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Why Frankenfood can make you fat

February 19, 2011

The Adds and the Add-Nots 

 To celebrate Chinese New Year, we set out to find a really authentic restaurant in Los Angeles’ Chinatown.  We asked around, looking for a recommendation from people in the neighborhood and settled on a popular favorite. 

An hour after eating, I started to feel short breathed and was literally gasping for air.  My face was flush and I felt pangs of anxiety, followed by an intense need to sleep. For a moment, I thought I was having a heart attack.  Or was I just losing it altogether? Come to find out I had taken in a serious dose of MSG.  Monosodium Glutamate, a common additive that enhances flavor is also linked to obesity, learning disabilities and even brain lesions. I kicked myself over the fact that I forgot to make sure they weren’t adding that awful chemical to our meal.  After all, if we don’t ask, who’s going to tell?There are over 14,000 additives used in commercially prepared foods today. Some are far more complicated and potentially dangerous than others and manufacturers, restaurateurs and those who make our food are not required to disclose the hazards.  Whether you’re eating out or preparing food at home, it’s critical to know what to protect you and your family’s plate against. 

In this issue, check out our ‘Steer Clear’ list of additives to avoid like the plague, FrankenFood can make you fat and an Irresistible Clean Plate Club Offer.

The Cleaner Plate Club

The Steer Clear List.

(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. Don’t be seduced by the calorie-free promise.  What you trade out is far worse.  Artificial sugars have been linked to behavioral problems, hyperactivity, allergies and are possibly carcinogenic.  Stick with the real deal.

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.  Just remember, Buty is booty.)

FrankenFood Makes You Fat

Each American is exposed to about 10 to 13 different pesticides through food, beverages and drinking water every day. And nine of the 10 most common pesticides are endocrine-disrupting, which have been linked to weight gain.* In his book, “The New American Diet,” author Stephen Perrine talks about “obesogens” and how they play a role in the American obesity crisis. From pesticides to growth hormones, antibiotics and plastic pollutants, to name a few. Bad for the environment, bad for us, here’s what to avoid.

In your refrigerator:

  • The Dirty Dozen: Non organic peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, kale, lettuce, imported grapes, carrots, pears.
  • Farm raised fish: (e.g. Farmed salmon are up to 10 times higher in pesticides like PCBs as wild salmon)
  • Corn/soy-fed beef and chicken
  • Non organic dairy products

In your pantry:

  • Plastic compounds (in particular BPA)
  • Lining of canned foods such as canned tuna, soup, beans and tomatoes
  • Lining of canned beverages such as energy drinks, baby formula
  • Sports drink bottles

THE CLEANER PLATE CLUB TIP:  Wash with EAT CLEANER All Natural Fruit + Vegetable Wash or Wipes to effectively remove pesticide residue from the surface of fresh foods. 

PEAS OF MIND:
  Rest assured that all EAT CLEANER(r) products are made with BPA-free plastic, including our Wash + Dryer Kit Spinner and Scrub Brush.  Check out all of our EAT CLEANER(r) products at www.eatcleaner.com.

* From “Chemicals in Food Can Make You Fat,” Feb. 11, 2010, cbsnews.com

On the steer clear list: GMO's, artificial additives and fake frankenfood

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