Dangerous Ingredients You’re Eating And Don’t Know About

Orange with Dangerous Injections

When shopping for what to feed yourself or your family, you probably take at least a quick look at food labels, and we bet you think you know what dangerous ingredients to look for. We’ve been trained to look at grams of sugar, trans fat, how many calories, whether a food contains high fructose corn syrup.

If you examine a food label and it passes all your tests, you toss it in the cart and it comes home with you, eventually ending up on your plate. You probably feel pretty good about the conscientious choices you’re making for your family’s health.

But what if your confidence is misguided? What if there is a whole list of ingredients that our government allows in our food, even though they’ve been banned in most other countries? How would that make you feel about what you’ve been eating, and what you’ve been feeding your kids?

Mira Calton and Jayson Calton, Ph.D., wrote Rich Food, Poor Food about this very topic. They studied over 150 ingredients to reveal 13 things that are banned from consumption in other countries for the dangers they present to our health, but that are allowed here in the United States.

The culprits:

We don’t even want to know how many dangerous ingredients are in this pile.

Here are some of the banned ingredients the Caltons found in our food here in the US that have been deemed too risky to eat elsewhere.

  • Artificial colors blue 1, blue 2, yellow 5, and yellow 6
  • Olestra (commonly found under the brand name, Olean)
  • Brominated vegetable oil (or BVO)
  • Potassium bromate (brominated flour)
  • Azodicarbonamide, BHA and BHT
  • Synthetic growth hormones rBGH and rBST
  • Arsenic, a well-known poison


Where to find them:

Pretty much every processed, mass-produced food in the United States contains at least one of these terrible toxins. You know enough to check the labels on packaged cakes, boxed foods, and other processed foods, but you also need to check medicines, pet foods, chewing gum—basically anything that comes wrapped in any kind of package.


Why are these things in our food?

To make our food pretty, palatable, fast, and cheap, mostly. We Americans have become so conditioned to food that looks perfect and stays fresh forever. For example, food coloring makes us think food tastes better; azodicarbonamide bleaches flour faster than it would whiten naturally, and arsenic promotes growth and pigmentation in poultry.


What can we do about it?

It can be hard to get away from these poisonous ingredients. We all know packaged foods aren’t the best for us, but they offer convenience that sometimes trumps our better judgement, especially if we’re juggling a career and busy family and social lives.

But if the list of risky ingredients that we eat concerns you, consider these steps:

  1. Make your own food, all the time. Spend one day prepping snacks and meals for the week. It’s not as convenient as grabbing a quick snack pack but poisoning your body won’t prove convenient in the long run if it makes you sick.
  2. Shop local. Find your nearest farmer’s market and buy from people who have put in the time and effort to create wholesome, homegrown foods, organically and safely.
  3. Write the companies that make your favorite processed foods, and demand they make the versions of food they sell to other countries available here. Start a petition online and get your friends to make it go viral.

The important thing to remember is that you don’t have to change the whole world in a day. You just have to do what you can, and like ripples in a pond, your actions will spread out to reach farther than you could imagine. All you have to do is get angry about the dangerous ingredients you’re eating and let it influence you for the better.



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