Our food supply contains a lot of food additive that are GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe), yet research can indicate otherwise.

What we eat can contribute to, or even cause allergy issues, such as Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, aggravate hyperactivity, and some ingredients are considered carcinogenic, genotoxic, or endocrine disruptors. Choosing organic whole foods and unprocessed, or minimally processed foods, is a guideline that should be followed to yield the most benefit and the least amount of harm from your diet.

Artificial Sweeteners:  

  • Artificial sweeteners interrupt our healthy microbiome, are associated with increased risk of obesity, migraines, inflammation, neurotoxicity, decreased fertility, among other health implications
  • Avoid these in all products; check labels especially on “sugar-free” products
    • Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal)
    • Saccharin (Sweet ‘n Low)
    • Sucralose (Splenda)
    • Acesulfame-k (Sunett, Sweet & Safe, Sweet One)
    • Neotame – even more toxic than aspartame!  “aspartame on steroids”; often used in cattle feed!

Better Sweeteners:

  • Stevia
    • Whole leaf stevia showed significant effects in out performing triple antibiotic therapy against Borrelia burg. in vitro
  • Xylitol
    • Sugar alcohol
    • Safe in small amounts, although can aggravate SIBO and cause gastric distress or headaches in any amount if you are sensitive to it
    • Best used in dental preparations – in toothpaste, mouthwash, gum, mints; or as a nasal spray rather than ingesting it

Sweeteners to avoid:

  • Corn syrup/corn syrup solids/high fructose corn syrup/maltodextrin

Use in moderation:

  • Cane/beet sugar
  • Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Black strap molasses

Flavor Additives:

  • MSG (monosodium glutamate) – especially for those who cannot clear glutamate adequately, it acts as an excitatory neurotoxin
  • Artificial flavors
  • Natural Flavors –contain non-natural, synthetic chemicals such as propylene glycol, BHA, MSG
  • “certified organic natural flavors” cannot include synthetic or GMO ingredients

 

Other Considerations:

  • GMO/Conventional vs Organic
    • Choose organic whenever possible
  • Meat & Dairy
    • Stay clear of factory farmed meat & dairy, as well as meat & dairy from animals treated with antibiotics and hormones
    • Grass-fed vs Grain-fed
    • Always choose organic, grass-fed/free-range animal products!
  • Seafood
    • Fish found to have highest mercury level: Tuna, Swordfish, Marlin, Tilefish, Shark, Orange Roughy, and King Mackeral
    • Farmed vs. Wild
      • Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) including dioxin, PCBs and so on are 5-10 times higher in farmed fish compared to wild
      • Both farmed & wild fish contain unsafe contaminants, but wild fish has significantly less than farmed fish
      • Farmed salmon is artificially colored pink!  Wild salmon gets its pink color from naturally occurring antioxidant, astaxanthanin.
    • Stick with limited consumption of smaller fish (such as sardines, anchovies, and salmon) or complete avoidance
  • Flame retardants – PBDEs, -HBCD linked to reduced fertility, thyroid dysfunction (found in canned fish, peanut butter, & meat)

Food Containers & Packages (& cookware):

  • Aluminum – increases risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease
    • Cookware, espresso makers, bottles, cans
  • Non-stick cookware
    • Non-stick coating contains carcinogenic PFOA (perfluoroctanoic acid)
    • Includes Teflon, Silverstone, Tefal, Anolon, Circulon, Caphalon
  • Plastics contain Phthalates, BPA which are endocrine disruptors
  • Plastics can leach antimony, a toxic metal
  • Don’t drink from plastic bottles
  • Use glass or stainless steel
  • Cast iron can be a good option as long as elevated serum iron or hemochromatosis is not an issue

 

A brief note on research studies:

Be aware that studies can have flawed methodologies and/or be biased. The most widely accepted research is from well-designed studies called RCTs (Randomized Control Studies) and from Meta Analyses or Systematic reviews; although case studies can be helpful in those situations where larger studies were not possible. The more participants (“n”) in the study the better, and the statistical significance (“p value”) should be 0.05.

 

Disclaimer:

There is conflicting information for almost every single item listed in this article. I used the best of my ability to confer an intelligent viewpoint in summary form, although others may draw differing conclusions.

 

Resources:

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs225/en/

 

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/03/28/neotame-more-toxic-than-aspartame.aspx

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www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/Metals