Do You Know What's In YOUR Healthy Food?

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Your healthy food may have more ingredients hidden than what is listed.

As consumers, it is important that we know exactly what is in our food. Some packaged foods appear natural and healthy; however, looks can be deceiving. When reading the ingredients, you may see “natural” flavorings or colors. It sounds safe, but is it?

How about organic food? Even organic foods can contain unhealthy, toxic flavorings and still be labeled organic. If the non-organic ingredients do not total more than five percent of the product, it can still be labeled as organic.  

The terms “artificial flavorings” or “natural flavorings” can be used without revealing origination and hide several ingredients that companies are not required to reveal. “Natural” additives can include anything broken down in nature that comes from any plant or animal matter, even bugs. These plants or animals can be grown using hormones, pesticides, or toxic chemicals and can also be grown in questionable conditions. A “natural” flavoring or color could consist of a chemical taken out of glands from a beaver or Natural Red #4 made from dried and ground up cochina beetles, for example. Even MSG can be labeled as natural flavoring. Artificial flavorings can include ingredients produced by fractional distillation and chemical manipulation of various chemicals like crude oil or coal tar. It is unfortunate that consumers are not able to know the source of these flavors and colors.

How about extracts, essences or juices? That sounds healthier. However, even extracts, essences, juices, and other ingredients that look natural can be made from a product that is genetically engineered, grown with chemicals, and grown in questionable conditions.

Are spices safe? Non-organic spices can be high in pesticides and can be contaminated with insects, mold, yeasts, bird droppings, and pathogens like salmonella. According to the FDA, “Spice shipments from 79 countries were examined for Salmonella, and we found that 37 of the 79 countries had Salmonella-contaminated shipments . . . We also found that approximately 12 percent of the spice shipments offered for entry to the U.S. during a three-year period (FY 2007 to FY 2009) were adulterated with filth such as insects and animal hair.” Therefore, non-organic spices are sterilized with toxic chemicals or radiation. Remember, these non-organic, toxic spices can be used in products that are labeled organic if the product still has 95% of organic ingredients. In addition, the processing and chemicals used in drying the spices and making them into powder may also be toxic.

Even my healthy drink? Check the ingredients in your products. Drinks, such as tea or coffee, and even kombucha and other health drinks, including organic, are notorious for adding in flavorings. Making a healthy drink taste good can be difficult without adding in flavorings. Juices used for flavorings are pasteurized which can denature a product and kill anything healthy. When buying food and drinks, make sure you know where the flavoring and color comes from. The best form of color and flavor is from unheated, whole food without the additives, chemicals, and without the heating and denaturing of the natural product. Natural or artificial flavors and colors, extracts, essences, juices can turn a healthy product into a toxic product.

Be sure to look for a product that uses only real food for its flavors. This will help prevent unknown additives and increase nutritive value. Your body will also be able to utilize the nutrition more effectively by consuming the food in its original, whole form. For a highly recommended product that uses only raw, whole food for it’s flavor, click here.