Processed foods are some of the worst for you. That’s because they are laden with chemical preservatives and additives which cause some nasty health effects. Anyone whose followed health news over the years knows that some things that were once FDA approved or “Generally Recognized As Safe” (GRAS) turned out to be not so much. One case included sulfite preservatives sprayed on fresh vegetables, approved by the FDA in 1982. It was banned four years later. Why on earth would you want to use such a noxious chemical on beautiful fresh produce? The agency found that this harmful stuff could trigger asthma attacks. Some were sickened, others even died. There are many other chemicals, though circumspect, are nevertheless allowed in food products today. Read your labels carefully and look out for these food additives. Erythrosine, also known as Red Food Coloring #3 or just Red #3, was shown to cause cancer in animal studies. It’s been banned from cosmetics since 1990 but is somehow still allowed in food. Six other food colors have been banned by the FDA over the years.
Partially Hydrogenated Oils or trans-fat is probably the worst stuff for your heart, and heart disease is the biggest killer of Americans and people in general worldwide. Approximately 7,000 deaths and 20,000 heart attacks per year are attributable directly to this kind of fat. Trans-fat is often found in baked goods such as cookies, pies, crackers that sort of thing. If asked what the most common food coloring is, could you name it? Caramel Coloring Level IV is the answer, and it’s currently under review for by-product 4-methylimidazole—a cancer causing agent within the coloring itself. Those who eat meat may want to steer clear of the kind with antibiotics in it. Choose antibiotic free if you can. In 2013 the FDA put out guidelines to the animal feed industry regulating the inclusion of antibiotics in feed. These make the animals grow bigger and require less food, meaning a higher bottom line for the producer. But the practice can lead to antibiotic-resistant diseases which take 23,000 lives per year, and could potentially cause an outbreak situation. Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, Director of the CDC, warned in a statement, “If we don’t act now, our medicine cabinet will be empty and we won’t have the antibiotics we need to save lives.”