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9 Food Label Lies

Discussion in 'Area Restaurants, Dining and Food' started by LSeidmeyer, Feb 26, 2010.

  1. LSeidmeyer

    LSeidmeyer New Member

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    I thought this article was very interesting.


    Consumers Beware: Nine Food Label Lies

    The healthiest food often has the least marketing muscle behind it. The Center for Science in the Public Interest recently published a comprehensive report on the subject, a persuasive indictment called "Food Labeling Chaos."
    Here are nine of the most common ways food labels lie, so you can prepare before your next trip to the grocery store.
    “Made With Whole Grains”
    Unbleached wheat flour is still the main ingredient; whole wheat flour is further down on the list, indicating that the product contains relatively little. One truth -- the presence of whole grains -- masks another; that whole grains make up an insignificant portion of the food.
    Another factor to keep in mind is the presence of potassium bromate, a dough conditioner found in commercial bakery products and some flours, which is a major, but hidden cause of thyroid dysfunction. This ingredient may be used even in whole grain breads. For more information, please review this previous article.
    Ingredients
    Even if the first ingredient listed isn’t sugar, the product may contain more sugar than anything else. How is it possible? Just add up all the sugars that go by different names, such as sugar, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup and white grape juice concentrate.
    Serving Size
    There are 2.5 official servings in a 20 ounce soda bottles, meaning that 100 calories per "serving" is really 240 calories per bottle.
    Omega 3
    Everyone knows omega-3 fats are healthy, but that doesn't mean every product emblazoned with the word is a healthy source of it. The FDA allows certain foods that are rich in two of the omega-3 fats to advertise that they can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, but only if they're also low in saturated fats or other risk factors. Which is why some unhealthy foods use a bit of marketing misdirection: the packaging has the word "omega-3," but nothing specifically about heart health.
    “Made With Real Fruit”
    Usually the only thing approximating fruit is concentrate (sugar). If you want real fruit, buy real fruit. If you want candy, buy candy.
    “0 Trans Fat”
    Many reformulated foods are basically just as bad, but they scream one truth: "0 trans fats!" to obscure another: "still bad for your heart!"
    “Free Range Eggs”
    This means chickens must be granted the luxury of exactly five minutes of "access" to the outdoors every day. Those eggs you buy may have been raised ethically, with room enough for hens to roam the yard. But there's no guarantee in the "free range" label.
    Fiber
    The fibers advertised in many foods are mainly "purified powders" called inulin, polydextrose and maltodextrin. These "isolated" unnatural fibers are unlikely to lower blood cholesterol or blood sugar, as other fibers can.
    Tastes Like Medicine!
    The FDA allows food manufacturers to make certain pre-approved "qualified health claims" about the health benefits of nutrients in food. But marketers have stretched this inch into a long mile. For instance, food makers can't say that their product "helps reduce the risk of heart disease" without FDA approval, so they say that it "helps maintain a healthy heart."
    That's why several public health groups, including the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society, have voiced concern about this trend.
     
  2. KTdid

    KTdid Well-Known Member

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    Yes, Potassium Bromate is a serious concern...it's banned in most countries.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1567851/

    Here's another dirty dozen...

    In the United States, more than 3,000 substances can be added to foods for the purpose of preservation, coloring, texture, increasing flavor and more. While each of these substances is legal to use (at least here in the States), whether or not they are all something you want to be consuming is another story all together.

    The food colorings that make candy pretty colors have been linked to cancer and tumors of the brain, thyroid, adrenal gland and kidney in animal studies.

    With any processed food you run the risk of coming across additives, and reading through ingredient labels can be like trying to decode a puzzle.

    Of course, eating largely fresh, whole foods is the best way to stay away from unsavory additives, but, assuming you do include some processed foods in your diet, the following additives are ones you surely want to stay away from. Look for them on ingredient labels and if one turns up, take a pass.

    Propyl Gallate

    This preservative, used to prevent fats and oils from spoiling, might cause cancer. It's used in vegetable oil, meat products, potato sticks, chicken soup base and chewing gum, and is often used with BHA and BHT (see below).

    BHA and BHT

    Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are used similarly to propyl gallate -- to keep fats and oils from going rancid. Used commonly in cereals, chewing gum, vegetable oil and potato chips (and also in some food packaging to preserve freshness), these additives have been found by some studies to cause cancer in rats. If a brand you commonly buy uses these additives, look for a different variety, as not all manufacturers use these preservatives.

    Some food additives are neurotoxic, which means they're capable of altering the normal activity of the nervous system -- and even killing neurons. Symptoms include:

    Limb weakness or numbness
    Loss of memory, vision, and intellect
    Headache
    Cognitive and behavioral problems
    Sexual dysfunction
    See and Download "Neurotoxicity: Identifying and Controlling Poisons of the Nervous System." Now

    Potassium Bromate

    This additive is used in breads and rolls to increase the volume and produce a fine crumb structure. Although most bromate breaks down into bromide, which is harmless, the bromate that does remain causes cancer in animals. Bromate has been banned throughout the world, except for in the United States and Japan. In California, a cancer warning would likely be required if it were used, which is why it is rarely used in that state.

    Monosodium glutamate (MSG)

    MSG is used as a flavor enhancer in many packaged foods, including soups, salad dressings, sausages, hot dogs, canned tuna, potato chips and many more. According to Dr. Russell Blaylock, an author and neurosurgeon, there is a link between sudden cardiac death, particularly in athletes, and excitotoxic damage caused by food additives like MSG and artificial sweeteners. Excitotoxins are, according to Dr. Blaylock, "A group of excitatory amino acids that can cause sensitive neurons to die."

    Many consumers have also personally experienced the ill effects of MSG, which leave them with a headache, nausea or vomiting after eating MSG-containing foods.

    Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet)

    This artificial sweetener is found in Equal and NutraSweet, along with products that contain them (diet sodas and other low-cal and diet foods). This sweetener has been found to cause brain tumors in rats as far back as the 1970s, however a more recent study in 2005 found that even small doses increase the incidence of lymphomas and leukemia in rats, along with brain tumors.

    People who are sensitive to aspartame may also suffer from headaches, dizziness and hallucinations after consuming it.

    Acesulfame-K

    Acesulfame-K is an artificial sweetener that's about 200 times sweeter than sugar. It's used in baked goods, chewing gum, gelatin desserts and soft drinks. Two rat studies have found that this substance may cause cancer, and other studies to reliably prove this additive's safety have not been conducted. Acesulfame-K also breaks down into acetoacetamide, which has been found to affect the thyroid in rats, rabbits and dogs.

    Olestra

    Olestra is a fat substitute used in crackers and potato chips, marketed under the brand name Olean. This synthetic fat is not absorbed by the body (instead it goes right through it), so it can cause diarrhea, loose stools, abdominal cramps and flatulence, along with other effects. Further, olestra reduces the body's ability to absorb beneficial fat-soluble nutrients, including lycopene, lutein and beta-carotene.

    Sodium Nitrite (Sodium Nitrate)

    Like diet soda? The aspartame that's used to sweeten it increases lymphomas, leukemia and brain tumors in rats -- even in small doses.

    Sodium nitrite (or sodium nitrate) is used as a preservative, coloring and flavoring in bacon, ham, hot dogs, luncheon meats, corned beef, smoked fish and other processed meats. These additives can lead to the formation of cancer-causing chemicals called nitrosamines.

    Some studies have found a link between consuming cured meats and nitrite and cancer in humans.

    Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil

    The process used to make hydrogenated vegetable oil (or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil) creates trans fats, which promote heart disease and diabetes. The Institute of Medicine has advised that consumers should eat as little trans fat as possible. You should avoid anything with these ingredients on the label, which includes some margarine, vegetable shortening, crackers, cookies, baked goods, salad dressings, bread and more. It's used because it reduces cost and increases the shelf life and flavor stability of foods.

    Blue 1 and Blue 2

    Blue 1, used to color candy, beverages and baked goods, may cause cancer. Blue 2, found in pet food, candy and beverages, has caused brain tumors in mice.

    Red 3

    This food coloring is used in cherries (in fruit cocktails), baked goods and candy. It causes thyroid tumors in rats, and may cause them in humans as well.

    Yellow 6

    As the third most often used food coloring, yellow 6 is found in many products, including backed goods, candy, gelatin and sausages. It has been found to cause adrenal gland and kidney tumors, and contains small amounts of many carcinogens.

    http://www.sixwise.com/newsletters/06/04/05/12-dangerous-food-additives-the-dirty-dozen-food-additives-you-really-need-to-be-aware-of.htm
     
  3. gunzour

    gunzour "Living on the Edge"

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    The whole trans fat thing is a horrible joke. Trans fats are bad for you, so the FDA decided to require foods be labeled with their trans fat content, but they allow any product with less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving to claim "0 Grams Trans Fat", even if it is 0.49.

    I doubt there is a single product sold in the USA today that doesn't have "0" listed for trans fat. It would be far more revealing if it were required to be measured in milligrams instead of grams, like sodium.
     
  4. LSeidmeyer

    LSeidmeyer New Member

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    Gunzour, that is so true. Look for "partially hydrogenated" in the ingredients. There's your trans-fat clue.

    KT-great list
     
  5. pbjstokes

    pbjstokes New Member

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    Can someone just give me a list of the 9 things I can eat :)
     
  6. christinaandrob

    christinaandrob New Member

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    another interesting fact is that high fructose corn syrup isn't processed by your body like normal sugars are. it is processed solely through the liver. unfortunately high fructose corn syrup is in almost everything. it will be interesting to see if 10-20+ years from now they find that people that ate a lot of high fructose corn syrup have a liver that resembles an alcoholics! it's truly sad what food manufacturers are getting away with putting in their foods - all to save a buck, with no care about public health!
     
  7. KTdid

    KTdid Well-Known Member

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    Fructose corn syrup is also known as sweet poison and should be banned from use.

    Also, for label readers, Potassium Bromate's commonly used names are Bromic Acid or Potassium Salt.
     
  8. Villager

    Villager Ashburn Village Resident

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    If it grows in the ground or on a tree - eat it. Mostly.

    In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto
    by Michael Pollan is a good read on the subject.
     
  9. vacliff

    vacliff "You shouldn't say that."

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    Nope. There aren't that many!
     
  10. LSeidmeyer

    LSeidmeyer New Member

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    Really, you can eat anything you want. It is a choice for every individual to make for themselves and their families.
     

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