Thursday, April 09, 2015

Why always read labels….

Today's post: Thursday, 4-9-2015

This Saturday, 4-11, is the annual always read your labels day.

Why always read labels? 

Because food ingredients that harm you or make you sick or fatten you are not yet illegal.  And, even worse, these ingredients are still in very wide use.

Worst of all, some kinds of foods are themselves harmful.

This is so significant knowing what these foods and drinks are and why to avoid them AND stopping them all is one of the most important paths to good health.

There are so many things to avoid it’s surprising.

But once you know the most important categories and begin to avoid them it gets easier.

1.  We’ll start with food colorings. 

There ARE worse ingredients to be sure.  But what they cause is undesirable enough and little known enough, I decided to list them first.

In a recent email Citizens for Health had this:

“Want to be restless and ineffective and not learn easily?

Want to get migraines and nasty allergies?

Do you want your kids to get these things?


Then make sure NONE of the foods and drinks you ingest or you kids ingest has artificial colorings!

The data show the FDA should have totally banned every one of them years ago!

They didn't; so read labels to avoid them!

Yellow No. 5 (tartrazine) has been linked to chromosomal damage and may cause allergic reactions and migraines. - 

Food dyes and other bad ingredients HAVE been tested to cause ADD and similar hyperactivity and drop off of learning capacity in children.

....the late Dr. Benjamin Feingold, a California pediatrician and pioneer in the field of allergy and immunology, discovered the connection between what we eat and how it affects the way we feel and act. Since then, the Feingold Center he founded has helped scores of kids with hyperactivity and attention deficit disorder by eliminating certain additives from their diets – all without resorting to drugs such as Ritalin. - 

Red dye No. 40, a petroleum derivative and the most commonly used artificial color, has been known to cause allergic reactions such as hives and swelling around the mouth, and is a suspected carcinogen. -

Blue No. 1, or “brilliant blue,” which has been banned in France and Finland, may trigger asthma, low blood pressure, hives and other allergic reactions. (It also caused serious complications and death in hospital patients when used in feeding tube solutions several years ago.) “

2.  One of the ones that is most likely to be listed in foods that contain fat because it enables them to have extremely long shelf life is:
 “hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated” vegetable oil.

THIS one is incredibly harmful and until recently its harm was horribly under-estimated.

This kind of hydrogenated oil has been proven to be a direct heart attack starter.  But it’s even worse than that.

The big news on hydrogenated oils is that because they are not a food component our bodies process well, if we ingest some, they stay in our bodies for some time.  I even read that this is so much the case that if you eat some today it will be a MONTH before your body gets rid of half of it.

That means that while eating some once or twice a year might be OK, eating a bit less but every day means that you accumulate an unusually high level of this heart attack starter in your body in just a few days.

If you don’t want heart attacks or strokes or vascular dementia, that means the safe amount of hydrogenated oil intake is ZERO.

And, there is more bad news.  The vegetable oils commonly used to hydrogenate are cheap and high in omega 6 oils that cause that cause high inflammation which causes heart disease, some cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, and osteoarthritis.  Worse, they are nearly all GMO oils from GMO grains and have herbicide and pesticide residue.

3.  Those same oils for those reasons belong on your do not buy or eat list for those reasons AND because the processed oils also have up to 3% hydrogenated oils from the processing.
Those oils are soy, corn, canola, safflower, and cottonseed oil.

(Extra Virgin Olive oil from a reputable source has none of those problems and is one of the best to use instead.)

4.  Another food that belongs on your do not buy or eat list is wheat.  There is some evidence the best eating styles for your health contain no grains at all because grains all are higher glycemic than sugar and high in omega 6 oils too.

But wheat is still widely eaten and the most harmful.  Most of it is refined grain wheat which is the highest glycemic and least nutritious form.  Worse, the hybrid wheat now used has a compound along with gluten that makes it most likely you will react badly to the gluten. 

And most wheat available today is also GMO and heavily sprayed with pesticides and herbicides.

Then too, like hydrogenated oils, refined wheat is often used in unusually fattening baked goods and desserts and snacks that are best totally avoided.

5.  High fructose corn syrup and agave nectar are next on the list.  Free fructose not bound into fiber and consumed with protective ingredients as it is in pieces of organic fruit has been shown to cause type 2 diabetes and heart disease and is an extremely effective fattener.

Mercury was found in about 30% of samples of high fructose corn syrup and that likely hasn’t changed.  So, given how harmful mercury is particularly in people with the genes that make ingesting it likely to cause Alzheimer’s disease, high fructose corn syrup is well worth totally avoiding.

Worse, it’s in a huge number of foods.  When I began to read labels to avoid it, I found that my favorite ketchup and seedless blackberry jam and chocolate sauce all contained it. 

Agave was once thought as a healthy sweetener because it’s low glycemic. In fact, it’s still in foods with otherwise health OK ingredients! But it’s almost pure fructose.

6.  MSG is not only one of the most important ingredients to avoid, it’s deliberately listed to sound like something else to keep you from finding it on the label.

Why avoid it? 

MSG is a known cause of migraines and can contribute to causing Alzeimer’s disease. 

MSG is so directly fattening that given two groups eating the same foods with the same calories, those getting MSG test to be fatter and heavier than the people who don’t eat any!

MSG also tends to cause thyroid problems if you eat it often for many years.  If that happens you feel you have less energy and burn fewer calories and that too fattens you!
On rare occasion, you will find MSG on the label.  But autolyzed yeast and natural spices and spices are very often used to hide it.  I found “spices” on every kind of mustard but Annie’s Naturals to give you an idea of how common that use is!

And, here’s a partial list from the one I found just now on Google:

Anything “hydrolyzed”
Any “hydrolyzed protein”
Calcium caseinate,  Sodium caseinate
Yeast extract, Torula yeast
Yeast food, Yeast nutrient
Autolyzed yeast
Textured protein
Whey protein
Whey protein concentrate
Whey protein isolate
Soy protein
Soy protein concentrate
Soy protein isolate

[I bolded the two I’ve seen used myself.]

7.  GMO foods, when tested, show harm and animals often won’t eat GMO foods.

Such foods often have high pesticide and herbicide residues also as GMO crops that don’t have them inside the food where they cannot be washed off are often heavily spayed.

Like MSG, the manufacturers know people want to avoid them, so in the case of GMO foods they have made an enormous effort to keep tests of the health effects of GMO foods to be done and spent millions in disinformation campaigns and behind the scenes lobbying to prevent foods containing GMO to be labeled!

Certified organic or Non-GMO are the labels you want to see.  If they aren’t there the food is likely GMO.

And, here again the grains and oils most likely to be GMO are wheat, corn, canola, soy, and safflower.  So always avoiding those cuts your consumption of GMO foods.

So does eating only protein foods from animals NOT fed grain such as wild caught fish and pasture fed chickens and cows fed only grass or organic sprouts.

8.  Rice and rice flour also are on the list of foods to avoid and not buy or eat. 

They contain enough arsenic recent tests have found to cause heart disease and cancers and other health problems!
For example, much of the unusually high risk of heart disease in South Asians is apparently caused by drinking water with that much arsenic!

(Quinoa, and nut meals and organic coconut flour and wild rice are substitutes that are arsenic free.)

9.  Artificial sweeteners in diet soft drinks or used directly.  Sucralose and all the rest of them have not only proven to be, SURPRISE, very effective fatteners, they are particularly effective at making your belly fat.  Excess belly fat tends to make you look fat and tends to help cause heart disease and type 2 diabetes. It’s both ugly and dangerous.

Today, Medical News Today had a study showing that the more artificial sweeteners people ate the fatter their bellies got!

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Blogger David said...

Here’s Citizens for Health’s full list of things to look for and be sure NOT to buy or eat:

[I’ve added some of my own comments in these kind of brackets]

With ‘Read Your Labels Day’ just around the corner, here’s our current summary of the very worst ingredients to look for by Linda Bonvie

It’s almost here! Saturday [4-11-2015] will be the third annual Citizens for Health Read Your Labels Day.

And in case you’re wondering why we chose April 11 for the occasion, it’s because of what you get when you dial 411 – information!

And information is what you absolutely need before buying any of the many processed foods available in today’s supermarkets in order to keep those products from having a serious impact on your own health and that of your family.

And by information, we don’t just mean the kind provided by front-of-package claims, or the “Nutrition Facts” label, which is often misleading and omits the most important facts about what’s in those products.

We’re talking about reading the part of the label that’s often least visible, where actual ingredients are listed.

[Why make this extra effort?] Because a lot of those ingredients are basically unfit for human consumption, despite being designed as GRAS “generally recognized as safe” by the industry-friendly Food and Drug Administration.

And many products contain not just one, but two or more of them.

So here, now, is a summary of the ones we consider the ten you should most avoid – the ones we’ve updated you on during the past month – leading up to our choices for the “worst of the worst”:

Number 10: Artificial colors
The FDA’s admission that at least 96 percent of children aged 2-5 years are being exposed to at least four artificial colors in food products – FD&C Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6 and Blue 1 –came six years after the Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned it have nine such dyes banned
— and that an interim warning label be posted on foods containing them that they “cause hyperactivity and behavioral problems in some children.”

While an FDA committee concluded there was not enough evidence to take regulatory action, some companies such as Hershey’s and Nestle USA, have started acting on their own to remove them from products in response to consumer pressure.

[As you saw in their longer piece, these artificial colors may also cause mood problems and reduced concentration and allergies and migraines in adults as well as children. Those are nasty enough that leaving out pretty colors in foods is well worth doing to avoid them!]

Number 9: BHA and BHT
These preservatives, which are made from coal tar or petroleum and banned in Japan and most of Europe, have long been the focus of health and behavioral concerns. Over 30 years ago studies found that after both were fed to pregnant mice, they weighed less, slept less and fought more than normal controls, and their offspring were born with altered brain chemistry. BHA is also listed as a carcinogen in California. [I added that bolding as California passed a law forcing companies selling foods here containing known carcinogens to eliminate or disclose them!]

But it wasn’t until “Food Babe” Vani Hari circulated a petition on the Internet noting that BHT is absent in the European versions of popular cereals that Kellogg’s and General Mills started making moves to eliminate it here as well, further demonstrating that pressure from consumers to have harmful additives removed from products does get results.

9:04 AM  
Blogger David said...

Number 8: Potassium bromate
Used to “improve” flour and make more uniform, attractive bakery products, potassium bromate has already been banned in many other countries. The FDA, however has merely asked the baking industry to voluntarily stop using it – despite a petition from CSPI back in 1999 noting that the agency had known since 1982 that it could cause tumors of the kidney, thyroid and other organs in animals and asking that its use be prohibited. While some commercial brands have replaced it, brominated flour is still widely used in restaurants and bakeries. In fact, General Mills, makers of Pillsbury and Gold Medal brand flours, offers 22 different brominated flours at its “professional baking solutions” site. Which is as good a reason as any to inquire about the ingredients in bakery items before you buy them.

[Unless made at home or by a specialty health oriented bakery with only ingredients you choose, ALL commercially baked goods are best avoided!

Brominated or not, refined grain wheat flour should be on your never buy or eat list as we post above.

Worse, far too many commercial bakeries use hydrogenated high omega 6 oils which is one of the very worst food ingredient known. They also often contain very high levels of sugar. Real cane sugar or from maple syrup or dark molasses or some organic honeys is OK in small quantities is OK; but some commercial bakeries and still use high fructose corn syrup.

And, commercial bakeries are set up to make it convenient to eat far more sugar than that.]

Number 7: Brominated vegetable oil(BVO)

This additive, which is used to keep beverages from appearing cloudy, accumulates in fatty tissue and has been shown to cause heart damage in research animals. In fact, it has never actually been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, where its status has been in limbo for more than three decades. It finally took an Internet petition launched by Sarah Kavanagh, a Mississippi teen, along with TV’s Dr. Oz calling BVO his “number one shocking health threat in your food” to get the countries two leading beverage manufacturers to agree to remove it from products. When we recently checked, however, it was still being listed in Pepsi’s popular soda brand Mountain Dew.

[This one is in soft drinks -- which should be on your never buy or drink list to begin with. BOTH high fructose corn syrup or excess sugar in soft drinks AND artificial sweeteners are proven causes of disease and being much fatter than most people would like. So, it looks like if you avoid consuming soft drinks, you also get to escape BVO too!]

9:09 AM  
Blogger David said...

Number 6: ‘Hidden forms of MSG’ [unbound glutamates] (e,g., hydrolyzed protein, autolyzed yeast, sodium and calcium caseinate)
MSG” is a designation not just for monosodium glutamate, but for more than 40 ingredients containing “free” glutamate, or glutamic acid, as contrasted to the kind that’s naturally “bound” in foods like tomatoes. And these additives can turn up in all kinds of products, usually as flavor enhancers, or as sources of added protein, even those that claim to have no added MSG.

And their presence, even small amounts, can cause devastating reactions in highly sensitive people, making nearly all processed foods a dangerous proposition for them.

Number 5: Monosodium glutamate
This “big Kahuna” of flavor enhancers is used to perk up the taste — or at least the way we perceive the taste — of all manner of foods, from snacks to soups (including standard brands like Campbell’s).

But is effects can be a lot worse than the relatively mild “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” attributed to it many years ago, In some cases, they can send unwary consumers to the ER, or even cause atrial fibrillation.

[Atrial fibrillation is NASTY! It makes you feel dizzy or spacy and can be hard to get rid of once you get it and it can cause strokes!]

It’s [MSG is] also an “excitotoxin” – so named because it can literally excite brain cells in the hypothalamus to death, especially in children and the elderly – which was why it was removed from baby food many years ago.

Number 4: Aspartame (a.k.a. NutraSweet, Equal)

This pervasive artificial sweetener, found in most “diet” drinks was allowed on the market over the objections of FDA advisers after having has been known to cause brain tumors in rats and grand mal seizures in rhesus monkeys. It also has been the subject of thousands of reports of adverse effect, ranging from migraines to vision problems to memory loss. Despite that, it is still often represented as a “healthy” alternative to caloric sweeteners, and the dairy industry has even petitioned the FDA for a change that would make it easier to feed aspartame-laced milk to school kids. But with new research –for example, a study last year having found that women who drink just two diet sodas a day have a significantly higher risk of heart attacks and strokes – more and more consumers are becoming leery of it, as are some companies (such as Yoplait, which has removed it from its “Lite” yogurt).

Number 3: Carrageenan
Used in a wide variety of products to give them a nice texture, fatty “mouth feel” and a good appearance, this tasteless, non-nutritive seaweed derivative has long been known to cause harmful gastrointestinal inflammation and intestinal lesions.

[Intestinal lesions can cause allergies and acid reflux and maybe even esophageal and other intestinal cancers and if severe can cause internal bleeding.]

But what’s especially disturbing is that it’s found in some organic foods, the National Organic Standards Board having approved its use by a one-vote margin in 2012. If nothing else, that’s a good reason for reading the ingredients label on organic products as well as conventional ones.

9:18 AM  
Blogger David said...

Number 2: Partially hydrogenated oil, or PHO (a.k.a. trans fat)

It will soon be a year and a half since the FDA proposed removing this artery-clogging substance, which gives products a longer shelf-life but causes an estimated 7,000 fatal heart attacks a year, from the GRAS list.

But despite the fanfare that greeted that announcement, the agency has yet to take concrete action – even though a subsequent study showed PHO also impairs memory.

Of course, it’s always possible the FDA itself simply forgot to act on this much heralded plan – but what’s more likely is that it was put off by objections from the food and baking industries.

[Foods made by commercial bakers and the companies selling packaged desserts and snacks are best always avoided and never eaten for many reasons. The fact that they may also pay lobbyists to prevent you from avoiding this poisonous ingredient in their products is a big one in my view, because it means you cannot trust them to make safe products.]

Number 1: high fructose corn syrup, or HFCS (along with ‘fructose’)

Nearly two-thirds of Americans don’t want this cheap laboratory sweetener in their food, according to a recent Nielsen international health and wellness survey.

And there are good reasons for that, as studies (including a recent one from Harvard Medical School) have consistently linked HFCS to health problems like obesity, diabetes, heart disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

[Like diabetes and heart disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease can cause death or cause you to need a liver transplant to avoid death.]

Such popular rejection has prompted an increasing number of processed food companies to specify that their products contain “no HFCS.”

But at least a couple of the products making that claim now have “fructose” listed as an ingredient – one which the Corn Refiners Association claims is actually HFCS-90.

Whether or not it is, “fructose” is a component of sugar that by itself or in unbound form (as in HFCS) the body has far more trouble assimilating than the “bound” glucose-fructose combo of which plain sugar consists.

9:20 AM  
Blogger David said...

Between my post and the list from Citizens for Health you now know what to look for on labels and which foods and drinks and ingredients to avoid totally,
to never buy, and to never voluntarily eat or drink!

The MUCH better news is that the organic and/or naturally fed real foods still available to you have ethnic recipes that make them taste good and a fast growing set of new recipes with only safe to eat real foods that also taste good.

In addition, the Vitamix 750 is a quieter way to make juice blends of whole organic greens and other vegetables that are easy to drink. Best of all it's easy to clean and takes literally only a few seconds.

Lastly, despite still carrying some less than OK foods, Whole Foods Market and upscale grocery stores -- & even Walmarts are beginning to carry these kinds of organic real foods.

9:32 AM  

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