The Worst Additives
"If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in bed with a mosquito."
--Betty Reese
So many references are made to the following additives that they need separate mention from the Numbered Additive Guide, which gives a brief explanation about the additive, its possible side effects, and what sort of foods to expect to find it in.

Acesuifame K, Ace K, 950
Sold under the names Sunette® or Sweet One® acesulfame is a sugar substitute sold in packet or tablet form, in chewing gum, dry mixes for beverages, instant coffee and tea, gelatine desserts, puddings and non-dairy creamers. As the additive causes cancer in animals, it is likely to also cause cancer in humans. Is an artificial sweetener worth the risk?

Artificial Colourings
Top of the list goes to Tartrazine 102.  It causes flare-ups of allergies, sensitivity reactions and so many bad side effects that no one should consider swallowing it, let alone feed it to a child! It is in every kind of food most wanted by children - it colours drinks, lollies, chips, cake icings - almost impossible to avoid.

What can you do about it?  You can write to the manufacturer and say that you would have bought this product except that it contained Food Additive 102, Tartrazine, and if they changed the food colour to a safer one, you would be delighted to buy the product.  There is no use going to the government - they are not interested - but the manufacturers are - lost sales frighten them.  You could try sending the letter to all sorts of newspapers, although they may be watching their profits too and refuse it.

Other colours are just as bad.  Although this list does not cover just colours, the colour additives from 100-199 feature very prominently.

Aspartame, 951, Phenylketonurics: Contains Phenylalanine
Sold as Equal® and NutraSweet® and in other countries as Canderal® Benevia® and Spoonful®

A site to check:

Aspartame was going to be the dieter's delight and the great change for diabetics.  The truth is so nasty.  Instead of an aid it is a monster let loose in over 9,000 products through deception and falsified tests.  In one test that was questioned in court, the persons involved admitted that test animals had had tumours removed and then been re-admitted to the test as if they were unaffected!

Aspartame must carry a warning to persons with phenylketonuria (PKU), Phenyiketonurics: Contains Phenylalanine.  I saw children's orange flavoured vitamin pills without such a warning early in 2001. One out of 20,000 babies is born without the ability to metabolise phenylalanine, one of the two amino acids in aspartame. Toxic levels of this substance in the blood can result in mental retardation.

Weight Gain from Aspartame - 951
"According to Dr. Wurtman, some consumers can easily reach consumption levels that have been linked in animal studies to adverse effects on brain chemicals. Ironically, he added, those using the sweetener to control calories may be defeating their purpose, since his studies show high levels of aspartame may trigger a craving for carbohydrates by depleting the brain of a chemical that registers carbohydrate satiety."

Mark Gold, researcher, states:
I would like to clear up a few issues involving aspartame. The evidence related to toxicity of aspartame is found in three main areas: 

1. Formaldehyde Exposure.
The formaldehyde exposure from aspartame is significant. Aspartame breaks down into methanol, amino acids and several other chemicals.  The methanol is quickly absorbed and converted into formaldehyde. The methanol found in foods and alcoholic beverages is also absorbed, but there are "protective chemicals [eg. ethanol] in these traditionally ingested foods and beverages that prevent the conversion of methanol to formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde is known to cause gradual damage to the nervous system, the immune system and has recently been shown to cause irreversible genetic damage at long-term, low-level exposure.

The most recent, independent research shows that the situation related to aspartame may be more serious than simply regular formaldehyde exposure. This research on animals demonstrates that the formaldehyde appears to accumulate as adducts (bound to protein molecules) in the organs and tissues of the animals (when aspartame is ingested at relatively low doses):

"These are indeed extremely high levels for adducts of formaldehyde, a substance responsible for chronic deleterious effects that has also been considered carcinogenic.

"It is concluded that aspartame consumption may constitute a hazard because of its contribution to the formation of formaldehyde adducts." [Life Sciences (scientific journal), Vol. 63, No. 5, pp. 337+, 1998]

A few comments from independent research scientists regarding this and other recent aspartame research:
"It was a very interesting paper, that demonstrates that formaldehyde formation from aspartame ingestion is very common and does indeed accumulate within the cell, reacting with cellular proteins (mostly enzymes) and DMA (both mitochondrial and nuclear). The fact that it accumulates with each dose, indicates grave consequences among those who consume diet drinks and foodstuffs on a daily basis." [Russell Blaylock, MD [Neurosurgeon and Neuroscientist]].

The damage caused by formaldehyde from aspartame may be worsened by other aspartame breakdown chemicals, especially the aspartic acid.  In animal research where formaldehyde is given to the animals to cause damage and pain, amino acids such as aspartic acid and glutamic acid are given at the same time to worsen the reaction. The amino acids from aspartame are absorbed suddenly unlike the protein-bound amino acids found in food.

2. Independent research finds problems with aspartame. 
An analysis of peer reviewed medical literature using MEDLINE and other databases was conducted by Ralph G. Walton, MD, Chairman, The Centre for Behavioural Medicine, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, North-eastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine. Dr. Walton analysed 164 studies which were felt to have relevance to human safety questions. Of the 90 non-industry- sponsored (independent) studies, 83 (92%) identified one or more problems with aspartame.  Of the 74 aspartame industry-sponsored studies, all 74 (100%) claimed that no problems were found with aspartame.

3. Extremely large number of reported toxicity reactions to aspartame.
As of 1995 when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (PDA) was quoted as saying they stopped accepting adverse reaction reports on aspartame, over 75% of the adverse reactions reported to the PDA Adverse Reaction Monitoring System (ARMS) were due to aspartame. After considering the fact that an extremely low percentage of adverse reactions are reported to the PDA, it becomes clear that there are millions of known cases of aspartame toxicity reactions. Possibly, there are many other cases where the person ingesting aspartame is either: 1) unaware that their symptoms are caused or contributed to by aspartame, or: 2) not yet experiencing clinically-obvious symptoms from the breakdown products of aspartame, but may eventually experience chronic health problems from the regular exposure to significant doses of formaldehyde.

Some of the many aspartame toxicity symptoms reported include seizures, headaches, memory loss, tremors, convulsions, vision loss, nausea, dizziness, confusion, depression, irritability, anxiety attacks, personality changes, heart palpitations, chest pains, skin diseases, loss of blood sugar control, arthritic symptoms, weight gain (in some cases), fluid retention, excessive thirst or urination. Clearly, regular exposure to a toxic substance such as formaldehyde may worsen, or in some cases contribute to the development of chronic diseases.

"From: Biotech Activists ( Posted:20/06/2000

Formaldehyde detective work on prescription drugs.

Take a look to see if methylcellulose (461) is an 'inactive' ingredient in any or all of your prescription drugs.

Research shows methylcelluose is formaldehyde used as a thickener in medicine and food including ice cream and avocado dip.  Same stuff used to emulsify wallpaper paste.  Permission granted last year to use a label 'ester of wood resin' in drinks 'Ester' means alcohol (methyl) - 'wood resin' is cellulose.  Put them together and you get.....  Dow® makes 461 in a gel for vegetable patties."

Perhaps methylcellulose is one of the chemicals that can trigger a seizure or cause other symptoms in an already toxically compromised individual.

An anecdote from E-mail: A person was taking the drug Zoloft® for 2 years and really enjoying the feeling of well being the drug seemed to provide. Then his back and shoulder area started hurting and he did not associate the pain with anything he was taking.

At the time, he began researching methylcellulose, propylene glycol, etc, and got a nasty surprise - methylcellulose is an inactive ingredient in Zoloft®. He stopped taking it cold turkey. Four days later the annoying and continual pain was gone and has not returned. He thinks the methylcellulose was drying up his synovial fluid the same as the methanol/formaldehyde/formic acid in aspartame. Joint and bone pain is No. 13 on the list of 92 aspartame symptoms the US FDA was forced to reveal, under the Freedom of Information Act in 1995.

The use of hidden formaldehyde in our food is not new. In 1919, Alfred McCann wrote in "The Science of Eating": Cases in which deadly wood alcohol has formed the base of vanilla, lemon and other flavouring extracts have been dismissed with a suspended sentence, not a soul outside the court room hearing an echo of the facts. [From the Aspartame survivors list]

"If part of the toxic biochemistry is methanol conversion to permanent adducts of formaldehyde, bound to proteins, DNA, and RNA in many body cells, as the Trocho study proved for low oral doses of aspartame in rats in July, 1998 (rats being over 10 times more resistant to methanol toxicity than primates), then we are dealing with a chronic, cumulative neurotoxicity. Trocho C et al, June 26 1998, Life Sci, 63(5), 337-349.

Russell Blaylock, M.D., wrote "Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills" ( and in it says to take magnesium to protect the brain and heart. You might want to also do that.

The are now a number of Aspartame Detox Centres in America, and the U.K. are demanding that aspartame is reviewed as a food additive.  Many companies around the world are agreeing to remove aspartame from their products as a result of customer pressure. (

"Aspartame is a molecule composed of three components: aspartic acid, phenylalanine and methanol. The wood alcohol, a severe metabolic poison, converts to formaldehyde and then formic acid (ant sting poison) and causes metabolic acidosis. Aspartic acid and phenylalanine are neurotoxic because they are isolated from the other amino acids in protein, go past the blood brain barrier and deteriorate the neurones of the brain.

Memory loss is one of the most common problems and Dr. H. J. Roberts wrote the book "Defense Against Alzheimers Disease" in which he explains how aspartame is escalating this disease. The phenylalanine is genetically engineered in E. coli bacteria and aspartame breaks down to DKP, diketopiperazine, a brain tumour agent. Secret trade information discussed in Congressional Hearings include this statement: "...we have no way of estimating maximum likely abuse and hence need to utilise data based on almost complete conversion to DKP. If we include this .. we stand a good chance of ending up with nothing ....".  Document available for sighting at  "This showed the company would conceal the dangers to people just for profit.

Avoid aspartame if you are pregnant; don't give aspartame to infants. Try not using it for 60 days and see if you notice a change. Don't die or go blind because you were told it was safe. It is a slow, creeping poison - too slow, the authorities decided, to be any use for chemical warfare - so it is used on us instead!

Benzoicacid, 210
This product causes hyperactive reactions in susceptible children and teenagers, skin rashes, and makes asthma bouts worse. It is in such things as soft drinks, juices, cordials, and chilli pastes.  It is one of the worst additives for setting off reactions.  The additives for 211 to 219 are all made from benzoic acid and will cause the same problems.  Avoid them all!

BHA 320, Butylated Hydroxyanisole & BHT 321, Butylated Hydroxytoluene
These two closely related chemicals are added to prevent oxidation and retard rancidity in oil-containing foods. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organisation, considers BHA 320 possibly carcinogenic to humans, and the State of California has listed it as a carcinogen.  Some studies show the same cancer causing possibilities for BHT 321.

If they are listed in a food, it should indicate that the food is of a poor quality to need such an additive. Avoid them completely.  Because 320 and 321 may cause cancer, they should not be in our food. Avoid them.

Caffeine is found naturally in tea, coffee, and cocoa. It is also added to many soft drinks.  It is one of the few drugs - a stimulant - added to foods.  Caffeine makes stomach acid increase and may cause peptic ulcers, raises blood pressure temporarily, and makes some blood vessels open wider and others to narrow.  "Excess caffeine intake causes symptoms ranging from nervousness to insomnia.  These problems also affect children who drink between 2 to 7 cans of soft drink a day.  Caffeine may also interfere with reproduction and affect developing foetuses.  Experiments on lab animals link caffeine to birth defects such as cleft palates, missing fingers and toes, and skull malformations."

"Caffeine is addictive, and some people experience headaches when they stop drinking it.  While small amounts of caffeine don't pose a problem for everyone, avoid it if you are trying to become or are pregnant.  And try to keep caffeine out of you child's diet."

Modified Starches
Modified starches are used in processed foods to improve their consistency and keep the solids suspended.  Often starch and modified starch replace large amounts of nutritious ingredients, such as fruits.  Starch thickened baby foods contain 75% less fruit than 100% fruit baby foods.  Modified starches 1400 to 1450 can cause diarrhoea in babies.  Babies can not digest starch and should not be treated to a chemical cocktail in baby food.

Monosodium Glutamate, MSG, 621
It used to be called the 'Chinese Food Syndrome' and for a time, everyone took great care not to eat too much MSG.  Now it has become big business and the problems are spreading too.  The problem is almost the same as for aspartame - both cause the death of brain ceils.

MSG 621 is a sodium salt of the amino acid known as glutamic acid. It is manufactured by a fermenting process using starch, sugar beets, sugar cane, or molasses.  Hydrolysed proteins are also glutamates.  They are acid-treated or enzyme-treated proteins and contain salts of free amino acids such as glutamate.  Hydrolysed proteins are frequently added to processed foods.  Glutamates also occur naturally in foods; however, MSG (glutamate) reactions are usually due to processed, "free" glutamates.

Common reactions to MSG
Headaches, migraines, stomach upset, nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma attacks, shortness of breath, anxiety or panic attacks, heart palpitations, partial paralysis, "heart attack-like symptoms," balance difficulties, mental confusion, mood swings, neurological disorders (Parkinson's, MS, ALS, Alzheimer's), behavioural disorders (especially In children and teens), allergy-type symptoms, skin rashes, runny nose, bags under the eyes, flushing, mouth lesions, depression, and more.

At you can find more information about MSG and other glutamates. According to the Truth In Labelling Campaign, MSG reactions can be immediate or occur as late as 48 hours after ingestion.

Hidden Sources of MSG - 621
MSG (621) is becoming harder to track down.  Food manufacturers have found that consumers recognise 'monosodium glutamate, 621; and are taking advantage in a loophole in labelling laws and putting MSG into our food under other names.  When it is added as an ingredient of another substance it need not be listed on the label.  The earlier these substances appear on a list of ingredients, the more likely they are to contain MSG.  Even if the label says "no MSG", other glutamates, which can cause the same reaction, may be in it definite sources of MSG, 621

Hydrolysed protein
Sodium caseinate 469 or Calcium Caseinate

Autolysed Yeast or Yeast Extract
Possible sources of MSG
Textured protein
Carrageenan or Vegetable gum
Seasonings or Spices
Flavourings or Natural flavourings
Chicken, Beef, Pork, Smoke flavourings
Bouillon, Broth or Stock
Barley Malt, Malt extract, Malt flavouring
Whey protein, Whey protein isolate or concentrate
Soy protein, Soy protein isolate or concentrate
Soy sauce or extract

"This list is periodically updated by the networking membership of NOMSG [a group dedicated to make people aware of the danger of MSG]. It is not all-inclusive because new labelling deceptions are invented to confound the consumer. We can provide an expanded list for those who are extremely sensitive. We also suggest elimination of aspartame, 951, from the diet, as many people who react to one, also react to the other." []

Nitrite and Nitrate

"Sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate are two chemicals used for centuries to preserve meat.  While nitrate itself is harmless, it is readily converted to nitrite.  When nitrite combines with compounds called secondary amines, it forms nitrosamines, extremely powerful cancer-causing chemicals.  The chemical reaction occurs most readily at the high temperatures of frying.  Nitrite has long been suspected as being a cause of stomach cancer.  Look for nitrite-free processed meats ~ some of which are frozen, refrigeration reduces the need for nitrites - at some health food and grocery stores.  But regardless of the presence of nitrite or nitrosamines, the high fat, high-sodium content of most processed meats should be enough to discourage you from choosing them.  And don't cook with bacon drippings."

Despite the objections of dozens of leading scientists, Olestra, the fake fat approved for human consumption, is both dangerous and unnecessary.  The side effects from it can be fatal because it drags valuable nutrients out of the body as it passes through.  Some of the nutrients it steals are ones that protect the body from such diseases as lung cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, and macular degeneration.

The Harvard School of Public Health states that "the long-term consumption of Olestra snack foods might therefore result in several thousand unnecessary deaths each year from lung and prostate cancers and heart disease, and hundreds of additional cases of blindness in the elderly due to macular degeneration.  Besides contributing to disease, Olestra causes diarrhoea and other serious gastrointestinal problems, even at low doses."

"FDA certified Olestra despite the fact that there are safe low-fat snacks already on the market.  There is no evidence to show that Olestra will have any significant effect on reducing obesity.  Despite being approved as safe by the US FDA, all snacks containing Olestra must carry a warning label (similar to one found on cigarettes) that states:

This Product Contains Olestra. Olestra may cause abdominal cramping and loose stools. Olestra inhibits the absorption of some vitamins and other nutrients. Vitamins A, D, E, and K have been added.

Avoid all Olestra foods: Pringle's® Potato Chips, made by Proctor & Gamble, will probably be the first snack food made with Olestra."

Saccharin, 954
Several studies in the 70's linked saccharin with cancer in laboratory animals.  Avoid it.  Sweetener packets and cans of saccharin-containing diet drinks bear warning labels: "Use of this product may be hazardous to your health.  This product contains saccharine, which has been determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals. "Why not heed the warning?

"Sulfites" are a class of chemicals that can keep cut fruits and vegetables looking fresh.  They also prevent discolouration in apricots, raisins, and other dried fruits; control "black spot" in freshly caught shrimp; and prevent discolouration, bacterial growth, and fermentation in wine.  Until the early 1980's they were considered safe, but CSPI [The Centre for Science in the Public Interest] found six scientific studies proving that sulfites could provoke sometimes sever allergic reactions.  CSPI and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) identified at least a dozen fatalities linked to sulfites.  All of the deaths occurred among asthmatics.  In 1985, the US Congress finally forced the US FDA to ban sulfites from most fruits and vegetables.  Especially if you have asthma, be sure to consider whether your attacks might be related to sulfites.  The ban does not cover fresh-cut potatoes, dried fruits, and wine." [From The Centre for Science in the Public Interest]

The Parabens 212, 213, 214, 215, 216, 217, 218, 219
The Parabens are a group of preservatives that contain 'ben' from benzoic acid, 212 and prefixes like methyl-, propyl- and butyl-.

They can cause severe contact dermatitis or redness, swelling, itching, skin pain, asthma attacks and anaphylactic shock in susceptible persons.

They are the most common preservatives used in foods, medications and make-up.  Such foods as baked goods, frozen dairy products, fruit juices, jams and jellies, lollies, processed vegetables, salad dressings, soft drinks and syrups. 

Medications include many skin preparations for eye, ear, nose drops, rectal and vaginal items, bandages and local anaesthetics. They are in the complete range of make-up items.  Look for the number!  Check your medications on the Internet.

©MBM 2010-01