10 Additives to Avoid

10 Additives to Avoid

Olestra or Olean:

Olestra is used in low fat products that contain no calories, no cholesterol and no fat and is also used as cooking oil for frying. Olestra first created by Proctor and Gamble was first approved by FDA as a food additive and a replacement for unhealthy oils. However, later on it became clear that besides removing fat from foods, olestra blocks the body’s ability to absorb essential minerals and vitamins. Olestra used in fat free fried foods like fries or potato chips has been linked to gastrointestinal problems, bowel syndrome, cramps and weight gain. While countries like UK and Canada have banned olestra, the FDA has kept this toxic oil as a legal food additive and oil for cooking.

Brominated vegetable Oil (BVO)

Brominated vegetable oil is used in sport drinks and sodas in order to keep flavor oils in soft drinks in suspension and give drinks a great homogenized color. BVO is so poisonous that it is banned in 100 countries and just two ounces of a 2% solution of BVO can severely poison a child. Brominated vegetable oil is driven from corn or soy and is bonded with bromine. When the body absorbs bromine, it replaces iodine and causes iodine deficiency. Brominated vegetable oil can increase the risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, ovary cancer, thyroid problems and infertility.

Potassium Bromate

Potassium Bromate is banned in many countries including European Union, Brazil, Canada and even China. Potassium Bromate is used as a powerful oxidizing agent in baking since it bleaches and improves the elasticity of dough. Potassium Bromate is commonly used in commercial baking to make baking process faster and cheaper and the end product becomes much more soft, unnaturally white and fluffy. Potassium bromate is linked to kidney problems, neurological disorders and cancer.


Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are commonly used as frying oils in many fast-food restaurants.  Both BHA/BHT are also used as preservative in cereals, processed meat, candies and even gums. BHA/BHT is banned in European countries and Japan with exception of US. BHA/BHT doesn’t do a lot of damage except insomnia, increased appetite, loss of energy, liver and kidney damage, fetal abnormalities, mental and physical retardation, cancer and baldness.


Azodicarbonamide considered as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) by FDA is commonly used as a bleaching agent in baking white bread, cakes and pastries. Azodicarbonamide is the reason why the bread you bought is still soft and fresh after few days. Azodicarbonamide also improves the flour’s strength and elasticity. Most European countries and Australia have banned the use of azodicarbonamide and some countries including Singapore have severe penalties (15 years in jail and $450,000 fine) for using azodicarbonamide. Azodicarbonamide has also been linked to asthma and allergies.



Artificial food coloring and synthetic food dyes

Artificial food coloring and dyes are banned in many countries including Norway, France, Austria, UK and Finland. Now lets look at the US, almost everything that comes in a package, including candies, cheese, cereals, sport drinks and bake goods have artificial dyes in them. Artificial dyes are made from chemicals that are from petroleum and are linked to neurological problems, brain cancer, ADD, ADHD and hyperactivity in children.

rBGH or rBST hormones

Today, cows are treated with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBST) to increase their milk production.

rBGH, rBST growth hormones have been linked to breast and prostate cancer, thyroid disease, diabetes, obesity, infertility, asthma and allergies.  Bovine growth hormones are also linked to early puberty and as a result of hormones, girls at the age of 5 and men in their 40s are growing breasts.

Today, bovine growth hormones are banned in many countries throughout Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel and France.

Neonicotinoid pesticides

While the European Union has put a two-year ban on neonicotinoid pesticides, the US Department of Agriculture rejects banning this neurotoxin linked to the colony collapse of bees. 

Neonicotinoid pesticides can cause neurological problems and children who are exposed to neurotoxins and endocrine disruptors when they are still in their mother’s womb, have higher risk of developing cancer, neurological problems and mental disorders including autism, ADD and ADHD.


Arsenic is a toxic chemical that causes cancer or even death in high dosages. You will be surprised to know that arsenic is added to chickens diet by the food industry to make chickens meat look pink and fresh. European Union has banned the use of arsenic in chickens’ feed.



Formaldehyde also known as methanol or methylene oxide is a toxic flammable gas used in the production of fertilizers, bleaching agents, food preservatives, hair straightening products and personal care products like baby shampoo and soap. Food companies add Formaldehyde to processed foods such as milk, noodles and meats to extend their shelf life.

According to a document by EPA, the FDA regulates formaldehyde as a food additive (used as a defoaming agent, and in the feed of animals used for food sources including some chicken and fish).

Formaldehyde can damage human cell and long term exposure to Formaldehyde can cause cancer including leukemia and short term exposure can cause watery or burning eyes, asthma, headaches, skin irritation, and nausea.

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