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3 Top Food Additives you must Avoid

Posted May 12 2009 3:21pm

1. Sodium nitrite
The list of the 12 most dangerous additives to red flag—until we know more—includes the preservative sodium nitrite, used to preserve, color, and flavor meat products. Sodium nitrite is commonly added to bacon, ham, hot dogs, luncheon meats, smoked fish, and corned beef to stabilize the red color and add flavor. The preservative prevents growth of bacteria, but studies have linked eating it to various types of cancer. This would be at the top of my list of additives to cut from my diet. Under certain high-temperature cooking conditions such as grilling, it transforms into a reactive compound that has been shown to promote cancer

2. BHA and BHT
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydrozyttoluene (BHT) are additional additives to red flag. They are antioxidants used to preserve common household foods by preventing them from oxidizing. Both keep fats and oils from going rancid and are found in cereals, chewing gum, potato chips, and vegetable oils, but there is concern that they may cause cancer. The structure of BHA and BHT will change during this process [of preserving food], and may form a compound that reacts in the body. BHA and BHT are not stable or inert. They're not just hanging out and being excreted by the body. They are obviously not added for the purpose of giving people cancer, but for some people, some of the time, there may be that risk.

3. Trans fats
Trans fat makes it onto our dirty dozen list because eating too much of it leads to heart disease. "Trans fats are proven to cause heart disease, and make conditions perfect for stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, and limb loss due to vascular disease. It would be wonderful if they could be banned. Manufacturers have modified product ingredients lists to reduce the amount of trans fats, and are required to label trans fats amounts, but restaurant food, especially fast food chains, still serve foods laden with trans fats. Experts recommend we consume no more than two grams of trans fat per day, an amount easily accounted for if you eat meat and dairy.
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