Are you singing the processed food blues?

Learn what’s in your food by reading the nutrition labels, looking for ingredients like GMOs, yellow food dye and cellulose.

Health conscious Cheerios labels misleading

bowl of cheeriosEach bright and colorful box of Cheerios promises a healthy meal, whether you’re eating regular or your favorite flavor. It’s is something you might feed your children because of the healthy implications. The health benefits are written right on the box.

  • But before giving approval, be sure you read the nutrition label.

Ingredients of each Cheerios flavor vary. While whole grain oats are listed as the main ingredient of each box, there are number of additional ingredients that come from genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

A GMO is a plant, animal, or bacteria with altered genes. GMOs increase the use of toxic chemicals in the environment and are linked to allergies, abnormal functioning of the immune systems and cancer.

There are eight GMO crops approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, including corn, soy, cotton and sugar beets. GMO ingredients you’ll find in Honey Nut Cheerios and other flavored Cheerios include modified cornstarch, sugar, vitamin e (mixed tocopherols) and possibly more.

The good news, as of January 2014, is that General Mills plans to make its the regular Cheerios flavor nonGMO; however, flavored Cheerios will remain the same.

Kraft Mac & Cheese ‘fun factor’ in artificial dye

plate of macaroni and cheeseKraft Macaroni & Cheese is the ultimate comfort food. And it’s really easy to make. Simply pour the macaroni in a pot of boiling water and viola! Ten minutes later you’re graced with a cheesy mixture of artificial food dyes, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6.

  • Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 are used is to increase ‘fun factor,’and there’s no nutritional value.

In December 2013, the company decided to remove the dyes from the boxes that include character pasta, like Sponge Bob Square Pants. However, the two ingredients can still be found in the regular elbow macaroni. The dyes are also found in other foods such as chips, orange soda, cheese sauce and much more.

These man-made chemicals are derived from petroleum. Researchers in the UK, at Harvard University and at Columbia University found that, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 are attributed to hyperactivity in children. The dyes are also linked to long-term health problems such as asthma, skin rashes and migraines.

The best way to avoid these chemicals is to make your own mac and cheese. This allows you to look at the labels and choose the healthiest ingredients to build that cheesy goodness. Isn’t homemade better anyway?

Processed delights include wood

bowl of shredded cheeseWood. We use it to build furniture, make paper, warm us at a campfire — and we use it as a filler in our food.

On food labels it is called cellulose, which is a powered wood product added to processed food to give it texture. It replaces expensive ingredients such as flour and oil.

  • While the FDA says it’s ok to consume, you’ll find that it contains no nutrition.

Cellulose is added to packaged shredded cheese to keep in from sticking together. It also makes ice cream and syrup smooth. It’s found in many fast food restaurants.

If you’re wondering about other food that contains cellulose here’s a brief list: Kraft shredded cheese, Eggo waffles, Aunt Jemima Syrup, McDonald’s Filet O Fish, McDonald’s Strawberry Sundaes, Jimmy Dean Sausage, Taco Bell Tacos, and Dole Fruit Parfait cups.

You can avoid cellulose by shredding your own cheese, buying 100 percent maple syrup and skipping fast food restaurants.

Find out what the experts are saying about these foods and more from GMO Inside, Food Babe, Inspiration Green and Center for Science in the Public Interest.

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