I really caught your attention with that dramatic title didn’t i? We live in days of privilege, let’s face it. Our lives are so over-consumed by work that we have companies that “home deliver” to your door because you just don’t have that time to cook up a healthy and fresh meal at home. It’s a sad indication of the direction society is going and as food becomes more “accessible” in that drive-through kind of way, we are seeing a huge increase in canned, bottled and packaged foods.

Not only is it important what exactly is in your food, yet as in the recent case here in Australia it is very important where your food comes from. Weeks ago supermarkets in Australia were forced to recall “Nannas” Mixed Frozen berries and “Creative Gourmet” Mixed frozen berries- imported from China and Chile for carrying Hepatitis A with at least 25 cases nationwide of people contracting Hepatitis A due to consuming the frozen berries.

A recent case in Australia from Imported Frozen Berries led to over 20 cases of Hepatitis A

A recent case in Australia from Imported Frozen Berries led to over 20 cases of Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is spread from Fecal matter and is due to unhygienic practices. So first thing is first, when you are checking the back of your packaged food, look at where it is from and conduct some research on the companies and their location. Sadly our governments care more about the dollar than providing its population with safe, clean and consumable food- most of which is sadly exported for others whilst we are left with questionable products from questionable food authorities in foreign lands who hold little scrutiny to their food export practices. Also be aware of the famous “Made in Australia from local and IMPORTED ingredients”. This does NOT mean the product is Australian made. It simply means some Australian produce is mixed with imported produce.

I will state the obvious, fresh is best. Yet we all know that it is not possible to always be carrying around organic carrots and MSG free crackers. Below i will give you a guide as to some things to look out for when purchasing and consuming your food. Companies are being extra sneaky now by using “layman language” and implementing a number system as to confuse customers. Always remember the numbers on the back of the packet mean something and most times they do not mean something good. Here are my list of things to AVOID whilst at the supermarket.

1) SULPHITE PRESERVATIVES

I put Sulphite Preservatives as number one for a very personal reason. One night i was feeling like something sour, i noticed a jar of “pickled peppers” in the cupboard. It was still unopened and they looked inviting enough. I opened it, took out a couple chilli’s and started chewing with the “juices” still dripping from outside and within them. What happened almost immediately after came at a shock. It suddenly triggered a dangerous and INSTANT asthma attack, it caught me so unaware- my blood boiled to my head and i dropped the jar in a panic. My heart rate instantly peaked as i was in clear shock and my breathing was so restricted i thought i was going to collapse. I then thankfully managed to quickly get on my Asthma Nebuliser machine. I will not lie but this product almost literally killed me. Sulphite Preservatives are very dangerous to Asthmatics, especially to children or the elderly.

The big picture is that Sulphites will only have a negative effect on roughly 10% of the population, yet that negative effect could cause an (unlikely) Anaphylactic shock and prove deadly.

Some foods you might want to avoid in this case are:
Cheap Wines, Dried Fruits, Bottled Lemon/Lime Juice, Pickled Onions & Peppers.

Numbers you want to avoid on the back of the packaging are:
222,223 and 228.

Pickled Foods have high levels of

Pickled Foods have high levels of Sulphite Preservatives. Dangerous to Asthmatics.

2) MSG or Mono-Sodium Glutamate

MSG is a very common food additive used for flavouring purposes. This is especially common in Asian delicacies but is also found in common every day products like flavoured Potato chips and Instant Soups/Noodles. High levels of MSG can have a negative effect on the body, both short term and long term. Continual, long term use of MSG could increase the potential for cancer growth and the immediate effects include headaches, nausea and lethargy.

Lately there have been campaigners calling MSG “safe” yet from personal experience when i eat MSG rich foods i notice immediate unpleasant effects on my body like thick buildup around my throat, making me feel “restricted”.

Beware of misleading labels that say “No Added MSG” because this is linguistic gymnastics. Instead look for products that promote that they are “MSG FREE”.

Some foods you might want to avoid in this case are:
Dressings, Gravy, Flavoured Chips, Instant Noodles/Soups and (some) Soy Sauce.

Numbers you want to avoid on the back of the packaging are:
621, 627 and 635.

No, this is not Cocaine. It is MSG.

No, this is not Cocaine. It is MSG.

3) Aspartame

The common sight of seeing others purchase “diet” or “zero” products and thinking they are making a wise choice is very unsettling. Many sweet products that claim to be “sugar free” or have “no sugar” use Aspartame as a replacement. This highly addictive sweetener is common in our soft drinks and sodas, very popular with the younger generation. These sweeteners are chemically induced and provide absolutely no health benefits and in fact are known to cause short term and long term health defects.

Short term effects include dizziness and migraines, yet most serious is the potential for tumors and cancer. Horrifyingly enough, Aspartame was not even tested on humans prior to its approval of use in 1981. Aspartame is 200 times sweeter than sugar and is as addictive as its “evil” counterpart. Aspartame triggers the release of insulin which supports the storage of body fat.

Your best alternative is a LOW sugar diet as opposed to a no sugar diet that is replaced with a chemical agent 200 times sweeter and just as addictive as sugar.

Some foods you might want to avoid in this case are:
Diet Drinks/Sodas, Yoghurts, Sweeteners, “Sugar Free” Cakes,Biscuits/Lollies, Flavoured Water and Cereals.

Numbers you want to avoid on the back of the packaging are:
950 and 951.

Your "diet" and "sugar free" options are NOT smart.

Your “diet” and “sugar free” options are NOT smart.

4) Food Colouring

This is an incredibly pointless “ingredient” found in many foods. Food colouring is all about aesthetics, it simply makes the food look more appealing. It has no health benefits whatsoever and each colour you find has a different negative effect on the body. For example Blue can cause cancer, whilst Red increased episodes of ADHD. Lately some colours have been banned from the Food Colouring palette, yet the fact is even what remains is of no good use to us.

The scary thing is colouring is used in other products too like cheap shampoos and soaps. Whilst the origins of some colouring agents (like Yellow 5) come from Coal Tar. Yet when it comes to food the rule is just like that of the animal kingdom. If you spot an animal that is incredibly “colourful” or unnaturally striking in their colour then they are likely (but not always) dangerous! The same goes for food colouring, keep away from any foods that look like they are radio-active green or neon pink. 

Some foods you might want to avoid in this case are:
Concentrated Fruit Juice, Candy, (some) Cheese, Biscuits, Icing.

Numbers you want to avoid on the back of the packaging are:
Blue dye number 1 and 2, Red dye number 3,  Green dye number 3, Yellow dye number 6- Infact avoid ALL colours!

Food Colouring looks pretty but tastes dangerous!

Food Colouring looks pretty but tastes     dangerous!

5) BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole)

BHA is found in many foods and its main purpose is to maintain the “stability” of the food item and slow down its break down process. Basically BHA is used to mummify food and preserve them for long periods of time. You might like to know that BHA is very popular with pet food products. It’s nice to know that your processed Banana Bread holds the same ingredient as your dogs CHUM “beef” canned meal.

Many Governing food bodies claim that BHA is safe because it only produces cancers in Mice and Rats on their “forestomachs” and they claim that it is an organ Human Beings do not have. That is some risque assumption there but why take the risk when there is a natural alternative called VITAMIN E.? 

Some foods you might want to avoid in this case are:
Butter, Cereal, Instant “Meals”, Preserved Meat, Baked Goods and Chewing Gum.

Numbers you want to avoid on the back of the packaging are:
320

BHT, also found in your dogs food. You might want to avoid that.

BHT, also found in your dogs food. You might want to avoid that.

Above were my “Top 5 Food Additives” to avoid. Give it a go, take a look at your cupboard and you will be shocked at the overwhelming majority of items that carry one or MOST of these potentially dangerous items. Write those numbers down and “smart shop” at the supermarket and make the right choices in preserving your health and well being.

Peace, Salam.

Ramey

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