Food additives - which to avoid?
Food additives have been used for thousands of years, ever since people realized salt could keep meat from spoiling. Today, there are more than 10,000 additives approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to preserve, package, or modify the taste, look, texture, or nutrients in foods. Here is my short list of additives that I think we should try to avoid.
Mono and Diglycerides (or Partially Hydrogenated Oils)
These contain trans fat which is strongly correlated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The CDC has linked trans fat to at least 20,000 heart attacks per year and the Institute of Medicine says there is no safe level to eat. This additive is often found in low-fat ice creams where they are trying to make up for what they took out, but you’ll find it in many others too! Mono and Diglycerides are not friends at Delini gelato.
These synthetic flavors are made from proprietary chemicals to make fake food taste real. This is not a single ingredient – each flavor may contain of up to 100 ingredients, including synthetic chemicals, solvents and preservatives such as BHA, propylene glycol, MSG, parabens, and more. Our gelato is absolutely free of any artificial flavors.
The only difference between natural and artificial flavors mentioned above, is that natural flavors are derived from things found in nature (such as beaver glands). Just like artificial flavors, they are created in a lab by a team of scientists and can contain up to 100 hidden ingredients. The bottom line: You have no idea what you are eating – and it might be propylene glycol, BHA, and parabens. At Delini we use only pure ingredients without adding natural flavors to our gelato.
“Sugar” Instead of “ Organic Cane Sugar”
You might think to yourself that sugar is sugar. But there is a difference between unrefined cane sugar vs refined sugar. Unlike other forms of sugar that either go through several unnecessary phases of processing or are mixed with chemical enzymes, organic cane sugar is derived straight from the juice inside sugarcane. The majority of sugar in USA comes from GMO sugar beets and not from cane. These sugar beets are Roundup-Ready, which means they are sprayed with the herbicide Roundup (glyphosate) and don’t die. Here at Delini gelato we only use certified organic cane sugar.
Aspartame an artificial sweetener commonly found is diet or sugar-free sodas, chewing gum, ice creams, and sometimes even chewable vitamins. It’s almost 200x sweeter than cane sugar, so manufacturers don’t have to use as much of it. Numerous studies have shown that aspartame can increase blood glucose levels, and may even cause anxiety. There is no application at Delini gelato.
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a highly-refined artificial sweetener which has become the number one source of calories in America. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is popular with food companies simply because it’s cheaper than cane sugar, but still provides the sweet taste consumers want. It is found in almost all processed foods. HFCS packs on the pounds faster than any other ingredient, increases your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, and contributes to the development of diabetes and tissue damage, among other harmful effects. Found in: most processed foods, breads, candy, flavored yogurts, ice creams, salad dressings, canned vegetables, cereals. High fructose corn syrup is not allowed at Delini gelato!
Carrageenan is a common food additive with no nutritional value. It is extracted from a red seaweed, Chondrus crispus, popularly known as Irish moss, and is used as a thickener and emulsifier to improve the texture of ice cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, soy milk, almond milk and other foods. Even though carrageenan is a plant-based food, studies are finding that this additive may have some serious health consequences. In fact, carrageenan has been linked to “increased inflammation, gastrointestinal disorders, glucose intolerance, food allergies, bloating, and even cancer, especially colon cancer.” On top of that, there’s been hot debate regarding the difference, if any, between food-grade carrageenan — referred to as undegraded — and degraded carrageenan — also referred to as poligeenan. Degraded carrageenan — the version not approved by the FDA — is known to have carcinogenic (cancer-causing) properties and if there is little to no difference between degraded and undegraded, that means this additive is infusing cancer-causing properties into your store-bought food products. Carrageenan is still approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as an additive and remains in wide use in many food products. But in 2016 the National Organic Standards Board voted to remove carrageenan from their approved list and foods made with carrageenan can no longer be labeled “USDA organic.” Carrageenan will never be use at Delini gelato!
Here is my tips how to avoid unhealthy additives
To be safe, it’s wise to choose foods that are in their natural state and color. The best way to eat healthy is to:
- Look to the farm and small local business . Shop local! Fill up on fresh foods and minimize processed foods. Shop at your local farmer’s market or sign up for CSA (community-supported agriculture) deliveries of fresh produce.
- Be your own chef. Cook your own meals so you know what you’re eating. Avoid prepackaged, precooked meals.
- Read the label. Check the list of ingredients before adding food to your grocery cart. Don’t buy products with known additives, and beware of any ingredients you can’t pronounce.