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8 ingredients you never want to see on the nutrition label.
 
 
Read your ingredients and avoid these poisons! 
 
 
BHA 
 
This preservative is used to prevent rancidity in foods that contain oils. Unfortunately, BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) has been shown to cause cancer in rats, mice, and hamsters. The reason the FDA hasn’t banned it is largely technical—the cancers all occurred in the rodents’ forestomachs, an organ that humans don’t have. Nevertheless, the study, published in the Japanese Journal of Cancer Research, concluded that BHA was “reasonably anticipated to be a carcinogen,” and as far as I’m concerned, that’s reason enough to eliminate it from your diet. 
 
You’ll find it in: Fruity Pebbles, Cocoa Pebbles 
 
Parabens 
 
These synthetic preservatives are used to inhibit mold and yeast in food. The problem is parabens may also disrupt your body’s hormonal balance. A study in Food Chemical Toxicology found that daily ingestion decreased sperm and testosterone production in rats, and parabens have been found present in breast cancer tissues. 
 
You’ll find it in: Baskin-Robbins sundaes 
 
Partially Hydrogenated Oil 
 
I’ve harped on this before, but it bears repeating: Don’t confuse “0 g trans fat” with being trans fat-free. The FDA allows products to claim zero grams of trans fat as long as they have less than half a gram per serving. That means they can have 0.49 grams per serving and still be labeled a no-trans-fat food. Considering that two grams is the absolute most you ought to consume in a day, those fractions can quickly add up. The telltale sign that your snack is soiled with the stuff? Look for partially hydrogenated oil on the ingredient statement. If it’s anywhere on there, then you’re ingesting artery-clogging trans fat. 
 
You’ll find it in: Long John Silver’s Popcorn Shrimp, Celeste frozen pizzas 
 
FIGHT FAT WITH FAT! Some fats, like trans fat, will pad you with extra pounds, but other types can help you shed unwanted weight. See for yourself—pick up these 5 Fatty Foods that Make You Skinny today! 
 
Sodium Nitrite 
 
Nitrites and nitrates are used to inhibit botulism-causing bacteria and to maintain processed meats’ pink hues, which is why the FDA allows their use. Unfortunately, once ingested, nitrite can fuse with amino acids (of which meat is a prime source) to form nitrosamines, powerful carcinogenic compounds. Ascorbic and erythorbic acids—essentially vitamin C—have been shown to decrease the risk, and most manufacturers now add one or both to their products, which has helped. Still, the best way to reduce risk is to limit your intake. 
 
You’ll find it in: Oscar Mayer hot dogs, Hormel bacon 
 
Caramel Coloring 
 
This additive wouldn't be dangerous if you made it the old-fashioned way—with water and sugar, on top of a stove. But the food industry follows a different recipe: They treat sugar with ammonia, which can produce some nasty carcinogens. How carcinogenic are these compounds? A Center for Science in the Public Interest report asserted that the high levels of caramel color found in soda account for roughly 15,000 cancers in the U.S. annually. Another good reason to scrap soft drinks? They’re among The 20 Worst Drinks in America. 
 
You’ll find it in: Coke/Diet Coke, Pepsi/Diet Pepsi 
 
Castoreum 
 
Castoreum is one of the many nebulous “natural ingredients” used to flavor food. Though it isn’t harmful, it is unsettling. Castoreum is a substance made from beavers’ castor sacs, or anal scent glands. These glands produce potent secretions that help the animals mark their territory in the wild. In the food industry, however, 1,000 pounds of the unsavory ingredient are used annually to imbue foods—usually vanilla or raspberry flavored—with a distinctive, musky flavor. 
 
You’ll find it in: Potentially any food containing “natural ingredients” 
 
Food Dyes 
 
Plenty of fruit-flavored candies and sugary cereals don’t contain a single gram of produce, but instead rely on artificial dyes and flavorings to suggest a relationship with nature. Not only do these dyes allow manufacturers to mask the drab colors of heavily processed foods, but certain hues have been linked to more serious ailments. A Journal of Pediatrics study linked Yellow 5 to hyperactivity in children, Canadian researchers found Yellow 6 and Red 40 to be contaminated with known carcinogens, and Red 3 is known to cause tumors. The bottom line? Avoid artificial dyes as much as possible. 
 
You’ll find it in: Lucky Charms, Skittles, Jell-O 
 
THE DOMINO EFFECT: Sugar doesn’t just come in the form of cookies and candy. Discover the insidious ways it can creep into your diet with 9 Sneaky Sources of Sugar. 
 
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein 
 
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein, used as a flavor enhancer, is plant protein that has been chemically broken down into amino acids. One of these acids, glutamic acid, can release free glutamate. When this glutamate joins with free sodium in your body, they form monosodium glutamate (MSG), an additive known to cause adverse reactions—headaches, nausea, and weakness, among others—in sensitive individuals. When MSG is added to products directly, the FDA requires manufacturers to disclose its inclusion on the ingredient statement. But when it occurs as a byproduct of hydrolyzed protein, the FDA allows it to go unrecognized. 
 
White Poison: The Horrors of Milk 
 
The pus, blood, antibiotics, and carcinogens in milk -- and the chronic fatigue, anemia, asthma and autoimmune disorders caused by milk consumption -- do no body good. 
 
December 2, 2001 |
 
Got milk? If not, then thank your lucky stars. Because if you do, medical research shows that you are likely to be plagued by anemia, migraine, bloating, gas, indigestion, asthma, prostate cancer, and a host of potentially fatal allergies -- especially if you are a person of color. 
 
Ignoring this, the government declares that milk is essential to good health, subsidizes the milk industry to the tune of billions of dollars, and requires milk in its public school lunch programs. And celebrity shills sporting milk mustaches tell us that milk is rich in proteins, calcium, and vitamins -- and very cool to boot. 
 
They forget to tell you about the dangers lurking in that innocuous-looking glass of white. Once criticized only by naturopaths and vegans, now the health effects of milk are being decried by many mainstream doctors. The supposedly hip milk mustache is actually a creamy layer of mucus, live bacteria, and pus. 
 
Former Chairman of Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University, Frank Oski, M.D. even has a book called Don't Drink Your Milk which blames every second health problem kids suffer on hormone-ridden commercial milk. Sixty percent of ear infections in kids under six years of age are milk-induced, and milk consumption is the number one cause of iron-deficiency anemia in infants today according to the American Association of Pediatrics. 
 
But milk is also a racial issue. Almost 90 percent of African Americans and most Latinos, Asians, and Southern Europeans lack the genes necessary to digest lactose, the primary sugar in milk. The milk industry's response is classic: they have launched new campaigns arguing that non-whites can digest milk if they take in small sips during the day. There is a burgeoning industry worth $450 million a year churning out products designed to minimize lactose intolerance. 
 
Lactose intolerance is the most common "food allergy," but to call it an allergy is to take a white-centric view that trivializes the fact that most of the world's people are not biologically designed to digest milk. 
 
Milk does no body good, but for the vast majority of the world's people -- people of color -- it is a public health disaster. 
 
No other animal drinks cow's milk, not even calves once they are weaned. The late Dr. Benjamin Spock, the U.S.'s leading authority on child care, spoke out against feeding "cow's glue" to children, saying it can cause anemia, allergies, and diabetes and in the long term, will set kids up for obesity and heart disease, the number one cause of death in this country. 
 
Most of milk's much-vaunted protein is contained in casein -- which is also a raw material for commercial glue. Undigested, it simply sticks to the intestinal walls and blocks nutrient absorption. 
 
The mainstream media and the government ignore the medical studies showing that milk is a serious health threat, in part because people of color are the main victims. The institutionalization of racism is highlighted by U.S. Department of Agriculture spokesperson Eileen Kennedy's statement on milk, that the government's recommended food pyramid is intended for "the majority of Americans. It doesn't communicate to all Americans." 
 
The USDA continues to require that school lunch programs include milk with every meal, and recommend that we glug milk for calcium, even though Harvard studies show an increase in osteoporosis and bone-breakage in people who consume milk. It says we should drink milk to prevent heart disease (and is echoed by Larry King) even though saturated fat constitutes 55 percent of milk solids. 
 
The dairy lobby perpetrates lies to ensure its profits. It benefits directly from the exaggerated support prices the government shells out for this "health food." The government pays over a billion dollars a year for surplus butter. A General Accounting Office (GAO) study concluded that a reduction in the government price support system would have netted consumers savings of $10.4 billion from 1986 to 2001. And the USDA pays inflated prices to purchase dairy products for both the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and federal school lunch programs -- milking the taxpayers and actually getting them to pay for poisoning 26 million school kids. 
 
The milk lobby has whipsawed its way into the highest echelons of power. Staffers under Richard Nixon were indicted for accepting $300,000 from the dairy lobby for making milk part of the school lunch program. 
 
Dr. Robert Cohen of the Dairy Education Board, a nonprofit organization dedicated to exposing the milk lobby, contends that the dramatic 52 percent rise in asthma deaths among minority kids in New York coincided with the surplus milk, cheese, and butter pumped into them under the USDA's free school lunch and breakfast giveaway programs. The incidence of asthma deaths may be even higher since asthma is not a reportable disease, and asthma deaths are sometimes certified as cardiovascular disease. 
 
There is also a direct link between milk consumption and prostate cancer among African Americans, who have the highest incidence of this disease in the world. A study in Cancer has shown that men who reported drinking three or more glasses of whole milk daily had a higher risk for prostate cancer than men who reported never drinking whole milk. 
 
The controversial Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH) -- banned in most countries -- is pumped into U.S. milch cows to increase annual yield (50,000 pounds of milk per cow today compared to 2,000 pounds in 1959). Milk from cows treated with BGH is likely to contain pus from their udders since the hormone leads to mastitis, or udder infection. BGH use results in a tumor-promoting chemical (IGF-I) that has been implicated in an explosive increase of cancer of the colon, smooth muscle, and breast. 
 
The antibiotics dairy farmers use to treat BGH-caused infections in cows appear in their milk and greatly hasten human tolerance to most antibiotics, a potentially life-threatening state of affairs. The Center for Science in the Public Interest reports that 38 percent of milk samples in 10 cities were contaminated with sulfa drugs and other antibiotics. 
 
A fightback is beginning. Protesters picketed New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's planned milk promotion campaign with a photo of the mayor wearing a milk mustache over the caption, "Got Prostate Cancer?" Giuliani (who, like his father, has prostate cancer) dropped the campaign. And doctors from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) persuaded Washington, D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams not to declare May 11 as "Drink Chocolate Milk Day" by presenting evidence that milk is harmful, especially to people of color. 
 
The PCRM -- composed of some of the leading doctors in the U.S. -- has campaigned extensively in the health and consumer press and led a successful legal effort in 1999 to make dairy products optional in the federal food guidelines. The campaign was supported by a number of prominent civil rights organizations and leaders, including the Congressional Black Caucus, the NAACP, Martin Luther King, III, Jesse Jackson, Jr., the National Hispanic Medical Association, and former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders. 
 
The dairy lobby remains cozy with most medical practitioners to perpetrate its "drink milk" propaganda. However, not one of the 1,500 papers listed in Medicine that deal with milk points to its goodness -- only to the pus, blood, antibiotics, and carcinogens in milk, and the chronic fatigue, anemia, asthma, and autoimmune disorders milk consumption causes. 
 
The time has come for the milk industry to face the kind of scrutiny that the tobacco companies face today. Meanwhile, discard the moo juice. 
 
Shanti Rangwani is an allopathic doctor and a columnist for the Times of India 
 

 

 

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