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Food Additives: More is Probably Not Better

Friday, May 12, 2017

A health column by my delightful friend, Susan Summerton, OD, was published in April in NaplesSpotlight. It included published science-based health information we want our Friday Pearl readers to have.

"Food additives are any substances added to food for a specific purpose to preserve flavor or enhance its taste and appearance. There are also indirect food additives that become part of the food in trace amounts due to its packaging, storage or other handling.

"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has the primary legal responsibility for determining the safe use of food additives, although the FDA admits, 'Because of inherent limitations of science, FDA can never be absolutely certain of the absence of any risk from the use of any substance.'”

"Safety studies usually test each additive alone, although we eat lots of them together, often combined in a single product. Many recent studies have concluded that food additives (such as red and yellow dyes, MSG, aspartame, gluten and gliadin) can adversely affect human behavior, especially in small children. 

"Dr. Russell Blaylock, neurosurgeon and researcher, has revealed what appears to be convincing evidence that when MSG and aspartame are combined with certain food dyes, the effects can have profound implications on learning, memory and behavior.

"Approximately 2,700 different chemicals are added intentionally to food. Some food additives are worse for your health than others and it is generally believed that the toxic effects of chemicals increase with increasing doses. Adverse reactions to additives seem to be rare but are likely under-diagnosed in part due to a low index of suspicion and reporting.

"Below are two suspected culprits. In the next column, we’ll look at more.

Artificial Sweeteners

"Aspartame, known by brand names NutraSweet, Equal and AminoSweet, is often found in foods labeled “diet” or “sugar free.” Two hundred times sweeter than sugar, aspartame is being consumed by two-thirds of the population in more than 6,000 products including diet sodas and gum. 

"Aspartame is an excitotoxin, a substance that overexcites cells to the point of damage or death. There are at least 90 possible side effects that have been reported to the FDA, including headaches, nausea, memory loss, vision changes and seizures.

"The American Journal of Nutrition published claims that ingesting aspartame-containing sodas increased the risk of certain cancers, including lymphoma and multiple myeloma. 

"In the book “Aspartame Disease,” this sweetener is connected to a wide variety of ailments including dizziness, migraines, brain tumors, aggravation of diabetes, Alzheimer’s, fibromyalgia, emotional disorders like depression and anxiety attacks.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

"HFCS is used as a sweetener to replace sugar, which is more expensive, and also for stabilizing and extending shelf life. It is found in almost all processed foods. When people eat food that is high in calories and fructose, the liver gets overloaded and starts turning the fructose into fat. HFCS has been linked in scientific research to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and fatty liver.

"The information in this column is not a substitute for professional medical advice."

Susan Summerton, OD

Ellen Troyer with Spencer Thornton, MD, David Amess and the Biosyntrx staff


 Dr. Summerton is a board-certified optometrist at Tyson Eye, a delightfully passionate certified nutrition specialist, a diplomate of the American Clinical Board of Nutrition and an adjunct professor of nutrition at Hodges University. We highly recommend following Susan's nutrition science Facebook posts. 

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