The Best Natural Sugar Alternatives
Aluminium calcium silicate and tricalcium silicate are also used in foods, and calcium silicate is used in some dietary supplements. Hi A very good thought. Archived from the original on 10 March Hypoglycemia can happen suddenly and symptoms may differ in each individual and change over time in the same individual. The FDA and the WHO committee have concluded that food-grade carrageenan does not pose either a direct or an indirect cancer risk.
Bread, caramel, soda pop, cookies, many other foods. Dextrose is an important chemical in every living organism. A sugar, it is a source of sweetness in fruits and honey. Added to foods as a sweetener, it represents empty calories and contributes to tooth decay.
Dextrose turns brown when heated and contributes to the color of bread crust and toast. Diacetyl is one of the many chemicals that give butter its characteristic flavor. Low levels are present in butter including unsalted butter, to which extra diacetyl is added to prolong its shelf life.
Much higher levels have been used in butter-flavored popcorn, margarine, and butter-flavored cooking oils and sprays.
The low levels are safe, but workers in factories that produce microwave popcorn learned the hard way that long-term exposure to diacetyl causes obstructive lung disease, which is potentially fatal.
Widespread publicity around to and several lawsuits persuaded most major American food manufacturers to protect their workers and restaurant cooks by switching to supposedly safer ingredients. But more recent studies indicate that one substitute, 2,3-pentanedione, chemically similar to diacetyl also called 2,3-butanedione , may be just as damaging to the respiratory tract.
This is the diglyceride part of the long-used emulsifier, mono- and diglycerides. The manufacturer claims that it can help people lose weight and reduce triglyceride levels. Don't count on this little-used ingredient providing any real benefit. Salad dressing, margarine, sandwich spreads, mayonnaise, processed fruits and vegetables, canned shellfish, soft drinks. Modern food-manufacturing technology, which involves rollers, blenders, and containers made of metal, results in trace amounts of metal contamination in food.
EDTA ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid traps metal impurities, which would otherwise promote rancidity and the breakdown of artificial colors. Low calorie sugar-free sweetener: Drinks, hard candy, chocolate milk, frozen desserts, baked goods, packaged sweeteners sometimes mixed with stevia leaf extract, monk fruit extract, or other sweeteners.
This sugar alcohol, which was first used commercially in the United States in about , is about 60 to 70 percent as sweet as sugar, but provides at most only one-twentieth as many calories.
Small amounts occur naturally in such fruits as pears, melons, and grapes, but virtually all of the erythritol used as a food additive is produced by fermenting glucose with various yeasts. Companies also value erythritol because it provides the bulk that sugar has and which high-potency sweeteners lack, plus it adds to the "mouthfeel" of low-sugar beverages. Because it is not digested by bacteria, it does not promote tooth decay.
Other than occasional allergic reactions, the only safety concern about erythritol is that eating too much of it could cause nausea. Individual sensitivities vary greatly, but most adults can safely consume up to about 50 grams of erythritol per day. For comparison, there are 12 grams in Blue Sky Zero Cola, 4 grams of erythritol in a ounce can of Zevia soda. That's safer than most other sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol, mannitol, and lactitol.
Erythritol's relative safety is due to its being mostly absorbed into the bloodstream and excreted unchanged in urine. Other sugar alcohols stir up trouble in the colon where they attract water leading to laxation or diarrhea or are digested by bacteria causing gas.
Used by the olive industry to generate a uniform jet-black color and in pills as a source of iron. Fructose also called levulose is a sugar that is a little sweeter than table sugar. Modest amounts of fructose occur naturally in fruits and vegetables, which also contain other sugars. When table sugar is digested, it breaks down into equal amounts of fructose and glucose dextrose.
Another major source of fructose in the typical diet is high-fructose corn syrup HFCS , which typically contains about half fructose and half glucose. Fructose itself is used as a sweetener in a small number of foods whose labels often imply, deceptively, that such foods are healthier than competing products that are sweetened with sugar or HFCS.
The fructose that occurs in fruits and vegetables is certainly safe. However, the large amounts that come from added fructose, sucrose ordinary table sugar , and high-fructose corn syrup increase triglyceride fat and small, dense LDL "bad" cholesterol levels in blood and may thereby increase the risk of heart disease. Also, recent studies show that consuming 25 percent of one's calories from fructose or high-fructose corn syrup which is about half fructose leads to more visceral deep belly fat or liver fat.
Those changes may increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Finally, large amounts consumed on a regular basis also may affect levels of such hormones as leptin and ghrelin, which help regulate appetite, thereby contributing to weight gain and obesity. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans America's basic nutrition policy , American Heart Association, and other health authorities recommend that people consume no more than about 3 to 8 percent of calories in the form of refined sugars.
That's far less than the current average of 14 percent of calories. Powdered drinks, pudding, pie fillings, gelatin desserts.
A solid at room temperature, inexpensive, and highly acidic, fumaric acid is the ideal source of tartness and acidity in dry food products. Thickening and gelling agent: Powdered dessert mixes, marshmallows, yogurt, ice cream, cheese spreads, beverages.
Gelatin is a protein obtained from animal hides and bones. It has little nutritional value, because it contains little or none of several essential amino acids. Companies add small amounts of Ginkgo biloba to beverages because it supposedly boosts memory and thinking, but most studies in healthy people show little or no benefit at levels greater than what's added to foods and beverages. Since Ginkgo appears to interfere with blood clotting, it should not be consumed before or after surgery, during labor and delivery, or by those with bleeding problems such as hemophilia.
Importantly, in , the U. Government's National Toxicology Program published the first study that could evaluate Ginkgo 's ability to cause cancer. The study found "clear evidence" that Ginkgo biloba caused liver cancer in male and female mice and "some evidence" that Ginkgo caused thyroid cancer in rats.
Companies add small amounts to foods because of ginseng's reputation for boosting energy, sexual stamina, and mental effort, but there's little evidence for those claims even at much higher levels than what is found in foods. The amount in foods and beverages is not likely to pose a safety risk. Sequestrant, acidifier, leavening agent, curing agent: Nonalcoholic beverages, processed fruit and fruit juices, baked goods, dairy products, cured meats.
Gluconic acid is a metabolite of glucose. Glucono delta-lactone is the most widely used of this family of compounds and is used to adjust the acidity or as a leavening agent in baked goods, processed fruits, and dairy products. It is also used in some cured meats to speed the formation of the pink color.
Candy, fudge, baked goods. In nature, glycerin forms the backbone of fat and oil molecules. The body uses it as a source of energy or as a starting material in making more-complex molecules. GMP and inosine monophosphate IMP are used together to enhance the meaty umami flavor of soups and other foods. They are usually used together with monosodium glutamate MSG , because they enhance its potency.
Guarana is a plant that has seeds high in caffeine. Companies add guarana to beverages as a "natural" source of caffeine, but its effect is the same as the caffeine in coffee or tea. Include guarana when you're keeping track of the caffeine in your diet. Too much caffeine from any source can cause insomnia, anxiety, and other problems see discussion of caffeine. Beverages, ice cream, frozen pudding, salad dressing, dough, cottage cheese, candy, drink mixes.
Gums are derived from natural sources bushes, trees, seaweed, bacteria and are poorly tested, though probably safe. They are not absorbed by the body. They are used to thicken foods, prevent sugar crystals from forming in candy, stabilize beer foam arabic , form a gel in pudding furcelleran , encapsulate flavor oils in powdered drink mixes, or keep oil and water mixed together in salad dressings.
Gums are often used to replace fat in low-fat ice cream, baked goods, and salad dressings. Tragacanth has caused occasional severe allergic reactions. The FDA warns against giving a product called SimplyThick, which contains xanthan gum, to infants, since it may cause a life-threatening condition called necrotizing enterocolitis. It is not clear whether the gum itself, bacterial contamination of the gum, or some other cause is to blame.
Balloons or pressurized containers. Helium is an inert, safe gas that is used to float balloons or sometimes to force foods out of pressurized containers. Our consumption of high-fructose corn syrup HFCS has soared since around HFCS and sugar are equally harmful. HFCS starts out as cornstarch. Companies use enzymes or acids to break down most of the starch into its glucose subunits. Then other enzymes convert different proportions of the glucose to fructose.
In , about 59 pounds of corn sweeteners, mostly HFCS, and 68 pounds of cane and beet sugar were produced per capita in the United States. A total of pounds of all caloric sweeteners, down 15 percent from the high of pounds, was produced per person. Much of that decline resulted from declining soft drink consumption thanks to increased health consciousness and to the popularity of bottled water , while the rest reflects food manufacturers switching back to ordinary sugar.
Actual consumption as opposed to production of caloric sweeteners, according to the U. Department of Agriculture, was 76 pounds per person in Some people think that HFCS is mostly fructose, which does probably play a significant role in obesity. However, HFCS, on average, is about half fructose and half glucose—the same as ordinary table sugar sucrose when it is metabolized by the body.
When sugar is used in soft drinks, much of it is broken down to glucose and fructose right in the bottle. Modest amounts of HFCS are safe. However, large amounts promote tooth decay, as well as increase triglyceride fat levels in blood, thereby increasing the risk of heart disease.
Also, recent studies show that consuming 25 percent of calories from HFCS or fructose leads to more visceral deep belly fat or liver fat. Those changes may increase the risk of diabetes or heart disease.
Finally, large amounts of fructose from HFCS or sugar consumed on a regular basis also may affect levels of such hormones as insulin, leptin, and ghrelin that regulate appetite, thereby contributing to weight gain and obesity.
The HFCS 55 that is used in most soft drinks contains about 10 percent more fructose than sucrose. That makes most soft drinks a bit more harmful than if they were made with sugar. The American Heart Association has a stricter recommendation: Sweetener, improves shelf life, inhibits bacterial growth, fermentation, other purposes: Candy, baked goods, beer.
Acids or enzymes are used to break down cornstarch into a syrup rich in the sugar maltose 35 percent or more. Maltose is composed of two units of glucose. High-maltose corn syrup, corn syrup solids, and maltodextrin are similar, in that each contain glucose but not fructose, and each is produced in a wide variety of formulations for different applications. Fortunately, not much is used in foods. Candy, chocolates, chewing gum, baked goods.
HSH, like sorbitol and other sugar alcohols, is slightly sweet and poorly absorbed by the body. As with most sugar alcohols, eating significant amounts of HSH may cause intestinal gas and diarrhea. Instant soups, frankfurters, sauce mixes, beef stew. HVP consists of vegetable usually soybean protein that has been chemically broken down to the amino acids of which it is composed. HVP is used to bring out the natural flavor of food and, perhaps, to enable companies to use less real food.
It contains MSG and may cause adverse reactions in sensitive individuals. IMP and guanosine monophosphate GMP are used together to enhance the meaty umami flavor of soups and other foods. They are often used together with monosodium glutamate MSG , because they enhance its potency. These safe 5'-ribonucleotides are produced together.
One such substitute is inter-esterified oil. The oil is produced by chemically combining a polyunsaturated oil like soybean oil with fully hydrogenated soybean oil. Fully hydrogenated oils do not contain trans fat, but consist largely of saturated fatty acids. That particular type of saturated fat, stearic acid, is relatively innocuous compared to the other common types of saturated fat. By varying the proportions of normal and fully hydrogenated oil, companies can obtain oils that have the desired consistency.
Fiber and fat substitute: Margarine, baked goods, fillings, dairy foods, frozen desserts, salad dressing. It's a naturally occuring soluble fiber. Inulin doesn't raise blood sugar levels, so it may help people with diabetes.
It also stimulates the growth of friendly bacteria in the large intestine. Candy, soft drinks, many other foods. Invert sugar, a mixture of two sugars, dextrose and fructose, is sweeter and more soluble than sucrose table sugar. Invert sugar forms when sucrose is split in two by an enzyme or acid.
It provides "empty calories," contributes to tooth decay, and should be avoided. Isolated soy protein is simply protein purified from soybeans. Textured vegetable protein is soy protein that has been combined with chemical additives and processed into granules, chunks, or strips that resemble meat. These proteins are used in some imitation meat products, which are generally healthful, but may contain flavor enhancers, thickening agents, emulsifiers, and artificial colorings. Hard candies, chocolates, chewing gum, baked goods.
This slightly sweet ingredient is manufactured from sugar and does not promote tooth decay. It is often mixed with artificial sweeteners, such as sucralose, to provide more sweetening power. Isomalt is poorly absorbed by the body, and thus has only about half the calories of sugar. Chemically, it is a disaccharide sugar-alcohol consisting of glucose and mannitol or sorbitol sub-units. Like many other sugar alcohols, large amounts can cause diarrhea.
Spanish olives, cheese, frozen desserts, carbonated beverages. This safe acid occurs in almost all living organisms. It inhibits spoilage in Spanish-type olives, balances the acidity in cheese-making, and adds tartness to frozen desserts, carbonated fruit-flavored drinks, and other foods. Candy, chocolates, baked goods, ice cream, other sugar-free foods.
Lactitol is a sugar alcohol. It is made from lactose milk sugar. Like most other sugar alcohols, lactitol is not absorbed well by the body which means it has only about half the calories of sugar , and it does not promote tooth decay. However, large amounts above 20 to 30 grams may cause loose stools or diarrhea. Whipped topping mix, fortified breakfast pastry. Lactose, a carbohydrate that is found only in milk, is nature's way of delivering calories to infant mammals.
One-sixth as sweet as sugar, it is used as a slightly sweet source of carbohydrate. The intestine secretes an enzyme that splits lactose into its two principal sugars: Children suffering from galactosemia, a rare genetic disease, can suffer serious harm by consuming lactose. Most Asians and people of black African heritage cannot tolerate as much lactose as Caucasians after early childhood. Some people are acutely lactose intolerant, but most people with lactose intolerance can safety eat smaller amounts of dairy products or foods with added lactose.
Baked goods, margarine, chocolate, ice cream. A common constituent of animal and plant tissues, lecithin is a source of the nutrient choline. It keeps oil and water from separating out, retards rancidity, reduces spattering in a frying pan, and leads to fluffier cakes. Major natural sources are egg yolk and soybeans. Anticaking agent, alkali, nutrient, water corrective.
Magnesium is a mineral that is a crucial component of many enzymes in the human body and plays a unique role in muscle contraction. We get about half our magnesium from nuts, beans, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, but it's also in many other foods.
About half of the body's magnesium is stored in bone. Fruit-flavored drinks, candy, lemon-flavored ice-tea mix, ice cream, preserves. L-Malic acid is an important metabolite present in all living cells and is abundant in apples. It is sometimes called "apple acid. While adults can probably utilize D-malic acid the unnatural form , infants may not, so synthetic DL-malic acid should not be added to baby food. Candy, chocolates, jams, and other sugar-free foods.
Maltitol, a sugar alcohol, is made by hydrogenating maltose, which is obtained from corn syrup. Unlike hydrogenated oils, no trans fat forms when maltose is hydrogenated. Like other sugar alcohols, maltitol is not absorbed well by the body which means it has only about half as many calories as sugar , and it does not promote tooth decay.
However, large amounts above 20 to 30 grams may have a laxative effect. Texturizer in processed foods. This ingredient is made from starch and consists of short chains of glucose molecules. Normal maltodextrins are easily digested and absorbed by the body. But companies also use "resistant maltodextrin" to simulate dietary fiber. That form of maltodextrin is made by treating starch with enzymes, heat, or acids and cannot be broken down by digestive enzymes. That makes the additive an "isolated fiber.
Maltodextrin is usually made from starch from corn, potato, or rice, but is sometimes made from wheat starch. If maltodextrin is made from wheat, food labels will indicate that fact to protect people who are allergic to wheat.
A blend of neotame and maltodextrin that one company calls maltotame. Some food manufacturers illegally state maltotame in the ingredient lists on their products instead of identifying the actual additives.
CSPI rates maltodextrin, an ingredient made from corn starch, as safe. Mannitol, like most other sugar alcohols, is not as sweet as sugar, not absorbed well by the body which means it provides only less than half as many calories per gram as table sugar , and does not promote tooth decay. However, large amounts may have a laxative effect and may even cause diarrhea. The FDA requires foods "whose reasonably foreseeable consumption may result in a daily ingestion of 20 grams of mannitol" to bear this warning: Natural high-potency sweetener Monatin is not yet used as a food additive, but Cargill, PepsiCo, and other companies see that as a possibility in the future.
Like stevia-derived rebiana, monatin was first identified in a plant—in this case the root bark of a shrub that grows in South Africa, where the plant has been consumed by people.
The substance, which can be synthesized more efficiently in a factory, is about 3, times sweeter than sugar and supposedly does not have the unpleasant aftertaste that most current stevia extracts have. Monatin has undergone only rudimentary safety testing. Frozen desserts, soft drinks, packaged sweeteners, other sugar-free foods.
This high potency sweetener is about times sweeter than sugar. Like artificial sweeteners and stevia leaf extracts rebiana , monk fruit extract can be used to replace some or all of the added sugars in a wide range of foods and beverages. This product has not been well tested in animals. It is derived from a fruit that has been consumed in China for at least several hundred years and used as an herbal medicine for the past several decades, so it may well be safe, although any chronic adverse effects might easily have escaped detection.
Monk fruit extract contains several intensely sweet substances called mogrosides. One company's purest product contains more than 50 percent mogroside V. Labels may call the ingredient monk fruit, but don't think you're getting any whole fruit; manufacturers use a multi-step process to extract just the sweet mogrosides. Baked goods, margarine, candy, peanut butter.
Makes bread softer and prevents staling, improves the stability of margarine, makes caramels less sticky, and prevents the oil in peanut butter from separating out. Mono- and diglycerides are safe, though most foods they are used in are high in refined flour, sugar, or fat. Soup, salad dressing, chips, frozen entrees, restaurant foods. This amino acid brings out the flavor in many foods.
While that may sound like a treat for taste buds, the use of MSG allows companies to reduce the amount of real ingredients in their foods, such as chicken in chicken soup. In the s, it was discovered that large amounts of MSG fed to infant mice destroyed nerve cells in the brain.
After that research was publicized, public pressure forced baby-food companies to stop adding MSG to their products it was used to make the foods taste better to parents. Careful studies have shown that some people are sensitive to large amounts of MSG.
Reactions include headache, nausea, weakness, and burning sensation in the back of neck and forearms. Some people complain of wheezing, changes in heart rate, and difficulty breathing. Some people claim to be sensitive to very small amounts of MSG, but no good studies have been done to determine just how little MSG can cause a reaction in the most-sensitive people.
To protect the public's health, manufacturers and restaurateurs should use less or no MSG and the amounts of MSG should be listed on labels of foods that contain significant amounts. People who believe they are sensitive to MSG should be aware that other ingredients, such as natural flavoring, Torula yeast, and hydrolyzed vegetable protein, also contain glutamate.
Also, foods such as Parmesan cheese and tomatoes contain glutamate that occurs naturally, but no reactions have been reported to those foods. Mycoprotein, the novel ingredient in Quorn-brand frozen meat substitutes, is made from processed mold Fusarium venenatum and can cause serious reactions in some people.
Rather, the mold is grown in liquid solution in large tanks. Quorn foods have been sold in the United Kingdom since the s and also in continental Europe. Quorn foods have been marketed in the United States since and in Scandinavia, Australia, and New Zealand more recently. The chunks of imitation meat are nutritious, but the prepared foods in which they are used may be high in fat or salt. Typical adverse reactions are to Quorn products are vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.
Hives, breathing difficulties, and potentially fatal anaphylactic reactions are less common. Many people have gone to emergency rooms for treatment of Quorn-related reactions. The British and American governments acknowledge that people are allergic or intolerant to Quorn foods, but so far have rejected CSPI's recommendations to require Quorn foods to bear a label warning of possible severe adverse reactions. In fact, when Quorn-containing "vegetarian" products are served at restaurants, cafeterias, and other foodservice locations, there may not even be a label to inform consumers that they are eating Quorn foods.
There have been rare cases of allergic reactions to products that contain mycoprotein. It concluded that more people suffered from sometimes severe GI reactions nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps than allergic reactions hives, itchy skin, swelling of the throat or mouth area, breathing difficulties , and that some people experienced both. This antimicrobial agent is produced by bacteria and used to prevent mold growth in cheese.
Neotame brand name Newtame , produced by NutraSweet Co. Neotame is chemically related to aspartame, but the difference confers greater chemical stability, enabling the new sweetener to be used in baked foods, and it is handled differently by the body. It likely will be used mostly in low-calorie foods, but may also be used to adjust the flavor of other foods. To compensate for taste flaws, you will probably find neotame mixed with sugar or with other artificial sweeteners.
It was approved by the U. FDA in and the European Union in , but is still rarely used. Enriched flour, breakfast cereals, and other fortified foods. Niacin, or vitamin B3, is safe. Niacin deficiency causes pellagra, which is characterized by mental disturbances and potentially death. Nisin is a short polypeptide small protein molecule that is produced by lactic acid bacteria and has anti-bacterial properties. It is unclear how widely this preservative is used.
Nitrous oxide is often used as the propellant to drive foods out of pressurized containers. It is better known as laughing gas and is safe. Cereal, crackers, bread, muffins. When a food ingredient contains the word "fiber," it's code for an isolated fiber. Soluble fiber may lower blood cholesterol and blood sugar but doesn't prevent constipation. Finally, isolated fibers don't contain the micronutrients and phytochemicals that foods with naturally occuring fiber contain.
Lay's Light Chips, Pringles Light chips. Originally envisioned as a replacement for fat in everything from cheese to ice cream, the ingredient is now only used in a couple of brands of snack chips. Olestra can cause diarrhea and loose stools, abdominal cramps, flatulence, and other adverse effects.
Those symptoms are sometimes severe. Olestra reduces the body's ability to absorb fat-soluble carotenoids such as alpha and beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, and canthaxanthin from fruits and vegetables, but an occasional serving wouldn't be a problem. Those nutrients are thought by many experts to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.
Olestra enables manufacturers to offer greasy-feeling low-fat snacks, but consumers would be better off with baked snacks, which are safe and just as low in calories. Products made with olestra should not be called "fat free," because they contain substantial amounts of indigestible fat. Bulking agent, emulsifier, sweetener, prebiotic: Frozen desserts, cookies, energy and granola bars. Oligofructose, synthesized from sucrose or extracted from chicory roots, consists of up to several dozen fructose molecules linked end to end.
Like inulin and other soluble fibers, oligofructose is digested by bacteria in the large intestine, but not by human enzymes. This slightly sweet ingredient provides less than about half as many calories per gram as fructose or other sugar. Oligofructose promotes the growth of "good" bifidus bacteria. Pantothenic acid is one of the water-soluble B vitamins. Human deficiencies have never been observed. Papain is a harmless enzyme obtained from papaya that is used to break down tough muscle protein in meat.
Stick margarine, crackers, fried restaurant foods, baked goods, icing, microwave popcorn. Vegetable oil, usually a liquid, can be made into a semi-solid shortening by reacting it with hydrogen. Partial hydrogenation reduces the levels of polyunsaturated oils — and also creates trans fats, which promote heart disease. A committee of the U. Food and Drug Administration FDA concluded in that on a gram-for-gram basis, trans fat is even more harmful than saturated fat.
That finding encouraged a few food manufacturers to begin replacing hydrogenated shortening with less-harmful ingredients. Similarly, the Institute of Medicine advised consumers to consume as little trans fat as possible, ideally less than about 2 grams a day that much might come from naturally occurring trans fat in beef and dairy products. Harvard School of Public Health researchers estimate that trans fat had been causing about 50, premature heart attack deaths annually, making partially hydrogenated oil one of the most harmful ingredients in the food supply see discussion of salt.
Beginning in , Nutrition Facts labels have had to list the amount of trans fat in a serving. That spurred many more companies, including Frito-Lay, Kraft, ConAgra, and others, to replace most or all of the partially hydrogenated oil in almost all their products. Confusing label reading, though, is that foods labeled "0g trans fat" are permitted to contain 0.
Consumers need to read labels carefully for another reason: Restaurants, which do not provide nutrition information, were slower to change, but the pace of change has picked up.
They use partially hydrogenated oil for frying chicken, potatoes, and fish, as well as in biscuits and other baked goods. Denmark virtually banned partially hydrogenated oil as of January 1, Later that year, the Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the FDA to require restaurants to disclose when they use partially hydrogenated oil and to begin the process of eliminating partially hydrogenated oil from the entire food supply.
While the FDA rejected the idea of requiring restaurants to disclose the presence of trans fat, New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, and other jurisdictions have set tight limits on the trans-fat content of restaurant foods. In the FDA finally concluded that partially hydrogenated oil was no longer safe and gave the food industry three years to eliminate it from its products. Pectin is a safe carbohydrate that strengthens cell walls in citrus fruits, apples, beets, carrots, and other fruits and vegetables.
Pectin forms gels that are the basis of fruit jellies, and may be used to thicken barbeque sauce, cranberry sauce, canned frosting, and yogurt. Acidulant, chelating agent, buffer, emulsifier, nutrient, discoloration inhibitor: Baked goods, cheese, powdered foods, cured meat, soda pop, breakfast cereals, dehydrated potatoes.
Phosphoric acid acidifies and flavors cola beverages; the acidity erodes tooth enamel. Calcium and iron phosphates act as mineral supplements. Sodium aluminum phosphate is a leavening agent. Sodium acid pyrophosphate reduces levels of the carcinogen acrylamide in French fries, prevents discoloration in potatoes and sugar syrups, and prevents the formation of harmless mineral struvite crystals in canned seafood.
Most people consume far more phosphorus than they need, which may have adverse effects on kidney, bone, and cardiovascular health, especially for people suffering from kidney disease. Margarine, fruit juice, bread, dietary supplements. These substances are minor components of membranes in many nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, fruits, vegetables and other foods. They are chemically related to cholesterol. They are more easily incorporated into foods other than fruit juices when they are converted to ester forms.
They are not toxic, but they may reduce the body's absorption of nutrients called carotenoids that are thought to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Reduced-calorie salad dressings, baked goods, candies, puddings, frozen desserts. Polydextrose is made by combining dextrose corn sugar with sorbitol. The result is a slightly sweet, reduced-calorie only one calorie per gram because it is poorly digested bulking agent.
The FDA requires that if a serving of a food would likely provide more than 15 grams of polydextrose, the label should advise consumers that "Sensitive individuals may experience a laxative effect from excessive consumption of this product. PGPR is one of those mysterious chemicals that manufacturers use in food production.
It stabilizes low-fat, high-water margarines and helps the "flow properties" in candy production. Baked goods, frozen desserts, imitation cream. Polysorbate 60 is short for polyoxyethylene- 20 - sorbitan monostearate. It and its close relatives, polysorbate 65 and 80, work the same way as mono- and diglycerides, but smaller amounts are needed.
They keep baked goods from going stale, keep dill oil dissolved in bottled dill pickles, help coffee whiteners dissolve in coffee, and prevent oil from separating out of artificial whipped cream.
It is possible that polysorbates and other emulsifiers act like detergents to disrupt the mucous layer that lines the gut, and that the results of this study may apply to other emulsifiers as well. Research needs to be done to determine long-term effects of these and other emulsifiers at levels that people consume.
White flour, bread and rolls. This additive has long been used to increase the volume of bread and to produce bread with a fine crumb the not-crust part of bread structure.
Most bromate rapidly breaks down to form innocuous bromide. However, bromate itself causes cancer in animals. The tiny amounts of bromate that may remain in bread pose a small risk to consumers. Bromate has been banned virtually worldwide except in Japan and the United States. It is rarely used in California because a cancer warning might be required on the label. Since then, numerous millers and bakers have stopped using bromate. Calcium bromate, which likely is toxicologically similar to potassium bromate, occasionally may be used.
It also adds potassium to the diet, which provides an added benefit. The amount of potassium chloride used in foods is almost self-limiting, because most people perceive potassium chloride to taste extremely bitter.
People with kidney disease and certain heart conditions need to talk to their doctors about avoiding large amounts of potassium. Potassium iodate is sometimes used as a dough strengthener in bread and rolls.
Some bakers may switch to this ingredient when they stop using its chemical cousin potassium bromate, which poses a small cancer risk. However, potassium iodate, too, is not well tested and may also pose a slight cancer risk. It conceivably could lead to excessive iodine intake. Potassium iodate is a source of iodine, an essential trace element, necessary for the body to make thyroid hormones. But too little or too much iodine can be harmful. A committee of the World Health Organization concluded that use of potassium iodate as a flour treatment agent was unacceptable because it could result in an excessive intake of iodine.
At the same time, the committee endorsed the use of potassium iodate to fortify salt, since use in salt results in a lower intake of iodine than widespread use in bread and rolls and is used to prevent iodine deficiency disorders such as goiter and mental retardation, to name a few.
In the United States, potassium iodide, not potassium iodate, is used in iodized salt, but in other countries, especially tropical countries, potassium iodate is favored because it is more stable in warm, humid conditions. Iodized salt has virtually eliminated iodine deficiency in the United States, Canada, and several other countries. Some people, such as those with thyroid disease, are especially sensitive to iodine intake and should make a special effort to avoid potassium iodate in bread and rolls.
One other possible concern is that iodate breaks down in dough and in the body to form iodide. In a study conducted by Japanese government scientists, high doses of potassium iodide caused cancer in rats, suggesting it may be a weak carcinogen.
The same research found that it also increased the potency of a known carcinogen. As a sidelight, both potassium iodate and potassium iodide can also be used to prevent damage to the thyroid in the event of an accident at a nuclear reactor, although the iodide form is generally recommended. Potassium iodate is not widely used in baked goods, and any risk is small.
Still, it may be worth choosing baked goods without this ill-tested additive, and bakers should stop using it. Vegetable oil, meat products, potato sticks, chicken soup base, chewing gum. Propyl gallate retards the spoilage of fats and oils and is often used together with two other antioxidants, BHA and BHT, because of the synergistic effects those preservatives have with one another.
The best safety studies, which were published by the U. Propyl gallate appeared to cause more cancers in several organs in rats treated with a low dose than with either a zero dose the controls or a high dose. That finding may be indicative of an "endocrine disruptor," as well as a carcinogen. This additive needs to be better studied. Maintains moisture, thickener, emulsifier, antioxidant, anticaking agent: Propylene glycol is used in a wide range of food products, often to maintain moisture, as well as thicken, emulsify, and preserve foods.
It can also lower the freezing point of water, like its more toxic chemical cousin, ethylene glycol, used in antifreeze. Some people are allergic to propylene glycol in foods, as well as in personal care products and topical cortisone creams, and should avoid it. Breakfast cereals, instant breakfasts, health-food bars. Pyridoxine, or vitamin B6, serves a variety of functions in the body and performs a central role in amino acid metabolism. Wheat germ, brown rice, and yeast are rich sources of pyridoxine.
Tonic water, quinine water, bitter lemon. This drug can cure malaria and is used as a bitter flavoring in a few soft drinks. In , the U. Food and Drug Administration banned quinine from over-the-counter drugs used to treat leg cramps, saying it was not safe and effective for that use.
Then in FDA ordered companies to stop marketing unapproved products containing quinine. And in and FDA warned against using the only approved quinine-containing anti-malaria drug for any purpose other than to treat malaria. The higher levels used in drugs are more likely to cause adverse reactions than the low levels used in food, but to be on the safe side, pregnant women and the elderly should avoid quinine-containing beverages. If you have experienced a reaction to Quorn foods, please file a report.
Enriched flour, breakfast cereals, and other vitamin-fortified foods. Riboflavin is simply vitamin B2. Riboflavin plays a crucial role in activating numerous enzymes. Saccharin one brand is Sweet 'N Low is about times sweeter than sugar and is used in diet foods and as a packaged tabletop sugar substitute.
Saccharin is the original artificial sweetener, having been discovered accidentally in at Johns Hopkins University. Many studies on rodents have shown that saccharin can cause cancer of the urinary bladder, especially in males.
In some animal studies, saccharin also caused cancer of the uterus, ovaries, skin, blood vessels, and other organs. Additional studies have shown that saccharin increases the potency of other cancer-causing chemicals. And the best epidemiology human study, which was conducted by the National Cancer Institute, found that the use of artificial sweeteners saccharin and cyclamate was associated with a higher incidence of bladder cancer.
That said, other animal and human studies did not identify a cancer risk. In , the FDA proposed that saccharin be banned because of the studies showing that it causes cancer in animals. However, Congress intervened and permitted it to be used, provided that foods carried a warning notice. In , the diet-food industry began pressuring the U.
The industry acknowledges that large amounts of saccharin cause bladder cancer in male rats, but argues that those tumors are caused by a mechanism that would not occur in humans.
Some public health experts respond by stating that, even if that still-unproved mechanism was correct in male rats, saccharin could cause cancer by additional mechanisms and that, in some studies, saccharin has caused bladder cancer in mice and in female rats and other cancers in both rats and mice.
In May , the U. Department of Health and Human Services removed saccharin from its list of cancer-causing chemicals. Later that year, Congress passed a law removing the warning notice.
Saccharin has been replaced in almost all foods by aspartame and other better-tasting sweeteners. Coca-Cola Company's Tab, one of the first diet sodas, still contains saccharin, but now also contains aspartame.
In , Health Canada lifted its decades-long ban on saccharin in foods, allowing it to be added to some beverages, canned fruits, frozen desserts, and other foods. Saccharin passes into the breast milk of nursing mothers. Its use can enable companies to make reduced-calorie claims on their products. Salatrim's low calorie content results from its content of stearic acid, which the manufacturer says is absorbed poorly, and short-chain fatty acids, which provide fewer calories per unit weight.
Critics have charged that it does not provide as big a calorie reduction as claimed by Nabisco. Moreover, only very limited testing has been done to determine effects on humans. Eating small amounts of salatrim is probably safe, but large amounts 30g or more per day increase the risk of such side effects as stomach cramps and nausea. No tests have been done to determine if the various food additives salatrim, olestra, mannitol, and sorbitol that cause gastrointestinal symptoms can act in concert to cause greater effects.
Nabisco declared salatrim safe and has marketed it, as the law allows, without formal FDA approval. Nabisco has since sold salatrim to another company, Cultor.
The FDA rejected that recommendation, but salatrim is not widely used, if at all. Most processed foods, cured meats, soup, snack chips, crackers, and others. Salt, at the levels present in the diets of most people around the world, is probably the single most harmful substance in the food supply. Salt is used liberally in many processed foods and restaurant meals, with some meals containing far more than a day's worth of sodium. Other additives, such as monosodium glutamate and sodium benzoate, contribute additional sodium.
Salt serves many purposes in foods, such as acting as a preservative, adding a salty flavor, masking bitter flavors, and fostering expected texture or other property. A diet high in sodium increases blood pressure in most people, thereby increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
In , the director of the U. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and two colleagues estimated that cutting the amount of sodium in packaged and restaurant foods by half would save , lives a year.
Everyone should avoid salty processed foods and restaurant meals, use salt sparingly in cooking and at the table, and enjoy other seasonings. The Food and Drug Administration considers salt to be "generally recognized as safe" GRAS , even though it recognizes that diets high in salt are a major cause of cardiovascular disease and even though its own advisory committee in concluded that salt should not be considered GRAS.
In response, the FDA held a public hearing in November, Meanwhile, the British government has made salt reduction one of its top health goals and has been having significant success. Many companies defend the amounts of salt used, saying that using less would sacrifice taste or safety. However, comparisons of different brands of the same product frequently show wide differences in sodium content. That indicates that many companies could use less salt or other sodium-containing ingredients to the levels used by competitors and still have perfectly marketable products.
Seasoning, soup, snack chips, crackers, and other processed foods. Sea salt is obtained from the evaporation of sea water, unlike most table salt, which is mined from salt deposits, and then further processed to remove impurities. Many sea salts have slightly different flavors than regular salt—due to their slightly different mineral content—but the typical variety used in processed foods does not. Sales of sea salt and sea-salted products are booming, and marketers would have you believe sea salt is a healthier, more natural form of salt.
Although a majority of people surveyed by the American Heart Association believed sea salt was a lower-sodium alternative to table salt, sea salt has just as much sodium as table salt. You can find lower-sodium sea salt and other salts; these are made by mixing the salt sodium chloride with potassium chloride and other ingredients.
The trace amounts of magnesium, potassium, calcium, and other minerals in sea salt are so minor as to be insignificant to health. However, some sea salts, as well as kosher salt which sometimes is from the sea , have larger crystal sizes with irregular shapes so they do not pack as tightly as table salt and therefore they have less sodium per teaspoon. Most people should consume less salt be it regular or sea salt , because diets high in sodium increase blood pressure and the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and kidney disease.
This chemical is just sand. Silicon dioxide occurs naturally in foods, especially foods derived from plants. Breathed in, silica dust can cause lung disease, even cancer. For use in food, it is finely ground and added to salt and other foods to help powders flow more easily.
Aluminium calcium silicate and tricalcium silicate are also used in foods, and calcium silicate is used in some dietary supplements. Fruit juice, carbonated drinks, pickles. Manufacturers have used sodium benzoate and its close relative benzoic acid for a century to prevent the growth of microorganisms in acidic foods. The substances occur naturally in many plants and animals. They appear to be safe for most people, though they cause hives, asthma, or other allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.
Another problem occurs when sodium benzoate is used in beverages that also contain ascorbic acid vitamin C or erythorbic acid also known as d-ascorbic acid. The two substances, in an acidic solution, can react together to form small amounts of benzene, a chemical that causes leukemia and other cancers. Though the amounts of benzene that form are small, leading to only a very small risk of cancer, there is no need for consumers to experience any risk. In the early s the FDA had urged companies not to use benzoate in products that also contain ascorbic acid, but in the s companies were still using that combination.
A lawsuit filed in by private attorneys ultimately forced Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and other soft-drink makers in the U. It has a vinegar flavor and can prevent the growth of mold and bacteria. Processed meat, beverages, baked goods, and potato salad. Chemically, sodium erythorbate is stereoisomer of ascorbic acid vitamin C , but it itself has no nutritional value. It is used most commonly in processed meats, where it retards nitrosamine formation and color fading.
Bacon, ham, frankfurters, luncheon meats, smoked fish, corned beef. Meat processors love sodium nitrite because it stabilizes the red color in cured meat without nitrite, hot dogs and bacon would look gray and gives a characteristic flavor.
Sodium nitrate is used in dry cured meat, because it slowly breaks down into nitrite. Adding nitrite to food can lead to the formation of small amounts of potent cancer-causing chemicals nitrosamines , particularly in fried bacon. Nitrite, which also occurs in saliva and forms from nitrate in several vegetables, can undergo the same chemical reaction in the stomach.
Companies now add ascorbic acid or erythorbic acid to bacon to inhibit nitrosamine formation, a measure that has greatly reduced the problem. While nitrite and nitrate cause only a small risk, they are still worth avoiding. Several studies have linked consumption of cured meat and nitrite by children, pregnant women, and adults with various types of cancer.
In the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, concluded that processed meat is carcinogenic to humans. In CSPI petitioned the USDA to require a warning label on packages of bacon, ham, hot dogs, and other processed meat products to inform consumers that eating those foods can increase the risk of colorectal cancer. All consumers, including in particular pregnant women, would be prudent to avoid those products. The meat industry justifies its use of nitrite and nitrate by claiming that it prevents the growth of bacteria that cause botulism poisoning.
Department of Agriculture has developed a safe method using lactic-acid-producing bacteria. Because nitrite is used primarily in fatty, salty foods, consumers have important nutritional reasons for avoiding nitrite-preserved foods. While those products may not contain added sodium nitrite, they sometimes are made with celery powder or celery juice, which are naturally high in nitrite. Prevents growth of mold: Cheese, syrup, jelly, cake, wine, dry fruits.
Sorbic acid occurs naturally in many plants. These additives are safe. Cakes, candy, frozen pudding, icing. Like mono- and diglycerides and polysorbates, this additive keeps oil and water mixed together. In chocolate candy, it prevents the discoloration that normally occurs when the candy is warmed up and then cooled down.
Sugar-free sweetener, thickening agent, maintains moisture: Frozen desserts, candy, shredded coconut, chewing gum, other sugar-free foods. Sorbitol, a sugar alcohol and close relative of sugar, occurs naturally in fruits and berries.
It is sweet, but only half as sweet as sugar. It is non-cariogenic does not cause tooth decay and is used in chewing gum. Some diabetics use sorbitol-sweetened foods because it is absorbed slowly and does not cause blood sugar to increase rapidly. Moderate amounts of sorbitol are safe, but large amounts may have a strong laxative effect and even cause diarrhea.
The FDA requires foods "whose reasonably foreseeable consumption may result in a daily ingestion of 50 grams of sorbitol" to bear the label statement: Soup, gravy, frozen foods. Starch, the major component of flour, potatoes, and corn, is used in many foods as a thickening agent. However, starch does not dissolve in cold water. Highly refined sugar is typically listed on food labels as sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, brown sugar, invert sugar, dextrose, icing sugar, or as syrup, just to name some of its most common aliases.
Check them out and see which ones work the best for you! Pure organic maple syrup is made by boiling and evaporating the maple sap from maple trees into a thicker syrup. Pure maple syrup is typically tolerated well in small amounts. However, processed syrup with maple flavoring, such as pancake syrup , is not real maple syrup and is often made with refined sugar, dangerous chemicals, and preservatives.
You can also purchase real granulated maple sugar, which is made by evaporating even more of the liquid out of maple syrup before drying it out. Maple syrup and granulated maple sugar contain 1 gram less sugar per teaspoon than regular cane sugar coming in at 3 grams of sugar per teaspoon.
Coconut palm sugar is another natural sugar alternative that is becoming increasingly popular. It comes from coconut palm trees and is found in two forms: The nectar is similar to maple sap in the sense that it comes from a tree, while granulated coconut sugar is made by boiling and evaporating all the liquid out of coconut nectar. Granulated coconut sugar contains the same amount of calories as regular suga r 4 calories per gram, 4 grams of sugar per teaspoon and can be used as a one to one replacement for regular sugar.
Coconut nectar is slightly lower in sugar than liquid sugar cane and is said to have a slightly lower glycemic index than cane sugar. Coconut palm sugar has a similar taste to brown sugar and can be used interchangeably. Just be sure to purchase organic coconut palm sugar without additives or chemicals. Coconut sugar palm sugar is not especially high in vitamins and minerals, but it does retain more nutrition and amino acids than regular cane sugar.
Perhaps the best natural sweetening options of all are made from pure dates. Dates are an incredibly nutritious food full of B vitamins, minerals, and fiber, so these natural sweetening options are definitely two to keep your eye out for at the store. In terms of nutrition, granulated date sugar is not refined , so it still retains much of the same nutrition as whole dates and has a similar look to that of light brown sugar with a caramel-like flavor.
Date syrup looks a good bit like molasses and has a fruity, caramel flavor. While date syrup can be used in coffee and tea like honey, granulated date sugar is great to bake with as a one-to-one replacement for regular cane sugar. Granulated date sugar or date syrup can also be used in smoothies in small amounts if desired. Different brands of date sugar and date syrup contain varying degrees of sugar per teaspoon but most all of them fall between grams of natural sugar per teaspoon.
For starters, try slicing a few in your morning oatmeal, toss a couple of pitted dates in a smoothie, or try making them in natural energy balls or No Bake Date Brownies. You also have the option to make your own date sugar at home.
Barley malt is similar to molasses in color and lower in calories per serving than cane sugar, coming in at just under 3 grams of sugar per teaspoon. Barley malt is made by fermenting barley grains, which produce a malt-flavored sweetener. It is typically used for brewing beer but can also be used as a sweetener just like molasses. Barley malt does contain small amounts of gluten, but it is still a great option for those that do not have celiac disease. The byproduct of refining sugar, molasses is basically the concentrated form of all the natural vitamins and minerals found in sugar cane that gets removed in order to make refined white sugar.
Blackstrap molasses contains less sugar per teaspoon than regular cane sugar and is extremely high in iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. Blackstrap molasses is an especially great natural sugar alternative for coffee, tea, oatmeal, and can be used in baked goods of many kinds.
Learn more about Blackstrap Molasses here! Try this Sweet Potato Gingerbread! Other natural sweetening options that are not artificial include pure stevia leaf, sugar alcohols such as xylitol or erythritol, raw agave nectar, pure raw honey although honey is not vegan , and pure, unrefined sugar cane. Real stevia leaf contains no calories and is made from pure stevia leaf native to South America; it is times sweeter than sugar. However, stevia should only be purchased in a pure form without any chemicals or bleaching agents, so do your homework before buying one at the store.