Consumer Watch

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With the Listeriosis crisis still on the boil, we, as consumers need to become a lot more conscious of what is actually going into our food.  Our ancestors lived off the veld and thrived.  If we could do the same thing, the world would be a much healthier, happier place! I recently read a brilliant article by Dr Joseph Mercola, an osteopathic physician board certified in family medicine. He is the author of two New York Times best sellers – The Great Bird Flu Hoax and The No-Grain Diet.  He is a great believer in the Paleo diet and has done a lot of research into some of the more disturbing chemicals found in our food.

Says Mercola “Food additives find their way into our foods to help ease processing, packaging, and storage, but how do we know which food additives are in that box of macaroni and cheese, and why does it have such a long shelf life? Many consumers spend a large part of their budget on processed foods and in doing so they get exposed to a plethora of artificial food additives, many of which can have serious consequences to one’s health.”

Here are three of the top food additives to avoid:

1. Artificial Sweeteners

Aspartame, (E951) is found in foods labelled “diet” or “sugar-free”. Aspartame is believed to be carcinogenic and accounts for more reports of adverse reactions than all other foods and food additives combined. Aspartame is a neurotoxin and carcinogen. It is known to erode intelligence and affect short-term memory, the components of this toxic sweetener may lead to a wide variety of ailments including brain tumour, diseases like lymphoma, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue, emotional disorders like depression and anxiety attacks, dizziness, headaches, nausea, mental confusion, migraines and seizures. Acesulfame-K, a relatively new artificial sweetener found in baking goods, gum and gelatine, has not been thoroughly tested and has been linked to kidney tumours. Found in diet or sugar-free sodas, diet coke, coke zero, jelly (and other gelatines), desserts, sugar-free chewing gum, drink mixes, baking goods, table top sweeteners, cereal, breath mints, pudding, Kool-Aid, ice tea, chewable vitamins, toothpaste.

2. High Fructose Corn Syrup

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a highly-refined artificial sweetener which has become the number one source of calories around the world. It is found in almost all processed foods. HFCS packs on the kilo faster than any other ingredient, increases your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, and contributes to the development of diabetes and tissue damage, among other harmful effects. Found in most processed foods, bread, sweets, flavoured yogurts, salad dressings, canned vegetables, cereals.

3. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG / E621)

MSG is an amino acid used as a flavour enhancer in soups, salad dressings, chips, frozen entrees, and many restaurant foods. MSG is known as an excitotoxin, a substance which overexcites cells to the point of damage or death. Studies show that regular consumption of MSG may result in adverse side effects which include depression, disorientation, eye damage, fatigue, headaches, and obesity. MSG affects the neurological pathways of the brain and disengages the “I’m full” function which explains the effects of weight gain.

Found in Chinese food (Chinese restaurant syndrome) many snacks, chips, cookies, seasonings, most Campbell Soup products, frozen dinners and lunch meats.

Please mail me on gjthomo@gmail.com if you have any consumer related issues.  I may not always report them here, but I should be able to help you.

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