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Originally published February 18 2010

Common Additives in Your Food Contain Shocking Dangers, Part I

by Laura Weldon

(NaturalNews) Food marketers are vying harder than ever for your shopping dollar. They use any of 14,000 additives to make their products last longer, taste fresher or seem more appealing. The health effects of these compounds, especially in combination, are only gradually becoming apparent.

Read all the details in our four part series highlighting the worst compounds typically added to the food supply.

Acesulfame-K is an artificial sweetener so strong it is reportedly 200 times sweeter than sugar. It is found in baked goods, chewing gum, candy, desserts, beverages, oral hygiene and pharmaceutical products, table use sweeteners, canned foods and snacks.

Center for Science in the Public Interest has urged the FDA to require better testing of acesulfame-K, since early studies were of limited duration and quality. Even those tests showed that acesulfame-K may cause thyroid problems or cancer.

Our use of artificial sweeteners even impacts our planet's water. Results of Swiss research, reported in Environmental Science & Technology, indicate these sweeteners pass through our bodies and into the waterways where they persist in rivers, lakes and groundwater. The researchers compared water samples from 10 wastewater treatment plants, four rivers and nine lakes plus urban groundwater and tap water. Looking for four artificial sweeteners, they found that three of the four did not persist after water treatment. But acesulfame-K was found in the same concentrations in untreated and treated water, destined for lakes and rivers. It was present in 65 of 100 groundwater samples and found in tap water as well. Scientists are not aware if it has any impact on the environment.

Artificial colors are almost exclusively used in food and drink with low nutritional value. Such foods include candy, beverages, pet food, baked goods, gelatin desserts, oral hygiene and pharmaceutical products, snacks and cereals.

Despite disagreement from the food industry, artificial colors do have a negative effect on behavior. That was the conclusion reached after a comprehensive analysis of the medical literature. David Schab of Columbia University Medical center, who co-authored the study, said, "The science shows that kids' behavior improves when these artificial colorings are removed from their diets and worsens when they're added to their diets."

A British study tested 297 children for sensitivity to artificial coloring. These children were not previously noted to have any reaction to such additives by their parents. The results, published in the medical journal The Lancet, stated, "Artificial colours or a sodium benzoate preservative (or both) in the diet result in increased hyperactivity in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children."

Exposure to artificial coloring has drastically increased in the U.S. in the last few generations. The amount of food coloring certified for use by the FDA in 1955 was 12 milligrams per capita per day. By 2007 the number had risen to 59 milligrams per capita per day, meaning five times as much was certified for use.

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About the author

Laura Weldon lives on an organic farm and believes in bliss. Learn more about her book "Free Range Learning" by visiting at

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