Enhance Your Health

Health Tip of the Week: Dangerous Food Preservatives

My ongoing discussion of food additives continues with BHA and BHT (formally known as Butylated hydroxyanisole and Butylated Hydroxytoluene. BHA and BHT are preservatives that affects the neurological system of your brain, and alters behavior.

BHA has the potential to cause cancer. They can be found in breakfast cereal, nut mixes, chewing gum, butter spread, meat, dehydrated potatoes, popcorn, chips, and beer, just to name a few.  BHA is known to cause cancer in rats, and may be a cancer-causing agent in humans as well. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, National Toxicology Program's 2011 Report on Carcinogens, BHA "is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.”

BHA may also trigger allergic reactions and hyperactivity. BHA is banned from infant foods in the UK and is banned from use in all foods in certain parts of the EU and Japan.

While BHT is not considered a carcinogen like BHA, it has been linked to tumor development in animals.  BHT has also been linked to developmental effects and thyroid changes in animal studies, which suggests it may be an endocrine-disrupting chemical.

The bottom line in reviewing the research on food additives is that processed foods contain chemicals that are harmful to our overall health.  The ideal diet should be made up of 90 % whole foods and 10% processed food.  Sadly, the typical American diet is the other way around with 10% whole foods and 90% processed.

In our journey for good health, the first step is awareness that all foods are not created equally and food can be harmful to health.  The second step is to read labels and make the proper food choices that lead to good health.

Thought for the Week

Stop using anti-bacterial products like soap.  Triclosan, an anti-bacterial chemical used in a wide variety of consumer products, has many potentially harmful effects, especially for children. Triclosan was found in 100 percent of urine samples taken from pregnant women in Brooklyn, NY.


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