Before the mid-19th century, food colorings were natural and found in plants. But then manufacturers realized they could produce them cheaper with chemicals, so now we have bright colors from unnatural substances such as Red No. 2 or Yellow 5! Research has linked the consumption of these synthetic artificial colors to tumors. And in children, hyperactivity symptoms can be linked to high and/or regular consumption of these ingredients.
It would be hard to find a food nowadays that doesn’t have some kind of dye in it, and the most popular ones are beverages like juices or sports drinks. Candy also uses these dyes for their colors; companies even use these red flag ingredients on things you might think are in common with artificial colors. That includes foods like meats and fish — think that bright red on a steak at the market or that perfect pink on the salmon. If you watch “The Wedding Planner,” you may recall a scene where Jennifer Lopez’s character sits under a tree watching a movie and munching on M&M’s. She would throw away all the colors and only eat the brown ones. Maybe, just maybe, she knew something about the dangers of food colorings!
Unfortunately, in this category, children are at higher risk. And the manufacturers have not been messing around when it comes to artificial food dyes. In fact, in just 50 years, their consumption has increased by 500%. So no, we are not just talking about M&M’s and other candies, but also in an alarming number of different foods, from breakfast cereals to salad dressings. So is it even possible to avoid food coloring altogether?
While it may not be easy, it is undoubtedly possible to escape the consumption of food colorings. The first step is to become a label reader. Many foods that contain food colorings are processed and packaged goods. By checking the ingredient list, we can avoid buying these products altogether. When choosing fresh foods, such as fruits and vegetables, opt for naturally colorful ones instead of artificially dyed ones. And finally, cook at home as much as possible. This way, you can control what goes into your food – and avoid any unwanted ingredients. Keep reading to learn more about red flag ingredients and common terms you should be avoiding.
So, jumping from food to beauty products, we find a group of ingredients called parabens. Companies commonly use parabens as a family of related preservatives in cosmetic products. They may add these red flag ingredients to protect both the product and the consumer from harmful bacteria, mold growths, or other microbes that could arise during storage due to their antimicrobial properties. But if you thought we were only fighting the food industry, wait till you hear about the beauty industry!
Many cosmetics and personal care products use chemical parabens. These include, but are not limited to, makeup, moisturizers for the skin (think face lotion), hair care items like shampoos or conditioners to make your locks look shiny, and shaving creams. The list is long when it comes to these controversial substances! There are few health concerns surrounding possible links between long-term exposure to parabens and diseases, and the list may even include breast cancer.
In a study by Berger in 2018, girls who wear makeup every day have 20 times the amount of propylparaben in their urine compared to those that never or rarely wear it. This should be highly alarming, considering the link to so many health problems. It shows that parabens can act like the hormone estrogen in our bodies and disrupt the normal functioning of our hormonal systems, affecting both males and females alike. Research also links them to an increased risk for reproductive disorders such as testicular cancers and reproductive development in men, as well as fertility and birth outcomes in women.
The light at the end of the tunnel is that major brands have started removing parabens from their line-up. Some because they are being more conscientious, and others, quite frankly, because more and more people are choosing more natural products that are paraben-free, and they have no choice but to adapt. And this is a capitalist society, and the offerings depend largely on the consumer’s demand.
Ever wonder why your shampoo is so foamy? The answer lies in a common ingredient known as Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS). SLS is a surfactant, which means that it lowers the surface tension of liquids, allowing them to mix more easily. This will enable it to penetrate dirt and grime more easily, making it an ideal cleaning agent. You can find this ingredient in shampoos, soaps, tubes of toothpaste, and even laundry detergents. It is also a key ingredient in many car washes and engine-degreasing products. SLS helps to create a rich lather that can effectively remove dirt and oil.
When in small amounts, SLS can be a helpful tool for keeping your home clean and your car engine running smoothly. But it’s important to remember that this chemical can also be quite harmful if not used properly. SLS is known for being an irritant, and on one end of the spectrum, it can cause dryness, redness, and itching. Yet, in severe cases, you may develop a rash or hives.
What to do if you believe you have an adverse reaction to this irritant? Your doctor can prescribe a patch test, and you can take it from there. Like parabens, many companies have started looking for alternative surfactants that are gentler on the skin. If you are one of those people that cannot tolerate it and need to change, the change will take some getting used to.
Do you remember making the change to SLS-free and fluoride-free toothpaste? You may recall that sensation of brushing your teeth and not feeling the foam in your mouth was… strange?! You don’t have to go that far if it is too much to bear. A popular toothpaste like Sensodyne is SLS-free and doesn’t get that much getting used to. Nevertheless, SLS still remains a popular choice in many shampoos and other products due to its low cost and high level of efficacy. Keep reading to learn more about red flag ingredients and common terms you should be avoiding.
” A Woman’s Perfume Tells More About Her Than Her Handwriting.” – Christian Dior
Yes, this red flag ingredient can be something so pleasing and has the ability to alter your mood so quickly. Yet we can just call it by the name of the fragrance, and it encompasses so much. It is not just the subtle perfume we spray on the neck and wrists but a complete group of chemical blends that can irritate the skin and respiratory system. In addition, some fragrances contain phthalates, which are endocrine disruptors, and research links these to developmental problems in children.
From the moment we wake up, aromas bombard our sense of smell. We start our day with a hot shower, lathering ourselves in fragrant soap. Then we apply deodorant, perfume, or cologne. As we walk out the door, other smells, such as fresh-brewed coffee or frying bacon, greet us. And that’s just the beginning. Throughout the day, we encounter countless other odors, both pleasant and unpleasant. This barrage of smells is relatively new; until recently, humans didn’t go around smelling like a bouquet of flowers. So how did this change?
In a word: marketing. In the early 20th century, perfumers began to market their products not just as functional items but also as fashion accessories. They convinced consumers that wearing fragrance was a way to express their individuality and attract attention. This message was so successful that it completely changed how people thought about scents. Today, the perfume industry is worth billions of dollars, $3.2 bn to be exact, and it shows no signs of slowing down.
However, the popularity of fragrance products has led to an increase in the use of synthetic fragrances, which can have a number of adverse effects on health. For example, synthetic fragrances can trigger allergies and asthma attacks. Research also links synthetic fragrances to cancer. In addition, many fragrance products contain phthalates, which are chemicals that can disrupt hormone function. As a result, it is essential to be careful when using fragrance products and to choose products with natural ingredients. Keep reading to learn more about red flag ingredients and common terms you should be avoiding.
Chances are good that you have triclosan in your home right now. Don’t believe me? Let me explain. Triclosan is a common ingredient in a wide range of personal care and household products, from soap and toothpaste to furniture and clothing. But what exactly is this substance, and why is it so ubiquitous?
Triclosan is a synthetic antimicrobial agent which people first developed in the 1960s for use as a surgical scrub. It wasn’t long before the first consumer product containing triclosan hit store shelves. Since then, a variety of consumer products have used this surgical scrub due to its ability to kill bacteria and other microbes.
Today, there is an estimation that triclosan is in more than 2,000 consumer products. And while manufacturers claim that triclosan provides extra protection against bacteria, there is little evidence to support these claims in the scientific community. In fact, some studies have shown that triclosan may actually do more harm than good.
Studies have shown that triclosan can disrupt hormone function, potentially leading to developmental and reproductive problems. Additionally, research links triclosan to a higher cancer risk and increases the risk of antibiotic resistance with increased concern that it may cause antibiotic-resistant superbugs! As a result, many countries are now banning or restricting the use of triclosan in consumer products. In spite of these concerns, triclosan remains a popular ingredient in many everyday household items. And we already know those manufacturers to be sneaky, so do me a favor, and when looking at the label, if you don’t see triclosan, then look for its cousin, triclocarban. Keep reading to learn more about red flag ingredients and common terms you should be avoiding.
A dough conditioner is a type of food additive companies use to improve the texture and quality of dough. It does this by adding moisture and fat, which help to make the dough more pliable and easier to work with. Dough conditioners also often contain enzymes, which help to break down the gluten molecules in flour, making the dough more tender.
In addition, they may also include emulsifiers, which help to keep the fat and water molecules evenly distributed throughout the dough. As a result, dough conditioners can profoundly impact the consistency and quality of baked goods, and that’s where you will find them the most prevalent. The most controversial dough conditioner out there is bromide. People first used it in the 1960s to replace potassium iodate, and companies use it widely in commercial baking due to the claims that it provides more dependable baking results.
On the other side of its glory, because there are at least two sides to any story, dough conditioners can cause problems for people with gluten sensitivities, as they may contain gluten or other allergens. But that’s not the worst of it. Dough conditioners actually mess with your thyroid’s ability to produce and use iodine — the most important regulator of your metabolism. Research also links this dangerous ingredient to different cancers, particularly of the kidneys and the thyroid. And last but not least important, they can cause DNA damage!
So, the next time you’re looking for light and fluffy biscuits or perfect pie crusts, be sure to steer clear of dough conditioners. For that, making your baked goods may take a bit more effort since commercial products are saturated with the ingredient. But in the long term, your body and health will actually thank you for it. Keep reading to learn more about red flag ingredients and common terms you should be avoiding.
Ethoxyquin is a synthetic chemical that companies use as a preservative in foods and as a pesticide. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies it as a hazardous substance, which is why many countries ban it. Research links ethoxyquin to cancer, liver damage, and reproductive problems. Doctors also consider it an endocrine disruptor, which can interfere with the body’s hormone system. Despite these risks, ethoxyquin is still present in the United States as a preservative widely used in pet food.
Ethoxyquin, as a chemical preservative, is a common ingredient in pet. It dates back to the 1950s. But many pet food companies have started to phase out its use due to the increasing number of pet owners complaining of more consistent health problems linked to this preservative. As for humans, there are a good number of manufacturers of dog food-producing food that is free from ethoxyquin and are fantastic alternatives for your fur babies. Although, just for general information, unless you are eating (and that goes for the pets as well) completely organic, there is a chance that this ingredient is making it inside the body.
There’s no denying that vegetable oil is delicious. It makes food taste better, and you can use it in a variety of recipes. It was the best of times, and it was the worst of times. Or, at least, that’s how it felt for vegetable oil. Once prized for its health benefits and hailed as a miracle ingredient, vegetable oil has fallen out of favor. Its decline began in the 1990s when studies began to link vegetable oil to an increased risk of heart disease. Then, in the early 2000s, the low-carb craze dealt a further blow to its reputation. However, it is not just fluff when it comes to this innocuous ingredient. Studies have shown that vegetable oil is actually harmful to our health.
It’s important to point out that any oil derived from plants, whether from seeds, grains, nuts, or fruits, is considered vegetable oil. Vegetable oil is high in unhealthy fats, including saturated and trans fats. These fats can increase our risk of heart disease and stroke. In addition, vegetable oil is often highly processed, containing harmful chemicals that can damage our cells. Finally, vegetable oil is one of the primary sources of omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids are pro-inflammatory, contributing to a wide range of chronic diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, and cancer.
When trying to figure out how to cut back or eliminate these ingredients from your kitchen, you can use several alternative oils, all of which have different benefits. For example, olive oil is a popular choice for heart-healthy cooking as it is high in unsaturated fats. Canola oil is another option, and it has a neutral flavor that makes it ideal for baking.
Finally, avocado oil is a good choice for high-heat cooking, as it has a higher smoke point than other oils. With so many options available, there’s no need to use vegetable oil in your cooking; just make sure to look at the food labels for all the processed foods you purchase. Keep reading to learn more about red flag ingredients and common terms you should be avoiding.
Someone close to me explained the story about how they couldn’t begin to describe to you the first time they heard of this and the disappointment they felt when they found out that Country Crock was not real butter. It all started when they went on a personal search to find the culprit of their constant stomach upsets. After much trial and error, they hit the nail on the head and finally discovered that they were lactose intolerant. But to their surprise and huge disappointment, they also realized then that their beloved Country Crock “butter” was not real butter after all. It was officially called margarine, and although not the culprit of their bathroom runs, it was just as bad!
This spreadable food comes from vegetable oils. Someone first invented it in the 1800s as a cheaper alternative to real butter made from dairy. People originally made them with beef fat, which gave them a distinctly unhealthy reputation. It wasn’t until the 1970s that margarine began to be made with vegetable oils, making it a much “healthier” option – or so everyone thought. Today, margarine comes in many forms, including solid and liquid. It can be found in most grocery stores and is often used as a spread on toast or as a cooking ingredient. But don’t let the name fool you; as much as the different varieties come in, you have the equivalent in diseases, as I mentioned above, with vegetable oils.