Do You Know Nutrition: It's important to read labels

By Phylis Canion
April 24, 2012 at midnight
Updated April 23, 2012 at 11:24 p.m.

Phylis Canion

Phylis Canion

I recently purchased pasteurized process cheese food. After reading the list of ingredients, I wonder if it is really cheese. Cheese is cheese, right?

Not necessarily. The Food and Drug Administration labeling rules mandate that processed products that are anything other than 100 percent cheese must be labeled as such.

Here are three things to look at: Pasteurized process cheese product contains less than 50 percent cheese, Pasteurized process cheese food must contain a minimum 50 percent real cheese, and pasteurized process cheese must be 100 percent cheese.

Keep reading your labels. It is hard not to be fooled.

I know that you normally discuss food and nutrition, but I was wondering if you could help me with this question. I recently had my hair colored and had a very severe asthma attack afterwards. Could there be any correlation between the two?

There is an additive known as ammonium persulfate that is found in hair coloring and bleaching kits. Persulfate technically refers to any sulfate or a crystalized form of sulfuric acid.

Because of the chemical exposure to your skin, ammonium persulfate can instigate an immune system response that can include itching, burning, scaling, hives and blistering of skin. Because this chemical is considered a lung sensitizer, it can instigate an immune system response that could induce an asthmatic attack or similar issues involving airway passage and lungs.

If you have a tattoo, the risks of allergic reaction may be increased. While not all hair coloring may contain ammonium persulfate, many do contain ammonium thiolactate and ammonium hydroxide, which is why most hair coloring and bleaching kits do carry a usage advisory and safety warnings.

It is just as important to read the ingredients of your hair color kit as it is to read your food label.

Thought for the week: An arrow can only be launched by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it's going to launch you into something great.

The next free nutrition class will be held at Organic Emporium, at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 14. Call 361-576-2100 today to make your reservation.

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant, email her at This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.



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