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Badditives! The Worst Additives in our Food

In Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid Them, Linda and Bill Bonvie, who for several years wrote the Citizens for Health “Food Identity Theft” blog, have identified a rogues’ gallery of the “worst of the worst” ingredients out there. We are fortunate to be able to bring you selections from this important book on a weekly basis to provide you with the information you need to be as effective you can be in managing your own health and wellness.

June 28, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Next up in the list no one would want to be a part of – Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid ThemPartially Hydrogenated Oils – The Final Act of a Trans Fat Tragedy:

Consider for a moment the cost in human lives of three of the best-known tragedies of modern times. When the luxury liner Titanic sank in the North Atlantic in 1912 after hitting an iceberg, the official tally of passengers and crew members who died was 1,517. Japan’s December 1941, attack on the American fleet in Pearl Harbor killed some 2,402 people all told, including several dozen civilians. When the United States was attacked by terrorists on September 11, 2001, the death toll, which included people inside the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the four hijacked airliners, was put at 2,996. When combined, the total number of people who perished in those three catastrophic events was 6,915.


Now, add another 85, and you’ve got the approximate number of Americans said to be dying every year in an ongoing disaster of a far different sort—the great trans fat tragedy.

 

These are the hidden victims of the industrial trans fats found in partially hydrogenated oils, or PHOs, which are oils that have been solidified via an infusion of hydrogen gas. Such oils have long been routinely added to a variety of processed foods to improve their texture and “flavor stability” and prolong their shelf life—even as they cut short the lives of those consuming them.

 

If you think the comparison offered above is somewhat of an exaggeration, it’s actually based on figures provided by the US Food and Drug Administration—an agency hardly given to hysteria or hyperbole when talking about additives it has long allowed to be used in our food supply. According to an FDA estimate, that one ingredient alone is responsible for approximately 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 related deaths per year.230

 

Of course, what makes the trans fat tragedy different is that it strikes people down one by one, with neither media coverage nor even any formal recognition of the real, underlying cause of their demise. While a victim’s death certificate might attribute their passing to “coronary artery disease,” for example, it won’t mention those boxes and boxes of Girl Scout Cookies they consumed, which listed “partially hydrogenated oil” among their ingredients.

 

That’s the bad news.

 

The good news is that after decades of so many commonplace products being laced with these artery-clogging materials, the FDA has finally ordered the PHOs that contain trans fats to be removed from the “generally recognized as safe (GRAS)” list and from most everyday food products by no later than June 18, 2018. “This action responds, in part, to citizen petitions we received,” notes the agency’s decree, adding that the determination was based “on available scientific evidence and the findings of expert scientific panels establishing the health risks associated with the consumption” of trans fat.231 (The trans fat issue here, incidentally, is the kind added in the form of PHOs, and should not be confused with relatively small amounts of naturally occurring trans fat found in dairy products and meat from grass-fed cows, such as conjugated linoleic acid [CLA]. Research has found this form to have “potent anti-atherosclerotic effects,”232 meaning that it’s actually apt to be beneficial in reducing plaque buildup in the arteries.)

 

Up until that deadline, however, and likely even beyond it, you will still find partially hydrogenated oil listed as an ingredient in a variety of processed products, from baked goods to frozen foods. Even afterwards, there may be numerous exceptions to the new rule, which the Grocery Manufacturers Association has indicated it hopes to wheedle out of the FDA.233

 

In fact, the pending prohibition on the further use of PHOs in grocery items has actually been a long time coming—and it hasn’t come easy, by any means.

 

230. Sabrina Tavernise, “F.D.A. Sets 2018 Deadline to Rid Foods of Trans Fats,” New York Times, June 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/17/health/fda-gives-food-industry-three-years-eliminate-trans-fats.html.

 

231. Department of Health and Human Services Food and Drug Administration, “Final Determination Regarding Partially Hydrogenated Oils,” https://s3amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2015-14883.pdf.

 

232. Sarah McClelland et al., “Conjugated linoleic acid suppresses the migratory and inflammatory phenotype of the monocyte/macrophage cell,” Atherosclerosis, July 2010, http://www.atherosclerosis-journal.com/article/S0021-9150(10)00101-2/abstract.

 

233. Ibid.

June 22, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Next up in the list no one would want to be a part of – Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid ThemMSG and Its Various Disguises – The Hidden “Glutamic Bombs” in Our Food:

The strange symptoms that investment banker and former hospital administrator Jack Samuels began suffering in 1989 had all the earmarks of Alzheimer’s. As his wife Adrienne later recalled, they included “days of fatigue beyond imagination” and times when he “couldn’t put a sentence together.” However, “worst of all were the afternoons when he couldn’t remember what he did in the morning.”

 

…It wasn’t until the couple’s oldest son suggested they read a book published the previous year by George Schwartz, MD called In Bad Taste: The MSG Syndrome that the cause of Jack’s sudden affliction became obvious. Right there, on the cover, was the same tuna fish Jack had been eating every day for lunch.

 

The canned tuna, as it turned out, wasn’t nearly as innocuous as it seemed. In addition to the actual fish and water, it contained an ingredient often added to tuna to make it taste better: hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), which contains the same form of glutamic acid found in monosodium glutamate.* Glutamic acid just happens to be a neurotransmitter – a chemical that relays signals between nerve and brain cells…

 

…Once Jack eliminated the tuna fish, along with other similarly adulterated foods, from his diet, he lost his Alzheimer’s-like symptoms, along with the frequent chest and joint pains  and other symptoms he had suffered.198

 

…In that regard, Jack Samuels was very much like the proverbial canary in the coal mine, and his ordeal resulted in the couple’s founding of Truth in Labeling, and organization dedicated to identifying concealed sources of glutamic acid in processed foods that may be impacting the health of countless Americans, often without their realizing it. (Adrienne Samuels, who holds a PhD in research methodology, has chronicled all of this in a book entitled, The Man Who Sued the FDA.)

 

There is certainly no shortage of such sources. “In fact, pretty much any processed fast food is likely to contain added MSG, unless it specifically says otherwise,” admits Phillip Broadwith, the business editor for Chemistry World, in a promotional pitch for glutamate. Only Broadwith’s statement, which appears on the website of the Royal Society of  Chemistry, is itself misleading. That’s because many products that claim to have “no added MSG” actually do contain it in one or more of those disguised forms.200

 

What all of these foods have in common is that their taste is artificially enhanced. In a sense, they can be compared to athletes who use performance-enhancing drugs to artificially boost their scores. But whereas the practice of “doping” in sports is considered cheating, no such stigma is attached to the use of flavor enhancers to turn a cheap recipe or unenticing product into a “taste sensation” (as illustrated by a jingle for the standard supermarket brand of monosodium glutamate: A little Accent, like a little love, surely helps.”) While those who use anabolic steroids, human growth hormone, and other doping agents are usually aware of the risks involved, countless consumers who are being exposed every day to MSG in its various forms have no clue about the dangers these ingredients might pose to their health.

 

 

*A scan of tuna fish cans in our local supermarket showed that HVP no longer seems to be used as an ingredient; however, “vegetable broth,” which may be a source of MSG, can now be found in some caned tuna products.

 

198. Adrienne Sanuels, The Man Who Sued the FDA, 2013, pp. 1-3.

200. Broadwith, Phillip, “Glutamate”, Royal Society of Chemistry, June 2011, http:www.rsc.org/images/IC0411-glutamate-food_tcm18-233514.pdf.

June 15, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Next up in the list no one would want to be a part of – Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid ThemMeat Glue – Pink Slime’s Far More Sickening Sibling:

Back in 2012, an ABC news lead story about Pink Slime (called in the industry by the more appetizing name “finely textured beef”) struck a chord of disgust in the meat-eating public.


 

Petitions were formed to get the substance out of the school lunch program, and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver conducted pink slime demos where he put beef scraps in a washing machine and then soaked them in ammonia and water.


 

Right before the slime hit the fan, however, ABC news affiliates spilled the beans about another underground meat practice. It was the use of an enzyme called transglutaminase, or, as it’s more commonly referred to, meat glue.

 

Now, even though meat glue has the potential to be a lot more hazardous to your health than pink slime, for some reason, the public couldn’t quite seem to wrap its head around it in the same way.

 

While some stories appeared in the press at the time, there were no petitions or consumers calling on the FDA or USDA to do something about it. In fact, some big-name chefs even came out in praise of meat glue.

 

For example, Wylie Dufresne, who was both chef and owner of the super-pricy [sic] Manhattan eatery wd~50 (which closed in 2014), was quoted in Meat Paper as saying he had “concocted all manner of playful and bizarre food products with meat glue, including shrimp spaghetti, which he made by mixing salt, cayenne, deveined shrimp, and meat glue in a blender.”

 

“Meat glue,” Dufresne declared, “makes us better chefs.”189

 

However, even if you’re dining at an elegant establishment like wd~50, you may want to think twice about eating “glued” food. That’s one of the problems with this stuff – the appearance of food in which it has been used can definitely be deceiving.

 

189. Lily Mihalik, “A Fish Without Bones: The rise of meat glue,” June 2011; http://meatpaper.com/articles/2011/mp_fifteen_meatglue.html.

June 10, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Next up in the list no one would want to be a part of – Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid ThemHigh Fructose Corn Syrup – It Does a Body Bad:

 

High Fructose corn syrup, or HFCS, first began showing up as a food and beverage ingredient more than three decades ago for reasons that had nothing to do with health – and everything to do with food industry profits.

 

As cane sugar prices began rising, largley due to quotas and tariffs, the cost of government-subsidized corn started falling. This just happened to coincide with a strange new sweetener, one much cheaper than sugar, that was then becoming available.

 

The sweetener was the sort of concoction that could have come out of a mad scientist’s laboratory. Manufacturing it is a complicated process involving an enzyme called glucose isomerase, developed back in 1957, which can magically turn the glucose in corn into fructose.

 

The resulting gooey, syrupy white substance is really, really sweet – so sweet that, in 1984, the soft drink world’s big brothers, Coke and Pepsi, began using it to replace sugar in their beverages. Before long, it had begun appearing in just about every type of processed food and drink imaginable, from yogurt, soup, and ketchup to bread, peanut butter, and jelly.

 

Of course, like so many other things added or done to our food for economic reasons, no one really bothered to figure out if consuming all that high fructose corn syrup might be having any sort of adverse effect on the health of consumers – at least, not initially. However, as we’ve since discovered to our dismay, HFCS is sickeningly sweet – a major factor in the rapid rise of a whole slew of health problems now plaguing us, ranging from obesity and diabetes to fatty liver disease and pancreatic cancer. It may even be an impediment to those recovering from traumatic brain injuries.

 

While the corn refining industry has done its best to try to convince us that their product has been unfairly blamed for the skyrocketing increase in such infirmities, independent scientific research has increasingly confirmed that their relationship to the ubiquitous use of HFCS is anything but purely coincidental.

June 1, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Next up in the list no one would want to be a part of – Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid ThemGMOs – The Alien Life-Forms on Your Dinner Plate:

Before we even go into the bizarre background story of how GMOs were allowed to invade our farmlands and food supply (a subject on which much has been written), there’s something you need to know right up front. It’s the fact that whatever you may have heard about how completely “safe” genetically modified foods are, and how they’re essentially no different from those that haven’t been bioengineered, it is all part of an elaborate con job – one designed to protect the profits of both Big Food and the biotechnology industry at the expense of your family’s health.

 

Perhaps the best indicator of how patently false those notions are comes from those consumers whose honesty you can always depend on – the animals in our midst. As Jeffrey M. Smith, Executive Director of the Institute for Responsible Technology, notes in his book, Genetic Roulette, when given the choice, animals usually make a point of steering clear of genetically altered foods.

 

  • Geese that landed annually on an Illinois pond and habitually fed on an adjacent fifty-acre soybean field wouldn’t go near the Roundup Ready GM soybeans newly planted on half of the field, according to agricultural writer C. F. Marley. They continued to eat the conventional soybeans on the other side.
  • Cows in Iowa refused to eat from a trough containing genetically modified (GM) Bt corn, opting for one containing corn that hadn’t been gene

    tically engineered instead.

  • Some cattle ignored a field of Roundup Ready corn and actually broke through a fence to get to a field of non-GM corn.133

 

Are they merely being finicky, or might those geese, cows, and other creatures who have exhibited similar reactions know something we don’t? It certainly seems that way given what researchers have discovered about the effects of GMOs on animals in studies that have been conducted. After ingesting Roundup Ready soy, the livers and testicular cells in mice underwent changes and their pancreases stopped functioning normally. The offspring of mother rats fed the same type of soy died at more than five times the rate of those whose mothers were given a nonbioengineered variety. That’s not to mention the sheep and cows that reportedly died after feeding on genetically engineered Bt cotton and corn.134

 

It turns out there’s an awful lot we don’t know about the hidden effects of altering an organism’s DNA, and the consequences on any person or creature that happens to consume it.

 

133. Jeffrey M. Smith, Genetic Roulette (Fairfield, Iowa: Yes! Books, 2007), pg 59.

134. Ibid, pp. 32, 38-44, 48.

May 24, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Next up in the list no one would want to be a part of – Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid ThemFluoride – Hazardous Waste in Our Water That Ends Up in Our Food:

What better, healthier way to start the day than with a steaming bowl of organic oatmeal, sweetened with organic honey and maybe topped with some organic strawberries? What could possibly be wrong with that?

 

Well, how about the addition of a small amount of hazardous industrial waste?

 

We know – it probably sounds ridiculous. Where would such an unlikely toxic badditive even come from? The oats? The honey? The strawberries that are supposed to have been grown in a chemical-free environment?

 

The answer is: none of the above, but rather the water from your kitchen faucet you used to make the oatmeal. The same water that you my have taken the precaution of filtering against contaminants.badditives

 

But then, this particular contaminant isn’t one that’s there by accident, as so many forms of water pollution are. Rather, it’s been deliberately added in many locales for many years, in amounts ranging from 0.7 to 1.2 parts per million (ppm) for the purported purpose of protecting your children’s teeth against cavities.

 

It’s fluoride, a toxic substance once used to poison roaches and rodents…

 

But isn’t fluoride something your dentist recommends – a substance found in most toothpastes and mouthwashes? How could it be that bad if the government actually encourages locales to put it in the water?

 

The answer is intertwined with intrigue. What if we told you that it is precisely because fluoride is so toxic that it ultimately ended up becoming an added ingredient in our water, and, in turn, in various foods and beverages? In fact, it appears that the original purpose of adding fluoride really wasn’t to protect children’s teeth; instead, it was a question of “national security”, that is, to shield our nuclear weapons program – as well as a number of major industries – from liability for damage that this toxic substance was causing to people’s health and properties.

 

Admittedly, that may sound rather perverse and more than a little bizarre, which may be one reason you’re not hearing it from major media outlets. However, the records that substantiate this claim would be hard to refute.

 

May 20, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Next up in the list no one would want to be a part of – Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid ThemCarrageenan – The Thickener That’s a Sickener:

Judging from the number of commercials on television for drugs designed to relieve various gastrointestinal ills, one can easily conclude that millions of Americans are afflicted with a variety of such problems, ranging from bloating and discomfort to serious conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis.

 

Could it be, however, that many of these maladies are the result of a single badditive, one that’s long been considered so safe by virtue of being “natural” that it’s even allowed in organic food, despite a growing body of scientific evidence that it’s anything but?badditives

 

The answer is a resounding “yes.” If you’re among those who suffer from chronic stomach issues, it’s quite possible that they might be alleviated simply by removing from your diet any processed foods that contain the ingredient carrageenan as has been attested to by some of those who have done just that…Carragenenan is used in a wide variety of processed foods and beverages, ranging from coconut water, low-fat dairy products, and dairy substitutes to nutrition bars, deli meats and precooked chicken It serves as a thickening agent, giving food a nice texture and fatty “mouth feel”.

 

However, this tasteless, non-nutritive seaweed derivative has long been shown to cause harmful gastrointestinal inflammation and intestinal lesions.

 

It can also be replaced with safer ingredients that serve similar purposes, such as guar gum (which FDA researchers back in 1988 found did not produce colon damage in lab rats, whereas carrageenan did91). In some instances, all it takes to achieve the same effect is simply to shake a product’s container before consuming its contents. Yet carrageenan continues to be used by many food companies, including some that claim to have only “healthy” ingredients in their products.

 

91. The Cornucopia Institute, “Carrageenan: New Studies Reinforce Link to Inflammation, Cancer and Diabetes,” 2016, p. 18, http://www.cornucopia.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/CarageenanReport-2016.pdf.

Picture of infant formula label courtesy of the Bonvies.

May 13, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Next up in the list no one would want to be a part of – Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid ThemBHA and BHT – From the Battlefield to Your Breakfast Table:

The industrial preservatives BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), like artificial colors, are derived from petroleum. So it should perhaps come as no surprise that these substances, which are used to give a wide range of processed food a longer shelf life, have also been the focus of behavioral and other health concerns, including cancer, for decades, even as the FDA has continued to declare them safe for use in food products (as well as medicines and cosmetics).badditives

 

In fact, by adding this problematic pair to the list of ingredients he eliminated from the diets of kids being treated for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Dr. Benjamin Feingold, the creator of the Feingold Program, saw the program’s success rate rise from between 30 and 50 percent to 70 percent or more.78

 

…“Food is supposed to spoil eventually, but of course you want to eat it before it does,” observes the Feingold Association’s Jane Hersey. “These preservatives give food the appearance of being fresh—but it also doesn’t take much of them to trigger serious health and behavioral problems in sensitive individuals.”80

 

The latter concerns should certainly come as no big surprise, given that both BHA and BHT, which are banned in Japan and most European countries, have long been known to alter brain chemistry in mice exposed before birth. Back in 1974, researchers discovered that including 5 percent BHA or BHT in the diet of pregnant mice caused “a variety of behavioral changes” in their offspring. The baby mice exposed to BHA were slower learners and slept and groomed themselves less than control mice, while those given BHT, besides getting less sleep and showing decreased learning ability, also exhibited increased aggression.81

 

78. The Feingold Association of the United States, “Let’s Not Forget the BHT, BHA, & TBHQ,” http://www.feingold.org/enews/03-2010.html.

80. Phone Interview with Jane Hersey by Bill Bonvie

81. The Feingold Association of the United States, The Feingold Bluebook, 2012, http://www.feingold.org/DOCS/Bluebook-phone.pdf, p. 44.

Picture of BHT Molecule: This file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

May 5, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Next up in the list no one would want to be a part of – Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid Them Aspartame – The Dangerous Drug Posing As A “Healthy” Sweetener:

One of the rules governing pharmaceuticals, and their advertising, is that side effects have to be listed. That’s the reason drug commercials include all those warnings about possible adverse reactions.

 

But there’s a drug that’s been on the market for several decades, one that countless unsuspecting consumers are encouraged to use as a supposedly healthy sweetening agent. It is added to numerous “sugar free” products, whose only mandatory warning is directed at people who suffer from a relatively rare health problem – a condition called phenylketonuria, or PKU, which affects an estimated 14,500 Americans.39

 

For everybody else, aspartame – a chemical mixture of two amino acids, phenylalanine and aspartate, and methanol (wood alcohol) – is regarded by the US Food and Drug Administration as “safe for the general population”. In fact, an agency bulletin describes it as “one of the most exhaustively studied substances in the human food supply, with more than 100 studies supporting its safety.”40badditives

 

Unfortunately, that assessment doesn’t jibe with thousands of complaints about aspartame’s side effects reportedly received by the FDA’s Adverse Reactions Monitoring System, as well as many, many more that have been logged by the Aspartame Consumer Safety Network, a Texas-based organization formed in 1987 that no longer actively collects any but the most serious case histories from consumers, according to its founder, Mary Nash Stoddard. “The tens of thousands of documented cases we have in our files convince us we are accurate in our pronouncements that aspartame is harming, and in some cases, killing users around the globe,” says Stoddard.41

 

…In an epidemiological study that appeared in the Journal of Applied Nutrition back in 1988, the late Dr. H. J. Roberts, a diabetes specialist from Palm Beach, Florida, analyzed reactions from 551 affected individuals and found that the most common included headaches, dizziness, confusion and memory loss, severe drowsiness, eye problems such as decreased vision, blurring, bright flashes and tunnel vision, severe depression, anxiety attacks, and extreme irritability.

 

A smaller number of respondents suffered from auditory problems, including tinnitus, extreme noise intolerance, and hearing impairment, eye pain, pins and needles, convulsions and blackouts, slurring of speech, tremors, palpitations and rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, nausea, diarrhea and abdominal pain, severe joint pain, restless leg syndrome, and various skin problems, including severe itching and hives. A few reported things like pain on swallowing, actual weight gain, low blood sugar attacks, bloating and fluid retention, burning on urination, thinning of hair, and, perhaps scariest of all, blindness in one or both eyes.”44 (Dr. Roberts went on to provide a detailed account of these reactions in a book more than one thousand pages long, which he called Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic, published in 2001.)

 

39. National PKU Alliance, “About PKU,” http://npkua.org/Education/About-PKU

40. United States Food and Drug Administration, “Additional Information about High-Intensity Sweeteners Permitted for us in Food in the United States, 2015, http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/FoodAdditivesIngredients/ucm397725.htm

41. Phone Interview with Mary Nash Stoddard.

44. United States Food and Drug Administration, “Reported Aspartame Toxicity Effects,” 2003, http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/dailys/03/jan03/012203/02p-0317_emc-000199.txt.

Picture of Aspartame Molecule is made available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation.

April 25, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Next up in the list no one would want to be a part of – Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid Them Artificial Colors – Agents of Food Fraud That Are Putting Kids on the Road to Ritalin:

Of all the cheap tricks used by food processors to mass-market their commodities while compromising the health of customers, the use of synthetic dyes is the one that really takes the cake when it comes to being flagrantly fake.

 

While such fakery in the bakery isn’t that hard to distinguish, what may be less apparent are many of the packaged products, ranging from cereals to salad dressings, which have had their appearance artificially enhanced through the use of coloring agents made from petroleum derivatives.badditives

 

Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are no longer falling for this pervasive form of food fraud – especially after being made aware of the behavioral effects it can have on their kids, for whom many of these prettied-up products are intended. A number of major companies, as a result, have begun to respond by simply dispensing with these deceptive dyes and replacing them with more natural substances.

 

However, that’s not to say there aren’t plenty of processed foods dressed up in counterfeit colors that still remain on supermarket shelves, many of which are deliberately designed to appeal to preschoolers. That’s why we can’t afford to let our guard down – and why it’s so important to keep up the pressure on the industry to drop the deceptive and damaging disguises they use to lure innocent children and unwary grown-ups…

 

…It’s hardly surprising that so many supposedly “harmless” synthetic hues have been found to be otherwise when you consider their origins and backgrounds. In fact, the passage of the original federal food safety law, the 1906 Pure Food and Drugs Act, was largely designed to curtail the use of hazardous coloring agents to disguise the appearance of various products…

 

…In spite of… [such] measures, our processed food products have continued to be colored with synthetic compounds that research is increasingly revealing to be hazardous to our health (and especially that of our children) – badditives that only recently have begun to be replaced with substances more fit for human consumption.

Picture of Food Orange 7 Molecule is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

April 18, 2017

Washington, D.C. – As promised, we bring you another selection from Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid Them. Today’s excerpt is from the first chapter, Aluminum – The Metallic Menace to Your Mentality:

Like other substances of questionable safety, this most commonplace of metals came into widespread use in consumer products during the post-World War II period. In various forms, it was officially accorded GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status as a food additive by the FDA back in 1959—meaning that as something in “common use” by then, it required no clinical testing or risk-benefit analysis (which translates to: it must be safe, because people have been using it for a while without any immediately apparent ill effects).

 

In fact, after President Nixon in 1969 directed the FDA to undertake a systematic safety review of all GRAS substances, a select committee of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) was contracted to do a “re-review” on the status of aluminum. The committee concluded: “There is no evidence in the available literature on . . . acidic sodium aluminum phosphate [and other forms of aluminum] . . . that demonstrates, or suggests reasonable grounds to suspect, a hazard to the public when they are used at levels that are now current or that might reasonably be expected in the future.”²

 

Interestingly enough, although “noting that care should be taken by patients with kidney disease when consuming food containing high levels of Al (aluminum) salts,” the authors of that report “did not mention either dialysis encephalopathy, which has been attributed to aluminum, or “the controversial role of Al in Alzheimer’s disease. Description of these clinical problems began about the same time,” notes Robert A. Yokel, a University of Kentucky pharmaceutical sciences professor.³…

 

…Consumers were constantly reassured that there was never enough “proof” of an aluminum–Alzheimer’s association to be concerned about it, especially given that the victims were mostly older people and no direct cause-and-effect association was ever clearly established.
All that changed, however, in 2014, when much stronger evidence of such a link emerged—strong enough to move aluminum from something regarded with mere suspicion into the category of an official “suspect.”

 

2. Yokel, Robert A., Aluminum in Food: The Nature and Contribution of Food Additives, p. 206, http://cdn.intechopen.com/pdfs-wm/28917.pdf
3. Ibid, p. 205

April 11, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Today is officially Read Your Labels Day #RYLD! (Yes, we are a little nerdy when it comes to the work to which we have dedicated ourselves.) As promised, we bring you another selection from Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid Them.

Today the Bonvies share a selection from their Introduction – a glimpse into what motivated them to provide such an important resource for managing what we feed to ourselves and our families. And if you like the “taste” you get from these selections, please support more important information like this by purchasing a copy of the book using the link above. Enjoy!

From the Introduction of Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid Them:

The purpose of Badditives! is to acquaint you with what we have come to regard as the “worst of the worst” in terms of food ingredients, how they came to be an accepted part of our diet, the adverse effects they can have on your health and well-being, and how to steer clear of them. In most cases, of course, the best method of avoiding them is, whenever possible, to buy certified organic products, which not only are grown without chemical pesticides and fertilizers, but are free of most of the substances discussed in this book as well. However, even these aren’t perfect, as you’ll learn in the chapter on carrageenan, a “natural” ingredient that isn’t nearly as harmless as it’s made out to be.

Many of the concerns you’ll find discussed in these pages have been addressed at length in some excellent books, documentary films, and a good deal of scientific and historical information—some of which is cited here and can also be found on the Internet. (Of course, “Internet rumors” and “conspiracy theories” are two of the favorite terms used by industry propagandists in an attempt to dismiss most of the kind of carefully researched information you’ll find here and elsewhere, as if conspiracies—defined as schemes devised by two or more people—were nonexistent, and the Internet was nothing more than a source of unsubstantiated hearsay.) Some of the books we would recommend for those of you who would like to learn more about these issues have been used as references and are mentioned in the chapters that follow.

Hopefully, by the time you finish reading about the damage done by the motley gang of “badditives” to which these chapters are dedicated, you’ll realize that there’s a lot more to worry about in the products you might assume to be safe than merely the amount of sugar (which is actually used much less than it was in years past), sodium (a certain amount of which is actually necessary to keep us alive), and calories they contain. And once you start examining the lists of ingredients on food packages (if you’re not already doing so), you’ll see just how many of them are out there waiting for you and your family to ingest—often half a dozen or more strong in a single product.

At that point, you’ll realize it’s well worth the effort to bar them permanently from your home, your life, and your body.

April 4, 2017

Washington, D.C. – April 11, 201, marks 5 years since the very first CFH Read Your Labels Day #RYLD, the day that serves as a reminder to do everything you can to learn and understand what goes into the things you eat and drink. To commemorate this milestone, Linda and Bill Bonvie have offered to share portions of their new book Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid Them.badditives

Starting on 4/11/17, once a week the Bonvies will share new content from this excellent new resource in the battle to be informed about what we eat, drink, and feed to our families. Feel free to visit this page weekly to check if the latest addition has been posted, or wait to receive the email from us that it is ready to review. Don’t want to wait? Use this link to order a copy for yourself: Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid Them.

We’ll get things started with a selection from the foreword, written by CFH Board Chair, James S. Turner:

Journalists Linda and Bill Bonvie have been on the food beat for a number of years—most recently as the writers of twice-weekly articles for Citizens for Health’s blog Food Identity Theft from 2010 to 2015.

Their articles laid out in detail the debasing of the American food supply, for example, by manufacturers using industrial sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), “flavor enhancers” like monosodium glutamate, and other brain-damaging excitotoxins and artery-clogging trans fats, all of which have been directly linked to the unprecedented health problems that now plague our society.

The articles formed the basis for Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet—and How to Avoid Them, which zeroes in on the worst of the unnatural substances currently found in processed foods, how they got there, and the ways in which they impact our health (beginning with the first of the alphabetically ordered chapters, which reveals links between aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease).

Such ingredients give mechanized foods false color, taste, texture, and stability. Without them most of such processed products would taste bland and appear pale, limp, and inert. Various performance-enhancing chemicals, however, can turn these pasty, unappealing, nutrition-deficient discharges from processing machines into the brightly colored, happy-tasting, feel-good stuff we put into our mouths and call food. They carry real risks, as do other substances covered in the following pages, such as GMOs and fluoride, that adulterate our food for even more devious reasons. Along with chronicling how these badditives came to be accepted by federal regulators, the authors advise you on how to banish them from your diet and thus avoid the pitfalls of the easy, lazy, incurious shopping habits that Big Food encourages.

Stay tuned for more – and don’t forget to commemorate Read Your Labels Day #RYLD by being extra-vigilant about examining what Big Food is putting into what you eat and drink. If you find anything especially egregious, or you want to share examples you’ve seen of what we share from the Bonvies’ book, share it with us and other Citizens for Health on Twitter (@citizens4health) and Facebook.

What’s in a Name? A Lot When the Name is ‘Fructose’

If you’re trying to avoid high fructose corn syrup — as well you should be — one of the products you’d probably gravitate to is General Mills Vanilla Chex with natural vanilla flavor and “no high fructose corn syrup” (one of several additives it claims not to contain on the front of the box).

But before you buy it, confident that it will help protect your family against the various health problems like diabetes and obesity that studies have linked to all that ‘free fructose’ in HFCS, you might also want to check out the list of actual ingredients on the side of the package.

Because one of the things you’ll find on that list is “fructose” – a term that, according to the Corn Refiners Association, is now used to describe something previously known as HFCS-90, meaning that it is 90 percent fructose, as contrasted with regular HFCS, which contains either 42 or 55 percent.

Here’s what the CRA’s website, corn.org, has to say on the subject under the section on “high fructose corn syrups” (something brought to our attention just this week by “Food Babe” Vani Hari):

“A third product, HFCS-90, is sometimes used in natural and ‘light’ foods, where very little is needed to provide sweetness. Syrups with 90% fructose will not state high fructose corn syrup on the label, they will state ‘fructose’ or ‘fructose syrup’.”

And that’s something we here at Food Identity Theft find very, very interesting – the reason being that HFCS-90 is a product that our sponsoring organization, Citizens for Health, has been concerned about for quite some time.

In fact, this past August, CFA amended a petition it had originally submitted back in 2012 to the Food and Drug Administration asking that labeling be required specifying the amounts of fructose in products containing HFCS.  The petition was revised to include a request that food companies be notified that “any product containing HFCS sweetener with more than 55% fructose is considered to be adulterated” under federal regulations and “cannot be sold in interstate commerce.”

Read more on our sister site: FoodIdentityTheft.com: http://foodidentitytheft.com/whats-in-a-name-a-lot-when-the-name-is-fructose-and-the-product-its-in-claims-to-have-no-hfcs

CFH Petition Calls for Accurate Labels for Products Containing HFCS and Other Sugars

hfcs_labeling_callout_240pxYour Turn to Comment on FDA’s Proposed Changes to Labeling Rules

We’re gaining momentum in the fight to change the labeling of added sugar on nutrition labels. As you may know, more and more food manufacturers are leaving HFCS out of their foods.

Most recently, the FDA announced proposed changes to the nutritional information on product labels that would include information on how much added sugar a food contains. We at Citizens For Health applaud this move, but we need your help to encourage the FDA to do more.

Specifically: we’re asking the FDA to:

  • Include “nutritive sweetener” after “Added Sugars”
  • Identify the name of the added sugar
  • Identify the percentage of fructose if the added sugar is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)

We need your comments on the amendment, even if you already commented on the the original petition. More than 30,000 comments were received on our original petition; we want to increase that tenfold for the amendment.

 

Consumers Vindicated: Manufacturers Leaving HFCS Out of More Packaged Foods

nohfcsThe power of well-informed consumers to reverse harmful food industry practices has once again been demonstrated by the response of a major company to the concerns of its customers.

The company is General Mills, which has come out with a TV commercial proclaiming that “What matters most should always come first – which is why we use whole grains in every General Mills Big G cereal and why we never use high fructose corn syrup.”

Apparently, they haven’t been listening to the mantra of the Corn Refiners Association, which is that companies need not bother removing HFCS from their products because most consumers really don’t care about the fact that it’s there. Or, perhaps we should add, was put there without anyone bothering to consult them – or without the benefit of research that has since linked it to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and a bunch of other health problems.

But the, the CRA has dismissed such studies, done by scientists at some of the country’s leading universities and medical facilities, as so much “false science” – just like it dismisses the concerns that an increasing number of parents have about the cumulative effects of HFCS in a wide range of products as hazardous to their children’s health.

The corn refiners claim that marketing surveys have confirmed their premise that the addition of HFCS in products is of no real interest to people who buy them. Well, here at Food Identity Theft, we’ve talked to many shoppers in the course of our research “in the field” (that is, in supermarket aisles).  And the majority of those we speak with are quite concerned – and have told us they want no part of products containing HFCS.

Read more at Food Identity Theft: http://foodidentitytheft.com/more-and-more-no-hfcs-labels-prove-the-power-of-the-consumer/

A ‘study’ in collusion: Cornell and the Corn Refiners

When we refer to “a study” done at some prestigious university, we’re usually talking about scientific research in which the effects of a particular substance on animal or human subjects have been carefully evaluated over a period of time, and then published in a peer-reviewed professional journal.  A number of such studies cited in this blog, for example, have suggested a link between high fructose corn syrup consumption and obesity, diabetes and other ailments.

But that’s not the sort of “study” that recently made headlines (and even made the Today Show) after being conducted by a team of “researchers” from Cornell University.

Their 40-page paper, “Ingredient-Based Food Fears and Avoidance: Antecedents and Antidotes,” was published not in any kind of scientific or medical journal, but one entitled Food Quality and Preference.  According to its description, “This study investigates food fears that are ingredient-based, focusing on the case of high-fructose corn syrup” and was based on “results of a national phone survey of 1,008 U.S. mothers.”

But then, the lead author, Professor Brian Wansink, doesn’t exactly fit the conventional image of a scientist.  He’s rather a member of the university’s “Applied Economics and Management Department” with a Ph.D. in food psychology and consumer behavior. But he is the director and founder of a “laboratory” — the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, which “is independently funded by grants and consumer groups” and “focuses on better understanding consumers and how they relate to foods and packaged foods.”

Oh, and one other thing.  This particular Ivy League “study” was funded by the Corn Refiners Association, the industry group representing manufacturers of high fructose corn syrup. Or so we were informed in an e-mail Monday night by Dr. Aner Tal, an associate researcher on the project.

Are you starting to get the picture?

Read more at: http://foodidentitytheft.com/a-study-in-collusion-cornell-and-the-corn-refiners/

Consumers Compel Food Makers To Remove HFCS From Products

In response to a backlash from consumers, a growing number of food and beverage companies have changed their recipes to remove industrial sweeteners that people find objectionable.  We’ve named High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) as the most important ingredient to avoid, and you listened. Furthermore, concerned consumers are asking businesses to remove it from their products.  The food and beverage industry is listening, replacing HFCS with natural cane or beet sugar.

Rather than abandoning brands that contain controversial ingredients, consumers are using social media, personal blogs and online petitions to urge companies to change what goes into their products.  Even First Lady Michele Obama went public, saying at a recent White House event, “Our bodies don’t know what to do with High Fructose Corn Syrup, and don’t need it.”

Food and beverage makers are responding to mounting negative comments.  Ingredient changes include:

  • Sara Lee’s removal of HFCS from its Soft & Smooth and 100% Whole Wheat Breads because their consumers, particularly moms, asked them to.
  • Kraft Foods’ elimination of HFCS from its Capri Sun Juice Drinks, Nabisco Wheat Thins and Premium crackers, and many of its salad dressings.
  • Subway’s removal HFCS from its sandwich breads.
  • Pepsi’s introduction of a new line of soft drinks “made with real sugar.”
  • Yoplait’s eradication of HFCS from all products, citing the change came from Tweets and emails from customers.
  • Chick-fil-A’s taking High Fructose Corn Syrup out of its sauces and dressings.
  • Kroger Supermarkets removing HFCS from its store-brand cereals following surveys with consumers.
  • Wild Oats announcing a new line of products at Walmart stores will not contain “the unwanted ingredient” HFCS.

Over the past decade, the use of High Fructose Corn Syrup in packaged foods and drinks has fallen 18%! That is definitely a move in the right direction.

First Lady Disses Corn Syrup, and the Corn Refiners Association is Not Happy

Yesterday at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, First Lady Michelle Obama made a comment about high fructose corn syrup that has raised the ire of The Corn Refiners Association.

According to the White House pool report, Mrs. Obama told her guest chef, celebrity chef Marc Murphy: “Our bodies don’t know what to do with high fructose corn syrup – and don’t need it.”

The corn syrup versus sugar debate is years old. Recently the New York Times reported that since 2008, the CRA appeared to have spent more than $30 million defending high fructose corn syrup.

Read the full story at USNews: http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/washington-whispers/2014/04/21/michelle-obama-disses-corn-syrup-trade-group-pushes-back

We encourage you to join Mrs. Obama in taking a stand against HFCS — Please sign our petition

Is ‘Less’ HFCS in Products Always a Good Thing? Not Necessarily

When Chick-fil-A announced last week that it would be removing high fructose corn syrup from its sandwich buns and dressings, it obviously wasn’t listening to the Corn Refiners Association (CRA).

Who they were listening to was an increasingly irate group of consumers led by popular food blogger Vani Hari, who posted an article two years ago at her site, FoodBabe.com, called “Chick-fil-A or Chemical-fil-A?”

As Hari pointed out in the blog, the Chick-fil-A sandwich has a lot of  ingredients, almost 100, most of which, she says, have “serious health consequences.” But out of that long list that includes monosodium glutamate, artificial flavorings and preservatives, the company chose to boot HFCS, something the CRA has been working hard to prevent.

Repackaging the hype

Big Corn has been traveling a long and lonely road since the FDA’s rejection last year of it big plan to sweeten up the name of HFCS to “corn sugar.”  Dumping its consumer campaign, the trade group set about redirecting its HFCS pitch to a new target audience, the food industry.

And the CRA’s message to food and beverage manufacturers, grocery stores and chain restaurants is that consumers just don’t care about HFCS anymore, and that no one (with the exception of the CRA, of course) is really talking about it these days.

But industry is talking about HFCS – not how to use more of it, but how to reduce what’s currently being used in products.  And to do that, it has had to employ some high tech concoctions that don’t have any taste of their own, but rather trick our brains into thinking we’re eating or drinking something that is, well, not really there.

I first told you about these ‘tongue-tampering’ ingredients last year and about the leader in the imaginary flavor world – Senomyx, a San Diego-based biotech company that has some close, big-buck ties to the soft drink industry, especially PepsiCo.

Imagining less HFCS

On the brink of regulatory approval in the U.S. is Senomyx’s sweet taste modifier “S617,” designed in the laboratory to trick the brain into thinking a soda with less HFCS still tastes just as sweet as before.

Senomyx CEO Kent Snyder was quoted in a trade pub earlier this year as saying that “(r)educing HFCS in these products…would be welcome by consumers and manufacturers.”

Or would it?

Since S617 is a top secret, proprietary, patented “discovery,” no one, food manufacturer or consumer alike, will be able to find out exactly what it is. Likely to be listed on ingredient labels under “flavoring,” the only thing you can uncover about it is that Senomyx scientists have “successfully cloned human taste receptors,” and that these flavor modifiers “bind to those receptors…to trigger a strong taste sensation.”

In a recent Advertising Age story about S617, Michael Jacobson, executive director of Science in the Public Interest, was quoted as saying that “if they cut the ‘sugar’ in half with this stuff, that’s huge,” and that one reason it could be considered ‘safe’ is because it would be used at such low levels.

Since Jacobson likely knows no more about what S617 actually is than the rest of us, I’d hardly call that “science.”
A much more logical statement on S617 comes from the Feingold Association of the United States. The group, a non-profit founded in 1976 by pediatrician Benjamin Feingold, that educates how diet can affect mood and behavior – especially for kids – has this to say about S617:

…when a chemical has a profound effect on how the body works (in this case, on how the taste buds work), it is considered a drug. A drug must undergo stringent regulations and testing, including discovery of side effects and interactions with drugs, for FDA approval – far beyond anything required for approval of a ‘favoring.’

We wish somebody, somewhere, would study the question of when does a flavoring become a drug?

Good question – but one that’s unlikely to be answered anytime soon, if at all. Meanwhile, S617 will likely hit the marketplace next year – yet another questionable ingredient being added to the witches brew of additives in so many products, this one for the purpose of reducing another that’s already known to be bad. A better idea seems to be to just get rid of the HFCS altogether — what Chich-fil-A is now doing in many of its menu items.

Three Ways You Can Start Reclaiming Your Kitchen From The Processed Food Industry

Want to know a simple way to get some of the most harmful and worrisome additives out of your diet – one that doesn’t require all that extra store time reading ingredient labels?

Simply reclaim your kitchen from the grip of Big Food.

Now before you dismiss this idea by saying you haven’t got the time, patience or ability to start actually cooking, we want you to just focus on three items that we eat and drink a lot of, and that also typically contain some of the worst of the worst when it comes to food additives. You can make these items yourself, in your very own kitchen, at a fraction of the cost of what you are paying for the “fake” varieties. And the best part is, it’s relatively easy to do.

We’re talking about:

  • Soup: Canned, dried, frozen and packaged varieties (unless you’re only buying organic brands) are typically a hotbed of bad ingredients, such as high fructose corn syrup, monosodium glutamate, including all the disguised forms of free glutamic acid, mechanically separated chicken and turkey, along with other stabilizers, gums, thickeners and other unnatural ingredients. Soup is one of the easiest foods you can make yourself — in your kitchen — without having a can that says “Campbell’s” on it anywhere near you.
  • Bread: This is one of the simplest and least complicated foods in the world. Bread needs just four basic ingredients: flour, water, salt and yeast. But you would never know that if you only saw packaged commercial varieties or refrigerated rolls, such as those offered by Pillsbury. True, making homemade bread was once a time-consuming and arduous activity. But since relatively inexpensive bread machines came on the market, it’s been streamlined to the point where you can easily do without those ersatz supermarket breads that are ingrained with ingredients not really fit for human consumption.
  • Soda:  There’s nothing  essentially wrong with the idea of drinking soda — it’s just the hideous ingredients that the great majority of these beverages contain that have put them in such disrepute. Nearly all such products these days either contain obesity-promoting high fructose corn syrup or brain-zapping aspartame and other unhealthy synthetic sweeteners. But the good news is, you really don’t have to dispense with soda in order to banish those awful additives from your diet.

Now, here’s how to start taking back your “kitchen privileges”:

The slow cooker: This easy, practical means of cooking has been the butt of jokes for too long.  Since the introduction of the Crock-Pot (a trademark of the Rival Company) back in 1970, slow cooking technology has expanded to include all kinds of possibilities.  And the time has never been better to bring out whatever kind of slow cooking apparatus you might have from wherever you’ve been hiding it, dust it off and start enjoying some real food. If you don’t yet have one, there are dozens to choose from, ranging from cheap to pricey, with all sorts of extra-helpful features that make it really hard to rationalize buying any more of those pseudo soups laced with harmful additives and “flavor enhancers.”

The bread machine: This amazing device first debuted in Japan in the late 1980s, costing a small fortune at the time. While many people own a bread machine, far fewer get around to actually using it. Perhaps the idea of making bread seems complex or intimidating — but with a bread machine, it’s amazingly easy and dependable, and will fill the whole house with a wonderful bakery aroma. One tip from years of home bread-baking experience is to find a machine with two paddles. While these were once just available in expensive versions, mine was under $80 and makes excellent bread. The dual paddles allow for better kneading, plus the loaf pan is oblong rather than a tower shape, which gives you a more traditional loaf.  Also, if you can’t wait the three-plus hours for you bread to be done, don’t be afraid to try the “quick bread” setting. The results are magically delicious in under two hours.

The SodaStream: This device offers an easy way to bring fizzy drinks back into your life without all the dangerous additives. One Food Identity Theft team member who recently got one reports that he is now “an instant fan.”  You can control the level of carbonation from lightly fizzy to full-blown, volcanic bubbles and add the flavorings after the fizzing, which can be tailored to whatever you’re in the mood for. One of the best parts of making your own soda is being able to use sweeteners of your own choosing. Perhaps the most ideal is “simple syrup,” which is, in fact, quite simple to make by heating equal parts cane sugar and water until dissolved, then cooling to room temperature.

As Dr. Mark Hyman, best-selling author and founder of the Ultra Wellness Center, said in a recent blog: “One hundred years ago all we ate was local, organic food — grass-fed, real, whole food. There were no fast food restaurants, there was no junk food, there was no frozen food — there was just what your mother or grandmother made. Most meals were eaten at home. Now, one in five breakfasts is from McDonald’s and 50 percent of meals are eaten outside the home.”

While you might not be able to change the way today’s society eats, there’s a lot you can do to keep the processed food industry from dictating your personal choices in one of the most fundamental areas of your life — starting with some basic steps toward reclaiming your kitchen.

Resources

Crockpot 101:
http://busycooks.about.com/od/slowcookerrecipes/a/crockpot101.htm

Natural fruit and honey syrups for making flavored sodas:
http://www.theyummylife.com/Fruit_Herb_Honey_Syrups

Using a bread machine for gluten-free and special allergy diets:
http://www.food-allergy.org/bread.html

Contents of Iconic Soup Cans Not So Healthy Once You Peek at Ingredient List

by Bill Bonvie

As the weather outside gets colder, there’s one type of “comfort food” that tends to be consumed in much greater quantities. I’m referring, of course, to soup.  And there’s one company (an American institution, really) that, more than any other, has over the years come to be synonymous with soup — the one that made the word “Soup” its middle name way back in 1922.  That would be the Campbell Soup Company, whose traditional red and white cans are considered so iconic that they became one of pop artist Andy Warhol’s best-known subjects back in the 1960s.

As one of the company’s classic commercial jingles once  put it, “Have you had your soup today? Campbell’s, of course,” then went on to say, “Once a day, every day, you should have a bowl of Campbell’s Soup.”

But while Campbell’s remains the nation’s No. 1 seller of canned soups, its popularity has lately been somewhat dented.  In fact, over the past decade, the company has reportedly lost about 13 percent of its market share — a trend attributed to the “millenial” generation’s having been largely turned off by its standard line of products. To get them back, Campbell’s recently began marketing a new line of “Go” soups in easy-to-open microwaveable plastic pouches with ingredients considered more appealing to a younger demographic.

Make no mistake, however — those long-familiar soup cans remain supermarket staples, and there are still many consumers who continue to take for granted that they contain some of the “healthiest” and highest quality ingredients on the market.  And one can hardly blame them, considering that’s how these soups have been promoted throughout their history, from the early 20th Century ads that described them as “The Mainspring of Health,” “healthful, wholesome and absolutely dependable,” and “the standard of soup perfection” to the company’s current web site with its “Nutrition and Wellness” page offering a variety of “Healthy Eating Plans.”

Exposed throughout their lives to such messages, most shoppers have no reason to assume that these are anything but totally wholesome and beneficial products. That is, unless they bother to look at the actual ingredients those iconic cans contain.

Whatever blends of ingredients Campbell’s Soups may have used in an earlier era,  you can be sure that they didn’t include some of the atrocious additives you’ll now find listed on their labels, where, incidentally,  you’ll also occasionally  find the same slogan used in that old commercial jingle, “Once a day — everyday.”

So we thought it might be helpful to put together a week-long “menu” of what such a recommendation would actually mean if you and your family were to take it literally:

Monday:  How about starting the week with some Cream of Mushroom — the kind with “25 % less sodium.”  A peek at the ingredients, however, tells you what the company would probably just as soon you didn’t know — that along with pure monosodium glutamate, it also contains soy protein concentrate and yeast extract, a trio of flavor enhancers of the kind often referred to as “excitotoxins” because of their ability to literally excite certain brain cells to death (especially in children), and which have been associated with a whole range of adverse effects, including aggressive behavior. Then again, you might prefer the Cream of Mushroom with roasted garlic, which in addition to those three aforementioned additives, features yet another excitotoxin, whey protein concentrate,and some partially hydrogenated soybean oil, a source of that artery-clogging trans fat that the Food and Drug Administration has now proposed phasing out of our diet.

Tuesday:  What could be healthier than some Cream of Asparagus — with some more monosodium glutamate and soy protein concentrate thrown into the mix for good measure?

Wednesday: Sounds like a good day for some hearty Minestrone, in which you’ll find not only monosodium glutamate and yeast extract mixed in with the tomato puree, carrots, potatoes and other veggies, but some good old high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) — that cheap laboratory sweetener that researchers have identified as a prime suspect in obesity, diabetes, and a host of other health problems.

Thursday: Let’s go with that old favorite, Chicken Noodle soup. Actually, there are a number of variations on this traditional theme available.  For those on a reduced salt diet, for example, there’s the one with “25% less sodium,” which makes up for it with those three taste tricksters monosodium glutamate, yeast extract and soy protein isolate. Or, perhaps you might prefer the Healthy Request Chicken Noodle, whose lineup of ‘healthy ingredients’ include HFCS, soy protein isolate and yeast extract, as well as mechanically separated chicken, which here at Food Identity Theft we like to refer to as “chicken ooze”.  There’s also one made especially for “Healthy Kids”, which includes that ever-present trio of brain-zapping flavor enhancers monosodium glutamate, yeast extract and soy protein isolate, in addition to some of that yummy “chicken ooze.”

Friday: Lentil soup, anyone?  And what would it be without some more added monosodium glutamate, along with unspecified “flavoring” and “spice” that often are nothing more than excitotoxins under a generic alias?

Saturday: New England Clam Chowder is always an all-time favorite — especially with a ‘flavor boost’ from still more monosodium glutamate and a little yeast extract thrown in to the pot for good measure.

Sunday: A Campbell’s Soup week just wouldn’t be complete without some form of tomato soup, the “classic” version of which has high fructose corn syrup as its second ingredient right after tomato puree.  You’ll also find HFCS  in the “Healthy Request” version (“M’m! M’m good for your heart” — not!) and the Old Fashioned Tomato Rice variety (bet you didn’t know HFCS was used as an additive in the good old days).  But just for a change, that would be a day off from monosodium glutamate.

Campbell soup ingredients

By now, of course, you might feel a slight buzz in your brain from the constant diet of excitotoxins — as might your kid (which could well serve as an example of the more recent Campbell’s slogan, “It’s amazing what soup can do”).  But don’t forget — this is something the folks at Campbell’s would like you to keep right on doing “once a day, every day.”

If, on the other hand, that doesn’t sound like such a great idea, despite all the health claims you’ve come to associate with Campbell’s Soup, you might just want to opt for soup without all those undesirable ingredients. If you don’t have time to throw together some homemade soup fixings in the crock pot (which isn’t all that difficult a thing to do), there are some genuinely healthy, ready-to-eat commercial alternatives available right in your supermarket, such as the organic varieties offered by Amy’s Kitchen, which include low-sodium versions (Amy’s Organic Lentil Soup, to cite just one example, is made from filtered water, organic lentils, organic celery, organic carrots, organic onions, organic potatoes, organic extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and 100% pure herbs and spices with “no hidden ingredients”).

That’s the kind of soup you really can have every day — without the risk of those additives making you nuts.