"Better Watch What You Eat"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Saturday, February 7, 2015

Obesity, IBS, diverticulosis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and the list goes on. Do you have gut pain? Or have you been diagnosed with any of the conditions on the list?

Do you know what you are eating? Do you read the labels on foods in the grocery store? Have you ever looked up any of the ingredients listed in many foods you eat? If you have, you were probably amazed to learn some of the facts listed about them.

Often, an item you may have checked before, will change and include new ingredients not previously listed. The most troublesome ingredients are preservatives that are found in most foods because they prolong shelf life. Here is another list, one to become aware of and check when reading food labels. Aspartame, MSG (mono sodium glutamate), Sodium Benzoate, Torula Yeast, Stevia, Splenda, Carrageenan, Maltitol, Sodium Bisulfite and the list goes on. Some of them are called “flavor enhancers” in addition to preservatives. If you’re reading this column on the computer — look a few of them up.

Be sure to read down through the listed comments because many of the producers of the items on the list are “buying” space on Google to say their products are “safe.” As you read, look for Web MD and Mayo Clinic commentaries that give warnings and other listings that condemn the products as poisonous.

There are many ambitious heath advocacy groups lobbying the FDA to have harmful additives removed from our food. Repeatedly, warnings of cancer are made to enforce the appeals. If you have been aware of the warnings, you probably know they have been posted for years.

Sometimes, the FDA will ban a product only to have it replaced with one much the same with a different name.

As you cruise through the grocery aisles checking packages, you will note many items announce boldly NO MSG.

Why do you suppose they do that? Could it be they know the great harm it causes many consumers? My doctor actually told me not to be fooled by the removal of MSG because in some cases it is simply replaced by Sodium Benzoate, essentially the same ingredient.

If you have intestinal problems, look at what you are eating for the cause. I actually discovered one of the additives in a food I consumed was the major content for toilet bowl cleaners. Another could prevent blood from clotting while some can cause intestinal bleeding. One product, used in many foods, is known to cause urinary tract infections.

GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) also contribute to health concerns and advocacy groups are working to eliminate them but still have an uphill battle.

I’ve mentioned in past columns that ice cream has an ingredient (sodium benzoate) used to prolong its shelf life and enhance flavor that is really a harmful additive. Since most of us enjoy ice cream, we are sure to encounter it. The manufacturers know they are harming us but the objective is to sell products and extend shelf life. Take a look at those dates, why would you expect your ice cream to last 11 months?

I’ve also talked about product dating and how confusing it can be, in spite of the FDA requiring everything be dated. What they did not ask for was uniformity. Dates can be: sell by, use by, best by or in some cases, take off the shelf by. What most manufacturers fail to show us is once the product is opened, all the dates are useless. Cheese products are a great example, they list a use by date months away yet, once opened, you have seven days to eat it or face possible health consequences. If you read the very fine print on some products, they will tell you this fact but often the statement is obscured by other labeling.

So the bottom line is: Consumers, beware of what you are feeding your family. It’s wise to check every packaged food item you purchase and keep an eye on produce that may be coated, sprayed or injected. There actually is a condition named SBS — Salad Bar Syndrome — that defines the harmful effects of additives put on foods to keep them “fresh.”

I realize what I ask is beyond the time element most people spend while shopping but an awareness has to be adopted that you are the ones selecting foods that could harm your family. If a family member complains of heartburn, stomach ache or worse after eating a certain meal — check out the ingredients in the food you served.

As I see it, I am not a doctor, chemist or nutritionist — I’m just a person who has suffered from eating harmful ingredients. By becoming educated, I am saving myself from a trip to the hospital — yes, it has been that bad. Watching what you eat can actually cost less and you don’t have to wind up with serious health issues.



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