How to eat healthy – Food Additives: Anti-Foaming Agents (Aka…silly putty?)

Yes, you read that right, silly putty.   I used to love to play with silly putty as a kid. Those of you from my generation (I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s) will remember buying and playing with silly putty.

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One of my favorite things to do? Press some silly putty on against newspaper cartoons, would transfer the image from the paper to the silly putty.

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Good times! Okay, we were easily amused back then. My point is, silly putty was fun to play with, but you don’t want to eat it! So, what does silly putty have to do with food additives and anti-foaming agents  and your food? Do you really want to know?

Below the Food Babe talks about the tie between silly putty and your food.

In the video she says.(3)..

  • Dimethylpolysioxane (That’s a mouth full!) is a type of silicone and anti-foaming agent, used industrially in caulks or sealants or even breast implants. and…You guessed it…it’s the key ingredient in silly putty!
  • It’s also the same chemical that fast food companies put in their deep fry oil to prevent it from foaming. So, it gets into the fries, chicken, and anything else that’s fried in the oil.
  • Fast food restaurants also put this chemical in fountain drinks, as well as  “phase oil”,  a butter substitute. (used by Dominoes Pizza to make their crust.)

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So, just what is an anti-foaming agent? (or defoamer, as it’s known in the industry)(1, 3)

Anti-foaming agents stop foam from forming on the surface of liquids. Although used mainly in industrial applications, it is also added to food, for the same purpose. Many oils, silicon and wax agents are used. Some common defoamers include: butter, margarine, lard, corn oil, coconut oil, mineral oil, and vegetabe oil

There are five types of defoamers.

  • Oil Based Defoamers – These are considered the best, since they don’t mix with water. These break up any foam which may gather on the surface of the product. These oils also contain waxes, which increase the “efficiency” of the defoamer.
  • Silicon Based Defoamers – Silica is hydrophobic, or is repels/doesn’t mix with water, which prevents the foam from forming. These defoamers have emulsifiers added and are used mainly in oil refining. (And in fast food deep friers!)
  • Water Based Defoamers – Used in water treatment plants and paper manufacturing, these defoamers are typically mineral oils, vegetable oils, fatty acid soaps and esters.
  • Alkyl Based Defoamers – These agents are used for aerated products or something that will be released through the air and are delivered in a petroleum base
  • Powdered Anti Foaming Agents – These substances are oil based then added to a carrier like silica. These defoamers are typically seen industrially in powdered substances like cement, plaster or detergents.

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The anti-foaming agents in your food:

  • Dimethylpolysiloxane – Discussed above. While there aren’t any definitive studies on the health and safety of this product, I really don’t think we were meant to eat silly putty.
  • Polysorbates – Known to contain toxins and can cause cancer in animals.They are known to contain harmful residues (ethylene oxide, ethylene glycols), which can increase the absorption of fat-dissolving substances, and modify the digestion of various substances. Mainly derived from petroleum Found in: cake mix, frozen dessert, salad dressing, doughnuts, foods with artificial chocolate coating, non-dairy whipped topping
  • propylene glycol –  Research from the Environmental Working Group, indicates the toxic load of this additive is low, though it has been known to have toxic effects on the blood at high does in laboratory animals
  • Sorbitan Monostearate – Not found to be deadly, though can cause liver enlargement in high doses. Found in: Candy, ice cream, flavored milk, bakery items, cake mix, icing, whipping cream, cake mixes, puddings, whipped vegetable-oil toppings, cookie coatings, solid-state edible vegetable fat, cream substitutes, coconut spread, beverages, confectionery and as a protective covering on fruits and vegetables.
  • Butyl or aluminum stearate– This is an salt attached to a fatty acid. It can cause skin, eye and lung irritation. For use in dairy (butyl) or beet/sugar and yeast (aluminum).
  • BHA – (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) -Evidence of causing cancer in experimental animals. May cause cancer in humans, although more research is needed. It has been banned in Japan and the UK.  Found in-lard, instant mashed potatoes, ice cream, baked goods, dry dessert mixes, shortening, cereal, potato flakes, chewing gum.
  • BHT – (Butylated Hydroxytoluene) -Known to cause cancer, kidney and liver damage, and birth defects in laboratory animals. May possibly convert other ingested substances into toxic or cancer-causing additives should be investigated. Found in: animals fats, chewing gum, potato flakes, shortening, enriched rice
  •  Hydroxlydated lecithin–  Health effects are unknown, though most are made from corn, soy or eggs and can be genetically modified or cause allergic reactions. Found in: Chocolate products, baked goods, frozen desserts, margarine, lard, cereal, candy, non-stick cooking spray.

Closing thoughts

 

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Research into anti-foaming agents is ongoing and, as of yet, has not discovered any deadly or particularly toxic side effects. This also means that these substances are being added to food, without knowing what long term effects they will have on the human body. Some studies have indicated that the very nature and properties of the anti-foaming agents, ultimately have detrimental effects on cells and the ability to produce proteins. (5) Whatever the case, it is clear we need more research.

That said, in most cases, these are man made chemicals which are unrecognizable to your body. Any substance, unrecognizable to the body, will have a toxic effect on the liver, whose job it is to cleanse the body of toxins. The liver then stores them away in fatty tissue. If the digestive system is poor or is leaky, these substances could get into the blood stream before properly stored away and will be attacked, leading to allergies, chronic disease or auto-immune disorders.

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So it’s time to fall back to my same, age old advice. Stick to a whole food diet, consisting mainly of plants, from all colors of the rainbow. Buy organic, locally grown, pasture-raised food as often as possible. Except for the occasional treat, stay away from fast food and refined/processed food. Then, you won’t have anything to worry about!

Namaste my friends.

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Sources:

  1. http://www.foodadditivesworld.com/articles/defoamer.html
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defoamer#Oil_based_defoamers
  3. https://foodbabe.com/sillyputty/
  4. http://www.befoodsmart.com/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3962157/
  6. Winter, Ruth. A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives, 7th Edition: Descriptions in Plain English of More Than 12,000 Ingredients Both Harmful and Desirable Found in Foods. Crown/Archetype. Kindle Edition.

 

How to eat healthy: Food Additives ~ Anti-caking Agents.

Did you know the FDA maintains a database of over 3000 different items, which are added to our food? This series covers the most common of these additives. Today, we continue working our way through the list of additives the FDA deems “safe”, as we discuss anti-caking agents. For the other articles in this series, FOLLOW THIS LINK.

What is an anti-caking agent? (2,3)

These substances are generally used in any product which is powdered or granulated in nature, such as salt, drink mixes, spice mixes, etc. They work in one of two ways, either by absorbing excess moisture or by coating to make the ingredients water repellents. The purpose is to prevent the ingredients in the powder from clumping together. The majority of anti-caking agents aren’t actual food products, which are foreign to our body, making it difficult to digest and break down.

Aluminum – Aluminum Toxicity

Silicon Dioxide

Silica is a mineral necessary for the human body. As you can see in the video above, silica is only absorbable in an organic form or food form. The recommended dose of silica is 40 mg/day.Food sources of Silica: (5)

  1. Oats – 20mg/100g
  2. Bananas – 5 mg/100g
  3. Spinach – 7 mg/100g
  4. Tofu/soy – 5 mg/100g
  5. Rice – 5 mg/100g
  6. Seafood – 3 mg/100 g

HOWEVER…Most food additives are made from inorganic sources, because it’s easier and cheaper to use. The inorganic form of silicon dioxide is not healthy for the body, nor is it absorbable.

Here is a quote from OSHA regarding Silicon Dioxide:

Crystalline silica has been classified as a human lung carcinogen. Additionally, breathing crystalline silica dust can cause silicosis, which in severe cases can be disabling, or even fatal. The respirable silica dust enters the lungs and causes the formation of scar tissue, thus reducing the lungs’ ability to take in oxygen.”

Ferrocyanide

While it does seem a bit scary to see the word cyanide, from my research, this substance appears to be safe. (If you can consider any chemical “safe”) Ferrocyanide, or cyanide bonded with a IRON molecule, is typically used as a salt, such as potassium ferrocyanide and sodium ferrocyanide. Unlike typical forms of cyanide, ferrocyanide is considered LESS TOXIC, because they “tend not to release the free cyanide.” (7)

With that said, there are certain, very rare conditions, where this substance becomes quite dangerous. Mixing ferrocyanides with hot concentrated acid frees up dangerous amounts of hydrogen cyanide and carbon monoxide. (8) Keep in mind, this reaction happens with pure ferrocyanide, not necessarily a reaction that would occur with your food. It would also need to occur in very large amounts.

 

Most common anti-caking agents

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(This is a list of the most common anti-caking agents.

For a more comprehensive list, follow THIS LINK.)

  • Aluminum calcium silicate – Generally recognized as safe when used 2% by weight in table salt. A known carcinogen. May contain crystalline silica, a chemical that has been determined s to cause cancer and other chemicals known to  cause cancer, birth defects and other reproductive harm. Causes respiratory tract irritation. Causes skin irritation. Causes eye irritation.
  • Calcium carbonate – Generally regarded as safe. Helps promote phosphate balance within the body.
  • Calcium phosphate/tri-calcium phosphate – bone ash– Not considered toxic or irritating except in large doses. Inhalation can cause lung irritation.
  • Calcium silicate – Used in…2%Vanilla Powder, 2% in foods, 2%  In animal feeds, 5% in baking powder. May cause skin irritation. Prolonged contact and possible induction of altered pulmonary function (lung disorders) and lesions when silicate or asbestos are also present.
  • Hydrophobic silica and Silicon dioxide – the principle constituent of sandstone Extremely hazardous in case of skin contact (corrosive, irritant), of eye contact (irritant), of ingestion, of inhalation. Inhalation of dust will produce irritation to gastro-intestinal or respiratory tract, characterized by burning, sneezing and coughing. Severe over-exposure can produce lung damage, choking, unconsciousness or death. Inflammation of the eye is characterized by redness, watering, and itching. The substance is toxic to lungs, mucous membranes. Repeated skin exposure can produce local skin destruction, or dermatitis. Repeated exposure to a highly toxic material may produce general deterioration of health by an accumulation in one or many human organs. Repeated or prolonged inhalation of dust may lead to chronic respiratory irritation.
  • Magnesium carbonate – Relatively safe. Can be moderately toxic in large doses, however, relatively weak as an antacid or food additive.
  • Magnesium silicate – (AKA: Talcum powder) This substance is generally recognized as safe when used 2.0% in table salt. Toxic to lungs. Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage.
  • Prussiate of soda, yellow – An anticaking agent in salt. Contains a minimum of 99 percent by weight of sodium ferrocyanide decahydrate. Toxic to blood, lungs, mucous membranes. Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage.
    • Ferrocyanide- (Calcium potassium or sodium) are permitted to be used as crystal modifiers and anti-caking agents in common salt, iodised salt and iron fortified salt in quantity not exceeding 10 mg/kg singly or in combination expressed as ferrocyanide.
  • Sodium aluminosilicate – An irritant to skin, eyes and mucous membranes. Irritation of the eyes, skin and respiratory tract. Burns or irritation of the esophagus or GI tract. Allergies and hypersensitivity.

Closing thoughts:

Whether they say natural or not, all of these substances are actually man made, with some ingredients POSSIBLY coming from nature. As they are processed, they become man made chemicals, at which time they become unrecognizable to our body. Once ingested, our body needs to do something with them, so they get sent to the liver for detoxification. The liver cleans what it can, then stores the rest in our fatty tissue. This over works our liver, creates fatigue, joint pain, allergies and a host of other issues.

Whether or not they are “safe” isn’t the issue. The issue is, the human body was NEVER meant to ingest and absorb these unnatural substances. As I always say,  avoid packaged/refined food and stick with real whole food. That’s your best bet.

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Sources

  1. http://www.organicspices.com/blog/2014/1/6/what-are-anti-caking-agents
  2. https://www.naturalnewsblogs.com/tag/anticaking-agents/
  3. http://www.chemistryindustry.biz/anticaking-agent.html
  4. https://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/newtoxnet/index.html
  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_OP8U241WE
  6. https://www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3176.html
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferrocyanide
  8. https://www.911metallurgist.com/blog/ferrocyanide-toxicity

 

How to eat healthy: Food additives-Acids

NOTE: I apologize for the lateness of this post today. This article was extensively researched and took much longer than expected. I hope you find it informational and useful.


The FDA has a database of Everything Added to Food in the United States. (EAFUS) There are over 3000 substances in this data base. In this series, I will attempt to cover just a small handful of these substances, the most common food additives found in foods. For a basic look at Food additives, see the first article in the series: Food Additives: The Basics.

Today, as we continue on with our discussion of food additives, we will look at the different types of acids in packaged foods.

Before we talk about acids, just what is a food additive? A food additive is a substance not normally consumed as a food, or used as an ingredient in a recipe. The intention of a food additive is to help with the manufacture, processing, preparation or storing of food products. (1)

 What do acids do and why are they added to food?

We won’t get into a long, scientific explanation regarding the difference between acids and bases. Acids, such as citric acid, malic acid and tartaric acid are found naturally in fruits, vegetables and even tea. These acids give the foods it’s tang and distinct flavor.

There are, however, unnatural sources of these, and other acids, which cause problems in the human body, such as irritation, allergies and inflammation.

These unnatural acids are  added to processed food for one of the following reasons: (3, 5)

  • preservative (most common reason)
  • ph stabilizer
  • color stabilizer
  • flavor enhancer
  • meat tenderizer
  • flavorant
  • Gelling aid

What are the different types of acids in our processed food: (1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)

  • Acetic acid –  Also known as ethanoic acid, acetic acid is an organic acid commonly found in vinegar, giving it the signature “aroma”.
    • Pickled food,
    • Condiments such as Ketchup, Mayonnaise and Mustard,
    • Salad Dressings and Marinades.
  • Adipic acid –  Is a naturally occurring acid, commonly found in living cells, such as beets or sugar cane. However, when used as an additive, it is prepared from the oxidation of cyclohexanol by concentrated nitric acid, resulting in an odorless white powder.
    • flavorent and gelling aid.  It is used in some calcium carbonate antacids to make them tart.
    • helps extend the shelf life of powdered products
  • Benzoic acid – occurs naturally in some fruits and vegetables.  However, when produced for commercial use, it is usually produced from toluene.  Toluene is found  in crude oil and is usually produced in the processes of making gasoline, or making coke from coal.
    • It protects foods against yeasts, moulds, and certain types of bacteria.
  • Butyric acid – is a saturated fatty acid. It  can typically be found in rancid butter, parmesan cheese, and vomit, and has an unpleasant odor and acrid taste.
    • Certain forms of this substance have pleasant aromas and tastes. For this reason, it is used as food and perfume additives. It is also used as an animal feed supplement.
    • Because of the powerful odor, it has also been used as a fishing bait additive.
  • Citric acid –  This one seems harmless enough. You see citric acid and think, lemons, oranges or grapefruit. But, on an industrial level, it is made from black mold, a far less expensive way to produce this substance. 
    • The most common food preservative in the world
  • Glutamic acid/Glutamic acid hydrochloride- (AKA-MSG) As a function in our body, Glutamic Acid is an amino acid, used in metabolism, and as a neurotransmitter. It is NOT an essential amino acid, since our bodies can produce it. Manufactured glutamic acid, however,  the most common food additive, sold as a “safe” flavor enhancer. When added to food, Glutamic Acid can only be tasted in its unbound form. (free glutamic acid) For hidden sources of MSG, FOLLOW THIS LINK. Dangers from MSG or Free Glutamic Acid include:
    • Headache.
    • Flushing.
    • Sweating.
    • Facial pressure or tightness.
    • Numbness, tingling or burning in the face, neck and other areas.
    • Rapid, fluttering heartbeats (heart palpitations)
    • Chest pain.
    • Nausea
  • Hydrochloric acid (HCL) – Our body naturally uses this substance as part of the gastric acid in our stomach. However, industrially, HCL is one of the most common food additives. It is mainly used to maintain acidity and alkalinity of food.
  • Lactic acid – Commercially produced by fermenting cornstarch, sucrose, molasses, potatoes, or whey. Water and lime or chalk are added to the process. Lactic acid helps to prevent spoiling and adds acidity to foods. This product is also found during bacterial fermentation process in foods such as:
    •  beer
    • sour milk
    • kefir
    • pickles
    • sauerkraut
  • Malic acid– “it is responsible for the tart flavor of many fruits, usually when unripe. It is added to wine to aid in the aging process and is used as an alkali in many foods. It is also responsible for the extreme sourness found in some candies.” (9). As a food additive, it is considered mild and relatively harmless. –
  • Phosphoric acid – Since I can’t word this any better, here is a quote about phosphoric acid from acidpedia.org: “It is a product that is only used in the industrial, medical, and agricultural fields, and it has no benefits that can be obtained on a personal level. In other words, no one would want to drink phosphoric acid directly or apply it to their skin. After all, it is an acid, so it burns. It does not have any real health benefits.” Enough said, I think!
    • preserve food
    • cleaner – such as rust, etc
    • flavoring – tartness
    • tooth whitener/bleach
  • Succinic acid – Biologically, it is created through fermentation. Commercially, it is produced from fossil fuels.
    • Used for:
      • de-icing
      • manufacturing biodegradable polymers
      • Industrial hand cleaner
      • Lacquer thinner
      • Paint stripper
      • Pesticides
      • Body soap
      • Food additive
      • Pharmaceutical additive
      • Oil dispersants
    • Human health effects (11)
      •  irritant to eye and may irritate skin by removing natural oils.
      • Ingestion causes diarrhea and intestinal bloating.
      • Listed as a suspected neurotoxicant
      • Toxic to blood (MSDS)
      • It is classified as moderately toxic
  • Sulfuric acid – colorless, corrosive oily liquid, used to control pH and aid in food processing
  • Tannic acid – This is a common food additive, and its use is widespread. It is used as a processing aid and clarifying agent in beer and soda production.

Closing thoughts

Well, there you have it. This list is, by no means, all inclusive. I’m sure there are other acids that have not been included here today. The main lesson to learn from this article, is  that processing any item destroys it’s nutrition and ultimately makes it potentially dangerous and toxic. Take citric acid, for example. This seemingly innocent acid, potentially healthy and useful, is destroyed by food manufacturers, who manufacture it, not from fruit, but from toxic mold. Remember, if it comes in a refined, packaged form, it’s probably not something your should be consuming.

God bless and Namaste!

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Source:

  1. http://naturalhealthtechniques.com/list-of-general-purpose-food-additives/
  2. http://www.foodadditivesworld.com/food-acids.html
  3. https://drjockers.com/natural-health-guide-food-additives/
  4. https://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/about-our-products/quality-standards/food-ingredient
  5. http://foodconstrued.com/
  6. pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  7. https://ethicalfoods.com
  8. http://www.nutrientsreview.com/
  9. http://www.befoodsmart.com/
  10. http://acidpedia.org/
  11. http://www.toxipedia.org/