What Additives Are in Your Favorite Foods?

We take a look at what these additives really are and how dangerous they are for you


The saying “don't judge a book by its cover” is generally a sound piece of advice that seems to apply to almost everything. Nothing could be truer about the food you eat.

Though the brightly colored packaging with alluring words like “fat-free,” “zero trans fats,” and “heart-healthy” appears attractive, you need to make sure you don’t take the bait (aka the cover). Simply flip over to the back side and take a look at the nutrition label and ingredients — you may not be too familiar with what’s listed.

Labels today are increasingly harder to read and are filled with confusing and misleading words. The question is: Do you really want to be eating things that you don’t know? Sometimes, yes. But often, not at all.

To help you know what to look for and what to avoid, we’ve created this list. There’s one term in particular to know: additive. Additives are simply substances that are used (intentionally or otherwise) to perform an “enhancing” function for food — be it preservation, appearance, or taste. While the use of natural salts and processes are of no concern, it’s the chemical additives you may need to avoid.

While most additives are in fact FDA-approved, many have been the subjects of studies by independent researchers who seem to find strong links to cancer and other side effects. For instance, an overabundance of soy in men may increase their estrogen levels to the point where they form larger breast tissue. And those who consume too much Olestra may be cutting out the fat, but they’re also preventing their bodies from absorbing any valuable nutrients.

Prepare to proceed to your cabinets with extreme caution. Check out what’s really hiding in your favorite foods. 

Click here to see the What Additives Are in Your Favorite Foods Slideshow.