Posted by: molander | January 2, 2010

Artificial Preservatives and Colors

From the Avoid At All Cost List

Define carcinogen: any substance that produces cancer.

Preservatives started out as a good idea – something to keep us safe from food poisoning. Over time, it became more about shelf-life for product manufacturers. And now “researchers are discovering more and more that these preservatives are also likely to destroy our biochemistry, inhibit our metabolism, and interfere with our ability to lose weight.” *

Let’s pick on soft drinks for a moment:

1. They used to contain benzene (known carcinogen and also linked to thyroid damage) to prevent mold growth. Lawsuit forced Coca-Cola to remove the additives from several of their products. [Hmmm… not all?]

2. Scary: The replacement preservatives – and many others – have not been adequately tested (meaning not tested for long term exposure, for effects in combination with others chemicals, for effects when exposure to heat, et al.) Robyn O’Brien’s The Unhealthy Truth talks about how widespread this problem is. So scary and sad.

3. A Consumer Reports test found that when these products containing benzene sit in plastic bottles in direct sunlight or in high heat (hot delivery truck), dangerous levels of benzene form.

4. Relatively innocent preservative Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) becomes dangerous when combined with potassium benzoate. Many soft drinks use this instead of straight benzene but it CREATES benzene!

“Don’t take any chances – avoid any soda with sodium benzoate OR potassium benzoate and vitamin C, as the combination of these 2 additives can create benzene. If you must drink it, be sure to store your soda in a cool, dark place.”* And let’s just hope that it didn’t sit in a hot warehouse or get shipped in a hot truck.

BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole)

1. A common preservative found in HUNDREDS of things.

2. FDA claims it is “generally recognized as safe” but is still “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” [WHAT?]

3. Even if the individual levels of BHA are “generally recognized as safe,” what happens when we use multiple products that all include them, or eat multiple servings? And consider this: BHA could be replaced by vitamin E or left out of some foods altogether. So why take the risk?” * Very good point, no?


Google those 3 words above and you’ll get loads of links on this subject. This is something I can share confidently from personal observation. Let me just go on the record right now as saying that I believe (from all the reading that I do on the subject) that ADD/ADHD is a neurological disorder and is not caused by dietary choices. However, the fuel you put in the body greatly affects performance. (And this is simply true of the human condition – disorders or no.)

Dum Dums1. It’s not the sugar that the bad guy with hyperactivity/mood change/aggressiveness in children… it’s the chemicals. HOWEVER, sugar does play a role by helping those chemicals get into the bloodstream faster.

Case in point: the little Dum Dum lollypop. Pretty little things; smaller than most candies; given at the pediatrician’s office for enduring the trauma of a finger prick or shot; filling the treasure box at school for when the teacher wants to reward success or (ironically) good behavior.

One Friday afternoon we were on our way to Oxford when we allowed Thomas the Dum Dum he was carrying in his pocket. (He’s really good about avoiding this stuff at school.) His little, severe-ADHD-self had been angelic on the 2.5 hour ride and we were almost there anyway. Within 2 minutes of STARTING to eat the Dum Dum, every part of his little body was squirming in his seat belt and the incessant talking began!

Giant Gingerbread Man

Giant Gingerbread Man made with organic ingredients

However, the giant gingerbread man we made with organic ingredients had no affect on him whatsoever. There was sugar… just no chemical crap.

This “research” was accidental on our part but if you want to emulate the experiment… 1) have no other food/drink at least 2 hours prior to the “experiment” and 2) medicine is optional. In our case, his Focalin XR was still in his system. From this we have learned that if he has no medicine then he will have no treats… I mean trash and medicine does not override poor diet.

Nitrates and Nitrites

1. The purpose of these chemicals is to preserve processed meats; Found in bacon, ham, lunch meat, turkey bacon and hot dogs to give its pink color and prevent the spread of bacteria. We have refrigeration now so chemical curing is not necessary unless you want hold on to it for months at a time. I prefer to eat as fresh as possible, though.

2. “After analyzing more than 7,000 studies on diet and cancer risk, the American Institute for Cancer Research estimated that for every 3.5 ounces of processed meat you eat per day – the equivalent of one hot dog and 2 slices of smoked turkey breast – your risk of colon cancer shoots up by 42%!“*

3. Finding meats without this stuff has proven difficult in our area but here are some I’ve discovered. Disclaimer: I’m not affiliated with any of these companies! Just sharing my personal findings and opinions!

xxxxx a) Hormel Natural Choice meats – Easy to find, tastes good, reasonably priced, heat the ham in a pan (no added grease) and it tastes like Canadian bacon.
xxxxx b) Niman Ranch Uncured Maple Bacon – Oh. My. Goodness. This is the best bacon we’ve ever tasted. Can only find this a Fresh Market around here but can order online. Note that while this is our favorite… ANY uncured bacon is acceptable. We also buy Kroger’s store brand Private Selection Natural Uncured Bacon.
xxxxx c) Applegate Farms Breakfast Sausage – Chicken and Sage we buy from Kroger or Fresh Market. We’ve ordered their deli meat and really like it. Tried their Turkey Bacon and it tastes just like slices of greasy turkey. Note: Regular grocery store turkey bacon is pretty much poison. It’s full of all things artificial to emulate regular bacon and, to the tastes buds, it does a very good job. But to the rest of your body, it’s a toxic chemical cocktail. Remember: We’re always better off with a little of the real thing than ANY amount of a fake thing.

Here’s a great (albeit quite colorful) chart listing artificial preservatives/colors, their uses and their dangers.

* Quoting Jillian Michaels in Master Your Metabolism


Avoid At All Cost items are either non-foods or foods modified so extremely that they have become harmful to the body. The clearest (and most concise-yet-comprehensive) list I can find on this subject is in Jillian Micheals’ book Master Your Metabolism so that’s what I’m using for reference in this series. Learn about other items on the Avoid At All Costs List at the right. Hydrogenated Fats
Refined Grains
High-Fructose Corn Syrup
Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial Preservatives, Colors, Flavoring




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