I know the American diet is generaly considered to be unhealthy . Too many fats , calories, and total lack of the nutrients our bodies need . After reading this article on AOL , however, I think I'm going to try and make sure I leave the toilet bowel cleaner , zit cream, bleaching agents and other "possible carcinogens" off the menu . Think eating Organic will help avoid eating these food aditives and preservatives ..well girls think again . Seems the only way to truely avoid these ingredients is to do what our great-grandmothers did , and make it ourselves . Anyone have a good bread or pickle recipe ???
Decoding Food Ingredients
By JUSTINE VAN DER LEUN
Posted: 2009-07-22 15:51:05
Certain toilet bowl cleaners are almost 50 percent sodium bisulfite, and most commercial wines also contain it. When dissolved in water-based liquids, sodium bisulfite releases sulfur gas that kills bacteria, yeasts, molds, and fungi. It also prevents oxidation, which protects wine from turning to vinegar.
This popular compound has a dubious past. It was banned from use on raw fruits and veggies by the FDA in the '80s following the deaths of 13 people who unknowingly consumed produce treated with toxic amounts of the preservative. Today, the FDA maintains that sulfites are generally safe. The Center for Science in the Public Interest however, warns asthmatics and others sensitive to sulfites to avoid it completely. It is now most commonly used in pet foods, potato chips and dried and pickled foods.
What do white bread and acne cream have in common? Best-known as a zit-zapper, benzoyl peroxide is an effective bleaching agent, and as such is used in teeth whitening products and to bleach cheese, whey and flour.
While benzoyl peroxide is generally considered benign, there has been some debate over its safety and necessity. Usually, artisanal bread and cheese do not contain this bleaching agent, and some national companies, like King Arthur, don't use benzoyl peroxide in their bread or flour. Did you really need another reason to choose whole wheat?
Potassium bromate is a seemingly innocuous powder added to biscuits, breads and rolls to make them rise. But there's a hitch: Potassium bromate is known to cause cancer in animals, and creates a cancer risk in humans. Usually, potassium bromate is completely dissipated by the baking process, but if too much is added or bread is not cooked for long enough at a high enough temperature, dangerous residual amounts remain.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer defines potassium bromate as "possibly carcinogenic to humans." Because it's difficult to control how a company uses the ingredient, almost all countries have banned it from use in food products. In the United States, however, the FDA has merely been asking bakers to voluntarily stop using it; some have not complied. The Center for Science in the Public Interest categorizes potassium bromate as an additive to avoid, defining it as "very poorly tested and not worth any risk." To avoid potassium bromate, also look for "bromated flour" on labels.
Tetrasodium phosphorate has the unglamorous distinction of being the common ingredient in multiple semi-gooey foods. The transparent crystals are used as an emulsifier, a buffering agent and a thickening agent in chicken nuggets, pudding, imitation crab and lobster, canned tuna and many soy-based faux meats. It is also an effective detergent and tartar control agent, which can be found in toothpaste, soap, and dental floss. Despite its unglamorous pedigree, tetrasodium phosphorate has not seen much controversy, though in high doses, it can be mildly toxic.
Nitrite, found in hot dogs, is positively unnerving: This crystalline powder is used to dye fabrics, manufacture rubber chemicals and to fix color in packaged meats. If consumed in high doses, it's toxic. It can also trigger migraines. If that's not enough to freak you out, how about this: According to a study in the "Journal of the American Medical Association," people who ate processed meat were 50 percent more likely to develop colorectal cancer. A study in the "Journal of the National Cancer Institute" found that those who ate the most processed meats had a 68 percent higher risk of pancreatic cancer than those who ate the least. The Center for Science in the Public Interest categorizes nitrate as an additive to avoid. If possible, stay away from packaged meats, or buy the nitrite-free varieties popping up in supermarkets across the country.
Read the full article here ( and get all the pretty pictures too !)