- The Washington Times - Friday, June 21, 2013

Put down the Mountain Dew and step away from the Pringles. An estimated 80 percent of all packaged foods sold in America are actually so unhealthy and packed with chemical additives that they’re banned in much of the world, a new book reveals.

Six food additives in particular are the worst-of-the-worst, the Daily Mail reported. A new book, “Rich Food, Poor Food,” by Dr. Jayson Calton and Mira Calton, a certified nutritionist, explains how the Food and Drug Administration’s stamp of approval means little to other nations — and that much of what America is eating is actually considered cancerous in other nations.

Watch out for food coloring, the authors say. One of the most common used in the United States — found in soda, sports drinks, mac and cheese, cake and candy, and several other products — is make from petroleum and has been linked to various cancers, the authors say, in the Daily Mail.

Another common additive in America but banned in the United Kingdom and in Canada: The fat substitute, Olestra. It’s found in low-fat potato chips, including Ruffles Lite, Lays Wow and Pringles fat-free, the authors say, the Daily Mail reported. Fat-free ice cream and mayonnaise also contained the chemical at various time, the authors said.

Meanwhile, drinks like Mountain Dew, Squirt and Fresca and foods like New York brand flatbreads and bagel chips made the authors’ hit list because they contain brominated vegetable oil — banned by more than 100 countries because of its link to thyroid cancer, the Daily Mail reported. Bromine, the authors say, is also used to protect carpets from fire and to disinfect swimming pools.

And don’t even think of hitting the frozen dinner aisle at the grocery, the authors say.

Hungry Man frozen dinners, and certain frozen potato and bread products, contain a chemical that is tied to asthma, they say. Its banned in Australia, the United Kingdom and many other European nations. In Singapore, its use could bring a 15-year prison sentence and a $500,000 fine, the Daily Mail reported. Its name? Azodicarbonamide, the authors say, in the Daily Mail.

Here in America, though, the FDA says the additive is “approved to be a bleaching agent in cereal flour” and is “permitted for direct addition to food for human consumption,” the Daily Mail reported.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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