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Food Ingredients to Avoid

Sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite

What: Food preservative; helps retain red colouring in processed meat products.

Effects: Contains carcinogens that when accumulated in the body can lead to stomach, prostate, and breast cancers. Found to cause fetal deaths, miscarriages, and birth defects among test animals.

Butylated hydrozytoluene (BHT) and Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)

What: Common among processed foods and also in cereals, chips, vegetable oils, and chewing gums.

Effects: Increases the risk of cancer development and liver enlargement, and hampers cell growth.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG)

What: An artificial flavour enhancer, MSG is found in canned soups, chips, crackers, salad dressings, and frozen foods. It is also disguised under label entries such as “spices,” “natural flavouring,” and “seasonings.”

Effects: Causes dizziness and nausea.

Hydrogenated vegetable oil

What: A trans-fat, this can be found in microwave popcorn, chips, pastries, cookies, pies, cakes, margarine, cottonseed oil.

Effects: Cardiovascular diseases such as stroke, kidney failure.


What: An ingredient in gelatin, frozen desserts, yogurt, puddings, diet sodas, low calorie diets, and vitamins.

Effects: Causes food poisoning, and makes up the bulk of consumer complaints to the USFDA.

Food colourings 1, 2, 3, 6

What: These are blue, red, green, and yellow. Used in beverages, baked goods, and candies, cherries, fruit cocktail, sausage, and gelatin.

Effects: Cause tumors in the kidneys and adrenal glands.

Olestra or Olean

What: Artificial fat prevents healthy fat absorption in the digestive system. Found in potato chips.

Effects: Found to cause diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems.

Potassium bromate

What: Bleaching agent in white flour. Found in pizza dough, breads, rolls and many other baked goods.

Effects: Found to cause cancer in both animals and humans.

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