Petroleum byproducts. Bug parts. Wood shavings. Duck feathers. If you can imagine it, you’re probably eating it every day as one of more than 3,000 natural and artificial chemicals that appear in our food supply. But after a decade of reporting on abominable additives, preposterous preservatives and crazy calorie counts, the editors at Eat This, Not That! are excited to report on a healthy new food trend: Major food manufacturers are finally stripping unnecessary chemicals from their products. And that may help you and your family strip off the pounds.
General Mills announced this week that it would eliminate artificial colors and flavors from its entire line of cereals, swapping out chemicals like red dyes (some of which have already been banned in most countries) for natural colorings from healthy sources like vegetables, joining Kraft, Nestle and other large companies in a race to clean up their acts.
Why is this such a great trend? Artificial colorings have been linked to everything from attention problems to obesity; in fact, studies show that people who eat highly processed foods tend to weigh more than those who don’t, even when calorie counts remain the same. Yet we really know very little about these chemicals: The Food and Drug Administration’s database of “Everything Added to Food in the United States” is really an America’s Most Unwanted list of additives, preservatives and flavor enhancers that food manufacturers (not the FDA itself, mind you) have decided are “generally recognized as safe.”
If you’ve been trying to cut artificial foods out of your life, take a second look at some of these products.