1. Coal Tar
Processed foods often contain many different types of dye to
change the colors to something that is more appealing to the
You may have seen the ingredient
tartrazine on ingredient
labels; this is a dye that is derived from
coal tar. This is an industrial
waste derived food coloring and is also often known as 'yellow
Interestingly, according to the
International Agency for Research on Cancer, mixtures
that contain more than 5% of this natural ingredient, crude
coal, are considered group 1 carcinogens.
Carrageenan is a very commonly
used ingredient, often found in dairy products, but also in milk
It is used most in products that are
considered natural to hold the ingredients together, or thicken
Carrageenan is derived from
seaweeds, which doesn't sound so bad, but the side effects from
consuming too much of this ingredient can lead to inflammation,
arteriosclerosis, and potentially inflammatory bowel disease.
Be sure to read the ingredient label
carefully as even many organic products contain carrageenan.
Yes. You read that right...
The "natural flavoring" that is
often found in strawberry, raspberry, or vanilla flavored treats
actually comes from the anal glands of the beaver. This additive
is FDA approved and is labeled as "natural
flavor" on ingredient lists.
The actual name for this ingredient
Castoreum, which originates
from female and male castor sacs.
Who would have thought the anal
glands of a beaver could taste so sweet...?
Again, yes. I know, its disgusting but beetles are actually a
very common ingredient in many processed foods.
They are either crushed, dried, or
boiled eggs or wings of beetles that are then used to produce
food coloring, again to make the product look more appetizing to
Funny, because if the consumer knew,
I think the consensus would be to leave this product out
altogether and sacrifice what is typically considered
This beetle juice is referred to on
ingredient labels as
Purple, pink, orange, and red food
coloring can all be made from the remnants of the beetle.
All-Natural Fruit Juices
Unfortunately, virtually all fruit juices
that come from a conventional grocery store are just as bad as
soda, if not worse.
I'm not even talking about the
concentrated variety or the kind that are more like a fruit
punch. This applies to even the "100% Fruit Juice" that you
Fruit does contain a lot of sugar
and although the fruit is natural, without the fiber our bodies
cannot properly utilize the sugar being ingested and in turn,
excessive amounts turn into fat.
These juices are also almost always
pasteurized, which means they have been heated up to high
temperatures so any enzymes from these fruits are now dead,
making the proper digestion of these sugars even more difficult.
Also, many of these juices are
labeled natural despite having ingredients that are genetically
Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
Soybean oil is in so many processed and natural foods.
About half of the soybean oil that
is being used is hydrogenated, as soybean oil is too unstable
otherwise to be used in food manufacturing. One of the main
reasons for hydrogenating oils in the first place is that it
greatly extends its shelf life.
When oils are hydrogenated, trans
fats are a result from the hydrogenation process;
trans fats are not healthy for
us to consume.
Also, the majority of the soybean
crops in the United States are genetically modified,
which means these oils are going to be laced with chemical
pesticides such as
wheat flour may be a little bit
better than straight up white flour, manufacturers can literally
add any form of wheat to flour and label it as whole wheat.
Essentially this variety is stripped
of the majority of nutrients.
Agave syrup, which was once touted to be a health food, is
actually sweeter than sugar and it contains more calories.
The syrup is processed in such a way
that virtually strips the naturally occurring agave juice of its
nutritional value and what you are left with is basically just
The end product of agave production
contains more fructose than high fructose corn syrup and is
certainly not a health food and should definitely not be
Unfortunately, most dried fruit that is sold on the market today
and is often an ingredient in many natural foods is loaded with
sulphur dioxide, and often has
added sugars as well; these are added on top of the sugar that
is already in the dried fruit. In some cases, like in blueberry
muffins or blueberry oatmeal, what is masquerading as dried
fruit really isn't even fruit at all!
So watch out for that too!
The best way to avoid these ingredients is to thoroughly
read ingredient labels and try to stick to whole foods
as much as possible.
Whole foods do not have
ingredient labels, real food is ingredients, it doesn't have