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 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 this site is just another source of information for you if you are super sensitive.

Knowledge is power, people! Let's all stay informed. :)


1 comment:

5 Foot Firecracker said...

This is such a great blog! I'm 26 and was diagnosed with severe food allergies to nuts, soy, beans, yeast, alcohol, certain vegetables like carrots, and fruit about 5 years ago. I was reading this recent post and wanted to also make people aware of allergens in make-up. I had quite a bad experience with mascara once...there was actually nut extract in it! Now I am always careful to read everything and if it's not listed I ask. A lot of common toiletries and lotions also contain soy which is good for a lot of people, just not those who are allergic to it and as someone who is not shy about asking people things and reading ingredients, I've also found that a lot of salon shampoos either contain hydrolized wheat protein or hydrolized soy protein. So everyone be careful and read those ingredients!