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Better School Food’s: List of Unhealthy and other Food Additives to Avoid when Raising Healthy Children

Written by Pathways Magazine   
Tuesday, 01 September 2009 00:00
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Better School Food, an organization devoted to promoting healthy meal choices in our nation’s schools, researched and compiled this list of common lunchtime foods. Each ingredient is defined and listed with some of its known side effects. We hope you’ll work to remove these ingredients from your school cafeterias, vending machines and any other areas where food is involved. For further information, visit the Internet resources listed and search the suggested websites for each specific ingredient.


1. Partially Hydrogenated Oil

Semi-solid shortening made from liquid oils (such as canola and soybean) by reacting them with hydrogen • Contains high levels of trans fats • Gives baked goods and snacks a longer shelf life • Used in more than 40,000 food products in the U.S. according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) • Trans fats increase harmful LDL cholesterol and decrease good cholesterol; both effects contribute to heart disease

For more information: bantransfats.com, sanstrans.com, transfreeamerica.com, cspinet.org, americanheart.org, pubmed.gov


2. Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO)

BVO is an additive created by mixing vegetable oil with the element bromine • Gives the flavoring oils in soda the same density as water • The emulsified flavor oils stay suspended in the drink, boosting flavor in many citricbased fruit and soft drinks • Causes a significant increase of triglyceride and cholesterol content in both heart and liver • Residues accumulate in body fat, damaging organs, including heart, liver, thyroid, testicles and kidneys

For more information: pubmed.gov, cspinet.org


3. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

HFCS was developed in the 1970s because it was cheaper than cane and beet sugar • Easier to blend into beverages; maintains sweetness better; prevents freezer burn; reduces crystallization; keeps baked goods soft and helps them brown • With a high glycemic index, it converts to fat more readily than any other sugar • Alters the metabolic rate in a way that favors fat storage • Research suggests that it is a major factor of obesity • Increases the risk for type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, strokes, and cancer • Not easily metabolized by the liver For more information: mercola.com, newstarget.com, pubmed.gov


4. Artificial Colors & Flavorings

Artificial colors are chemical compounds made mainly from coal-tar derivatives • Food coloring is used to give color, lost during processing, back to food to make it more attractive • Artificial colors have been linked to allergic reactions, asthma, skin rashes, hyperactivity, headaches and fatigue • Artificial flavors are cheaply produced chemical mixtures that mimic a natural flavor • Artificial flavors also linked to numerous sensitivities

For more information: consumerhealthreviews.com, feingold.org, pubmed.gov


5. Benzoate Preservatives: BHT, BHA, TBHQ

Benzoates are antioxidants normally used as sodium, potassium or calcium salts and their derivatives • Benzoate preservatives are phenolic compounds often added to foods to preserve fats and prevent the fats from becoming rancid; also used as a de-foaming agent • Often used in cereals, butter, meats, baked goods, snack foods, dehydrated potatoes and beer • Can result in hyperactivity, asthma, urticaria, rhinitis, dermatitis and angiodema • Believed to cause tumors in lab rats • Benzoate preservatives are (weakly) estrogenic

For more information: ncbi.nih.gov, pubmed.gov, feingold.org