(NaturalNews) It is commonly known that fast food, frozen pizzas and candy bars are filled with taste enhancers and other food additives. But did you know that food additives are also lurking in products that would seem at a glance to contain just one ingredient? Ironically, some of these items may even be things you are using to prepare foods from scratch at home in an effort to avoid the dangerous additives in pre-packaged meals. Following are some food items that seem so self-explanatory that you may be purchasing them without even checking the ingredients list.
Many varieties of tomato paste contain a surprising number of ingredients. Be especially wary of flavored or seasoned varieties of tomato paste. For example, one popular brand's "Italian Herb" variety contains all of the following ingredients: "tomato puree (tomato paste and water), high fructose corn syrup, salt, dried onions, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (soybean and/or cottonseed), spices, hydrolyzed corn gluten, soy & wheat gluten proteins, grated Romano cheese made from cow's milk (cultured milk, salt, enzymes), garlic, citric acid, yeast, soy flour."
Of course, varieties that are not flavored or seasoned often contain food additives, as well. "Natural flavor" is one additive that is commonly added to tomato paste, and it can disguise dangerous ingredients like MSG. Manufacturers are not required to reveal the components of their "natural flavorings" on food labels, so be sure to read carefully and select a brand of tomato paste that contains only, "tomatoes." (Note: If you prefer to purchase tomato paste contained in a glass jar, instead of a can, visit a natural food store or shop online for jarred options)
Peanut butter is another food that you may logically assume contains just one ingredient - peanuts. Unfortunately, most common commercial brands also contain health-depleting ingredients like sugar, corn syrup and hydrogenated vegetable oils (i.e., trans fat).
Ideally, purchase brands that are unsalted and contain only, "dry roasted peanuts." Many regular grocers may not carry plain, unsalted peanut butter, so you may need to shop at a natural food store or shop online for this item. Many regular grocers do carry at least one brand that contains only "peanuts and salt," though, if you don't mind the salt but prefer to avoid the corn syrup, trans fat, etc.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar offers an array of health benefits. It eases heartburn, joint pain and joint stiffness, improves skin complexion and bowel function, breaks down fat to aid in weight loss, etc. To reap these benefits, purchase raw (unpasteurized), organic and unfiltered varieties only. You may need to visit a natural food store or the health section of your regular grocer because this type of vinegar is usually not sold in the regular vinegar section. Read apple cider vinegar labels very carefully, as there are varieties that contain additives like coloring and flavoring agents. If you look closely, these imposters are actually labeled on the front of the bottle as "apple cider flavored vinegar" because they are actually comprised of white vinegar (made from corn, not apples) with artificial flavors and colors added to make them look and taste like apple cider vinegar.
About the author: Want more natural grocery shopping guidance or recipes? Christy Pooschke is author of "Eating Additive-Free" - a natural cookbook & grocery shopping guide. She is also the founder of a natural health online community packed with hundreds of natural recipes, an additive-free grocery shopping guide, natural living discussion forums, hundreds of holistic health and inspirational videos...and more! JOIN today! Christy developed a passion for holistic health after relieving her own Fibromyalgia symptoms through natural diet and lifestyle changes in 2007. Since then, she has worked tirelessly to inspire and encourage others to take control of their own health.