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The Steer Clear List

March 2, 2010

(BUTYLATED HYDROXYANISOLE. Do you put it in your body or your gas tank? See answer below.) Ditch these phony baloneys: 

1. Artificial sugars:  Created to pacify the sweet cravings of dieters, sweeteners do more than sweeten your food — they serve as a health hazard.  Aspartame, Acesulfame K and Saccharine are all chemically produced to sweeten our foods without the calories of sugar. Even Splenda, which has a better reputation is not as clean as it should be. Ironically, these empty calories can create a vicious cycle of craving more sweets, with the inevitable consequences of weight gain. They have been linked to behavioral problems, hyperactivity, allergies and are possibly carcinogenic. 

Sweeteners are rampant in diet, lite or sugar-free products. They are used in dry mixes for beverages, instant coffee and tea, gelatin desserts, puddings, non-dairy creamers, chewing gums, breath mints, diet soda, yogurt, even children’s medicine and vitamins. 

THE CLEANER PLATE CLUB TIP: Try more natural sources of sugar as in agave, stevia, honey, molasses, and maple syrup in moderate quantities. 

2. Artificial colors: Food colorings are used to make the food look more appealing or to replace colors lost in processing. However, don’t let these colors deceive you. Artificial colorings are synthetic dyes that are mostly coal-tar derivatives.  

They are suspected to cause allergies, asthma, hyperactivity and are possibly carcinogenic. Chief culprits: Candy, beverages, soda, gelatin desserts, pastry, sausage, baked goods, even fruit like green oranges sprayed with red dye to make them look ripe.  

THE CLEANER PLATE CLUB TIP: Keep it real with a rainbow of fresh fruit and veggies, natural juices and additive-free snacks 

3. Artificial preservatives (BHA, BHT, EDTA, etc):  You may see these ingredients in chips, fried snack foods, baked goods, carbonated drinks, cheese spreads, chewing gum, ice cream, breakfast cereals and even cosmetics.
These preservatives are actually synthetic petroleum-based and fat soluble antioxidants, used by manufacturers to prevent oxidation and retard rancidity.  They can cause cancer, allergic reactions and hyperactivity, and BHT may be toxic to the nervous system and the liver. 

THE CLEANER PLATE CLUB TIP: Choose food and drinks labelled with “no artificial antioxidants.”  Avoid poor quality vegetable oils.  Look for cold-pressed virgin oil which contains natural antioxidants such as Vitamin E.  Eat fresh produce that doesn’t contain these preservatives. 

4. Nitrites and Nitrates: Love your bacon in the morning and salami at lunch time? Cured, preserved, smoked meats are saturated with nitrites and nitrates to preserve shelf life and give it the healthy pink hue. These two preservatives may prevent the growth of bacteria but they transform into cancer-causing agents called nitrosamines in the stomach. They also produced noticeable side effects like headaches, nausea, vomiting and dizziness. 

THE CLEANER PLATE CLUB TIP: Look for nitrite-free processed meats and opt for meat-free alternatives to mix it up. 

5. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG): You may be happy that you’re dining in restaurants that carry the “No MSG” declaration.  But do you know that MSG lurks in all kinds of sauces used to prepare the foods that you thought are MSG-free?  They are also significant in all kinds of snacks, seasonings, candy, even infant formula, over-the-counter medications and nutritional supplements.  

THE CLEANER PLATE CLUB TIP: Buy MSG-free snacks and read labels, so you can make healthier choices. 

(BUTYLATED HYDROXYANISOLE is a cancer causing additive found in some cereals, chewing gum potato chips, vegetable oil and is definitely on the ‘don’t put it in your stomach’ list.)

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One comment

  1. great list



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