You want to believe you can put your trust in anything the FDA approves, but that’s not necessarily true. The following foods are commonly eaten in America (seriously - probably on a daily basis, too), but have been outlawed in other countries due to their toxicity to humans. If you’re eating anything on this list, it might be time to rethink your diet.
1. Artificial Food Dyes
This toxic product can be found in cereals, baked goods, candy, sports drinks, soda, macaroni and cheese, and more. The dyes might make your food look pretty, but they’re made from chemicals derived from petroleum, and in case you didn’t know, that’s also used to make gasoline, diesel, and tar. It if fuels your car, it shouldn’t fuel you.
Health authorities in Austria and Norway have banned the use of artificial food dyes and European health authorities require a warning label on food that contain the synthetic ingredients. In Britain, warning labels caution that children who consume foods containing artificial colorings are at greater risk for developing hyperactive behavior and ADHD. Red 40 and Yellow 5 and 6 contain the chemical benzene, a known carcinogen. The CDC claims that very little is known about the health effects of benzene, despite the mountain of evidence pointing at its cancer-causing potential. While most of the world has banned the use of artificial additives containing this compound, American companies freely use Red 40 and Yellow 5 and 6 in many common processed food products. Processed macaroni and cheese, which is most likely eaten daily in America, for example, commonly use Yellow 6 to bring out the food’s bright-yellow hue.
2. Farmed Salmon
If you’re doubling up your salmon intake because of all the amazing healthy benefits of those Omega 3 fatty acids, you need to consider if you’re buying wild-caught of farm-raised. Farmed salmon are raised on an unnatural diet of grains, antibiotics, and other drugs, leaving the fish with gray flesh, which is then pinkened with synthetic astaxanthin made from petrochemicals.
Farm-raised fish are given antibiotics to stave off disease that results from crowded conditions and are also treated with pesticides to combat sea lice. Sea lice from fish farms kill up to 95% of migrating juvenile wild salmon. The pesticides used to treat sea lice in fish farms circulate throughout the ocean. Pesticides that have been banned for decades have concentrated in the fat of much marine life. This fat is used in the feed that fish farms use, and studies by the Environmental Working Group, along with those done in Canada, Ireland and the UK, have found that cancer-causing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) exist in farm-raised salmon at 16 times the rate of wild salmon. Dibutyltin is a chemical used in PVC plastics. Dibutyltin can interfere with normal immune responses and inflammation control in both animals and humans. A 2008 study found that dibutyltin may be contributing to the rise of allergies, asthma, obesity and other metabolic and immune disorders in humans.
This information is certainly sobering and should be enough to convince you to stay away from conventional farmed fish. These practices are even affecting the population of fish in the wild. Instead, eat wild caught salmon. Wild caught salmon is very high in Omega 3 fatty acids. Also found in wild caught salmon are healthy protein, selenium, niacin, vitamin B12, phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin B6.
3. Brominated Vegetable Oil
People in the United States drink a lot of soda (pop). Brominated vegetable oil is processed vegetable oil that is treated with bromine. This type of oil is found in nearly 10 percent of soda products, espcially in citrus flavored sodas. It is also found in sports drinks, bakery goods, and certain pesticides, this product’s main ingredient is a poisonous chemical that is toxic and corrosive to the body. It has been linked to organ system damage, birth defects, schizophrenia, and more (if those weren’t terrifying enough). Some of the more common side effects of brominated vegetable oil are neurological impairment, thyroid problems, fertility issues and psychological symptoms.
One of the main dangers of brominated vegetable oil is genetically modified organism (GMO). Most BVOs in the United States are made from corn and soy, which are the top genetically modified food in the US. GMO is one of the most dangerous foods to your health because it has the ability to damage your DNA, causing all sorts of chronic health problems. The dangers in brominated vegetable oil are the reasons why Europe, India and Japan have banned it as a food additive for soft drinks.
Another brominated vegetable oil danger is that it can increase the risk of neurodegenerative disease. High levels of BVO is very toxic to the nervous system, which is why many researchers believe it may cause neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and Alexander disease. Furthermore, BVO can increase the risk of cancer, obesity, autoimmune disorders and diabetes.
This utterly horrifying product is found in fat-free potato chips and French fries. Olestra is a fat-free additive and is banned in the UK and Canada. Lower calorie counts aren’t always worth it when the product is made with cooking oil substitute Olestra, which inhibits your body’s ability to absorb vitamins. In 1996, the FDA approved Olestra as a food additive as a substitute for cooking oil, shortening and butter. But the invention of Olestra not only removed excess fat from foods; it restricted the body's ability to absorb essential vitamins. Other side effects include cramps, bloating, gas and loose bowels. (Sigh).
This oddly named product can be found in frozen dinners, boxed pasta, packaged baked goods, and various breads. This chemical helps bleach flour quickly. Azodicarbonaminde is used in plastic foaming and is used in forming gym mats and the soles of shoes. It has been linked to a potential cause of asthma. It is banned in Austria, the UK, and most European countries.
Asodiacarbonaminde increases the irritability of gluten. Gluten has been linked to a host of gastro-intestinal, immunologic and neurologic diseases. If you take it a step further, gluten is irritating to gluten intolerant bodies because it contains two proteins, glutenin and gliadin, which those body's struggle to process. When bread dough is treated with azodicarbonamide, it can break down the gluten and make glutenin and gliadin more immediately available.
This harmful chemical is also linked to recurring dermatitis and respiratory problems. Research has established a direct link between exposure to azodicarbonamide and the onset of asthma. According to a World Health Organization (WHO) follow-up report, regular occupational exposure to azodicarbonamide can lead to asthma and allergies. The WHO report notes many of those who developed asthma and other respiratory complications experienced symptoms within just three months of exposure.
6. Synthetic Hormones (RBGH and RBST)
You’ve probably heard about the dangers of synthetic hormones by now, so it’s borderline insane that they’re still legal in the United States. Since bovine growth hormone received FDA approval in 1993, disturbing health trends have emerged. Cancer cases continue to increase, obesity has become an epidemic and early onset puberty has become the norm. They can be found in milk and dairy products.
Monsanto created rBGH to stimulate milk production in cows. At least that’s the nice way of saying it. Bovine growth hormone occurs naturally in cows, the same way human growth hormone occurs naturally in humans. To make it more “effective”, Monsanto genetically modified BGH to create recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone, or rBGH or rBST (recombinant bovine somatotrophin). This more potent GMO version of BGH is not a naturally occurring substance and does more than increase ol’ Bessie’s milk production.
Cows treated with them can become infertile and develop inflamed udders, so if we think humans are immune to the effects, we’re wrong. The hormones have been linked to breast, colon, and prostate cancer, so it’s definitely not something to mess around with. Start treating this substance known as BGH, or rBGH like toxic waste.
It’s Banned in the European Union and Around the World. Originally approved by many countries shortly after its release, rBGH has since been banned by the European Union, Canada, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and Israel.  Most of these bans went into effect in 2000, some earlier. It didn’t take their scientists long to figure out this stuff isn’t quite right.
7. BHA and BHT
You can find these killer chemicals in cereal, gum, butter, meat, and mixed nuts. Always make sure to read the labels on these products when making purchasing decisions. The purpose of these added chemicals is keeping the food from becoming rancid, which is good in theory, but these chemicals have been proven to cause cancer in rats, and the risk of causing cancer in humans is not one worth taking. It is also found in rubber, petroleum products, and wax food packaging. The molecule in question is butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), and it appears in so many products because it's a potent antioxidant. It is added to food as a preservative. People also use it as medicine. BHT is used to treat genital herpes and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Some people apply BHT directly to the skin for cold sores. It is banned in England, Japan and many other European countries.
Arsenic is classified as a human carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency and can be found in poultry. Arsenic in chicken feed promotes growth and boosts pigmentation, which in turn makes the chicken flesh look much more pink (and probably appear healthier), but it’s anything but. Arsenic is an element that is extremly toxic to human health.
According to several studies, devastating health outcomes are a result of eating animal meats induced with arsenic. According to the several studies, arsenic toxicity is species dependent and is well established for inorganic arsenic in humans. It is associated with chronic disease such as Type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Additionally, the United States Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry's Environmental Health and Medicine Education reports that arsenic toxicity effects most the body's system including gastrointestinal, hepatic, renal, cardiovascular, neurologic, dermal, respiratory, hematopoietic, and reproductive.
9. Potassium Bromate
This chemical is common in wraps, rolls, flatbread, bagel chips, and breadcrumbs. It is made with the same harmful chemical as brominated vegetable oil. Potassium bromate is an additive used in flour which strengthens the dough and allows it to rise higher, Futhermore, it gives the finished bread an appealing white color. Brominated flour helps with decreasing baking time and cost, but is the convenience worth the risk of kidney damage, cancer, and nervous system damage? We don’t think so.
Potassium Bromate is not allowed for use or is banned as a food additive in a number of countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil and the European Union.The United States is somewhat taking action towards this harmful additive, but not enough states are complying. The state of California requires food with potassium bromate to carry a warning label. Hopefully, other states follow.
In tests on laboratory animals, exposure to potassium bromate increased the incidence of both benign and malignant tumors in the thyroid and peritoneum. Potassium bromate also has the potential to disrupt the genetic material within cells.
This information can be alarming, but should also give you enough motivation to make some urgent changes in certain foods you might eat. Choose foods that are nutrient-dense, with lots of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals, over foods that have more calories but less nutrition. Aim for well-balanced nutrition.
Good nutrition is important for healthy body composition, energy levels, sleep quality, mental attitude and quality of life. Making healthier food choices helps elimiate sugar cravings and reestablishes a healthy relationship with food. It also works to minimize your risk for a whole host of lifestlye diseases and conditions, like diabetes, heart attack, stroke and autoimmune. Stay tuned for more on our Brain Healthy Nutrition Plan that will be offered before the end of the year! As always, thank you for reading and please share this information with your coworkers, friends, and family to help promote better nutrition for all.
Until next time, keep in mind your mind. -Gina