Summer often conjures up the images of bright: bright colors, bright smiles, bright sun… While many fresh fruits & veggies have a naturally vibrant hue to them, there are a whole lot of other “food-like items” whose attractive glow is deceptively dangerous. Artificial colors are added to everything from fruit snacks to sauces, cereal to chips, a wide variety of drinks & mixes and to the more obvious ones like popsicles, food coloring & sprinkles (what birthday cake is complete without them?). Artificial colors have been irrefutably linked to hyperactivity & ADHD in children as they are generally the ones the bright things are targeted towards, and are often more susceptible to ‘poisonings’ like this because their bodies are smaller. Tartrazine (a yellow food dye) in particular has a bad rap for causing adverse reactions and there will sometimes be a warning on the label that the food containing it.
Artificial flavors aren’t generally known to be as harmful as colors are, but not a lot of research has gone into their safety. Artificial flavor means anything added to food for flavor that is not taken directly from whole foods. In other words, the banana flavor used in those dehydrated banana chips it is made from petroleum based chemicals, not banana. The flavoring used in microwave popcorn was recently shown to have caused long term lung damage and even death to regular consumers of it as well as those working in the factories making the stuff. ‘Vanillin’ is a commonly used artificial substitute for the more expensive vanilla extract. While more costly at the grocery store, at what cost can you place your health?
Did you know that aspartame was denied approval by the FDA for eight years before it was approved? Here’s the shady political story on how it did eventually get “approval”. Aspartame has brought more complaints to the FDA than any other additive and is responsible for 75% of such complaints to that agency. And while there are a seemingly endless number of artificial sweetener alternatives to aspartame on the market, none of them are better. A variety of side effects have been noted including weight gain (ironic?), bloating, gas, diarrhea, nausea, rashes, hives, swelling, depression, mood swings, anxiety, chest pain, heart palpitations, liver & kidney effects, breathing difficulties, muscle dysfunction and a wide variety of cancers since many are carcinogenic. Needless to say, artificial sweeteners aren’t safe for anybody. Stevia is a sugar substitute that’s on the market in both liquid & powder form and is being used in a number of products from protein powders to soft drinks. While it may resemble an artificial sweetener, stevia is plant based & completely safe.
It’s pretty apparent that artificial colors, flavors & sweeteners are killing us slowly. The easiest way to avoid unsafe additives like these is to avoid ingredient lists. Choosing foods without them. Making your meals from scratch, this way you know exactly what you’re putting on the table and into the bodies of your family.
We also have a Registered Holistic Nutritionist on staff to help you cut these dangers out of your diet. Feel free to contact us for more information!