(NaturalNews) It is common knowledge that candy bars, chips and fast food aren't healthful, so it's no surprise to find food additives in those ingredients lists. However, there are a surprising number of additives lurking in more innocent-sounding products like applesauce and sour cream, as well. Shoppers may logically assume that foods like these contain just one ingredient, but often they contain much more.
Sometimes, consumers are purposely choosing these types of foods instead of more highly-processed items because they want to avoid the health effects of chemical additives. Unfortunately, many seemingly "whole food" choices often contain the very same additives and hidden sources of MSG that are found in things like fast food! These chemicals are added to foods because they increase food industry profits by reducing production costs, extending shelf life, and increasing sales by making products more addictive.
If you wish to avoid these additives, you must read the ingredients list on everything you purchase, regardless of how self-explanatory you think the product should be. Following are examples of some foods you may not suspect contain chemical additives.
Applesauce While it is possible to make applesauce from just apples, this is not often the case with commercial varieties. Many contain chemical flavorings and high fructose corn syrup! To be safe, select an unsweetened variety and verify on the ingredients list that it contains only "apples."
Butter The only ingredient required for making butter is "cream" or "cultured cream." Some varieties also contain salt, but you may be surprised how many brands also contain additives like "natural flavor," "citric acid," and "annatto." Natural flavor is commonly added to "unsalted" varieties of butter to compensate for the lesser flavor. Annatto is sometimes added to give a yellowish appearance to butter made from poor quality cream. Read the labels closely, and choose brands that list only organic "(cultured) cream" or organic "(cultured) cream and salt" as the ingredients.
Peanuts Peanuts sound like such a pure, whole food snack, but you may be surprised to see how many ingredients are listed on the back of the package - regardless of how healthful and "MSG-Free" the product claims to be on the front label. Many brands contain more than a handful of additives, including MSG and high fructose corn syrup! Be selective and choose brands that contain only "peanuts" or "peanuts and salt."
Sour Cream The only ingredient required for making sour cream is "cultured cream." The first ingredient listed on the label of some varieties of commercial sour cream is "milk." Because cream is much thicker than milk, additives like carrageenan, modified food starch and guar gum must be added to such varieties to thicken them into a sour cream consistency. Additives are also prevalent in "reduced-fat" and "fat-free" sour cream varieties for the same reason. Read the labels and select a brand that contains only organic "cultured cream."
Syrup Certainly no one is under the impression that eating pancake syrup is a healthful way to start the day, but it may surprise many consumers to learn that the majority of syrup available at the grocery store contains absolutely no maple syrup! Instead, most varieties contain high fructose corn syrup mixed with additives like artificial flavors, coloring agents, and "hexametaphosphate." Check the ingredients to be sure you purchase syrup that contains only "pure maple syrup." It will cost much more than the corn syrup imposters, but when you consider that it takes 40-60 gallons of real, natural sap to make each gallon of pure maple syrup, it is easy to understand the price difference.
Anglesey, D. Battling the MSG Myth: A Survival Guide and Cookbook. Kennewick: Front Porch Productions, 1997.
Blaylock, R.L. Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills. Santa Fe: Health Press, 1997
About the author
At GroceryGeek.com, Christy Pooschke teaches consumers how to reduce their reliance on processed food. Christy is also the author of an "Additive-Free" Cookbook & Grocery Shopping Guide, and she offers personalized consultations, as well! Check out her blog to learn how to shop for and prepare additive-free, natural foods. You'll love the free recipes, shopping tips and videos! Subscribe to "Grocery Geek" via email on the site's main page or follow Grocery Geek on Facebook! Christy's passion for eating REAL food was sparked in 2007 when she eliminated her Fibromyalgia symptoms through diet and lifestyle changes. Until this time, she had been ingesting a Standard American Diet of boxed dinners, soda pop, candy and fast food; and she was very ill. Since regaining her health with an additive-free diet, Christy has been on a mission to educate others about the dangers lurking in their cabinets and to help them achieve maximum health by reducing their reliance on processed foods. In her free time, Christy operates Completely Nourished, Inc., a non-profit organization she founded to educate folks about natural foods, natural health and natural living. Check out the resources, recipes and online community available at www.CompletelyNourished.org. It's free!