Super Starts Here.

8 Ingredients You Never Want To See On A Food Label

on September 5, 2012

With so many things to look at on the nutrition labels on food, sometimes it can not only be overwhelming, but it can also be confusing.  Yahoo Health put a list of the top 8 ingredients you should always avoid in foods.


This preservative is used to prevent rancidity in foods that contain oils. Unfortunately, BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) has been shown to cause cancer in rats, mice, and hamsters. The reason the FDA hasn’t banned it is largely technical, the cancers all occurred in the rodents’ forestomachs, an organ that humans don’t have. Nevertheless, the study, published in the Japanese Journal of Cancer Research, concluded that BHA was “reasonably anticipated to be a carcinogen,” and as far as I’m concerned, that’s reason enough to eliminate it from your diet.

You’ll find it in: Fruity Pebbles, Cocoa Pebbles


These synthetic preservatives are used to inhibit mold and yeast in food. The problem is parabens may also disrupt your body’s hormonal balance. A study in Food Chemical Toxicology found that daily ingestion decreased sperm and testosterone production in rats, and parabens have been found present in breast cancer tissues.

You’ll find it in: Baskin-Robbins sundaes

Partially Hydrogenated Oil

Don’t confuse “0 g trans fat” with being trans fat-free. The FDA allows products to claim zero grams of trans fat as long as they have less than half a gram per serving. That means they can have 0.49 grams per serving and still be labeled a no-trans-fat food. Considering that two grams is the absolute most you ought to consume in a day, those fractions can quickly add up. The telltale sign that your snack is soiled with the stuff? Look for partially hydrogenated oil on the ingredient statement. If it’s anywhere on there, then you’re ingesting artery-clogging trans fat.

You’ll find it in: Long John Silver’s Popcorn Shrimp, Celeste frozen pizzas

Sodium Nitrite

Nitrites and nitrates are used to inhibit botulism-causing bacteria and to maintain processed meats’ pink hues, which is why the FDA allows their use. Unfortunately, once ingested, nitrite can fuse with amino acids (of which meat is a prime source) to form nitrosamines, powerful carcinogenic compounds. Ascorbic and erythorbic acids—essentially vitamin C—have been shown to decrease the risk, and most manufacturers now add one or both to their products, which has helped. Still, the best way to reduce risk is to limit your intake.

You’ll find it in: Oscar Mayer hot dogs, Hormel bacon

Caramel Coloring

This additive wouldn’t be dangerous if you made it the old-fashioned way with water and sugar, on top of a stove. The food industry follows a different recipe, they treat sugar with ammonia, which can produce some nasty carcinogens. How carcinogenic are these compounds? A Center for Science in the Public Interest report asserted that the high levels of caramel color found in soda account for roughly 15,000 cancers in the U.S. annually. Another good reason to eliminate soft drinks? They’re among The 20 Worst Drinks in America.

You’ll find it in: Coke/Diet Coke, Pepsi/Diet Pepsi


Castoreum is one of the many nebulous “natural ingredients” used to flavor food. Though it isn’t harmful, it is unsettling. Castoreum is a substance made from beavers’ castor sacs, or anal scent glands. These glands produce potent secretions that help the animals mark their territory in the wild. In the food industry, however, 1,000 pounds of the unsavory ingredient are used annually to imbue foods—usually vanilla or raspberry flavored—with a distinctive, musky flavor.

You’ll find it in: Potentially any food containing “natural ingredients”

Food Dyes

Plenty of fruit-flavored candies and sugary cereals don’t contain a single gram of produce, but instead rely on artificial dyes and flavorings to suggest a relationship with nature. Not only do these dyes allow manufacturers to mask the drab colors of heavily processed foods, but certain hues have been linked to more serious ailments. A Journal of Pediatrics study linked Yellow 5 to hyperactivity in children, Canadian researchers found Yellow 6 and Red 40 to be contaminated with known carcinogens, and Red 3 is known to cause tumors. Try to avoid artificial dyes as much as possible.

You’ll find it in: Lucky Charms, Skittles, Jell-O

Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein

Hydrolyzed vegetable protein, used as a flavor enhancer, is plant protein that has been chemically broken down into amino acids. One of these acids, glutamic acid, can release free glutamate. When this glutamate joins with free sodium in your body, they form monosodium glutamate (MSG), an additive known to cause adverse reactions including headaches, nausea, and weakness, among others.  When MSG is added to products directly, the FDA requires manufacturers to disclose its inclusion on the ingredient statement. When it occurs as a byproduct of hydrolyzed protein, the FDA allows it to go unrecognized.

You’ll find it in: Knorr Noodle Sides, Funyuns


Yahoo Health


6 responses to “8 Ingredients You Never Want To See On A Food Label

  1. megan says:

    Thank you! This is one disturbing list!!

  2. Colleen says:

    Question: I have seen the new Oscar Mayer hotdogs that claim to be nitrate and nitrite free*, *except for that naturally occurring in celery salt. Are they loading it with celery salt to achieve the same effect?

    • mysuperfoods says:

      That is correct. Celery contains naturally occurring nitrites so many organic brands use that as an alternative. The important thing to know that consuming a high level of nitrites even of they are coming from a vegetable source can be just as harmful. That is why it is crucial to make sure you consume all cured products in moderation!

  3. The Nitrate Free Hot-Dog Lie

    Hot Dog manufacturers claim that they have made a hot dog that is without nitrates, or nitrates added, but only those “naturally occurring” in celery. The Truth is that because farmers spray Nitrogen on the soil, the roots of the plants soak it up. And Cryolite, a Fluoride [from the aluminum industry] and Salt-based pesticide (Na3AlF6,
    sodium hexaFLUORO-aluminate) pesticides are also sprayed on and soaked into the plant. Just look at the Tea leaf, there you will find high concentrations of “naturally present” Fluoride and Aluminum [toxic waste from Alcoa and other aluminum industries.] Well, celery does a good job soaking up these toxins into the roots, so good in fact, they can give you nitrates in your food just from the juice of the stalk. Think I’m kidding? Your kids can get nitrogen poisoning from your well-water if you live near a farm, just by groundwater contamination from local fertilizer.

    “In inorganic chemistry, a nitrate is a salt of nitric acid with an ion composed of one nitrogen and three oxygen atoms (NO3-). In organic chemistry the esters of nitric acid and various alcohols are called nitrates. The highly water-soluble salt is the preferred nitrogen source of fertilizers. Most of the produced ammonium nitrate ends therefore in the production of fertilizers. However, the runoff of excess ammonium nitrate is a leading source of environmental waste. Nitrates in soil are strings of nitrogen.”

    “Nitrates exist as NO3- and are highly soluble. As such they move readily to the roots and are highly available to the plants. They are also subject to leaching and if they move out of the root zone they can eventually cause contamination of the ground water. This is highly dependent on soil texture. Intensive farming, if care is taken to apply the nitrogen in a timely matter as the crop needs it and care is taken not to push it out of the root zone with excessive irrigation – (this can come from excessive rainfall too.) There is little residual effect.
    The amount of nitrate is close associated with the amount of Carbon Dioxide that can be sequestered in a given soil Horizon as it is an essential constituent in humus (a lignin type compound) and one unit of nitrogen will retain about 7 to 10 units of carbon. This will gradually be released for plant growth or additional decomposition of added organic matter. Corn stalks for instance run a ratio of about 100 units of carbon to 1 or 2 units of nitrogen and take a long time to get to where they will release nitrogen for crop growth. the excess carbon is released to the air as carbon dioxide so addition of nitrogen to corn stalks is beneficial in reducing soil Carbon Dioxide emissions. Since this Carbon Dioxide is released in the field and more rapidly in the growing season it is normally always reabsorbed into the current growth. Legumes on the other hand run about 15 to 20 units of carbon to a unit of nitrogen and within one growing season start to release nitrogen for plant growth.”

    “Here’s the easy way to remember what the three main nutrients do for plants. Nitrogen promotes plant growth, phosphorus promotes stalk strength and potassium is necessary for seed production. Grass plants need large amounts of N, less P and even less K, but legumes require no added N, quite a bit of P and large amounts of K.

    As far as intensive farming goes, high yields require more fertilizer. Corn is a heavy user of N and as the amount applied increases, there is a diminishing return. In other words, it may take 100 lbs. of N to produce a 100 bushel per acre corn crop, but 200 lbs. of N to produce 150 bu and 300 lbs. to produce 200 bu.”

    For Nitrate-Free hotdogs which don’t contribute to Leukemia, don’t settle for the Oscar Meyer celery lie. They’re using celery as a straw to recycle nitrates present in the soil, then they squirt the nitrate juice into your hot dog. As long as it came from the celery, and not them, you won’t be afraid of giving your children leukemia.

    Oscar Meyer Selects “No Artificial Preservatives” Turkey Hardwood Smoked Uncured Turkey Franks ‘NO NITRATES OR NITRATES ADDED’

    [Also, companies will advertise things as ‘No growth hormones/Steroids/Antibiotics ADDED to the meat,’
    but all-the-while the meat is loaded with it. No one ever adds it to the meat; the Farmer ADDS it to the cattle and livestock while they are growing.]

    Sadly, many now who refused to eat hot dogs with nitrates now believe these are safe, and are eating and serving their children, what they would otherwise throw out. How do you think they will feel when they find out these still cause leukemia in children? Betrayed? Lied to? Angry at the company? Angry at deceptive labeling which the Government continually allows? It seems the Government Agencies which were established to protect the people now show greater concern for promoting and protecting dangerous chemicals, serving the interests of the Billion Dollar companies. Face it, you’ve allowed parts of your Government to sell themselves out to private companies. See, if you’re a Billionaire, and there’s some red-tape in your way, and someone like the EPA or the FDA is in your way, you just buy them. You buy as many corrupt politicians as you can, you control the EPA, the FDA, the ADA, the CDC and more. Those corrupt politicians have stolen the taxpayer’s money, robbed this country and stuffed the pockets of their private companies, (which they of course officially “step-down” from right before office, “officially leaving” their Executive positions of CEO…) They are Anti-American to the core, passing Illegal documents that are unconstitutional such as the Patriot Act, and they have robbed this country and future generations, borrowing money from China and stuffing it into their corporate banks, while America’s dollars disappeared and debt is laid up in store for us and our children. Our Founding Forefathers would have called for a Public Investigation, tried these thieves and hanged them in the public square. These are the Terrorists, living right here in our country, wolves in sheep’s clothing, who have swindled their way into the Government and for money sold their loyalty to their own private companies and the lobbyists of others. GOD will damn the wicked.

    May GOD Bless you, in JESUS’ MIGHTY NAME.

  4. […] *Check out our past post on 8 Ingredients You Never Want to See on a Food Label! […]

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