History of chemicals in food
The first record of artificial flavors being used in foods was in London in 1851. There are also
records of paraffin wax being used to preserve fruit in ancient China and thus adding ethylene
and propylene into the food. Also, Romans were recorded as whitening their bread by adding
potassium aluminum sulfate. It was not until 1958 that the first regulations on food additives
were put into place with the Food Additives Amendment to the Federal Food, Drug, and
Cosmetic Act. This amendment made food additives require approval before marketing.
However, this is not enforced well and maybe food additives are not tested or are inadequately
tested before they are approved. In America there are more than 10,000 chemicals approved for
use in food. Food additives are used for flavoring, coloring, and preserving foods.
These are common preservatives. They are linked to various types of cancer, especially colon
cancer. These preservative chemicals are often in processed meats.
Monosodium glutamate (msg)
A flavor enhancer that is often in high sodium packaged foods and Chinese food. It is an
excitotoxin, a substance that overexcites cells to the point of damage or death. It also leads to
Leptin resistance. It is also associated withHeadache, increased appetite, flushing, sweating,
Pressure or tightness in the face, numbness, tingling or burning in the face and neck, quick,
fluttering heartbeats, chest pain, nausea, and weakness.
Butylated hydroxy anisol (BHA)/butylated hydroxyl toluene (BHT)
These are synthetic antioxidants that are used to preserve fats/oils in foods. These chemicals
have been shown to have adverse effects on the neurological system, including altering behavior.
As well as the potential to cause cancer.
This is a chemical that is found in antifreeze and is used in food as a preservative to maintain
moisture in foods and a pickling agent. This chemical is most often found in flavoring extracts
such as vanilla extract and in food colorings.
Brominated vegetable oil (BVO)
This is a flame retardant chemical that is used to keep plastic from catching on fire. Ingestion is
linked to skin lesions, memory loss, and nerve disorders. It is used in foods to prevent artificial
flavoring chemicals from separating from the liquid they have been put in. This chemical is often
found in sodas, energy drinks, and sports drinks.
Artificial food dyes are associated with behavioral problems in children and lead to a significant
reduction in IQ. Also, adults admitted feeling an increase in aggressive behavior after consuming
certain food dyes. Additionally, symptoms of gut issues, joint pain, and migraines have been
reported. Interestingly, red food dye is made by grinding cockroaches into powder.
Artificial sweeteners are chemical sweeteners that add flavor without calories. They have been
shown to be linked to many disease states including inflammatory bowel disease, inflammation,
weight gain, diabetes, and cancer.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
High fructose corn syrup is a sweetener made from cornstarch by chemically altering the glucose
into fructose. This sweetener is shown to increase LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels and contributes
to the development of diabetes.
Currently, more than 1000 different pesticides are used on food. Some negative effects linked
with different pesticides include irritation to skin or eyes, hormone disruption, effects on the
nervous system, and cancer.
Sodium sulphite is a preservative used in processed foods. This chemical has been linked to
headaches, breathing problems, and rashes.
Trans fat is a hydrogenated unsaturated fat. Numerous studies show that trans fat increases LDL
cholesterol (bad cholesterol) levels while decreasing HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) levels
and increases your risk of heart attacks, heart disease and strokes.
Sulphur additives are toxic and sulphur dioxide is responsible for the smell of burning matches.
This additive is commonly used in soft drinks and has been linked to asthma, bronchial
problems, low blood pressure, and anaphylactic shock.
This additive is used to increase volume in some breads. This chemical is toxic and
Artificial flavors is an umbrella term for chemicals that are used in foods to mimic the flavor of
natural ingredients such as vanilla. These chemicals are a cheap way to flavor foods and these
ingredients do not need to be disclosed as long as they are GRAS. Artificial flavors are known to
cause many adverse reactions, including: allergic reactions, chest pain, DNA damage, fatigue,
headaches, depression of the nervous system, brain damage, seizures, nausea, and dizziness.
Ingredients that can fall under artificial flavors: monosodium glutamate (MSG), butylated
hydroxytoluene (BHT), butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), sodium benzoate, propylene glycol,
partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (PHVO), high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), propyl gallate,
artificial sweeteners, vanillin
How to avoid chemicals in food
The easiest way is not to eat processed foods and instead eat whole foods. The processed foods
are where these chemicals are mostly added. Also, choosing the organic options of the whole
foods because the commercial alternatives will have chemical pesticides.