to cancer, asthma, and birth defects. The FDA requires that all ingredients be listed on a food's label, but additives are often listed without specificity as "spices" or "flavorings," making it impossible for consumers to determine what, exactly, they are eating. The top 5 harmful and common additives include:
- Potassium Bromate which is a dough conditioner and bleaching agent found in most white bread. It is considered a category 2B carcinogen. It has been banned in many countries, but permitted in the United States and Japan.
- Sodium Nitrite which is found in most processed meats (sausages, hot dogs, bacon, lunch meat, and meats in canned soup products). It is also a known carcinogenic (cancer-causing chemical). USDA tried to ban sodium nitrite in the 1970s, but was preempted by the meat processing industry, which relies on the ingredient to make foods look more appealing.
- Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) which is used to prevent fats from going bad, can be found in butter, meats, chewing gum, dehydrated potatoes, and beer. It is also a known carcinogen.
- Olestra which is a fat substitute used in crackers and potato chips, is marketed under the brand name Olean. This synthetic fat is not absorbed by the body and can contribute to abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Furthermore, Olestra may inhibit the body's ability to absorb beneficial fat-soluble nutrients, including lycopene, lutein, and beta-carotene.
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG) which is a flavor enhancer in many packaged foods, including soups, salad dressings, sausages, hot dogs, canned tuna, and potato chips can cause serious health risks.
A study published in The Lancet in November of 2008 looked at the effects of fruit juice additives on children's behavior, finding that, "Artificial colors or sodium benzoate preservative (or both) in the diet result in increased hyperactivity in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the general population." In most cases, the increase was nearly 50 percent greater than that observed in children who consumed fruit juice without additives. Yellow No. 5 is believed to aggravate asthma.
NOTE: We have provided specific remedies for the more harmful food Additives and Preservatives, MSG, BHA, BHT, etc. If you are not sure which remedy you might need, this Additive Detox Remedy covers just about anything that might be a reaction or toxicity induced by items placed in food. If you need a "one fits all" remedy, use this one. The list of antidotes by this remedy can be seen here.
When shopping in your grocery store, check labels for additives. If you don't know what an item in the ingredient list is, or you can't pronounce it, it is probably bad or even dangerous for you. Buy more whole foods and fewer "convenience foods," such as ready-made meals. The time you spend preparing an additive-free meal will pay off in fresh flavor and increased food safety for you and your family.