"...The Secretary of the Food and Drug Administration shall not approve for use in food any chemical additive found to induce cancer in man, or, after tests, found to induce cancer in animals."
One of the problems is, additives that were "GRAS" (generally regarded as safe) prior to this amendment were "grandfathered in" - and some of them are now known to be carcinogenic.
The following are a few examples of food additives to watch out for in your ingredient list:
- MSG - a flavor enhancer; this agent is a potent neurotoxin that can cause anything from migraines to Parkinson's or Alzheimer's disease; hidden in a multitude of other ingredients, including autolyzed yeast, glutamate, textured protein, gelatin, natural flavors, barley malt and soy sauce, to name a few.
- Sodium nitrite and nitrate—preservatives added to processed meats that are carcinogenic.
- BHA and BHT—preservatives added to processed foods, also linked to cancer.
- Potassium Bromate - added to many white flours and baked goods, this endocrine disruptor damages your thyroid and can cause psychiatric and cardiac problems; most countries have banned it, except for the U.S. and Japan.
- Common Food Dyes - such as Citrus Red No. 2, which is used to dye your oranges orange... unless you buy organic oranges. Like most FD&C dyes, this dye is derived from coal tar, which is a human carcinogen. If you zest a non-organic orange, you may be consuming this dye. Avoid food dyes all together to avoid any carcinogens.
- Avoiding packaged or processed foods
- Selecting whole foods
- Shopping around the perimeter of the grocery store
- Preparing your food at home
Even better, choose food that is humanely and sustainably raised/produced near you. Shop at your local farmers market or co-op to support your local economy. Doing this will allow you to get to know your farmers personally.
Here are a few resources for finding wholesome food that supports you, as well as the environment:
- Eat Well Guide: Wholesome Food from Healthy Animals: The Eat Well Guide is a free online directory of sustainably raised meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs from farms, stores, restaurants, inns, and hotels, and online outlets in the United States and Canada.
- Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA): CISA is dedicated to sustaining agriculture and promoting the products of small farms.
- FoodRoutes: The FoodRoutes "Find Good Food" map can help you connect with local farmers to find the freshest, tastiest food possible. On their interactive map, you can find a listing for local farmers, CSA's, and markets near you.
- Local Harvest: Another good database for finding the best fresh, organic food grown near you.
Yours in health,
Alissa C. Robertson, MS, RD