Do You Know Nutrition: Weeding out toxic foods

By Phylis Canion
Dec. 24, 2013 at 6:24 a.m.

Would you please explain to me what the following ingredients are and how they are used? I see these items listed on my food labels, and beginning in the New Year, I am avoiding more foods that contain toxins and I suspect these will fall into that category. The ingredients are Acesulfame K, hydrogenated and nitrates.

Acesulfame K, approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1988 as a sugar substitute, is used in chewing gum, dry mixes for beverages, instant coffee and tea, gelatin desserts, puddings and nondairy creamers.

While consumers are waiting for a safe artificial sweetener - this one is not. The FDA based its approval on tests of acesulfame K that fell short of the FDA's own standards because of the increased risk of animals developing cancer, which in turn means there is also an increased risk for humans.

In 1987, the Center for Science and Public Interest urged the FDA to not approve acesulfame K, but that request was ignored. Hydrogenation is the process of passing hydrogen through bubbles through an oil by heating it.

Because hydrogenated oil does not occur naturally, the body is not as efficient at processing it. Hydrogenated oils generally are found in processed foods, and studies have associated a correlation between this oil and multiple sclerosis, arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Nitrates and nitrites belong to a class of chemicals called nitrosamines that are created by a chemical reaction. According to a study conducted by Suzanne de la Monte, M.D., 90 percent of nitrosamines have been shown in test to be carcinogens (cancer causing).

Because nitrosamines are reactive at the cellular level, they can alter gene expression and create a process of accelerated aging in the body that can encourage the development of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and diabetes.

Nitrosamines are commonly used in commercially cured meats such as bacon, ham, hot dogs, lunch meat, corned beef and smoked fish. Infants should never be given any foods that contain nitrosamines.

Thought for the week: Christmas gift suggestions: "To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect." O. Arnold.

Merry Christmas to all, and thank you for reading my column.

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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