Cheat Sheet–12 Food Additives to Avoid
By Jean Weiss for MSN Health & Fitness
Whoever coined the term food additives had it all wrong. Including something new in a food doesn’t always add up to more, at least when it comes to your health. Studies that test the safety of additives are based on animal trials. It is difficult to deduce whether the results of an animal study equate to human health, though many of these studies show that some additives could be cancer-causing.
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,” says Christine Gerbstadt, M.D., M.P.H., R.D., L.D.N., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. “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,” says Gerbstadt. “BHA and BHT are not stable or inert. They’re not just hanging out and being excreted by the body.” Gerbstadt says that 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.
Full Article: MSN Health