We Are Slowly Dying as We Eat Foods That We Believe Are Good For Us
Every adult in the United States took a health class in elementary school, and we all learned about nutrition again in high school. There’s not a state in the country that doesn’t mandate some form of health education in their curriculum before high school graduation. Unfortunately, anyone who graduated from high school five or ten years ago and does not keep up with food additives probably doesn’t have a clue of what they’re eating. It takes a lot of reading and learning about foods to keep up with the changes. This is because the additives that are put into foods often change.
If there’s a public outcry about a particular ingredient in foods, companies often remove that ingredient and place it with something that is very close to the original item. And what they put in to replace the questionable item may be worse than the original ingredient. Many people feel as if they can’t trust what is in the food that they buy at the grocery store, and their lifestyle doesn’t allow them to make everything from scratch. It is a real problem when we don’t really know what we’re eating, even if we carefully read labels.
Even if you consider yourself to be on top of the latest findings on food additives, you still probably don’t know the whole truth. Big food producing corporations tend to be interested only the profit that they make, not in the nutrition that they provide to the public. For example, when the word got out and about the dangers of high fructose corn syrup, there were some articles in newspapers and online that concerned many people who want to know what they are putting into their bodies.
Slowly, more and more of the public refused to buy products containing high fructose corn syrup. Now, every website or magazine that focuses on healthy eating and foods discusses the dangers of this sweetener. If they’re not discussing the dangers, they are at least questioning whether or not it is a safe additive to so many of the foods that Americans eat. The facts are adding up to one conclusion, and that is that we are dying a slow death eating foods that we believe are healthy for us, and people are getting more and more concerned.
The truth about high fructose corn syrup is that researchers are still not sure whether it is dangerous or not. The corn sugar producers claim that it is healthy. They have statements on their websites from dietitians and other professionals that it is the same as any other sugar. They also say that high fructose corn syrup keeps down the prices of foods that would cost more if they were made only with cane sugar. But who would expect them to say anything but these things?
What’s even more confusing is that fructose occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables, and this small amount is okay for humans to consume. The problem occurs when it is used in great amounts in soft drinks, cereals, junk food, and other common foods that people eat. Neither glucose nor high fructose corn syrup should be eaten in excess because they can cause cavities, obesity, and they lack nutritional value. Studies have shown that consuming large amounts of sugar can increase triglyceride levels in the blood, and high levels of this fat can cause a heart attack. The American Heart Association recommends that women only consume 100 calories from sugar per day, and men should have only 150 calories of this sweetener.
So what did big cereal companies and one big soft drink producer do to regain the public trust when high fructose corn syrup got a bad name? Some of them “changed” their products to contain only pure cane sugar. One large cereal company posted the great news that “No high fructose corn syrup” was in their cereal right across the front of the box. Some other manufacturers changed their ingredient labels from high fructose corn syrup to dextrose. Trusting consumers read the label and think that the company is really great for taking that terrible high fructose corn syrup out of the cereal and replacing it with dextrose, but guess what? Dextrose is the same thing as corn syrup, which is the same thing as high fructose corn syrup. They are all corn sugar.
High fructose corn syrup is only one of the concerns that the public has about food additives. What about that sneaky chemical BPA that is linked to breast cancer? It’s BPA, or bisphenol A. Parents of babies were probably the first to hear about BPA since it was highly publicized that older bottles that contained this chemical should be thrown out. So you thought that you were finished with BPA? Wrong! BPA is an estrogenic chemical that is in many canned foods that kids eat. A parent may think that they’re giving their child a good lunch when they open a can of pasta in circles or chicken noodle soup. While eating these foods occasionally probably will not harm a child, eating them regularly is not a good idea. BPA has the ability to change the hormones in the child’s body. BPA is also in reusable plastic food containers. Soft drink cans also have it as well.
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that has been of concern since it was approved by the FDA in 1974. You probably think that you’re doing good things for your body when you pick up a diet soft drink instead of one with sugar, but are you sure that it’s really safe for you to put into your body? A big Internet hoax conspiracy theory happened in 1995 and 1996 when the harmfulness of aspartame was posted on many websites. They claimed that it causes multiple sclerosis, blindness, headaches, depression, anxiety, birth defects, and brain tumors. Of course, big food manufacturers who use this substance in foods denied that it had any harmful effects at all. They pointed out that it had been tested and approved for use in over 90 countries around the world.
Even today, there are websites that notify the public of the dangers of aspartame. But it’s in chewing gum, hot chocolate, gelatin desserts, ice cream, pudding, and children’s vitamins. Many scientists, researchers, and even physicians have plenty of reason to say that aspartame is harmful. Scientists who have tested mice that were fed aspartame say that baby mice had brain damage and that they developed brain tumors. Also, some doctors claim that they have had numerous patients with allergic and other reactions to the chemical. People who drank 9 or 10 diet drinks a day have developed twitches and other reactions that they claim were caused by aspartame, but in others it only took one drink to cause a reaction. When they stopped using this sweetener, their symptoms ceased as well in some cases.
Diacetyl is another additive that that is many foods that people eat all of the time without knowing about this chemical that they are putting in their body. Diacetyl is in common foods like microwave popcorn, and it’s what gives the popcorn the butter aroma and taste. It’s also in many other foods and drinks, including beer and wine. It is used in foods as a flavor additive, especially in chocolate, oil, candy, frostings, and chips.
When you smell that irresistible popcorn popping in the microwave, don’t get too close to smell it because you could end up with popcorn lung disease, a real lung problem caused from inhaling diacetyl. This disease is a rare form of lung damage that causes inflammation and can even lead to the need for a lung transplant if the lungs stop working. Workers in food production often develop this disease from being exposed to the diacetyl on a daily basis.
You’re probably wondering by now how the government of an advanced country can allow chemicals such as these to be in the food of its people. The point of food production today is not to provide healthy nutrients that keep the population healthy. No, it’s to produce more food, more quickly, for more money. Who’s to blame? Are farmers, or the government that mandated that foods be labeled? Small farmers are still a lot like they were generations ago, working their land and feeling good when their crops mature into healthy grains and foods that can be sold to support their families. They are not the guilty party in the slow death of Americans who are fooled into thinking they’re eating healthy food.
Could big food corporations be the guilty party, or is it the U.S. government that allows them to continually try to fool people with lies and deception? The average American may occasionally read food labels, but very few people are aware of the tricks that big companies play by changing terminology on labels. For example, when the public turns against processed cane sugar, what do big companies do to sweeten their products? They simply switch to another sweetener such as dextrose or they call it sucrose. No sugar, right? Wrong! They are the same thing, but most people skim down the list of ingredients and do not see “Sugar” listed, so they assume that the product is okay.
There’s no doubt that it’s a scary thing to eat many foods today, especially processed foods. But then again, almost everything on the grocer’s shelf is processed in the same way. We could stop buying products with additives, but then what would we eat? We are slowly being poisoned, and maybe some of the food additives are causing most people to be lethargic so they just keep running their rat race, driving through the fast food lane, and grabbing processed foods at the grocery store.