Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Harmful Ingredients to Permanently Ban

Bring out the (industrial sized) garbage bags. I'm about to share some information from the "What is your stomach trying to tell you" workshop. This post will cover a list of what I think are the most toxic ingredients commonly used in food today. I will share some of their uses and some of the side effects. What will you do? I'm hoping you'll get rid of the old and make space for a healthier you.

Hormones & Antibiotics
If you have never taken a supplemental hormone or antibiotics for illness, yet you eat conventionally raised animal products (beef, dairy products, chicken, eggs, fish) you have ingested large quantities of Hormones and Antibiotics.
Why are they used? Hormones are used to increase milk supply in dairy cows and to encourage rapid growth in beef cattle. How are we affected? Through the excessive ingestion of hormones in beef and dairy products, we see young girls and boys reaching puberty at a very early age. We see adults with hormonal abnormalities.
Antibiotics are included in the feed for all farm raised fish, and feedlot-raised cows and chickens. These animals are not being raised in their natural habitat nor are they fed their natural diets. Crowded living conditions combined with poor diets cause these animals to be disease prone and drugs are used to prevent death before slaughter. By ingesting large quantities of antibiotics through the animal products we eat we are creating super-bugs. Harmful germs that are immune to all antibiotics. We are also destroying the healthy bacteria that our digestive tract and overall health so depends on.
What can you do? Eat farm-raised, grass-fed organic beef products. Farm raised organic chicken. Eat fish caught in the wild. If you must have milk, purchase it directly from a farmer you trust. Keep it raw. Eggs should come from farm raised organic chickens fed an organic vegetarian diet.

Artificial Colorings & Flavorings
Artificial colorings and flavorings are used to enhance the flavor and appearance of products in an inexpensive way. Common side effects include: allergies, rashes, ADD/ADHD & seizures.
What can you do? Stop buying products that have artificial flavors and colors. FDA approval is no guarantee that a substance is risk-free.

The name says it all. Preservatives preserve. Potassium Sorbate is added to many refrigerated products like packaged salads. This extends the natural shelf life of 5-7 days to 45-60 days! Nitrates keep your deli looking nice and pink. Without them they would evolve to an unappetizing grey. Nitrates convert into nitrous oxide in your gut and are carcinogenic. Other common side effects of preservatives include: vomiting, rashes, hives, tight chest, headaches, eczema.
What can you do? Prepare your own food. Carefully read labels of food products to insure your family is not ingesting these harmful chemicals.


Don't get me started on MSG... Monosodium Glutamate is a neurotoxic flavor enhancer used in many packaged foods and Chinese style restaurants. It's many side effects include: Seizures, Brain cell death, Brain damage, Allergies, Headaches, Strokes, Hypoglycemia, ADHD. Why is it used? It's cheap! Shame on the FDA for not taking control of this dangerous situation.
What can you do: Avoid products with MSG.
Buyer beware! This insidious ingredient hides behind all kinds of masks:
  • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
  • Hydrolyzed Protein
  • Hydrolyzed Plant Protein
  • Plant Protein Extract
  • Sodium Caseinate
  • Calcium Caseinate
  • Yeast Extract
  • Textured Protein
  • Autolyzed Yeast
  • Hydrolyzed Oat Flour
  • Malt Extract
  • Malt Flavoring
  • Bouillon
  • Broth Stock
  • Flavoring
  • Natural Flavoring
  • Natural Beef Or Chicken Flavoring
  • Seasoning
  • Carrageenan
  • Enzymes
  • Soy Protein Concentrate
  • Soy Protein Isolate
HFCS - High Fructose Corn Syrup
HFCS is found in an obscene amount of prepared foods. Soft drinks, breads, pastries, snacks, sauces, dressings, ketchup, fast food items, crackers and more. Common side effects of HFCS include: high insulin levels, increased triglycerides & ldl cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, metabolic disorders, liver disorders and pancreas disorders.
Why is it used? HFCS has a long shelf life and is cheaper for manufacturers than sugar. It is especially cheap because we have an abundance of corn in the US that is heavily subsidized by the US Government.
What can you do? Stop buying products with HFCS!

Hydrogenated Fats
Hydrogenated fats are more plastic than food. The process of hydrogenation (or partial hydrogenation) solidify the fats and extend their shelf life. Oils become rancid. Once hydrogenated they do not. It allows for textures of foods we could not otherwise create. How are we affected? It messes with digestion; causes: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancer, birth defects.
What can you do? Throw out the margarine and shortening. Bake your own pastries (most bakeries are still using these harmful ingredients). Carefully read food labels. Things to look out for: chips, crackers, frozen foods, deep fried foods, breads, cookies, pre-seasoned rice and grains.

Artificial Sweeteners & Splenda
Boxes of nutrasweet include this message: Warning! This product has been proven to cause cancer in laboratory animals.  Excuse me? Cancer? Why are people buying this? Oh, because it has no calories. Splenda and other artificial sweeteners are used in products geared to the sugar-free market. Consumers wanting to cut down on sugar or calories purchase these products thinking they can 'have their cake and eat it too'. Artificial sweeteners are not food. They are toxins your body needs to fight and eliminate.
Common side effects of aspartame include: central nerve impairment, headaches, memory loss, mood swings, fainting spells, hazy vision, tinnitus, severe depression, irritability, aggression, anxiety, personality changes, insomnia, phobias, heart palpitations, tachycardia, shortness of breath, gastrointestinal issues, nausea, abdominal pain, hives, menstrual changes, marked thinning or loss of hair, hypoglycemia, and more.
Splenda is marketed brilliantly. "Think sugar say Splenda". Not true. While there was some sugar in Splenda, it is processed and chemically altered. Side effects of Splenda include: Flushing/redness of the skin, itching, swelling, blisters, welts, nausea, stomach cramps, dry heaves, becoming withdrawn, loss of interest in usual activities, feeling forgetful, moodiness, dulled senses, unexplained crying, acne or acne-like rash, anxiety, panic attacks, headaches, seeing spots, mental or emotional breakdown, altered emotional state, bloated abdomen, diarrhea, trouble concentrating, depression, vomiting, seizures and more.
What can you do? Don't buy artificial sweeteners or products made with them.

There are great alternatives. We'll talk about those next time.

To good health and a clean pantry,


  1. msg so terrible: You pointed out that it hides behind masks in the ingredients label list.
    Natural flavoring??? Are you saying that if it says that it means msg??
    I usually see that on 'healthier' objects.

  2. Natural flavorings do not always mean MSG. But they could. You really need to know your products. Stick with minimally processed foods to be safe.

  3. Chana do you know anything about Truvia - they say its natures calorie free sweetner?
    But, I didn't like it and I think I'm just going to give up on sweetners and possibly sugar in the raw as well.
    Also, I have a child that developed pink to red splotches on her face if she even tastes abit by kiddush, certain wines . I'd like to find out why some cause that to happen while others don't.
    You're right about Potasim sorbate.
    It was something that didn't bother me until a few years ago . Shabbos we would buy the prepared israeli humous salads etc and then I would start sneezing and feel like a cold was coming on.
    thanks for all the info ,we enjoy your blog

  4. Welcome KozoMiami.
    Thanks for your compliment and your comments.
    I'm not sure about Truvia. I know that pure Stevia is supposed to be pretty safe. It's not meant to be consumed in huge quantity though.
    The blotchy spots on your child's face are likely from sulfites. I'm not sure why it happens with some wines more than others.
    Those Israeli packaged salads... you could make a far better humous then they ever could. Not hard at all...