Are the foods we eat really safe? Are the ingredients they are made from really good for us? Eating healthy isn’t always an easy task, and sometimes the foods that seem the healthiest can hide the most threatening ingredients. It’s hard to recognize these dangers if you aren’t a professional, but with the help of Skinny Mom, you can protect your clean and healthy diet! Read up on these food additives that might be doing more harm than good in your diet.

Artificial Food Dyes: Found in almost all processed foods, artificial food dyes have been linked to behavior problems, ADD and ADHD in children. There have also been possible ties to cancer and nerve-cell deterioration. In other countries, artificial food dyes are either banned completely or the foods are required to have a special warning label. (via Dr. Oz)


Potassium Bromate: Sometimes just listed as “bromate,” this ingredient helps bread products rise better in the oven. It has also been linked to high rates of cancer and tumors in lab animals. (via LiveScience)


Brominated Vegetable Oil (or BVO for short): With its ability to keep food dyes and citrus flavoring from separating in beverages, this ingredient is used often in sodas and sports drinks. It is also used as a flame retardant. That’s right, a flame retardant. The FDA is still evaluating this ingredient’s safety, but has allowed its use while more investigations are underway. According to USA Today, BVO is so bad that it was recently removed from Coke and Pepsi products. Nonetheless, soda is terrible for you. Let’s stick to coconut water.


Arsenic: The Huffington Post points out the harmful effects of arsenic on our bodies. It is a known poison, so why would we ever put it in our food? Unfortunately, it is commonly fed to chickens to make their meat appear more pink and fresh.


Synthetic Growth Hormones, rBGH and rBST: This is given to cows to increase their milk production. It definitely does that, but it also increases disease and other health concerns in the cows and has been linked to several cancers and infertility in humans. (via Breast Cancer Fund) Try an alternative to dairy, like soy or almond milk.


High Fructose Corn Syrup: Despite claims by the corn industry, HFCS is not processed the same way in the body as other sugars. It is also most often found in highly processed food, the kind of food you should be avoiding anyway. (via Mark Hyman).


Monosodium Glutamate or MSG: Also goes by autolyzed yeast, maltodextrin, sodium casein ate and other names, so even with reading the ingredient list you many not know it’s there. Common places to find it are in salad dressings, chips and packaged juices. MSG is a flavor enhancer that has been linked to many health problems from obesity to brain damage. (via Mercola)


Azodicarbonamide: Used in the making of bread to bleach it and provide a longer shelf life, it is also used as a foaming agent in making plastics such as yoga mats. The next time you are holding downward dog, take a look at your mat. Looks delicious, right? This additive has been linked to respiratory problems along with many other issues.


Olestra/Olean: Science Daily warns against eating products that have olestra. Olestra is found in fat-free potato chips, french fries and corn chips, to prevent your body from absorbing the fat in the food. Sounds like a dream come true, right? Except that it also blocks your ability to absorb vitamins and nutrients. With other side effects like abdominal cramping and bowel leakage, it’s better just to avoid it altogether. Try these delicious Skinny Baked Zucchini Chips instead! 

Having a healthy diet is possible, but you need to always be aware of what’s going into your body. Read the labels and try to stick to natural, unprocessed food whenever possible.