I recently asked Google to Search “How many food additives are used in the United States”?
CARE TO VENTURE A GUESS?
According to the FDA there are 3000 food additives on the EAFUS (Everything Added to Food List in the US). No, I did not make up the name of that list! Apparently the list isn’t complete because food manufacturers can bypass getting ingredients approved by the FDA by claiming certain ingredients fall under the GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) Determination.
These ingredients might not even show up on the food label! The funny part is, the manufacturer can determine on their own, without involving the EPA if an additive should be added to the GRAS list. HUH?
Can you say BIG LOOP HOLE?
Let me know in the comment section if you ever heard of EAFUS? It was news to me!
I am a firm believer that individually we need to do our best to eat right, get some exercise, manage our stress and get plenty of sleep. Individually, we need to choose health by making smart decisions regarding what we put in our mouths each and every day. But do the food companies have to make it so hard?
Food manufactures take healthy ingredients and make them unhealthy before it gets to our plates. Do you ever read the ingredient list on food labels? It can be mind-boggling and a bit scary, when you can’t pronounce half of the ingredients and don’t know why they are added.
During my research for What is Lurking in Your Kitchen, I discovered that there are over 60 different sweeteners that are all essentially sugar. You might have come across some of them trying to read food labels! They sneak sugar (or whatever name they call it) not only into baked goods but into vegetables, mayonnaise, ketchup. Even into canned corn.
When you eat processed food, it is difficult to know exactly what you are eating. The FDA lists 3000 additives on the EAFUS not including items GRAS. Holy acronym batman! I think I need a bigger garden.
I am in the process of completing a 30 day program, called The Whole30 and it eliminates sugar, grains, legumes, alcohol, and dairy from my diet. I eat as much eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, seafood, and meat as I want. The idea is to build each meal around protein (eggs, seafood, meat), loads of vegetables, some fruit and healthy fat (avocado, nuts, olive oil, ghee).
By banning certain food groups and sugar, the program essentially bans processed food and requires cooking from scratch. GASP
The Whole30 does not allow the following types of additives: sulfites, carrageenan, cornstarch, MSG, and soy lecithin. Doing the Whole30 Eating Program has forced me to become an expert at reading labels. I can’t get away with a quick scan anymore!
People who are sensitive to sulfites experience itchiness, hives, upset stomach, drop in blood pressure, dizziness, vomiting, and trouble breathing. People who are sensitive to MSG experience headaches, flushing, sweating, heart palpitations, nausea.
How many of you have some of these symptoms at times and don’t know why? How many of you have these types of symptoms regularly? How many of you experience these or similar symptoms that your Doctor is unable to diagnose?
Have you have been told your symptoms are all in your head? That they are probably related to a mental health issue? That you must be overstressed or depressed?
Maybe, just maybe you are allergic to one or two or 20 of these 3000 plus food additives that are found in everything from condiments, baked goods, vinegar, canned goods, frozen goods. I am not encouraging you to jump on the Whole30 bandwagon or to radically change your diet but if you have mysterious health issues that linger, that no one can diagnose, it might be worth trying to figure out if a certain food group or food additives are causing your symptoms.
I have a friend who suffers from migraines, vertigo, occasional facial numbness and her doctors have been unable to diagnose her symptoms or treat her.
I don’t know that I ever made the connection between food and her symptoms, but now it is staring me in the face. Maybe a 30 day experiment eating real food would be helpful in figuring out if her diet is causing her symptoms.
I don’t know about you but I hit the Big 50 this year. I need to take the best possible care of myself now so that I continue to be healthy in my old age. Besides I have a high deductible health insurance plan and visits to the doctor, emergency room and hospital are wicked expensive.
Eating healthy in My Little Blue Kayak!