Tag Archives: Transparency

Food by the Numbers, the numbers you want to avoid!

If you look at labels of candy, soda and some of our favorite cereals you will find ingredients that have numbers. These are ingredients added to give food a nice bright color so we will want to buy them and eat them. Food is more attractive when it is colored. But is it healthy? These are ingredients that I ate daily for years and gave them to my children.

Artificial dyes are derived from petroleum are found in thousands of food products. Synthetic food dyes are banned in many countries around the world because of their health hazards. Placing food dyes in candies amounts to experimenting with our children’s health. Petroleum belongs in gasoline engines not our bodies. We have evolved to process food products over millions of years. Synthetic food colors derived from gasoline is not meant to be a food additive.
Synthetic dyes are linked to cancer and behavioral problems.

Examples: Yellow number 5 and 6 and Red number 40. Look for these. Food doesn’t have a number.

Natural alternatives to synthetic dyes do exist:
Food manufacturers still use plant-based colorings in some countries. For example, in the United Kingdom Fanta orange soda is colored with pumpkin and carrot extracts while the U.S. version uses Red 40 and Yellow 6. McDonald’s strawberry sundaes are colored only with strawberries in Britain, but Red 40 is used in the United States. With many U.S. consumers desiring fewer synthetic additives, “companies may be better off switching to [plant-based colors],” Jacobson says.”

From PubMed
Link to the evidence:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2957945/

Bottom Line: Synthetic foods dyes are linked to cancer and neurotoxicity.
Action Item: Pay attention to Food by the Numbers. Avoid ingredients with a number. Numbers belong on spreadsheets, arithmetic, mathematic and calculus books not our food. Eliminate food by the numbers in your diet and your children’s diet.

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Acesulfame-K: Bad Sweetener #1

Acesulfame Potassium or Acesulfame-K was discovered in 1967.It was approved by the FDA in 1997 for use in soft drinks, the number one product that includes sweeteners. Its use in our food supply is widespread. It has 150 times the sweetness of sugar on a per weight basis. Our bodies do not metabolize it and it is excreted in our urine. It is found as a sweetener in many processed foods, including dessert, chewing gum, , alcohol containing beverages, syrup, candies, sauces, and yogurt. As well as soft drinks. Some common manufactured goods include Hershey’s Lite Syrup, Trident gum and sugar free Jell-O.
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Are canned foods healthy? How can we avoid BPA?

There are a lot of canned foods including beans, soup, soft drinks and beer. Aside from the ingredients, are they healthy and can they be part of a healthy diet?

Many patients tell me they eat canned soup on a regular basis and stay away from additives that are on my “Nasty List”. It is a good start to look at additives, but let’s take a closer look at the can and containers that foods are stored in. Most cans are made of tin or aluminum, and are lined with a plastic to prevent the food from interacting with the metal, because it’s not attractive to have rust in your canned goods.
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“Natamycin in Cheese …really?”

Generally, you would not think that there is a problem with grated cheese. It’s a good source of fat and protein and goes on everything from tacos to omelets. However, recently when looking at a package of grated cheese at home, I noticed Natamycin on the ingredient list. I was shocked, it is on my “Nasty List” of ingredients to avoid. Natamycin in Cheese …really? I was consuming it and hadn’t bothered to read the ingredients. I thought the cheese just contained cheese. I was wrong. Natamycin is a medication used to treat vaginal and topical yeast (fungal) infections. It is a useful antifungal agent. It is not a food and should definitely not be in our cheese and should not be consumed on a regular basis.
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Top Five Food Preservatives to Avoid

These are the most common Additives and Food Preservatives to avoid, that are found in foods we consume frequently. I have developed a comprehensive “Nasty List” of unnatural ingredients to avoid but have developed this short list as a starting point as you begin your journey to wholesome eating and a long life.
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Fresh Fish or Fish Oil?

Are fish oil supplements as healthy for us as fish?
Fish oil supplements line the shelves of most grocery stores, Costco, Walmart and pharmacies. They are popular supplements and many of my patients take them. It is common knowledge that fish eaters live longer and have less heart disease and strokes than non-fish eaters. Medical studies support this claim. These facts have led to the assumption that the benefit from fish is the oil in the fish. Most of my patients that take fish oil supplements believe that taking fish oil supplements is as healthy as eating fish. Much of the medical community assumes this as well.
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Are prescribed medications harmful like some preservatives?

A patient recently asked “Are prescribed medications harmful like some preservatives? I am thinking about stopping prescription medications as they were man-made and our bodies will find them as unnatural as food additives and preservatives.” As many of you are aware, I am a physician and am committed to teaching the tenets of healthy eating so we may avoid disease and pursue good health. I am not opposed to medications when prescribed correctly. Should we be avoid medications that are appropriately prescribed by our doctors? Absolutely not! Yes, many medications are man-made and are unnatural for our bodies, however they are rigorously tested and passed by the FDA to be used as medications if they are effective for the condition they are treating and the side effect profile is acceptable. Generally, the longer a medication has been on the market and the more it has been prescribed the greater information about side effects are known and as a physician my comfort level prescribing them increases. The newer the drug on the market, the more skeptical I am as I want to avoid harming my patients.
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Eating fresh from the deli? Think again!

If you are like the rest of the thousands of people who grab lunch or dinner every day from the local deli, you probably think you’re eating fresh healthy food. But are you?

In my daily practice of medicine, it became apparent to me that individuals who grabbed a deli sandwich every day or who consumed a lot of processed meats, seemed generally less healthy and were more likely to suffer from other health ailments such as high blood pressure, low thyroid, obesity, type 2 diabetes and even cancer. Those were my observations and what led me to dig deeper and look for evidence to support my suspicion that processed meats were not healthy.
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BHA and BHT : The ‘fuel’ you didn’t know you were eating

What do most cereals and gasoline have in common?

With that question you may be asking yourself; how can there be anything in common between gasoline and the cereal that I eat? The sad truth is that there is. BHA (Butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are added to most cereals and cereal packaging as a preservative.
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