When it comes to fast food, some of the health concerns are obvious. Deep-fried, high-fat, sugar-packed meals are, for the most part, not on the personal menus of the health conscious. But some of the most questionable aspects of fast food – like additives – are not quite as easy to locate.
Even if they’re listed on the ingredients, you may need a dictionary to even pronounce the words, let alone understand what they mean for your health! And even if they’re FDA approved, some of these ingredients are at least a little bit unsavory. Read on to find out more about ten of the most common fast food additives.
1. Propylene glycol
Although designated “generally recognized as safe,” industrial uses of propylene glycol may give some consumers pause. Used in the food industry to keep products from freezing solid, it’s also used as a commercial anti-freeze and plane de-icer. Propylene glycol is also an ingredient in dispersants used to clean up oil spills.
2. Ammonium sulfate
Used to regulate the acidity of breads, rolls, and buns, FDA-approved ammonium sulfate is also used as a fertilizer, an ingredient in spray pesticides, and a flame retardant.
3. Calcium silicate
This anti-caking agent can be found in a huge variety of food products, from salt and sugar to cereals to processed meats. It’s also used in insulation and the construction of roads.
Although approved for use as a food additive in the United States (specifically, as a flour bleaching and improving agent), azodicarbonamide is not approved for use in food in the European Union. Industrially, azobicarbonamide is used in the creation of plastics.
5. Sodium acid pyrophosphate
Also known as disodium pyrophosphate, this additive is considered by the FDA to prevent discoloration.
6. Sodium nitrate
This additive is most commonly found in processed meats, like hot dogs and sausages. A 2010 study found that individuals who ate large amounts of processed meats containing sodium nitrate had higher rates of diabetes mellitus and coronary heart disease than individuals who stuck to unprocessed red meat. It is also used in leather treatment and oil dispersing, and excessive amounts can cause mineral imbalances.
This red food dye is made from the shells of the cochineal insect. Although it has no negative health effects for most people, carmine can, in rare cases, cause an allergic reaction or even anaphylaxis.
8. Titanium dioxide
Used as a whitening agent in coffee creamers, salad dressings, and a whole host of other food products, titanium dioxide is likely safe to eat in small amounts. That said, it is a possible human carcinogen when inhaled.
While you’re probably familiar with shellac as a decorative wood finish, you might be surprised to know that you’re eating it on everything from candy to apples in the form of “confectioners’ glaze.”
10. Silicon dioxide
This additive is, essentially, sand that is used as an anti-caking agent. You may want to check out the ingredients list of any chili that you eat to see if it’s present.
Does the “gross factor” of some of these ingredients make you want to avoid them, even if they’re technically approved for consumption? Share your responses in the comments section!
- Is Water Fluoridation Contributing to the Obesity Epidemic?
Fluoridated water is the norm all across America. Most people don’t think twice about this practice. After all, if it …
- 6 Signs That You’re On a Good Diet
(originally written by David Sciola) Being of a Paleo persuasion, there are many foods I completely avoid that other diets …
- The Shocking Truth Behind GMO-Free Cheerios
Earlier this month, cereal giant General Mills announced the first finger food of American babies, the company’s original Cheerios, would …
- 9 Top Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
If you’re in the mood for a chewy snack that doubles as a phenomenal health food, look no further than …
- Replace Your Morning Coffee With This Healthy Drink!
How do you start your morning? According to Ayurvedic tradition, starting your day with a glass of warm water flavored …
- 3 Easy Steps: How To Make Your Own Nut Butter at Home
It’s no secret that nuts are an amazing health food that’s both filling and nutritious. One of the yummiest ways …
- Here’s 11 Reasons Why You Won’t Regret Adding THIS Jelly To Your Diet (Amazing Healing Properties!)
We all know that gelatin is the colorless, flavorless stuff that comes from the collagen in animal bones, but you’ll …
- You’ve Probably Never Used 2 Plates To Do THIS…No More Gooey Mess!
Cutting cherry tomatoes can be a messy task with squirting juice and goo getting everywhere — but it doesn’t have …
- How Many Meals Should You Eat Per Day?
Ah, the age-old question of healthy eating. Some say stick to three meals a day, with no snacking. Others say …
- 4 Misleading Food Labels and What They Actually Mean
Over the last few decades, researchers have immersed themselves in studying the impact of food labels. Food scientists, psychologist, and …
- Turmeric: Not Just for Curry
Originating from India and south east Asia, Turmeric has now become a highly researched and readily available plant. It has …
- Food for Thought: U.S. People Throw Out Nearly 40% of Their Food
In the mid- to late twentieth century, amid the general increase in wealth and wherewithal of the American middle class, …
- 6 Ways to Eat Healthy While Traveling
Whether you’re travelling for business or you’re on a family vacation, sticking to your normal healthy routine can be really …
- The Truth About Multivitamins Vs. Food-Based Vitamins
Many of us take a multivitamin every day under the assumption that those extra vitamins will help make up for …
- 27 Weird Shaped Fruits And Vegetables That Will Still Give You Plenty of Nutrients
Food comes in all shapes and sizes. But despite how they look, these weirdly-shaped fruits and vegetables still offer plenty …