Truth is, chemicals that are used as weed killer, flame retardant, and sunscreen are startlingly common in your supermarket. But you won’t find “carcinogens,” “paint chemicals,” or “beaver anal gland juice” on the back panel. Break through the science experiment to find out what you’re really eating.
Acesulfame Potassium (Acesulfame-K)
This is a calorie-free artificial sweetener 200 times sweeter than sugar. It is often used with other artificial sweeteners to mask a bitter aftertaste. It is found in more than 5,000 food products worldwide, including diet soft drinks and no-sugar-added ice cream. Animal studies have linked the chemical to lung and breast tumors and thyroid problems.
This is a near-zero-calorie artificial sweetener made by combining two amino acids with methanol. Most commonly used in diet soda, aspartame is 180 times sweeter than sugar. It is found in more than 6,000 grocery items including diet sodas, yogurts, and the table-top sweeteners NutraSweet and Equal. Many studies have shown aspartame to be completely harmless, while others indicate that the additive might be responsible for a range of cancers.
This is a component of the metallic element titanium commonly used in paints and sunscreens. The food industry adds it to hundreds of products to make overly processed items appear whiter. It is found in processed salad dressing, coffee creamers, and icing. Titanium is a mined substance that’s sometimes contaminated with toxic lead.
This is the active ingredient in the popular week killer Roundup. It’s used on corn and soy crops genetically engineered to withstand a heavy dousing of the chemical. It is found in most nonorganic packaged foods containing corn- and soy-derived ingredients. Because it’s a systemic herbicide, it’s taken up by the plant—meaning you eat it. Glyphosphate exposure is linked to obesity, learning disabilities, and infertility.
Butylated HydroxyAnisole (BHA)
This is a petroleum-derived antioxidant used to preserve fats and oils. It is found in beer, crackers, cereals, butter, and foods with added fats. Studies have shown BHA to cause cancer in the forestomachs of rats, mice, and hamsters.
Did we miss other scary food ingredients? Feel free to comment on this health issue!
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