Monday, August 25, 2008
Food allergies and food additives
A while back, a reader who was newly diagnosed with her food allergies shared that like the FAQ, she was addicted to Diet Coke. She was wondering if Diet Coke had gluten in it...and since I already happened to have a can on my desk at that very moment, I took a look at the ingredients. It did not have anything that routinely had gluten (modified food starch, etc.) but it did have some odd additives that were a bit of a mystery. A call to a friend who actually works for Coke didn't turn up anything either, so I went to the Internet to look some of the ingredients up and found...
Food Additives World.com. Yikes. I recognize that in the 21st century food additives are a HUGE part of the processed food business, but this site was so....colorful and cheerful and perky about synthetically altered food that it totally creeped me out in a 2001: A Space Odyssey "Hello Dave" kinda way. Anyhow, I wanted to share this information for those of you who are SUPER allergic to stuff,so that you recognize that some processed foods could contain small amounts of your allergen. Most likely not enough to do too much damage, but it never hurts to know what's going into your mouth, I always say! It's not just the obviously artificial (like the color of Kraft Mac and Cheese or Capn Crunch with Crunchberries), it could be something like food coloring in yogurt. For example, riboflavin (vitamin B2), which everyone has seen on a label sometime in their lifetime, could come from milk, eggs, liver, vegetables or yeast. Hm.
Here's yet another reason to buy your own ingredients and make at least some of your own meals so that you have more control over your dietary destiny.
I'm not trying to make anyone panic, because realistically it's likely that the miniscule amounts of additives in processed foods are probably too small to do much harm, but it certainly doesn't hurt to know, right? My other thought was that toiletries (like lotion and shampoo) could possibly use some of these ingredients in larger amounts to make the textures creamier and smoother, which are then absorbed into your skin. An earlier post "Beware of toiletries" noted that I had a reaction to wheat protein in my shampoo....so this site foodadditivesworld.com is just another source of information for you if you are super sensitive.
Knowledge is power, people! Let's all stay informed. :)