These non-food items have been labeled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS). But they have not been found to be 100% safe for you or your developing baby/child.
“ A baby and child’s growing brain is more vulnerable to neurotoxic effects of chemical food additives. The protective blood/brain barrier is not fully developed until late childhood, so at a stage when the brain is growing most rapidly, it is at it’s most vulnerable. There is a critical period from birth to around 10 years of age when the brain is most vulnerable to the effects of junk food.” … Dr. William Sears
WOW! The Center for Science in the Public Interest notes that pregnant women may want to avoid certain food additives, such as artificial sweeteners and nitrates, as a precaution to prevent side effects for mom or baby.
Man-Made Items At Its Worst
1.) ARTIFICIAL FOOD COLORING
Artificial colors are made from a petroleum by-product that alters colors of food to make it more visually appealing. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, certain behavioral issues such as Attention Deficit Disorder and Hyperactivity(ADHD) have been officially linked to consumption of food dyes. After vigorous testing to see whether artificial food dyes affect children’s behavior, the European Union passed a law requiring food companies to have a warning label on food products that contain 1 – 6 artificial food dyes. The warning says “May have an adverse effect on the activity and attention of children.”
- Possible Health Affects: Cancer, ADD, ADHD, hyperactivity, rashes, asthma, tumors.
- Foods That Contain It: Countless foods products ranging from candy and soda to breakfast cereal and sausage.
2.) FAKE FAT
HYDROGENATED OIL(TRANS FAT)
Hydrogenated oil is a man-made (synthetic) fat. A vegetable oil is liquid at room temperature, but by adding high-pressured hydrogen to it, it becomes solid at room temperature, thus allowing that oil to have a longer shelf life without going rancid (bad). It clogs up your arteries, raises cholesterol, LDL levels, and it may interfere with the cells in your body to metabolize the healthy good fats that your body needs. This may damage cell membranes of vital structures, such as the brain and nerve cells. Hydrogenated Fat / Trans fat are man-made “BAD” fats.
Hydrogenated oil (Trans Fat) is labeled as shortening, or partially hydrogenated, or hydrogenated; mono and diglycerides, or DATEM. Beware of labels that say “No Trans Fat,” make sure you read the ingredients label because it’s probably right there in fine print.
- Possible Health Affects: Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, diverticulitis, and other degenerative conditions.
- Foods That Contain It: Most boxed and processed foods.
3.) FLAVOR ENHANCERS
MSG (monosodium glutamate)
Dr. Russell Blaylock, a board-certified neurosurgeon and author of “Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills”, explains that MSG is an excitotoxin, which means it overexcites your cells to the point of damage or death, causing brain damage to varying degrees -- and potentially even triggering or worsening learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease and more.
- Possible Health Affects: Obesity, eye damage, headaches, fatigue and disorientation, depression, rapid heartbeat, tingling and numbness.
- Foods That Contain It: Soups, some crackers, Asian foods, bread, canned tuna fish, salad dressings, processed meats, ice cream, frozen yogurt, broths, stocks, and most frozen entrees.
Ingredients that always contain MSG:
HVP (hydrolyzed vegetable protein)
HVP is made by processing plants like corn, soy, and wheat to change the proteins into their basic components, amino acids. One of the amino acids is called glutamic acid. Under certain conditions, glutamic acid exposed to sodium can become monosodium glutamate (MSG).
- Possible Health Affects: Same as MSG.
- Foods That Contain It: Poultry, pork and prepared vegetable products, sauces, gravies, stews, processed meats, and hot dogs.
BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) & BHT (butylated hydroxtoluene)
BHA and BHT are preservatives that prevent the oils that are in the food from becoming rancid or oxidized and they protect the food’s odor, color, and flavor.
- Possible Health Affects: Increased risk of cancer, known to accumulate in the body’s tissues, causes liver enlargement, hinders the rate of DNA synthesis and cell development.
- Foods That Contain It: Butter, meats, cereals, chewing gum, baked goods, snack foods, dehydrated potatoes, and beer.
Sodium nitrate or what is also known as nitrate is used as a preservative for color; it stabilizes the red color in cured meat (without nitrite, hot dogs and bacon would look gray) and gives a characteristic flavor, and is thought to inhibit botulism.
- Possible Health Risks: Cancers of the colon, breast, prostate and pancreas.
- Foods That Contain It: Processed meats such as salami, hot dogs, pepperoni, bologna, ham, bacon, and SPAM.
This preservative prevents foods from going rancid (bad). It is sometimes used with similar preservatives, including BHA, BHT, and propyl gallate, with which it has a synergistic effect. TBHQ is a form of petroleum (butane), and is used as a stabilizer in oil fields among other things. The FDA says that TBHQ must not exceed 0.02 percent of its oil and fat content.
- Possible Health Risks: Increased tumors in rats, tinnitus, nausea, and vomiting.
- Foods That Contain It: Packaged foods, some chicken nuggets from fast food restaurants, margarines, oils, dog food, baby products, crackers, chips, soy milk.
Sodium benzoate is used as a preservative to prevent food from spoiling. It is also used to prevent the color from changing and from any nutrients being lost.
- Possible Health Effects: Damages DNA (genetic material), a known carcinogen, plays a role in a variety of diseases due to its DNA damaging capabilities.
- Foods That Contain It: Preserves like jam (citric acid) or jelly, salad dressings (vinegar), carbonated drinks (carbonic acid), pickles (vinegar), Chinese food sauces (soy, mustard, and duck), and alcohol-based mouthwashes. +++ It is naturally found in cranberries, prunes, greengage plums, cinnamon, ripe cloves, and apples. ++++ But these, apples, plums, cranberries, etc, are good for you!
POLYSORBATES (60, 65, and 80)
Polysorbate is used in foods as an emulsifier, thickener, and stabilizer and is often used as a de-foaming agent.
- Possible Health Effects: Infertility, immunosuppressant, anaphylaxis.
- Foods That Contain It: Ice cream, cake mix, icing, fillings, custards, frozen dessert, salad dressing, doughnuts, foods with artificial chocolate coating, non-dairy whipped topping.
5.) FOOD ADDITIVES
The US Food and Drug Administration has approved more than 2000 different foods additives. It is estimated that the average American consumes about 10–12 pounds of these chemicals every year. Not all food additives are bad but there are some that are synthetic compounds which are known to cause health related issues, such as cancer.
Who Determines if Food Additives are Safe?
The safety of food additives is determined not by the FDA, but by the manufacturers of the chemicals themselves. Is that crazy or what!?
Watch this: video on Who Decides If Food Additives Are Safe?
Propyl gallate is added to foods so that the oils in it do not become rancid (bad), oxidize, change color, thickness, or texture. It also ensures that the active ingredients do not breakdown.
- Possible Health Risks: Stomach irritant, skin irritation, and allergic reaction that constricts breathing. Can cause skin to be extra sensitive. People with asthma, an allergy to aspirin or liver or kidney issues, should avoid propyl gallate.
- Foods That Contain It: Vegetable oil, mayonnaise, meat, soup, dried milk, spices, candy, snack foods, vitamins, chewing gum, pet food, perfume, soaps, lotions and moisturizers, lipstick and other make-up, hair care products, bath products, sunscreen and toothpaste.
Potassium Bromate is added to food in order to make white bread, bread and rolls fluffier.
- Possible Health Affects: Cancer.
- Foods That Contain It: Breads, flour and their by-products.
6.) ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS
Aspartame is a zero calorie sweetener. Artificial sweeteners are made of chemicals, and they have zero nutritional value. Do you want to feed your baby a chemical soup? Did you know that Aspartame hangs out in your blood stream for 36 hours? According to Dr. Russell Blaylock, a neurosurgeon, Aspartame acts as an excitotoxin to the brain. It basically gets the cells in the brain to get really excited, start firing rapidly and die within an hour after exposure. Yikes! It may even trigger or worsen learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease and more. If Aspartame is doing that to adults’ brains, what does it do to a developing baby and child’s brain? Also some studies have shown that it causes brain tumors in lab animals. The FDA only recognizes it as "GRAS", generally recognized as safe. Which actually means it is not 100% safe to consume especially for pregnant women and children.
- Possible Health Affects: Headaches, migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, loss of taste, tinnitus, vertigo, memory loss, and joint pain.
- Foods That Contain It: Found in carbonated soft drinks, powdered soft drinks, chewing gum, confections, gelatins, dessert mixes, puddings and fillings, frozen desserts, yogurt, tabletop sweeteners, most foods labeled “light” or “sugar free”, and some pharmaceuticals such as vitamins and sugar-free cough drops.
ACESULFAME POTASSIUM (acesulfame K)
Acesulfame Potassium is a zero calorie sweetener.
- Possible Health Risks: Lung tumors, breast tumors, rare types of tumors of other organs (such as the thymus glands), several forms of leukemia and chronic respiratory disease.
- Foods That Contain It: Chewing gum, dry mixes for beverages, instant coffee and tea, gelatin desserts, candy, puddings, non dairy creamers, and alcohol beverages.
- Possible Health Risks: a 50% reduction in beneficial bacteria in intestines, increased pH levels of intestines, increases in body weight, it may interfere with absorption of prescription drugs, DNA damage, decreased red blood count, aborted pregnancy, decreased fetal and placenta weight, migraines.
- Foods That Contain It: Baked goods, ice cream, soft drinks.
This is the new artificial sweetener on the market. Neotame is a chemical derivative of aspartame.
Possible Health Risks: Possible brain lesions, and may cause cancer.
Foods That Contain It: Soft drinks, bars, powdered drink mixes, juices, chewing gum, bread, frozen desserts, baked goods, candies, table-top sweeteners, breakfast cereals, beverages, refrigerated and non-refrigerated ready-to-drink beverages, gelatins, puddings, jellies, processed fruits and fruit juices, toppings, syrups, frozen desserts and fillings.
Here's a great video about artificial sweeteners
7.) ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS
Often used as a general term for over 100 possible chemical additives. Over 1,700 artificial flavors are approved by the FDA. Artificial flavors are a synthetic mixture not found in nature and designed to mimic a natural flavor.
Possible Health Risks: Allergic reactions and behavioral issues.
Foods That Contain It: Processed foods.
The problem with artificial flavoring and “natural” flavoring is that we really don’t know what chemicals are being added or how many are being used to create that desired flavor. There have not been long term health studies nor any studies done on how it may affect a developing baby.
Please check out Part 3 - Attention Moms! 8 Environmental Things Children and Pregnant Women Should Avoid
Here's part 1 - Attention Moms! Top 12 Things To Avoid While Pregnant.
Resource List Can Be Found Here