Badditives: Food for Thought and Suspicion

Jul 12, 2017

It’s becoming common knowledge there are a lot of hidden ingredients in our food, to the point that we often don’t know what we’re eating. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration isn’t telling us everything that is in our food and other products we use. For instance, fluoride, used in dental care and water supplies, was once used to manufacture atomic bombs and poison rodents and roaches.

But we don’t have to stay in the dark. Sibling writing duo and journalists Bill and Linda Bonvie of Little Egg Harbor just came out with their new book, Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet – and How to Avoid Them, which discusses harmful additives that are found in food today and have yet to be stopped.

The Bonvies have been researching and writing about health, environmental and related subjects for nearly three decades. They have collaborated on other books, including The Stevia Story: a tale of incredible sweetness and intrigue, Chemical-Free Kids and Chemical- Free Kids: The Organic Sequel. They have written for many newspapers, such as the Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, Boston Globe and San Diego Union-Tribune, to name a few. They also wrote for a twice-weekly blog for the nonprofit “Citizens for Health,” based in Washington, D.C. The blog, “Food Identity Theft,” dealing with topics such as in “Badditives,” was the motivation for their book. Once having learned how food is made and packaged, Linda Bonvie said, “there’s no turning back.”

Badditives! reveals that aluminum, which has been connected to Alzheimer’s disease, is found in certain food products, cosmetics, over-the-counter drugs and grooming products. Red dye 40, once banned by the FDA for causing cancer in laboratory animals, is still used today in maraschino cherries, cherries in fruit cocktail and sausage casings.

Also discussed in the book is meat glue. As Linda explained, “Basically, it’s used to combine cheap cuts of meat or seafood and seamlessly put them together so restaurants can sell ‘gourmet’ dishes that really aren’t. Some researchers believe it can lead to autoimmune diseases as well as making it more difficult to cook a fake steak thoroughly and kill all the pathogens.”

Another topic is carrageenan, which is found even in organic foods and dairy and non-dairy products. When asked about the dangers of carrageenan, Bill said, “It’s found in a variety of foods, and the only way you can know it’s there is to scan that ingredients list on the label before you buy something including an organic product. As the Cornucopia Institute notes, there are over 100 human diseases, including cancer, linked to the kind of inflammation it can cause.”

When asked about the message of their book, they each gave their own reply.

“The message, from my perspective, is that you can’t trust processed foods you buy in the supermarket simply because the brand names are long familiar, or you ate it when you were a kid, nor can you assume that they must be safe because they’re FDA approved,” Bill said.

“I would hope that the take-away message here is that no processed food should be considered ‘safe’ until you’ve read the ingredient label,” Linda said. “Even if you don’t have an encyclopedic mind for remembering all the ‘badditives’ out there, if it doesn’t sound like food, you probably shouldn’t be eating it.

“You may have noticed that many food manufacturers realize that consumers are heading in that direction as well, and are making and marketing products with a limited number of ingredients. But whenever possible, ditch the processed foods altogether and eat more real foods – you know, the kind you need to dice and slice and toss together yourself.”

In Linda’s opinion, “Big Food gets to do just about anything they care to, leaving the consumer wandering in a dazzling array of food items in your typical supermarket, but with a whole lot of them not fit for consumption.”

Anyone wishing to learn more about “badditives” and the book is invited to a discussion with Linda Bonvie on Wednesday, July 12, at Hot or Not Yoga, 8 North Union St. in Manahawkin, at 6:30 p.m. For more information, call Hot or Not Yoga at 855-SANTOSHA.

— Kassandra Hagen

From the book Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet – and How to Avoid Them (Photo by: Ryan Morrill)
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