Propylene Glycol Alginate. Dimethylpolysiloxane. Azodicarbonamide. Sounds like chemicals you would find in some kind of car cleaning solution, right?
These are just a few things that are lurking in the food you eat Every. Single. Day.
There's quite a buzz going on about eating a more “whole food” based diet, or maybe you’ve been wondering why it’s such a hot topic. With such an alarming rise in obesity, food allergies, and chronic illnesses—it only makes sense to try to find
the common denominator in all of these factors.
Food additives are one of those common denominators.
Let me share a little story. When my son was a toddler I noticed that every time he ate ranch dressing (yup, from the bottle ---hey, it was a long time before I became a health coach, cut me some slack) he broke out in a rash around his lips. I know, weird, especially since it only happened with ranch dressing. I knew he wasn't allergic to dairy. I considered soy, however, with soy prevalent in so many things that he ate at that time I knew this was also unlikely. So, one day I sat down in front of the computer with a bottle of ranch dressing and one-by-one “Googled” all eight of the food additives. What I found made the hair on the back of my neck stand up: preservatives, detergents and solvents – oh my! -- all in this seemingly innocuous bottle of ranch dressing, and all going into my baby! Propylene Glycol Alginate (I’m going to refer to it as PGA from here on) was one of those ingredients, and also the culprit behind my son’s rashes.
Now, our bodies are designed perfectly, meaning that the nutrients in each molecule of a whole food you eat have a receptor in your body specifically designed to receive that nutrient and use it. Those nutrients - carbs, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals - are substances our bodies need to carry out all its essential functions: heart beating, lungs breathing, limbs moving…you get the picture. But, when a food has something in it that isn’t a nutrient, like PGA, the body doesn’t recognize it.
We got problems.
If your body doesn’t recognize something you eat and can’t use it, the only alternative it has is to store it because only foods with nutrients can be turned into waste. And where do you think unidentifiable substances get stored?
In your fat cells! Indefinitely… and that ain’t good.
Furthermore, those substances being held hostage in your fat cells-- indefinitely -- become more toxic over time. Things like solvents, preservatives and foaming agents have no business in our bodies anyway; there is no ‘PGA-Receptor’ in our bloodstream. Really.
Unfortunately, over time these toxins start to leach out, and that’s one of the ways things like food allergies, autoimmune diseases and cancers happen.
So, let’s look closely at what happens when you eat something with PGA:
First of all, it certainly isn’t a nutrient, so your body can’t use it, so it gets stored in your fat cells. Then, we need to know what PGA is:
And this is in our food!
Additionally, some people will have an immune response after consuming PGA that causes itching, swelling, hives and rashes, but it also causes nausea, vomiting, cramping and diarrhea in perfectly healthy people. And if that's not all, because your body doesn’t know what the heck PGA is, it will get stored in your fat cells, where it leaches out little by little, causing chaos over…and over…and over again.
At this point you might be wondering “Is this even legal?”
Yup. …and the FDA is o.k. with this, because it falls under something called the federal GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) guidelines for food additives. Basically, this means that as far as federal regulations go, it hasn't killed enough people to be conspicuous, and very little long-term testing has been done.
Hopefully, you’re getting the picture now, right?
So, what can you do to be proactive about eliminating food additives from your diet?
The takeaway here is this: Rule of Thumb ---
If you are shopping in a market,
You Must. Read. Every. Label.
Do you read food labels? Have you ever Googled any to find out what they are? If so, tell me about it in the comments below, I'd love to hear about it.
Blessings and best of health,