Food Additive Avoidance

Artificial dyes and preservatives are widely used in foods, beverages, and drugs. The most common coloring agents are azo dyes: tartrazine (orange), sunset yellow, amaranth and the new coccine (both red); and the non-azo dye pate blue. The most commonly used preservatives in food are sodium benzoate, 4-hydroxybenzoate esters, and sulfur dioxide. Various sulfites are commonly used in prepared foods. It is estimated that 2-3mg of sulfites are consumed each day by the average U.S. citizen, while an additional 5-10mg are ingested by wine and beer drinkers. The largest sources are salads, vegetables (particularly potatoes), and avocado dip served in restaurants. A customer can ingest 25-100mg of metabisulfite in just one restaurant meal.


Food Additive Avoidance can help with the following



Ulcerative Colitis

It may be wise to avoid the food additive carrageenan, found in various foods such as apple cider, hot dogs, most ice creams and prepared sauces and jellies, as it can produce inflammation and immunodeficiency and has been found to cause colitis and anaphylaxis in humans.


Mitral Valve Prolapse

Avoidance of artificial flavoring agents like MSG and Nutrasweet is considered an important part of any treatment plan by some doctors.


Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD / ADHD)

The belief that food additives can cause hyperactivity in children stemmed from the research of Benjamin Feingold, M.D and is commonly referred to as the Feingold Hypothesis. According to Feingold, perhaps 40-50% of hyperactive children are sensitive to artificial food colors, flavors and preservatives. They may also be sensitive to naturally-occurring salicylates and phenolic compounds in foods.

Dr. Julian Whitaker, MD has observed: “Feingold’s assertion that food additives are a problem in learning disorders has been subject to great debate over the past two decades. Practices that are profitable carry on and major economic interests have responded by hiring their own researchers to combat the results. Questions are asked in ways that will produce answers that undercut the challenging work and please the funding interests.” The media publishes “conflicting reports”; politicians and regulators cite this conflict as their reason for inaction. Habits do not change easily. Feingold’s work has stimulated a classic example of such debate, because the American food supply and American agribusiness is profitably enmeshed in the use of food additives.

Dr. Feingold made his original presentation to the American Medical Association in 1973. His strong claims were based on experience with 1,200 individuals in whom behavior disorders were linked to consumption of food additives. Follow-up research in Australia and Canada has tended to support Feingold’s thesis.” [Dr. Whitaker’s Guide to Natural Healing, Prima Publishing, 1996]

The Hyperactive Children’s Support Group of Great Britain recommends that the following food additives be avoided:

Amaranth, Benzoic Acid, BHA, BHT, Brilliant Blue FCF, Caramel, Carmine, Carmoiic Acid, Cochineal, FCFV, Indigo, Potassium Nitrate, Quinoline Yellow, Red 2G, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Nitrate, Sulfur Dioxide, Sunset Yellow, Tartrazine,

Try to avoid foods, such as the following, with high salicylate content, to see if their removal causes a difference in behavior:

Almonds, Honey, Peppermint Tea, Peanuts, Peppers, Plums (canned), Prunes (canned), Raspberries (fresh), Strawberries (fresh), Tomatoes – and many spices, including Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves, Curry, Oregano, Paprika, Pepper, Rosemary, Sage and Turmeric.



Organ Health  



The elimination of food additives is important in the control of asthma. Some asthmatics react to additives such as sulfur dioxide, tartrazine (yellow dye #5), and sodium benzoate, as well as natural salicylates (aspirin-like substances found in many foods). [J Asthma 1985;76: pp.40-5, Pediatrics 1984;73: pp.631-7] Sulfites in particular have been reported to cause asthma attacks in susceptible individuals. A doctor or an allergist can help determine whether chemical sensitivities are present.



Food additives that have been shown to trigger hives include colorants (azo dyes), flavorings (salicylates), artificial sweeteners (aspartame), preservatives (benzoates, nitrites, sorbic acid), antioxidants (hydroxytoluene, sulfite, gallate), and emulsifiers/stabilizers (polysorbates, vegetable gums). Tartrazine (Yellow #5) has been implicated not only in ADHD, but also in asthma and hives. You will find Yellow #5 usually listed on food labels because it has been identified as one of the more troublesome additives in the United States, and it is listed by law.


May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended



An essential mineral that our bodies regulate and conserve. Excess sodium retention increases the fluid volume (edema) and low sodium leads to less fluid and relative dehydration. The adult body averages a total content of over 100 grams of sodium, of which a surprising one-third is in bone. A small amount of sodium does get into cell interiors, but this represents only about ten percent of the body content. The remaining 57 percent or so of the body sodium content is in the fluid immediately surrounding the cells, where it is the major cation (positive ion). The role of sodium in the extracellular fluid is maintaining osmotic equilibrium (the proper difference in ions dissolved in the fluids inside and outside the cell) and extracellular fluid volume. Sodium is also involved in nerve impulse transmission, muscle tone and nutrient transport. All of these functions are interrelated with potassium.


(mg): 1/1,000 of a gram by weight.

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