Posted by Linda Bonvie
November 28, 2013
Now that the “eating” season has officially begun, we hope that not only your Thanksgiving meal, but all the other holiday treats and foods you will be enjoying are free from the chemical concoctions and bad additives that are put in so many of the foods we are tempted to buy.
Some of the most dangerous additives we have been focusing on throughout the year are the ones you need to make sure you watch out for this holiday season. Why especially now? The “big three” additives below are ones you are most likely to find in many foods that are “favorites” this time of year. Sure, it’s tough to add another chore to your holiday “to do” list, but we think this is well worth the effort.
Trans fat: It’s nice to know that after all these years of contributing to our national rate of coronary disease, the Food and Drug Administration has finally decided this artery clogger should officially be removed from its GRAS (generally recognized as safe) list. But who knows how long that might take?
In the meantime, you’ll have to continue to use your label-reading skills to avoid processed foods that contain partially hydrogenated oils, which are still very likely to be in many of the foods folks like to serve this time of year, such as cookies, pastries, pies, rolls and breads.
MSG – and all of its “hidden” forms: Of course, the food industry just loves “flavor enhancers” that allow products with bland or sparse ingredients to taste really exciting, cutting manufacturing costs while adding immensely to sales. That’s why so many processed foods used in making holiday meals contain free glutamic acid, or MSG, a neurotoxic additive that goes by various names. If you want to keep these brain-cell killers out of your diet and dishes, be especially careful when purchasing canned soups – especially cream varieties such as mushroom – and broths such as Swanson “Natural” Chicken Broth, as well as snack foods and chips.
Very common hidden sources of MSG to watch out for include autolyzed plant protein, autolyzed yeast, calcium caseinate, glutamate, hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP), hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), maltodextrin, monopotassium glutamate, sodium caseinate, soy protein concentrate, textured protein, and yeast extract.
High fructose corn syrup: HFCS has permeated the marketplace in so many foods and beverages it’s just about impossible to create a list. Especially watch out for cookies, candy, drink mixes, soda, jelly and pastries that contain this laboratory sweetener.
If you’re still not sure why it’s so important to avoid HFCS, check out this page here at Food Identity Theft where HFCS made it to the number one spot in our additives to avoid list. (The good news, however, is that HFCS is steadily being removed from a growing number of processed foods, a fact proclaimed on the labels and an indication that manufacturers are responding to consumer concerns.)
And before you go back to the couch to watch more football or more Thanksgiving specials, if you haven’t yet done so, be sure to sign the Citizens for Health petition asking the FDA to require food manufacturers to list the actual amount of fructose in whatever blend of HFCS they are using. Read about the petition here, and sign it here.