The Top Ten Hazardous Ingredients You Won’t Find in My House!

Found this great article on a blog from one of my past teachers at my chef school in NYC at


The Top Ten Hazardous Ingredients You Won’t Find in My House!

Language is important. Political strategists say those who own the language run the show. So far the food industry has been running the show when it comes to confusing the American public on what to eat. They play games with words like “natural“or “smart choice” or, my personal favorite, “zero trans fat”.

I’ve decided to beat the food industry at their own game. I’ve come up with language to help demystify food selection that works for kids and adults alike. I rate foods on a continuum from “Beneficial” to “Useful” to “Useless” to “Hazardous.”

Beneficial foods include any food that is unprocessed or “whole,” with most of their nutrients intact (e.g. whole oat groats or steel cut oats).
Useful foods are a little processed, but in a way that does not excessively diminish their nutritional value (e.g. old fashioned rolled oats).
Useless foods are too processed to be considered “health augmenting” but not dangerous enough to be considered hazardous (instant oatmeal with sugar).
Hazardous foods, however, are heavily processed and artificial – often having a negative impact on one’s health (e.g. instant oatmeal with “dinosaur eggs” in it).

Why do I use a strong word like hazardous? Because I remember the label on my mom’s cigarettes when I was a small child: The Surgeon General has determined that cigarette smoking may be hazardous to your health. If the food lobbies weren’t so rich and powerful, I bet you’d see warning labels like that on foods containing these ingredients! In my system, a food product is hazardous if it contains any of these hazardous ingredients. Work to have a zero tolerance policy in your home when it comes to these ingredients.

So, want to learn what my top 10 Hazardous ingredients are?
Here goes:

1. Cottonseed oil Cotton is NOT a food! Oil made from cotton is super high in pesticide residue and off the charts when it comes to pro-inflammatory Omega-6 fats (contains a ratio of 259:1 Omega 6 : Omega 3). Learn more about Omega 3 & Omega 6 fats on Susan Allport’s site. She’s the author of Queen of Fats

2. Soybean oil Most soy oil is genetically modified, I don’t want my family ingesting oil made from Round Up Ready soybeans! Soybean oil is also excessively high in Omega 6 fats.

3. Hydrogenated oils These Franken-fats are created by bubbling hydrogen through liquid oils to turn them into solids at room temperature. Mother Nature never meant for us to be ingesting this stuff. Steer clear of any ingredient with the word “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated”, even if the nutrition information says “zero trans fat”.

4. High Fructose Corn Syrup Here’s another man made ingredient that is, in my opinion, unsafe in any amount. HFCS raises your triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. There seems to be a correlation with fatty livers and this ingredient. The food industry loves HFCS because it’s so cheap, it retards spoilage and, get this one, it makes you not feel full, so you eat/ drink more of their product! There also seems to be an issue with dangerous levels of mercury connected with HFCS.

5. Artificial Colors Let’s face it, food and drink should never be the color of Windex! These questionable chemicals are linked to behavior issues like ADHD. Food colorings that make candy pretty colors have been linked to cancer and tumors of the brain, thyroid, adrenal gland and kidney in animal studies. Have they done studies to determine safety in children? Nope.

6. Artificial Flavors These chemicals were whipped up somewhere in New Jersey. A guy from Kraft once told me they had over 20 different artificial flavors of strawberry alone! Most artificial flavorings are derived from petroleum. They have been shown to affect the RNA, thyroid, and enzymes. Most have never even been studied for safety or toxicity.

7. Artificial Sweeteners I steer myself and my family far away from Aspartame, Sucralose, Acesulfame-K and all the rest. They’ve got loads of bad side effects such as increased sweet cravings, migraine headaches along with questions of carcinogenicity. These tricky chemicals may be addictive. If you don’t believe me, just ask anyone you know with a diet soda habit!

8. BHA/BHT These preservatives Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are used to keep fats and oils from going rancid. Used commonly in cereals, chewing gum, vegetable oil and potato chips (and also in some food packaging to preserve freshness), these additives have been found by some studies to cause cancer in rats. My bottom line: I shouldn’t have to rely on my two semesters of organic chemistry back in the 1980s to figure out what’s in my food!

9. MSG Good old monosodium glutamate does more than cause headaches. I can’t even begin to get started on this neurotoxic flavor enhancer, so I’ll refer you to this website dedicated to everything MSG related.

10. All other unpronounceable ingredients. My simple policy is: If you can’t pronounce it, maybe you shouldn’t eat it. At the very least, look it up and figure out just what the heck it is. I studied chemistry in college, but you shouldn’t have to in order to eat!

What’s YOUR list of hazardous ingredients? Post them in the comments section!


2 responses to this post.

  1. I thought you would be interested in my article on omega-3s in Prevention Magazine:


    • Wow Susan, excellent article! I knew about the imbalance of our omega 3 and omega 6, but did not know omega 6 is used for fat storage in plants and animals. I plan to incorporate that now in my talks and information to my clients – thank you. May I post this article on my site???


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: