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15 Ingredients You Don't Want in Your Grocery Cart


Acesulfame-K is an artificial sweetener that may cause cancer and affects the thyroid in some animals. It is used in baked goods, chewing gum, gelatin desserts and soft drinks.

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener (Equal, NutraSweet) used in low-calorie and diet foods. It has caused brain tumors, lymphomas and leukemia in rats.

BHA and BHT are phenolic-compound preservatives used to prevent fats and oils from spoiling. They are used in cereals, chewing gum, vegetable oils, potato chips and some food packaging. The same oxidative reactions in the preservatives may be linked to cancer, but also are believed to combat oxidative stress; the two compounds also may have antiviral and antimicrobial benefits.

Blue 1 is a dye used to color candy, beverages and baked goods. It may cause cancer.

Blue 2 is a dye used to color pet food, candy and beverages. It has caused brain tumors in mice.

Carmine is a red coloring made up of dead, ground cochineal beetles. It increases the risk of brain cancer.

Genetically modified ingredients are marked on PLU codes on fruits and vegetables. The PLU code for genetically modified fruit has five numbers prefaced by the numeral 8.

Hydrogenated oils are used to extend shelf life by making oils remain in the food. They are found in many manufactured foods like crackers, cookies, margarine and more. They cause heart disease, nutritional deficiencies and deteriorate cellular health.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is an excitotoxin (over-excites your nerve cells to the point of harming them) used as a flavor enhancer but can cause cardiac arrhythmia, obesity, eye damage, headaches, depression and fatigue. On product labels it also is listed as yeast extract, tortula yeast, autolyzed or hydrolyzed vegetable protein, calsium caseinate, sodium caseinate or textured protein.

Olestra (brand name Olean) is a synthetic fat substitute that cannot be absorbed by your body and may reduce its ability to absorb beneficial fat-soluble nutrients. It can cause diarrhea or loose stools, abdominal cramps and gas.

Potassium bromate is used in breads to increase the volume and enhance the crumb structure. Banned in most of the world, bromate can cause cancer in animals.

Propyl gallate is a preservative used to prevent fats and oils from spoiling. It is used in vegetable oils, meat products, chicken soup base and chewing gum. It is a suspected carcinogen. In some studies it caused cancer in rats.

Red 3 is a dye used in cherries, fruit cocktail, candy and baked goods. It causes thyroid tumors in rats.

Sodium nitrite is a color-fixer chemical used to make meats red, a flavor enhancer and preservative. It is found in processed meats such as bacon, hot dogs and sausage. It can cause cancer.

Yellow 6 is a dye used in candy, gelatin, sausage and baked goods. It can cause adrenal gland and kidney tumors.

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