Badditives! What you should know as a consumer.
As many of you readers know, I am a big advocate for eating healthy, whole foods that are locally grown. I shun not only white sugar, but also honey and any artificial sweeteners. I do not eat any processed foods at all, whether they are organic or not. For the most part, I am a healthy eater, so what else could I possibly have to worry about?
I recently picked up a book which raises so many new concerns that I never even thought about. The book, called Badditives! by Linda Bonvie and Bill Bonvie, is an in-depth look at 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in the average American’s diet. The book helps the average consumer recognize, identify and eliminate the harmful elements in our daily diet. No, this is not your typical book reinforcing the negative effects of sugar. It’s so much more.
The Bonvies have been involved in writing about food, health and environmental topics for over 25 years, most recently on a blog called Food Identity Theft (http://foodidentitytheft.com/), operated by Citizens for Health. They also also collaborated on two previous books, Chemical-Free Kids, and Chemical-Free Kids: The Organic Sequel. They have been published in several major newspapers such as The Chicago Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Orlando Sentinel, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Denver Post and even the Asbury Park Press to name just a few.
The book’s Introduction opens with the reluctance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and media outlets to fully inform the American public of the potential dangers of these additives. The disinclination of both to fully expose these facts backed with research, according to the book, is the reliance on Big Food and politics, respectively.
The first chapter focuses on Aluminum and the link it has to Alzheimer’s. This is a big claim indeed – but not unfounded since the Bonvies provide research to back up their claims. This is quite scary since I use aluminum all the time. Think about it – we bake with it and store our food in it. But, this comes so naturally to us that we don’t really realize that it can be harmful to our health.
According to Bill Bonvie, based on the studies they have seen, many of the health concerns in recent years such as obesity, type 2 diabetes among children, and students who are diagnosed with ADHD, are linked to the plethora of additives now used in processed foods, some of which didn’t even exist a few decades ago. The motive behind the writing of Badditives! “is to inform as many consumers as possible of how their health and that of their kids is being continually compromised by the everyday food products they buy in the supermarket,” said Bill.
As I read the last chapter of the book, not only was I shocked by all the things I didn’t know, but I was also newly armed with a plethora of added knowledge. Bill is right – many people read the nutrition facts, but don’t read the ingredient labels. In fact, as I have known for quite some time – many salad dressings contain sugar in them. If you take the time to examine the labels, you would be surprised what you find. On page 122 of the book, we learn that the Old Bay seasoned chips actually contain NO Old Bay seasoning, but did contain monosodium glutamate.
Perhaps Linda sums it up best when she reiterates, “We can’t shop with the assumption that a product is safe just because it is attractively packaged, makes certain claims and landed on the supermarket shelf. Learn the basics about commonly used food additives and check ingredient lists for them, trust no product no matter how “big” or well established the brand is (because many long familiar brands have changed their ingredients in recent years), and cook real food whenever possible.”