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Feb 12, 2009 09:27 AM

Food Additives I Don't Want To Eat

I read labels. It all started when I was a young bachelor and I wanted something “fancy” for dinner. I bought one of those seasoned rice packets, prepared and ate it, noticing it was very salty. When I looked at the listed ingredients I was shocked to discover that except for rice, it was pretty much all chemicals! I thought it was going to be just rice with herbs. Why did I need those artificial colors, flavors and preservatives?

By now, we _all_ know that processed foods are loaded with additives, for good or bad. But reading label after label, you find the same ones in almost everything. If I were to begin a career in manufacturing, I think I would make a lot of money producing Enriched Wheat Flour, Partially Hydrogenated Soy Bean Oil, Citric Acid or Soy Lecithin.

There are some things I will not eat, because they contain these or other additives. I have become a “make-it-from-scratch” kind of person as opposed to a “buy-it-in-a-can” person. I know there are good reasons to buy canned products and processed foods on occasion, (sweetened condensed milk comes to mind) but some products will not be purchased willingly by me because of their additives.

Personally, I want nothing with Aspartame, or multiple sugars (i.e. Corn syrup _and_ Sugar _and_ Dextrose _and_ Glucose, etc.) I avoid MSG and any kind of “lo-cal” chemical substitutes. And I really try to avoid artificial flavorings.

I am of the mind that using real ingredients (butter, sugar, eggs) is healthier than using chemical substitutes, but that’s a debate in itself.

What additives do you refuse to buy, perhaps opting for a more “healthy” substitute (if there is one)?

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  1. I won't buy the chips or pringles with olestra. Maybe not healthier, but regular chips are just way better.

    I also avoid anything with aspartame.

    1. When I got out of college and started purchasing groceries and making food, I bought a lot of processed, boxed crap that my mother would never let us have when we were kids. I remember calling her in horror once after fixing my first (and last) box of Hamburger Helper because it literally ate the finish off the insides of my mouth because of the chemicals in it. This was the beginning of my food education as an adult, for sure. My Mom was laughing and was all like, I didn't just not feed you those things because I was mean, I didn't buy them because they're a) awful and b) very expensive compared to how many meals you get out of something you make from scratch. The evolution took many years, and then I had to teach mr. rockandroller.

      We (also) do not consume any sugar substitutes at all, I think there is just zero place for them in one's diet and zero reason to consume them. If I were diabetic, I just wouldn't eat sugary foods - I hardly eat any anyway as it is. We also avoid products with corn syrup like the plague. About the only time I drink pop anymore is when the passover coke comes out because it's made with sugar. Or my sister brings me coke from Mexico (this was my Xmas gift this year), which they sell at her grocery store in WI for some reason. I also just discovered a new version of 7-up they are selling at the organic section of my grocery and it's sweetened with good old fashioned SUGAR!

      I also cannot stand egg substitute and won't get "scrambled" eggs on a buffet or in a hotel because of it. And I hate fake syrup. It's just corn syrup.

      My biggest pet peeve is probaly the OIL in little packets they put out with your coffee and call it "creamer." Not cream, because obviously it's NOT cream, but "creamer." It's OIL. Usually like 4 different types of oil. Why would I want to put oil in my coffee? And if I were trying to watch my weight or my heart health by avoiding real cream, why would I want to put OIL in it instead? This boggles my mind.

      3 Replies
      1. re: rockandroller1

        If I see "Creme"-filled anything, I shudder. And I hate to see parents feeding that stuff to their children. That entire "food" is -- there's nothing there! It's a "food" made _from_ additives!

        1. re: cuccubear

          like the "kreme" filled donuts in dunkin donuts :)

        2. re: rockandroller1

          "My Mom was laughing and was all like, I didn't just not feed you those things because I was mean"...
          This describes my mom perfectly - I think she took a perverse pleasure in knowing that she could be mean to us under the guise of feeding us the right thing...

        3. Anything blue.

          Aspartame or any other artificial sugar.

          I am getting more grossed out by artificial crap in my food. Just reading what's in it is often enough to make me put the product back on the shelf. My husband has to be very wary of sodium and I am getting very anti-chemistry lab so betwixt Jack and Jill I am cooking just about everything from scratch. Which seems to me rather luxurious.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Querencia

            I suspect that's why the food is prepared with "chemical shortcuts", so it's easy! and no-hassle!

            I know people who only eat whipped cream out of a can, saying the real stuff is too fattening. But it's so easy to make, and one doesn't eat it everyday! So _be_ luxurious! :-) I don't want to eat an all-chemical food.

          2. I'm trying to stick to buying ingredients instead of prepared foods. I'm always surprised at what I find.

            Tonight, it was three different brands of dried blueberries, and each one containing HFCS. Seriously? It's dried fruit, people. How f*@%ing sweet does it need to be?

            1. Moderation in all things--well, most--is my mantra. I grew up in the '60s and '70s and I'm sure I had my fill of all the 'miracle' additives back then, with no ill effects I can see. I draw the line at saccharin (tastes yucky) and Olestra (diarrhea isn't my idea of fun). I don't get hysterical over HFCS, and I don't mind aspartame. I'll avoid 'chemicals' if I don't like the taste or texture they impart to food, or if I've got pretty compelling evidence they're bad for me, but I try not to worry too much because that makes my food taste bad for sure! I think I eat enough simple, 'real' food to balance out the test-tube stuff.