What are we really Eating? (Part 2)

The second and final part of our blog series talking about potential hazards in consuming different food preservatives and additives.



1. RED 40


Category: Artificial Food Coloring

Banned in 1990 after 8 years of debate from use in many foods and cosmetics. This dye continues to be on the market until supplies run out! Has been proven to cause thyroid cancer and chromosomal damage in laboratory animals. May also interfere with brain-nerve transmission.


Commonly Used In

Maraschino cherries, ice cream, candy, bakery products and more!Cereal, Lemonade, Cocktail mix, Snack foods, Salad dressing, Candy, Fruit juice, Fruit Yogurt, Soda.


Potential Health Risks

Learning disabilities and lowered IQ, Antisocial behavior, Depression, Anxiety, Neurotoxicity


Alternate names on Food labels

Allura Red AC, FD&C




2. Xanthan Gum


Category: Food Additive

Xanthan gum is a popular food additive that's commonly added to foods as a thickener or stabilizer. It's created when sugar is fermented by a type of bacteria called Xanthomonas campestris. When sugar is fermented, it creates a broth or goo-like substance, which is made solid by adding an alcohol. It is then dried and turned into a powder.


Commonly Used In

Salad dressings, Bakery products, Fruit juices, Soups, Ice creams, Sauces and gravies, Syrups, Gluten-free products, Low-fat foods


Potential Health Risks

Xanthan gum can cause migraines or skin irritation. Its side effects also include intestinal gas, flatulence, diarrhea and bloating. Increased exposure can make the symptoms worse. A 1990 report in the "Journal of Occupational Medicine" notes that people exposed to large amounts of xanthan gum powder, such as bakery workers, can experience flulike symptoms that include nose and throat irritation.


Alternate names on Food labels

Bacterial Polysaccharide, Corn Sugar Gum, Polysaccharide Xanthane, Xanthan.




3. Guar Gum


Category: Food Additive

Guar gum comes from the seeds of the guar or cluster bean plant. About 20 percent to 40 percent of the guar seed consists of galactomannan gum, which forms a thick gel when mixed with water. Its gumlike quality thickens foods, improves texture and stabilizes ingredients. Guar gum is also added to foods to boost fiber content.


Commonly Used In

You'll find guar gum listed in the ingredients of many different products, such as baked goods, dairy products, frozen desserts, puddings, jams, sauces and gelatin mixes.


Potential Health Risks

Gas production, diarrhea, and loose stools. These side effects usually decrease or disappear after several days of use. High doses of guar gum or not drinking enough fluid with the dose of guar gum can cause blockage of the esophagus and the intestines.


Alternate names on Food labels

Psoraleatatragonoloba, Jaguar Gum, Guar Flour, Cyamopsistetragonolobus.