20 Ingredients To Memorize and Avoid In Any Food You Consume

Marco Torres, Prevent Disease
Waking Times

Artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, emulsifiers, sweeteners have saturated the food supply for more than four decades. We are on the precipice of discovering what our toxic food industry has done to our bodies and our environment. There is a heightened awareness and a sense of caution on the minds of most grocery shoppers, so let’s make it easier for them. Here are 25 of the most common toxic ingredients you must avoid in foods. The discovery of even one of these ingredients on a food label means “stay away.”

This list is by no means all inclusive as there are dozens of other culprits, but these are the most commonly used by the food industry with little regard to consumer’s health.

1. Artificial Flavors

Artificial flavorings are derived from chemicals made in a laboratory and offer absolutely no nutritional value and are a magnet for processed foods. They show up in almost everything today, including bread, cereals, flavored yogurt, soups mixes, and cocktail mixers, so they can be hard to avoid. Every single artificial flavor in the food industry has some kind of detrimental health effect. These include neurotoxicity, organ, developmental, reproductive toxicity and cancer.

2. Enriched Wheat

Wheat is already one of those grains that should be avoided, but the key word to watch out for is ‘enrichment’. That means niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, folic acid, and iron are added after these and other key nutrients are stripped out in the first place during the refining process. That applies to whether it’s wheat, rye, or other grains. Enriched flour is really just refined flour that has had a few nutrients re-added to it, but not enough to make any food made from this nutritionally worthy.

3. Hydrogentated or Fractionated Oils

Fractionating oil is a process most often used on palm and palm kernel oil that involves heating the oil, then cooling it quickly so that it breaks up into fractions (hence the name). The key thing is that the filtration process separates out most of the liquid part of the oil, leaving a high concentration of solid unhealthy fat behind which is terribly toxic for human consumption.

Hydrogenated oils are oils that are often healthy in their natural state, but are quickly turned into poisons through the manufacturing and processing they undergo. They take these naturally healthy oils such as palm, kernel, soybean, corn oil, canola oil or coconut oil and they heat it anywhere from five hundred to one thousand degrees. They then become fantastic preservatives because all the enzymatic activity in the oil has been neutralized during the hydrogenating process. Hydrogenated oils are the closest thing you can get to plastic sludge running through your body. If you see “hydrogenated” anywhere on an ingredient list, run like the wind.

4. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

The food additive “MSG” is a slow poison which hides behind dozens of names, such as natural flavoring, yeast extract, autolyzed yeast extract, disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate, caseinate, textured protein, hydrolyzed pea protein and many others. Currently, labeling standards do not require MSG to be listed in the ingredient list of thousands of foods.

MSG is not a nutrient, vitamin, or mineral and has no health benefits. The part of MSG that negatively affects the human body is the “glutamate”, not the sodium. The bound glutamic acid in certain foods (corn, molasses, wheat) is broken down or made “free” by various processes (hydrolyzed, autolyzed, modified or fermented with strong chemicals, bacteria, or enzymes) and refined to a white crystal that resembles sugar.

There are a growing number of Clinicians and Scientists who are convinced that excitotoxins play a critical role in the development of several neurological disorders, including migraines, seizures, infections, abnormal neural development, certain endocrine disorders, specific types of obesity, and especially the neurodegenerative diseases; a group of diseases which includes: ALS, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and olivopontocerebellar degeneration.

5. Sugar

The single largest source of calories for Americans comes from sugar.Sugar is loaded into your soft drinks, fruit juices, sports drinks, and hidden in almost all processed foods–from bologna to pretzels to Worcestershire sauce to cheese spread. And now most infant formula has the sugar equivalent of one can of Coca-Cola, so babies are being metabolically poisoned from day one if taking formula. Sugar changes metabolism, raises blood pressure, critically alters the signaling of hormones and causes significant damage to the liver — the least understood of sugar’s damages. These health hazards largely mirror the effects of drinking too much alcohol, which they point out in their commentary is the distillation of sugar. If it’s not a natural sugar, it doesn’t belong in your food.

6. High Fructose Corn Syrup

A few years ago, the Corn Refiners Association petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow the term ‘corn sugar’ as an alternative label declaration for high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The reason? Too many people were finding out how lethal HFCS was for the human body.

HFCS causes insulin resistancediabeteshypertension, increased weight gain, and not to mention manufactured from genetically modified corn.

7. Potassium Benzoate and Sodium Benzoate

Sodium Benzoate can convert into lethal carcinogenic poison when combined with absorbic acid. Professor Peter Piper, a professor of molecular biology and biotechnology, tested the impact of sodium benzoate on living yeast cells in his laboratory. What he found alarmed him: the benzoate was damaging an important area of DNA in the “power station” of cells known as the mitochondria. “These chemicals have the ability to cause severe damage to DNA in the mitochondria to the point that they totally inactivate it: they knock it out altogether.” he stated.

Potassium benzoate often shows up in seemingly innocuous foods such as apple cider, low-fat salad dressings, syrups, jams, olives, and pickles. It is just as hazardous as Sodium Benzoate so read your labels.

8. Artificial Coloring

Food colorings still on the market are linked with cancer. Blue 1 and 2, found in beverages, candy, baked goods and pet food, have been linked to cancer in mice. Red 3, used to dye cherries, fruit cocktail, candy, and baked goods, has been shown to cause thyroid tumors in rats. Green 3, added to candy and beverages, has been linked to bladder cancer. The widely used yellow 6, added to beverages, sausage, gelatin, baked goods, and candy, has been linked to tumors of the adrenal gland and kidney.

9. Acesulfame-K

Acesulfame-K, also known as acesulfame potassium, represents one of the food additives used for sweetening aliments and drinks. It is approved by the FDA, but there are several potential problems correlated with consumption of this food additive. Even though there are many studies that attest its safety, acesulfame potassium is still suspected of causing benign thyroid tumors. In rats, the development of such tumors took only 3 months, a period in which the concentration of this additive in the consumed food was between 1 and 5 percent. This is a very short period of time, so the substance is believed to have significant carcinogenic properties. Methylene chloride, a solvent used in the manufacture of acesulfame potassium, is the substance that may give the food additive its potential carcinogenic characteristics.

10. Sucralose 

Splenda/sucralose is simply chlorinated sugar; a chlorocarbon. Common chlorocarbons include carbon tetrachloride, trichlorethelene and methylene chloride, all deadly. Chlorine is nature’s Doberman attack dog, a highly excitable, ferocious atomic element employed as a biocide in bleach, disinfectants, insecticide, WWI poison gas and hydrochloric acid. Chlorocarbons are never nutritionally compatible with our metabolic processes and are wholly incompatible with normal human metabolic functioning. Sucralose is a very common additive in protein mixes and drinks so beware all of you who love to add these into your smoothies.

11. Aspartame

The sale of aspartame, with only four calories per gram and 200 times sweeter than sugar, is sold under the trademarks NutraSweet and Equal. Results indicate that aspartame is a multi-potential carcinogen, even consumed daily at 20 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. That is a lower quantity than the maximum recommended by the FDA. It’s one reason you should never purchase major brands of chewing gums.

12. BHA and BHT

Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydrozyttoluene (BHT) are used to preserve common household foods. Any processed food that has a long shelf life is often filled with BHA. They are found in cereals, chewing gum, potato chips, and vegetable oils. They are oxidants, which form potentially cancer-causing reactive compounds in your body.

13. Propyl Gallate 

Another preservative, often used in conjunction with BHA and BHT. It is sometimes found in meat products, chicken soup base, and chewing gum. Animals studies have suggested that it could be linked to cancer.

14. Sodium Chloride

A dash of sodium chloride, more commonly known as salt, is the culprit that the mainstream media and medical community claim we should stay away from. They’re right, but only because it’s not real salt. Common table salt (sodium chloride) has almost nothing in common with traditional rock or sea salt. If a food label lists salt, or sodium chloride as an ingredient, that’s the bad stuff and you need to avoid these foods wherever possible.

15. Soy

Although it’s often lauded as a healthy, cholesterol-free, cheap, low-fat protein alternative to meat, soy is NOT a health food. Any foods that list soy in any form as an ingredient should be avoided. Soy protein, soy isolate, and soy oil are present in about 60 percent of the foods on the market and have been shown to impair fertility and affect estrogen in women, lower sex drive, and trigger puberty early in children. Soy can also add to the imbalance between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.

The only soy products fit for human consumption are fermented and organic and I can guarantee you will never find this type of soy in any processed foods. The majority of soy is GMO and you can’t get around this. Regardless of who I am speaking with, soy is one of those foods I use to gauge the nutritional IQ of others. You would not believe how many health practitioners and even Naturopathic Doctors still think soy is a health food. Please don’t touch this stuff.

16. Corn

We are at the point where all corn products, including fresh corn should be avoided. The percentage of genetically modified corn is just far too high. You will never know if you are actually consuming organic corn. Modified cornstarch, dextrose, maltodextrin, and corn oil should all be avoided. All are high in omega-6 fatty acids, which can promote inflammation, cancer, and heart disease. While your body needs both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids to perform at its full potential, most experts recommend an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 1:1–currently most Americans consume about 15-20 times more omega-6 acids than omega-3s.

17. Potassium Sorbate

As one of the most prolific preservatives in the food industry, it is difficult to find an ice cream without potassium sorbate. However, it is not only recommended to avoid this chemical, it’s a necessity to eliminate it from our foods. The food industry and its scientists will parrot endless myths that potassium sorbate is not a health threat because of its safety record and non-toxic profile. This could not be further from the truth.

Food and chemical toxicology reports have labeled potassium sorbate as a carcinogen, showing positive mutation results in the cells of mammals. Other studies have shown broad systemic and toxic effects on non-reproductive organs in animals. No long term studies have ever been initiated on either animals or humans, so there is simply not enough evidence to theorize what could happen after years of ingesting this preservative. However, based on short-term carcinogenic and toxic effects, is it worth the risk to find out?

18. Soy Lecithin

Soy Lecithin has been lingering around our food supply for over a century. It is an ingredient in literally hundreds of processed foods, and also sold as an over the counter health food supplement. However, most people don’t realize what soy lecithin actually is, and why the dangers of ingesting this additive far exceed its benefits.

Soybean lecithin comes from sludge left after crude soy oil goes through a “degumming” process. It is a waste product containing solvents and pesticides. The toxic hexane extraction process is what is commonly used in soybean oil manufacture today. Another big problem associated with soy lecithin comes from the origin of the soy itself. Look out for this emulsifier in ice creams, chocolate and many processed creams.

19. Polysorbate 80

Polysorbate 80 has been found to negatively affect the immune system and cause severe anaphylactic shock which can kill. Food and Chemical Toxicology has shown that Polysorbate 80 causes infertility. It accelerates maturing, causes changes to the vagina and womb lining, hormonal changes, ovary deformities and degenerative follicles. What is very suspicious about this ingredient is its addition to vaccines. Scientists are obviously aware of its ability to cause infertility yet it continues to appear in children’s vaccines. You will also commonly find this in a child’s favorite treat, ice cream.

20. Canola oil

Canola or rapeseed oil is poisonous to living things and is an excellent insect repellent. It is an industrial oil, not a food. It is a genetically modified plant designed through intensive breeding and genetic engineering techniques. The Canadian government and industry paid the FDA $50 million dollars to have canola oil placed on the (GRAS) List, “Generally Recognized As Safe”. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find products that do not contain Canola oil. Please do not buy any food product containing canola oil.

About the Author

Marco Torres is a research specialist, writer and consumer advocate for healthy lifestyles. He holds degrees in Public Health and Environmental Science and is a professional speaker on topics such as disease prevention, environmental toxins and health policy.

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  • Jon

    Our problem is that we have become accustomed to processed foods and sugar otherwise making drastic changes in our diet would be no big deal. Once you’ve been off processed and toxic foods for awhile you won’t even notice the change, your body just has to get used to it first. Eat organic, grass fed meats, fish, veggies, fruits, rice, potatoes, nuts and seeds and you’ll be fine. Of course nowadays nothing is completely safe but guess what, you aren’t going to live forever. Another problem is that we think eating is about pleasure when in fact eating is about survival. So cutting out certain foods from your diet may not sound fun but nutrition isn’t about fun it’s about health.

    • Anonymous

      Carrying on a conversation about withdrawal from alcohol, chemicals and drugs with addicts is pointless. It is no different than people who are addicted to refined, highly processed, and chemical-laden food. They have millions of justifications for not detoxing and going through food rehab. There are also millions of people promoting and/or supporting their poor food choices and eating behavior. Education is vital so let’s not give up. But ultimately, we can’t be distracted by the addict who isn’t ready for self-love and discipline. Just move on to the next person who is ready to hear and act.

      • Lots of peple

        Let’s get real her folks. You have to eat to stay alive. Avoiding the foods that make sense like faty and sugary stuff is a no brainer. Eat bran, lots of veggies,fruits. Basicly stuff that tastes like crap then put spices on them so they are tasty enough to choke down.

        Drink water like a fish and get to walking with some exersize daily. Just do something to get moving around. All this lable reading will have you to the point where you can’t eat anything. You must EAT. Unless you have a cow,ckickens,a garden ect. in your back yard you must eat what is in the grocery store. Oh yeah, Organic is a fancy name for open up your wallet and hope no one put any kind of crap on or in you food.

        You must keep the bugs off your garden. With what? A pesticide maybe??????? Just get real here. Don’ eat 2 whoppers and sit down for 8 hrs. Eat 1 whopper and clean the house. Walk the dog. Hell Do something.

        Reading lables all day will having you thinking you can’t eat. YOU CAN. YOU WILL. And the food will come from your crocery store. LIKE IT OR NOT!!!!!!!!!

  • gita

    “We are at the point where all corn products, including fresh corn should be avoided”!!! Oh, for the hubris!… and we are in America!

  • Boaz

    Very inaccurate article, you provided no references to back up your arguments, and the way the article talks about these ingredients just sounds like “old wife tells”, but at the same time I don’t really believe in FDA any ways on what they say is safe or not, just spend an extra buck on organic food.

  • Gerard

    Here’s a tip: don’t shop from the inner aisles of the grocery store. That is where the majority of heavily processed foods are located. Dairy, grains, produce, meats, fish, etc. (almost all major food groups) are located on the outer isles (with the exception of markets like Sprouts). HOWEVER, still be very cautious of the ingredients in your breads, dairy, and so forth. As for produce, I recommend organic but it is pricer. If buying non-organic, at least wash the out side of the product before consuming.

    Friendly reminder: if it’s quick to make, odds are that it is not good for you.

    To healthy eating…cheers!

  • This article is very valuable piece of information! Had to re-blog this linking back to you as a source. This way it shall always be available my health & wellness archive. Thank you & keep up the great work! http://ybertaud9.wordpress.com/2013/03/12/20-ingredients-to-memorize-and-avoid-in-any-food-you-consume/

  • Sara

    Be proactive. Just buy and eat only organic food, even if you have to drive 10 miles to find a store that stocks it.

  • MachtNichts
    Had a pilot where I once worked before I retired. He said it was cooking with hog fat that killed his mother out on the farm in Illinois. He said she lived to 100 but would have probably made it to 105 using olive oil or other more healthy products!

    Not to make light of all the poisons that are in the food these days however. I notice even coca cola is going to stevia they say. Who would trust them now after years of aspartame?

    • MachtNichts

      a microbiologist, trying to develop a cancer marker for dogs, in his eternal, scientific wisdom, told me that if you make it in this world to 70years old it is because of your life style. Anything above that has to be contributed to your genes. True or not? You tell me, I don’t know.

  • Felicia

    I can tell anyone here that processed foods do no make a person healthy and that whole foods do. When i go grocery shopping I pass 80 % of the iles and buy the best stuff for my body. The man that needs proof is a walking experiment himself and can get the proof. To the people that need facts, this really is a no brainer. Come on! If you wanted facts you would find them instead of spouting off inside your little box of Ignorance . I used to do that too so i can definetly spot em. It is very logical that if you feed your body shit then it will eventually run like shit, if not sooner then later and visa versa. Like i said “no brainer”

  • MachNichts, probably true but I swear you run into people on the net who would argue that black is white. I did quit blogging for awhile, I am off an on with it.

    Lately I have tried to make beans and rice a staple. No telling what is in them either but at least I am not consciously trying to help Gates out. I try to grow some things but I think glycosophate is all in the soil in many places from the air. Squash dies right off. The home owners assoc here says they are trying to kill the algae blooms around the lake so they spray it with round up using my money and the other home owners. I have written them for years telling them expect to be sued when I find an honest attorney. (yeah I know good luck). They got their wish, there was a turtle die off and I am sure the entire lake is poisoned now.

    I had one old friend tell me recently he was not at all upset to be coming to the end of the road the way things are going. One already years ago I can remember sitting in the club ordering a double jack daniels and lightning up a cigarette. His reasoning was he did not want to become a vegetable, go quick, massive stroke or heart attack!

    For years I thought margarine was better for you than butter, but now I find it is just the opposite and margarine is poison after eating it for years.

    But as I say, rice and beans are good for a staple, adding fruit vegetables, nuts, grains. Most everything processed these days has some type depopulation additive. And the idea of labeling GMO is a good idea for people to work on.


    • MachtNichts

      Serve me up a double shot of vodka, cold but no ice and we can go for a smoke. I guess, I’m in the wrong place here talking like this but your black and white analogy is so true. Hanging around as a vegetable is not my intention either.

      I never quit butter, and I never quit eggs. How about a side of bacon? LOL. Rice from Japan and beans out of a tin can? The game is rigged, we can’t win unless our bodies become immune to all the crap. Probably not in my life time.

      I live in an area that, maybe, has 40 consecutive frost free days a year. And that is not guaranteed. So, any serious gardening would have to be in a green house.

      Cheers to rice and beans and butter and bacon!

      • Jon

        Funny thing is I’ve had well respected nutritionists say that even rice and beans aren’t completely safe. That leaves butter and bacon as long it’s not fried!

  • dust in the wind

    even growing your food wont get rid of problems. weather permitting it is the best alternative to the crap in food we have now. This last year we had a beetle out break and a short spring to summer days, hot days, that turned plants to seeding early. what the bugs did not get, we got a little. Ants and other pest are a power unto to them selves that all farmers have to deal with.
    Critters will eat up every thing they can. Rabbit soup any one? so if you don’t spray for some insect or critter problem, the yield out put is bad and inedible. In some places where they have drought in the desert,(hah) you cant grow a dang thing cause it is against the law to use water.??? seems like it would be first priority for food and life in general, but go figure. who cares if the trees are dead, and nothing but dirt to eat. well unless you have a cactus garden.
    Why do they need all the chems in the food we have now any ways. When you see new and improved on a food label it should make you ask…what was wrong with the other stuff?…and if children were really the issue why are they feeding them crap in kids foods? kid is a term for goat. an animal…children..the right word for humans little people.
    Feed them goats shit for food and watch the adhd heavy vaccine metals go to work on the brains that are a shame to waist. remember this is your brain on foods.

  • Rachel

    The only moderately safe way to eat is to grow your own organic food in greenhouses and make everything you eat from scratch. Greenhouses are important because all the air is filthy and the rain is unsafe.

  • You can see from some of the comments why there is no hope for the west. You can lay out the facts for some and they do not recognize it as fact. They wish for you to hold their hand and lead them through one link … one scientific study after another for things anyone with a room temperature I.Q. would have looked up themselves 20 years ago provided they are not simply new to the world of computers.

    For some the facts are too brutal to shatter the dream world they have sold themselves on. Matt go down to Mickey D’s and have another chemical hamburger.

    • MachtNichts

      Now, Mick, be nice, all those ignorant people don’t need to be trashed. They need a helping hand. It’s up to them to take it or leave it. The above article is very informative, but what the hell are you gonna do? Starve? No, you try and mitigate. Everyone to his own.

      As for the dream world, are we not all living in one? And facts are not the same for everyone.

      Happy to see you back in the game. Thought, you quit awhile ago.

  • Sarah

    Is there any place or country on Earth that doesnt have foods for sale in stores that have this kind of junk in it?

    Is there are country that actually has banned all this junk from being put into food?

    I’d really like to know so I can take my family and move there. Or is it just better to dump the society and go start our own in the remote sections of the country with our own laws, our own rules, and our own way of doing things, with no more junk, no more poisons, no more FDA/EPA/government meddling.

    • Dave

      Many countries in Europe and around the world have banned many ingredients. In most countries ingredients must be proved to be healthy in order to be used but in the U.S. they must be proved unhealthy to be banned and between that and the food corporations lobbyists this problem is likely to continue for a long time.

  • dogg

    No corn, no wheat, no barley, no soy. So what’s left to eat, besides oats, which are also known to be GMO. Guess we’ll be 3rd world and eat nothing but rice?

    • kg

      My thoughts exactly!

    • Andrea

      Rice contains arsenic. 🙂 The only thing left are potatoes. Organic, though, because potatoes absorb pesticides.

    • Jon

      Eat organic meats, veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds. You know, what human beings ate for thousands of years before processed food.

  • Matt

    I don’t see any references or facts to back any of this up. Can you provide fact data? Simply telling someone to avoid certain things is not fact.

    • Samantha

      I agree with this. Many people in the medical community (myself included) would love to relay this information to friends and colleagues. Unfortunately in order to do so, I need credible references… Pulling information like this out of thin air is interesting BUT I would get laughed at without solid research to support this argument.

      Regarding vaccines – there may be trace elements of harmful things in them but they save children from diseases that were once deadly or debilitating, and their livers will be able to process those small amounts just fine. There is solid research to support their safety, and parents who want the best for their children will be devestated when their child loses their hearing from mumps or ends up with any other complications from preventable diseases.

      Thanks for this post though : )

  • F.





    • Jon


    • Anonymous

      MIssed the point of the article much? How’s that for grammar?

  • tamara

    I know about all these ingredients, but really its about time that the nutrition writers come up with alternatives instead of just telling us what we can’t eat. Sometimes those alternatives are expensive and since this is a metaphysical type newsletter, I wonder if they forget that we create our reality. Continuing to put our attention on how BAD these ingredients are just creates more of the same. Moderation and meditation with exercise and keeping a higher vibration will offset much of the negativity. I’m just tired of reading these beware the danger articles. Balance is key.

  • pw

    well then ill just eat nothing because my supermarket and each food has at east 2 of these ingredients in them

  • This is exactly why a Detox is so important, to rid the body of these harmful Toxins that have accumulated in our system over time. Naturally when the Glass is full it overflows and our Body’s answer with Dis-ease.

    • M H

      I believe in detox too but we need to hear about the food we should eat not only the food that is bad for us.

    • Ana

      Sure, Well informed adults with a steady paycheck and access to organic food sources can afford to detox their bodies regularly. How about school kids with busy parents? How about people who work 3 jobs and have no time to be smart eaters?
      How about the rural population? Are you saying its okay if they get cancer or become slaves to our already broken healthcare system?

      I hate when detox is quoted as a solution to the ills brought upon by the humongous morally bankrupt food industry. Whatever happened to “food is thy medicine?” since when did adding poison to food become okay with FDA, the government and the powers that be?

  • * Geeeeze!….if I didn’t know any better…you’d think they were trying to kill us all…’gottaluv’ the nanny-state….If you put your ear on the rails & listen carefully…you just might detect the echo of jackboots on the cobblestones, coming to a town near you real soon.

    • babette

      I hear them clear as day! What’s in our DRINKING WATER is another scary story…

    • Anonymous

      I prefer to believe they are trying to kill us in a slow debilitating, drug depending kind of way. This is an outstanding article.

      • Prometheus2020Rising

        That’s exactly what they are doing and they have designed to squeeze maximum profit from it.

        It fuels the medical-pharma industry. If everyone became healthy and didn’t need to take pharmaceuticals or go to the doctor it would have a devastating effect on the world economy.

        Unfortunately the only way around it is to grow your own food and raise your own farm animals or shop 100% from independent farmer markets.

    • Teresa

      I believe they are trying to kill us in a slow debilitating, drug depending kind of way. This is an outstanding article.

    • Lance Baker

      (applause) I love the sarcasm. And so very true. But, it was seen far before this time, Books like George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World are also very inspiring because they seem to have had a look into the future that is our time.

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