Processed Foods = Crap with MSG

  1. Processed foods are an illusion, often appearing to be healthy (with claims like low fat, low carb, vitamin fortified, no trans fat, contains omega-3s, etc.) when these foods are in fact the very thing making a lot of Americans unhealthy, sick, and fat.
  2. Coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer – four of the top ten chronic diseases that kill most of us – “can be traced directly to the industrialization of our food” according to Michael Pollan.
  3. Making smarter (and sometimes more expensive) food choices now may reduce your healthcare costs later in life.
  4. Why would one want to eat a processed food-like substance that is scientifically designed to never rot? Just watch to see how our body processes it.
  5. The food industry has proven that it is not very good at seasoning our foods by adding way too much salt, sugar, and/or oil to almost everything.
  6. When you eat white bread and other foods made with white flour (which is a highly processed version of wheat) you are basically consuming empty calories with far less nutrition than the whole-wheat or whole grain alternatives.
  7. It is estimated that up to 90% of processed foods* in the supermarket contain either a corn or soy ingredient in the form of an additive under a variety of different names. Now how is that for eating variety?
  8. Cutting out processed foods could lead you to experience a variety of personal health benefits such as having more energy, losing weight, improving regularity, or just feeling healthier overall.
  9. Rather than counting calories, watching fat grams, or reducing carbs for “healthy eating,” simply eat whole foods that, as Michael Pollan puts it, are more the product of nature than “the product of industry.” It certainly is less complicated.
  10. It just makes plain old sense to fully understand what you are eating, be able to pronounce everything on the list of ingredients (if there is a list), and know exactly where that food comes from…don’t you think?


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Cancerous Colas – High levels of Carcinogens Found


Consumer Reports is warning the caramel coloring that gives cola its brown hue may be dangerous in the levels its found in some popular soft drinks.

“There’s no reason why consumers should be exposed to an avoidable and unnecessary risk that can stem from coloring food brown,” toxicologist Dr. Urvashi Rangan, executive director of Consumer Reports’ Food Safety & Sustainability Center, said in a statement.

Researchers at the magazine tested dozens of cans and bottles from a variety of popular brands looking for levels of the artificial chemical used for coloring, 4-methylimidazole (4-MeI).

Previous studies of 4-MeI have found long-term exposure to the chemical caused lung cancer in mice, according to the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. That prompted the state to add 4-MeI to its list of potentially toxic chemicals under Proposition 65, which requires warning labels on products containing concerning levels of the chemical — in this case 29 micrograms of 4-MeI per can or bottle.

Consumer Reports tested 81 cans of soda purchased between April and September 2013 from New York and California metropolitan areas. The researchers tested another 29 samples from the same areas for products that initial tests showed exceeded the 29-microgram amount of 4-MeI.

On all tests, Pepsi One and Malta Goya sodas contained levels of 4-MeI higher than 29 micrograms, and the products purchased in Calif. did not have the warning labels.

Results on Pepsi One ranged from 39.5 micrograms of 4-MeI to 195.3 micrograms of the chemical. Malta Goya contained a whopping 307.5 to 352.5 micrograms depending on the test date and purchase location.

For samples tested in California, Consumer Reports said it notified the state’s attorney general to investigate to see whether Prop 65 was violated.

Initial tests of regular Pepsi found 24.8 micrograms and 174.4. micrograms of 4-MeI in cans sold in Calif. and N.Y. respectively. The next round of testing found 29.1 micrograms and 32.4 micrograms of 4-MeI in those states. Diet Pepsi tests showed similar results.

Whole Foods’ 365 Everyday Value Dr. Snap soda contained 55.9 micrograms of 4-MeI in initial N.Y. tests, but dropped to 9.9 micrograms in the next testing phase.

“The fact that we found lower amounts of 4-MeI in our last round of tests suggests that some manufacturers may be taking steps to reduce levels, which would be a step in the right direction,” Rangan said.

Coca-Cola, Coke Zero and Diet Coke’s initial tests showed around or below 4 micrograms of 4-MeI in samples. A &W Root Beer contained 24.2 micrograms of 4-MeI in California and around 22 micrograms from New York cans, which also did not violate the law.

But Rangan says manufacturers have choices to pick alternatives that contain lower levels of the chemical.

“It’s possible to get more than 29 micrograms of 4-MeI in one can of some of the drinks we tested,” said Rangan. “And even if your choice of soft drink contains half that amount, many people have more than one can per day.”

The magazine called on the Food and Drug Administration to set federal limits for 4-MeI in foods, and to require manufacturers to list the chemical on ingredient labels. Now, the labels only have to state “artificial color” or “caramel color.”

In response to the study, the FDA told the Associated Press it is conducting new safety studies on the products containing 4-MeI, but noted it’s been studied for decades. The agency said it has no reason to believe its unsafe.

“These efforts will inform the FDA’s safety analysis and will help the agency determine what, if any, regulatory action needs to be taken,” agency spokeswoman Juli Putnam told AP.

PepsiCo said it is “extremely concerned” about the new Consumer Reports study and believes it is factually incorrect, spokesperson Aurora Gonzalez told AP.

“All of Pepsi’s products are below the threshold set in California and all are in full compliance with the law,” she said.

Recently, other consumer watchdog groups have raised concerns about the caramel coloring chemical found in colas. The Center for Environmental Health conducted tests of Pepsi products in July, and announced researchers found high levels of the possible carcinogen.

In March 2012, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) raised concerns in a new report, estimating about 15,000 cancers could be caused by the levels of 4-MeI currently found in drinks.

Shortly after, Coca Cola announced it would be switching to a low-4MeI formula, while still maintaining the product has always been safe.

courtesy of

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10 Highly Processed Foods & Ingredients to Avoid

Highly Processed Foods and Ingredients to Avoid:
Artificial ingredients
This includes both synthetic dyes (like FD&C Red No. 40, Tartrazine, or Blue No. 1) and artificial sweeteners (like saccharin, aspartame, or sucralose). When you look at the history of food artificial ingredients haven’t been around all that long, and I don’t know about you, but I am not interested in being the guinea pig here. Plus the fact that artificial dyes require a warning label in many countries outside of the U.S. is enough of a deal breaker for me.
Instead: Look for dyes that come from natural sources (like paprika, saffron, or annatto) or forget the coloring all together (it’s only for aesthetics). When it comes to sweeteners pick those that come from natural sources (like honey, maple syrup, and even sugar) over the artificial stuff, but always consume them in moderation (see #2).10 Highly Processed Foods to Avoid by 100 Days of Real Food

Refined sweeteners
It’s not that refined sweeteners themselves (like sugar) are the devil, but the quantity in which sweeteners are consumed these days is honestly the scary part. Sugar (or corn syrup or cane juice or brown rice syrup or whatever creative name is on the label) is no longer reserved for truly special occasions anymore, and instead is lurking in yogurts, breads, crackers, flavored oatmeal, beverages, and even innocent-looking salad dressings.
Instead: Rely on natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup since they are mostly “processed” in nature and at least contain some trace nutrients. BUT it’s important to remember that “sugar is sugar” no matter what you choose. So even if you go the more natural route (which is recommended!) that by no means gives you the green light to turn up the bottle. It’s also helpful to buy foods “plain” (like yogurt, oatmeal, etc.) and sparingly sweeten them yourself to make sure things don’t get out of hand.

Refined grains
This includes products made from white flour (usually labeled as enriched “wheat” flour), white rice, corn meal, etc. When grains are refined the most nutritional part of the grain (the bran and germ) is removed. This prolongs shelf life among other things, but remember…real food should (and does!) rot so avoid the science experiment and stick to the whole grains provided to us by nature.
Instead: Give up the white stuff and rely on nutritious whole-grains like whole-wheat flour, oats, brown rice, quinoa, and others.

Factory farmed meat and seafood
“Factory farms” raise animals in incredibly crowded and confined quarters so some (literally) never see the light of day. What’s more these animals are oftentimes fed unnatural diets (for instance cows were meant to eat grass, not corn that, by the way, is likely GMO) and given unnecessary synthetic hormones and antibiotics to ensure they produce the most abundant meat products as quickly and efficiently as possible. According to Michael Pollan, “You are what you eat eats, too” so animals raised in such an unhealthy environment in turn produce products that are not as nutritious for you as the local, pastured (or wild caught) alternatives. Not to mention the negative impact these factory farms have on our environment and the inhumane manner in which these animals are being raised.
Instead: Shop your local farmers’ market for humanely raised, pastured animal products. If you are concerned about the higher cost, then just eat less meat. It’s that simple. And when selecting seafood always pick the “wild caught” variety so you know they were raised in their natural environment and eating their natural diet.

Ingredients you would not cook with at home
Rather than memorizing a complicated list of chemicals to avoid in packaged foods I am going to make this one really easy for you. Don’t buy anything packaged that’s made with ingredients you wouldn’t cook with at home (which are usually items you can’t even pronounce).
Instead: Stick with simple products made from a handful of pure ingredients or make food yourself from scratch.

Refined oils
“While olive oil and other pressed oils have been around for millennia,” refined alternatives like shortening, soybean oil, and even canola oil are fairly new on the scene. That’s because they are basically science experiments that were dreamed up in a lab by the food industry. These highly processed vegetable oils are cleaned with chemicals, genetically modified, and sometimes even hydrogenated so as a result we like to avoid them as much as possible.
Instead: Stick with traditional cooking fats like butter, olive oil, ghee (refined butter), unrefined coconut oil, and, yes, even pastured lard. As Michael Pollan says, “Innovation in food is bad.”

Pre-flavored packaged products
As I touched on above there are a wide range of “flavored” products available these days including everything from beverages to yogurts to oatmeal to cream cheese. Trust me, food factories are going to use a lot more sugar, salt, oil, and unrecognizable ingredients than you would use to flavor these foods at home.
Instead: Buy plain and flavor/sweeten it yourself (naturally). When it comes to drinks squirt some lemon (or other citrus) in your water or sparkling water to kick things up a notch. 🙂

Imitation foods
This includes anything that’s trying to pretend to be something it’s not. Like margarine (or vegan “butter”), processed cheese products, imitation crab meat, pancake “syrup,” and “lemonade” powder. Believe it or not there used to be a regulation requiring manufacturers to clearly label foods like these as an “imitation.” But of course these products were looked down upon so it’s no surprise that the ever-so-powerful food industry got that regulation thrown out the window. The bottom line is that imitation foods are a highly processed “fake” version of the real thing.
Instead: Buy the “real” versions of imitation foods like real butter, real cheese, real crab, or pure maple syrup, and make lemonade with real lemons (not artificial powder!).

Low-fat and fat-free products
You are off the hook. “Diet” foods are not only more processed (to get the fat out), but they never tasted that good anyway. As it turns out, according to Michael Pollan, “We’ve gotten fat on low-fat products.” And that’s because when they take the fat out of these foods they no longer taste good so they have to add in a bunch of sugar (see #2 above). Binging on sugar and other refined sweeteners is the real issue here…not eating healthy fats like our ancestors have survived on for centuries.
Instead: Switch to full-fat dairy (including milk!) and avoid low-fat packaged foods all together.

Fast Food
It’s an amazing feat, but fast food places have somehow managed to screw up the most innocent, wholesome-sounding real food meals like oatmeal, sandwiches, and salads – “Even the salads at McDonald’s are full of high-fructose corn syrup and thickeners made from corn.” So how about we all agree to “vote with our dollars” and avoid fast food joints all together?
Instead: Planning ahead is key when it comes to avoiding fast food restaurants while on the go. Before you leave the house each morning be sure to have all your meals mentally planned out in your head so you aren’t caught off-guard empty handed. And always have some wholesome snacks (like dried fruit, nuts, or Lara Bars) on hand just in case you get in a bind!

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What we can learn from the Japanese diet.
The basic Japanese diet is summed up well by the Japan Zone website: “The typical Japanese meal consists of a bowl of rice, a bowl of miso soup, pickled vegetables, and fish or meat.” The typical Japanese diet is a healthy one. The Japanese have a relatively long lifespan, with men living until an average age of 78 and women to 85.

Rice and Noodles
There are several thousand varieties of the sticky, short grain rice that is used as a staple in Japan–and there is a wide a variety of uses for the rice. Rice shows up in rice bowls, rice cakes called mochi, rice wine called sake, rice balls called onigiri, and many other forms.

Noodles also occupy a large role in Japanese cuisine. The three main types are the wheat flour noodles known as udon, buckwheat noodles called soba, and ramen noodles, which are actually considered Chinese food in Japan.

According to the Tokyo Top Guide website, Japanese meals are based on fish rather than on rice. A Japanese person eats an average of about 1/2 pound of fish a day. It is common to have one hot fish dish and one cold fish dish at a meal. Sushi is technically defined as sushi rice, which is a rice prepared with sushi vinegar. But, of course, sushi is known throughout the world for the many types of raw seafood featured as a topping.

Soy is heavily used in Japan. In addition to the soy-based miso soup, tofu, made from soybean curd, and soy sauce are daily staples as well. Then there is natto, made from fermented soybeans. With its pungent smell and taste and its stringy texture, natto tends to be a food you either love or hate. Restaurants in Japan sometimes have separate rooms for natto lovers, so natto haters can avoid the aroma.

Health Benefits
People in Japan derive many health benefits from a typical Japanese diet. Soy is not only an excellent source of protein, it also helps reduce heart disease and high blood pressure. Fish, a rich source of omega-3, is a heart-healthy food. Japanese green tea has only half as much caffeine as coffee and helps soothe the digestive system.

People in Japan consume little white flour. Dairy and bread are not a part of the traditional Japanese diet. The Japanese don’t eat a lot of sugary desserts and have little need to do so, since red bean and green tea desserts are quite delicious.

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VIDEO: Why You’ll Never Want to Eat Cup Ramen Again


After seeing how our stomach deals with cup ramen, I laid my chopsticks to rest, although I do still sometimes long to taste my msg mistress again..

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ADHD linked to Artificial Food Coloring.

For more than 30 years, scientists have examined the relationship between food coloring and hyperactive behavior in children, but with mixed results. To date, no conclusive evidence has been found to show that food coloring causes ADHD. Some studies, though, have suggested an association between the two. Most likely, ADHD is caused by the combination of changes in brain structure, environmental factors, and heredity.

Can food dye cause hyperactivity?

A study by the United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency in 2007 showed that the consumption of foods containing dyes could increase hyperactive behavior in children. In the study of 3-, 8- and 9-year-olds, children were given three different types of beverages to drink. Then their behavior was evaluated by teachers and parents.

By adding dyes and coloring to foods and a variety of products, companies can make them look more tasty or appealing to consumers. Companies have relied on this technique for ages in order to save money and sell more products.

For centuries, we’ve used natural dye from natural ingredients to color food, clothing, and other products. Around the turn of the 20th century, scientists began formulating synthetic colors, derived from coal tar and other alternatives. This was done in order to reduce costs and avoid possible toxins in some of the natural compounds, such as mercury, copper or arsenic.

However, the safety of this technique has come into question. These synthetic ingredients have been proven to have their own slew of problems. Some claim that these dyes are toxic – possibly toxic enough to cause cancer. While some dyes have been banned from use in the United States, seven dyes remain on the FDA’s approved list for use in the United States. These food dyes include Blue No. 1, Blue No. 2, Green No. 3, Red No. 3, Red No. 40, Yellow No. 5 and Yellow No. 6.

Two dyes that have come under recent attack are Yellow 5 and Yellow 6.

Other countries, like the UK, have required that food companies label products containing Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 with a warning that says: “May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.” Hence, some companies, like Kraft, have switched to using paprika and beta carotene in products like their mac and cheese (to preserve the yellow appearance) in those countries.

How Can Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 Affect My Children?

British researchers designed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to test the effects of food colorings on hyperactivity in children. Hyperactivity is one of the signs of ADHD. The children consumed foods and drinks free of six coloring agents and sodium benzoate, a common preservative. Every two weeks, the children were given a special drink that contained enough dye found in two bags of candy.

The researchers and their parents found a significant increase in hyperactivity in the children during the weeks that they consumed the drink with the artificial colors.

This research correlates with an analysis of different studies done at Columbia University and Harvard University. The analysis affirmed that removing foods and products that contain artificial food coloring can help relieve the symptoms of children already diagnosed with ADHD.

What Can I Do About This?

The first thing you can do is become more food-label conscious. Companies are required to list food dyes in their list of ingredients. Watch out for dyes that you are giving to your family. More and more companies are using natural colorants, like spices, in their products.

Also, switching to a clean diet can help you avoid these products altogether. This involves avoiding foods that have unnecessary preservatives, additives or chemicals, like artificial dyes. If there is a mysterious ingredient you can’t pronounce or if it evokes images of scientists in white lab coats, you probably shouldn’t be eating it.

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5 Wonderful Side Effects of Artificial Food Coloring :P


They are made in a lab with chemicals derived from petroleum, a crude oil product, which also happens to be used in gasoline, diesel fuel, asphalt, and tar. “Artificial food dyes are made from petroleum and approved for use by the FDA to enhance the color of processed foods.”

They’ve been linked to long-term health problems such as cancer. If you’re a child of the ‘80s (like me) do you remember that rumor about red M&Ms causing cancer? Maybe it wasn’t just a rumor after all. “The three most widely used dyes, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, are contaminated with known carcinogens, says CSPI. Another dye, Red 3, has been acknowledged for years by the Food and Drug Administration to be a carcinogen, yet is still in the food supply.” FYI – According to Wikipedia, “A carcinogen is any substance … that is an agent directly involved in causing cancer.” !!! “There’s no good reason not to ban Red 3, something then-acting FDA commissioner Mark Novitch tried to do in 1984, saying the dye ‘has clearly been shown to induce cancer’ and was ‘of greatest public health concern.’ … Other dyes, namely Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, are known to cause allergic reactions in some people and have shown signs of causing cancer in lab animals. Of course, this isn’t the same thing as leading to cancer in humans, but it argues for limiting intake, especially among children, who are getting the biggest dose of food colorings from a gazillion brightly colored, fun-looking foods.”

Did you know that food products containing artificial dye are required to have a warning label in the U.K.? The label states that the food “may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.” So speaking of M&Ms, they aren’t so brightly colored in some countries outside of the U.S. because manufacturers would rather do away with the artificial dye than have to put a warning label on their products. “This is why if you eat a Nutri-Grain strawberry cereal bar in the United States, it will contain Red 40, Yellow 6 and Blue 1. But that same bar in the UK contains only the natural colorings beetroot red, annatto and paprika extract. In fact, the UK branches of Wal-Mart, Kraft, Coca-Cola and Mars have removed artificial colors, sodium benzoate and aspartame from their product lines as a result of consumer demand and government recommendations. In the United States, however, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to allow these toxic ingredients in countless popular foods, including those marketed directly to children.” Many Grocery Manufacturers Association members (like Pepsi, Kraft and General Mills) “have switched to natural colorings in their products in the U.K., where warning labels are required, but they’re not doing that here for the most part. That’s because no one’s making them do it, and switching would cost a lot of money.”

Synthetic food dyes have been shown to cause an increase in hyperactivity in children as well as a negative impact on their ability to learn.”Artificial food dyes (in combination with a common preservative) could make even children with no known behavioral problems hyperactive and inattentive.” “The science shows that kids’ behavior improves when these artificial colorings are removed from their diets and worsens when they’re added to the their diets.” and “While not all children seem to be sensitive to these chemicals, it’s hard to justify their continued use in foods—especially those foods heavily marketed to young children.” “According to scientific studies, these dyes are causing behavioral problems and disrupting children’s attention.”

They add absolutely no value to the foods we are eating, but do in-fact pose quite a few serious risks. “Without color additives, colas wouldn’t be brown, margarine wouldn’t be yellow and mint ice cream wouldn’t be green. Color additives are now recognized as an important part of practically all processed foods we eat.” “These dyes have no purpose whatsoever other than to sell junk food.” “These synthetic chemicals do absolutely nothing to improve the nutritional quality or safety of foods, but trigger behavior problems in children and, possibly, cancer in anybody. The Food and Drug Administration should ban dyes, which would force industry to color foods with real food ingredients, not toxic petrochemicals.”

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10 American Foods Banned in the World (THAT WE STILL EAT)

Americans are slowly waking up to the sad fact that much of the food sold in the US is far inferior to the same foods sold in other nations. In fact, many of the foods you eat are BANNED in other countries.

Here, I’ll review 10 American foods that are banned elsewhere.

Seeing how the overall health of Americans is so much lower than other industrialized countries, you can’t help but wonder whether toxic foods such as these might play a role in our skyrocketing disease rates.

#1: Milk and Dairy Products Laced with rBGH


Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) is the largest selling dairy animal drug in America. RBGH is a synthetic version of natural bovine somatotropin (BST), a hormone produced in cows’ pituitary glands. Monsanto developed the recombinant version from genetically engineered E. coli bacteria and markets it under the brand name “Posilac.”

It’s injected into cows to increase milk production, but it is banned in at least 30 other nations because of its dangers to human health, which include an increased risk for colorectal, prostate, and breast cancer by promoting conversion of normal tissue cells into cancerous ones. Non-organic dairy farms frequently have rBGH-injected cows that suffer at least 16 different adverse health conditions, including very high rates of mastitis that contaminate milk with pus and antibiotics.

Where it’s banned: Australia, New Zealand, Israel, EU and Canada
“According to the American Cancer Society, the increased use of antibiotics to treat this type of rBGH-induced inflammation ‘does promote the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but the extent to which these are transmitted to humans is unclear,’” the featured article states.

Many have tried to inform the public of the risks of using this hormone in dairy cows, but their attempts have been met with overwhelming opposition by the powerful dairy and pharmaceutical industries, and their government liaisons. In 1997, two Fox-affiliate investigative journalists, Jane Akre and Steve Wilson, attempted to air a program exposing the truth about the dangers of rBGH. Lawyers for Monsanto, a major advertiser with the Florida network, sent letters promising “dire consequences” if the story aired.

Despite decades of evidence about the dangers of rBGH, the FDA still maintains it’s safe for human consumption and ignores scientific evidence to the contrary. In 1999, the United Nations Safety Agency ruled unanimously not to endorse or set safety standards for rBGH milk, which has effectively resulted in an international ban on US milk.4 The Cancer Prevention Coalition, trying for years to get the use of rBGH by the dairy industry banned, resubmitted a petition to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, MD, in January 2010.5 Although the FDA stubbornly sticks to its position that milk from rBGH-treated cows is no different than milk from untreated cows, this is just plain false and is not supported by science. The only way to avoid rBGH is to look for products labeled as “rBGH-free” or “No rBGH.”

#2: Genetically Engineered Papaya


Most Hawaiian papaya is now genetically engineered to be resistant to ringspot virus. Mounting research now shows that animals fed genetically engineered foods, such as corn and soy, suffer a wide range of maladies, including intestinal damage, multiple-organ damage, massive tumors, birth defects, premature death, and near complete sterility by the third generation of offspring. Unfortunately, the gigantic human lab experiment is only about 10 years old, so we are likely decades away from tabulating the human casualties.

Where it’s banned: The European Union
Unfortunately, it’s clear that the US government is not in a position to make reasonable and responsible decisions related to genetically engineered foods at this point, when you consider the fact that the Obama administration has placed former Monsanto attorney and Vice President, Michael Taylor, in charge of US food safety, and serious conflicts of interest even reign supreme within the US Supreme Court! That’s right. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is also a former Monsanto attorney, but refuses to acknowledge any conflict of interest.

Get More Good-for-You News @

#3: Ractopamine-Tainted Meat


The beta agonist drug ractopamine (a repartitioning agent that increases protein synthesis) was recruited for livestock use when researchers found that the drug, used in asthma, made mice more muscular. This reduces the overall fat content of the meat. Ractopamine is currently used in about 45 percent of US pigs, 30 percent of ration-fed cattle, and an unknown percentage of turkeys are pumped full of this drug in the days leading up to slaughter. Up to 20 percent of ractopamine remains in the meat you buy from the supermarket, according to veterinarian Michael W. Fox.

Where it’s banned: 160 countries across Europe, Russia, mainland China and Republic of China (Taiwan)
Since 1998, more than 1,700 people have been “poisoned” from eating pigs fed the drug, and ractopamine is banned from use in food animals in no less than 160 different countries due to its harmful health effects! Effective February 11, 2013, Russia issued a ban on US meat imports, slated to last until the US agrees to certify that the meat is ractopamine-free. At present, the US does not even test for the presence of this drug in meats sold. In animals, ractopamine is linked to reductions in reproductive function, increase of mastitis in dairy herds, and increased death and disability. It’s also known to affect the human cardiovascular system, and is thought to be responsible for hyperactivity, and may cause chromosomal abnormalities and behavioral changes.

Read about the benefits of grass-fed beef compared to standard feed lot beef.

#4: Flame Retardant Drinks


If you live in the US and drink Mountain Dew and some other citrus-flavored sodas and sports drinks, then you are also getting a dose of a synthetic chemical called brominated vegetable oil (BVO), which was originally patented by chemical companies as a flame retardant.

BVO has been shown to bioaccumulate in human tissue and breast milk, and animal studies have found it causes reproductive and behavioral problems in large doses. Bromine is a central nervous system depressant, and a common endocrine disruptor. It’s part of the halide family, a group of elements that includes fluorine, chlorine and iodine. When ingested, bromine competes for the same receptors that are used to capture iodine. This can lead to iodine deficiency, which can have a very detrimental impact on your health. Bromine toxicity can manifest as skin rashes, acne, loss of appetite, fatigue, and cardiac arrhythmias.

Where it’s banned: Europe and Japan
According to the featured article:

“The FDA has flip-flopped on BVO’s safety originally classifying it as ‘generally recognized as safe’ but reversing that call now defining it as an ‘interim food additive’ a category reserved for possibly questionable substances used in food.”

#5: Processed Foods Containing Artificial Food Colors and Dyes


More than 3,000 food additives — preservatives, flavorings, colors and other ingredients — are added to US foods, including infant foods and foods targeted to young children. Meanwhile, many of these are banned in other countries, based on research showing toxicity and hazardous health effects, especially with respect to adverse effects on children’s behavior. For example, as reported in the featured article:

“Boxed Mac & Cheese, cheddar flavored crackers, Jell-O and many kids’ cereals contain red 40, yellow 5, yellow 6 and/or blue 2, the most popularly-used dyes in the United States. Research has shown this rainbow of additives can cause behavioral problems as well as cancer, birth defects and other health problems in laboratory animals. Red 40 and yellow 6 are also suspected of causing an allergy-like hypersensitivity reaction in children. The Center for Science in the Public Interest reports that some dyes are also “contaminated with known carcinogens.”

Where it’s banned: Norway and Austria. In 2009, the British government advised companies to stop using food dyes by the end of that year. The European Union also requires a warning notice on most foods containing dyes.
In countries where these food colors and dyes are banned, food companies like Kraft employ natural colorants instead, such as paprika extract, beetroot, and annatto. The food blogger and activist Vani Hari, better known as “Food Babe,” recently launched a petition2 asking Kraft to remove artificial dyes from American Mac & Cheese to protect American children from the well-known dangers of these dyes.

#6: Arsenic-Laced Chicken


Arsenic-based drugs are approved for use in animal feed in the US because they make animals grow quicker and make the meat appear pinker (i.e. “fresher”). The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated these products are safe because they contain organic arsenic, which is less toxic than the other inorganic form, which is a known carcinogen.

Where it’s banned: The European Union
The problem is, scientific reports surfaced stating that the organic arsenic could transform into inorganic arsenic, which has been found in elevated levels in supermarket chickens. The inorganic arsenic also contaminates manure where it can eventually migrate into drinking water and may also be causing heightened arsenic levels in US rice.

In 2011, Pfizer announced it would voluntarily stop marketing its arsenic-based feed additive Roxarsone, but there are still several others on the market. Several environmental groups have filed a lawsuit against the FDA calling for their removal from the market. In the European Union, meanwhile, arsenic-based compounds have never been approved as safe for animal feed.

#7: Bread with Potassium Bromate


You might not be aware of this, but nearly every time you eat bread in a restaurant or consume a hamburger or hotdog bun you are consuming bromide, as it is commonly used in flours. The use of potassium bromate as an additive to commercial breads and baked goods has been a huge contributor to bromide overload in Western cultures.

Where it’s banned: Canada, China and the EU
Bromated flour is “enriched” with potassium bromate. Commercial baking companies claim it makes the dough more elastic and better able to stand up to bread hooks. However, Pepperidge Farm and other successful companies manage to use only unbromated flour without any of these so-called “structural problems.” Studies have linked potassium bromate to kidney and nervous system damage, thyroid problems, gastrointestinal discomfort, and cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies potassium bromate as a possible carcinogen.

#8: Olestra/Olean


Olestra, aka Olean, created by Procter & Gamble, is a calorie- and cholesterol-free fat substitute used in fat-free snacks like chips and French fries. Three years ago, Time Magazine3 named it one of the worst 50 inventions ever, but that hasn’t stopped food companies from using it to satisfy people’s mistaken belief that a fat-free snack is a healthier snack. According to the featured article:

“Not only did a 2011 study from Purdue University conclude rats fed potato chips made with Olean gained weight, there have been several reports of adverse intestinal reactions to the fake fat including diarrhea, cramps and leaky bowels. And because it interferes with the absorption of fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K, the FDA requires these vitamins be added to any product made with Olean or olestra.”

Where it’s banned: The UK and Canada

#9: Preservatives BHA and BHT


BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are commonly used preservatives that can be found in breakfast cereal, nut mixes, chewing gum, butter spread, meat, dehydrated potatoes, and beer, just to name a few. BHA is known to cause cancer in rats, and may be a cancer-causing agent in humans as well. In fact, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services, National Toxicology Program’s 2011 Report on Carcinogens, BHA “is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” It may also trigger allergic reactions and hyperactivity, while BHT can cause organ system toxicity.

Where it’s banned: The UK doesn’t allow BHA in infant foods. BHA and BHT are also banned in parts of the European Union and Japan.

#10: Farm-Raised Salmon


If you want to maximize health benefits from fish, you want to steer clear of farmed fish, particularly farmed salmon fed dangerous chemicals. Wild salmon gets its bright pinkish-red color from natural carotenoids in their diet. Farmed salmon, on the other hand, are raised on a wholly unnatural diet of grains (including genetically engineered varieties), plus a concoction of antibiotics and other drugs and chemicals not shown to be safe for humans.

This diet leaves the fish with unappetizing grayish flesh so to compensate, they’re fed synthetic astaxanthin made from petrochemicals, which has not been approved for human consumption and has well known toxicities. According to the featured article, some studies suggest it can potentially damage your eyesight. More details are available in yesterday’s article.

Where it’s banned: Australia and New Zealand
How can you tell whether a salmon is wild or farm-raised? The flesh of wild sockeye salmon is bright red, courtesy of its natural astaxanthin content. It’s also very lean, so the fat marks, those white stripes you see in the meat, are very thin. If the fish is pale pink with wide fat marks, the salmon is farmed.

Avoid Atlantic salmon, as typically salmon labeled “Atlantic Salmon” currently comes from fish farms. The two designations you want to look for are: “Alaskan salmon,” and “sockeye salmon,” as Alaskan sockeye is not allowed to be farmed. Please realize that the vast majority of all salmon sold in restaurants is farm raised.

So canned salmon labeled “Alaskan Salmon” is a good bet, and if you find sockeye salmon, it’s bound to be wild. Again, you can tell sockeye salmon from other salmon by its color; its flesh is bright red opposed to pink, courtesy of its superior astaxanthin content. Sockeye salmon actually has one of the highest concentrations of astaxanthin of any food.


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The 12 Most Pesticide-Ridden Fruits & Veggies.

Apparently the list has been out since 2003, but not many people I’ve encountered have ever heard of it. Knowing and using it to make informed shopping decisions will really improve your well being and minimize your chances of getting cancer. Each year, the EWG (Environmental Working Group) puts out an annual report, ranking 48 popular fruits and vegetables, based on their levels of pesticide contamination. The dirty dozen are the top 12 most contaminated fruits and veggies that you should by organic, with some offenders, containing up to 30-40 different chemicals.

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