Ice Cream, processed foodsIce Cream

No one can deny the benefits that industrialization has provided society. Instead of having to cultivate the land, work the fields, and produce the food, we have people who do all of that for us, the farmers and manufacturers. It is so convenient to go to the grocery store and buy our groceries. Many of us never even think about where the food we buy comes from, and even less about how it is made, or what it contains. There are hundreds of food additives or contaminants that could adversely affect our health, but that list would be overwhelming to accept all at once; so I present to you a list of six hazardous substances found in processed foods that are listed in the Hazardous Substances Data Bank.

Acetaldehyde

Acetaldehyde is sometimes used as a flavoring in processed foods. It has also been found as a contaminant in foods and beverages that have undergone fermentation. Studies show that acetaldehyde is a carcinogen. This alone should make us want to be more aware of its presence in our food. But it is also known to cause liver damage, neurotoxicity, as well as raising toxicity levels in the kidneys, and the respiratory system. This substance is listed in the Hazardous Substances Data Bank and is indeed a substance that we should do our best to avoid.

Benzaldehyde

We have a synthetic substance that is used as a food flavoring called benzaldehyde and may be listed as synthetic almond oil. It is commonly found in baked goods, ice cream, candy, and beverages. It can even be found in chewing gum! This substance can slow down the body’s neurological functions as well as cause neurotoxicity. It has been also known to cause allergic reactions and convulsions. And, like acetaldehyde, it can increase toxicity levels in the kidneys, the liver, and the respiratory system. Please read the labels on all products that could contain this hazardous substance.

Butylated Hydroxyanisole

Now, unlike the other substances, here is one that you may have read about or heard of in the news. Butylated hydroxyanisole, sometimes listed as BHA, is banned in some countries. But, apparently it is not banned in the USA.

Let me tell you about something that happened to me that caused me to be more concerned about all of the food that we are eating. I recently started using lard instead of vegetable oil for frying eggs, because we have all heard how vegetable oil is not healthy. Lard, in my opinion, is a healthier alternative to vegetable oil, if it were not for the additives that manufactures put into the lard. As I was saying, I switched to lard in place of vegetable oil, and I cooked breakfast for my mother a few times using the lard. She began complaining with stomach aches, headaches, and aches all over. She claimed it happened every time she ate food cooked in lard. I told her not to be silly. Lard has been used for hundreds of years; there couldn’t be anything nefarious about lard. Could it? Well, I turned to read the label on the tub of lard, and, sure enough, there it was in plain sight, the letters BHA. At first, I was confused. I knew I had heard of BHA before, but I was not sure what I had heard.

According to my research, and a book titled What’s in Your Food? I have found that BHA can cause “hives; hay fever; headache; wheezing; fatigue; asthma”, and it “may affect kidneys, thyroid, [and the] stomach.” It is not recommended for children. It can raise toxicity levels in various parts of the body. And, of course, it can cause cancer. Bill Statham says that this substance can be found in processed meats, lard, and margarine. It can even be found in instant mashed potatoes! As for me and my house, we will avoid BHA in the future.

Ethyl Acrylate

Ethyl acrylate is another synthetic substance that is used for flavoring food. And, it seems to cause many of the same problems as some of the other substances listed, involving neurotoxicity, gastrointestinal issues, and issues related to the liver, skin, kidneys, and respiratory system. This substance also affects development, so it would make sense that it would be detrimental to young children. I think that just about all of these substances cause cancer, because this one is also listed as a carcinogen. This substance is found in many processed foods, including ice cream and baked goods. Why does it always have to be ice cream?

Furfural

Yet another substance used to add flavor to our food is furfural. This one can cause eye problems, in addition to issues with kidneys, gastrointestinal system, liver, skin, and respiratory system. Tell me it can’t be true! Ice cream is another common food that uses this additive! It is also used in some beverages, baked goods, candy, and syrups. I am not sure if I have actually seen this on a food label, but I will be sure to look for it from now on.

Methyl Isobutyl Ketone

The last substance in this list is also used to flavor food. It seems that good taste is to die for. This substance is called methyl isobutyl ketone but may be referred to as hexone. What is disconcerting is that although this substance is hazardous by ingestion or inhalation, it is used as a synthetic fruit flavoring. Again, it can be found in ice cream, candy, and baked goods. I think I am going to stop buying desserts from the store. This substance can cause problems with the kidneys, liver, gastrointestinal system, respiratory system, and can cause neurotoxicity. These problems seem to be a trend with these synthetic food flavorings, but this one can also cause birth defects. Be sure to remember the name methyl isobutyl ketone or hexone, and look for it on food labels so that you may avoid it for your safety and the safety of your loved ones.

Ice Cream is a highly processed food.

Because we live in a world where someone else controls how the majority of our food is produced, we need to become more aware of what we are consuming. They say that ignorance is bliss, but it will catch up with us in the end. Always research the foods that you purchase to ensure safety. Keep in mind that the substances listed here are not inclusive. The ones listed here are the ones listed as hazardous and are sometimes included in processed foods. There are so many more hazardous substances that manufacturers sneak by us that are used in processing, or are contaminants that may or may not even be listed on the labels. Also, there are others that are not considered as hazardous as the ones I listed, but still can cause many of the same health issues. Stay tuned for future posts in order to learn more about other substances that poison our food.


References List

“Acetaldehyde In Cancer-Causing Foods: Risks & Prevention”, Cancer Center for Healing, 13 March 2024, https://cancercenterforhealing.com/acetaldehyde-in-cancer-causing-foods/#:~:text=However%2C%20acetaldehyde%20can%20also%20be,in%20relation%20to%20cancer%20development.

“Benzaldehyde | Ohio Department of Health”, Ohio Department of Health, 13 March 2024, https://odh.ohio.gov/wps/wcm/connect/gov/405d7948-caa3-472d-96f4-d941a68f735c/benzaldehyde.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CONVERT_TO=url&CACHEID=ROOTWORKSPACE.Z18_M1HGGIK0N0JO00QO9DDDDM3000-405d7948-caa3-472d-96f4-d941a68f735c-mjHgYMu#:~:text=How%20is%20benzaldehyde%20used%3F,gum%20%5BFenaroli%2C%202005%5D.

Statham, Bill. What’s In Your Food?. North American Edition. Running Press Book Publishers, 2007.

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