Thursday, August 01, 2013

Thursday Thirteen #305

Things you should know about your food (but probably don't want to know) . . .

1. Shredded cheese, so easy for salads and soups (and definitely quicker than hauling out a block of cheese and a grater) is coated in something called cellulose to keep the shreds from sticking together. Cellulose is made from wood pulp. Yep. Your shredded cheese is covered with sawdust from a giant redwood or something.

2. Cellulose is also used in many low-fat items, including ice cream. Check the labels. My Weight Watchers one-point low fat ice cream is really a branch of a tree.

3. Aspartame is said to be perfectly safe, but I think it is akin to rat poison. Here is a pro-aspartame website. It will tell you how wonderful it is. Here is a website that tells you how terrible this drug is. It lists 92 different problems that aspartame can cause, including MS, lupus, cancer, vision problems, and death. Personally, I think this is a loathsome chemical, foisted on the public, oddly enough, by Donald Rumsfield (check this FDA site for some interesting comments about this). Call me a biased liberal, but I feel sure that anything Rumsfield had a hand in simply cannot be good for me.

4. Saccharin is a sweetener drug that has been around well over 100 years, but it has only been on the market since 1977. That's when Congress overrode the FDA and forced it to approve it. Check it out at this FDA website. Trust those folks on Capital Hill, yes? Saccharin is believed to cause cancer.

5. MSG can be found in these ingredients: yeast extract, torula yeast, hydrolyzed vegetable protein and autolyzed yeast. You'll find those ingredients listed in thousands of foods, but they won't mention MSG. That includes soups, etc. that claim to be MSG free. They aren't.

6. Splenda is sucralose, and it leaves a taste like chlorine in my mouth. I couldn't figure this out until I looked up stuff about it, and discovered it is sugar turned into a chemical that is, guess what, chlorine. Go to for the corporate smiley site about it if you want the Disney spiel. This sweetener also supposedly causes thymus problems and possibly cancer and other health issues. It has become quite popular at a very alarming rate. At least it is alarming to me.

7. Aside from sugar, Stevia the sweetener that I think is the best to use. Stevia is about 300 times sweeter than sugar. It supposedly has been used for 1000 years in Paraguay. The FDA cracked down on it in 1995, apparently at the behest of the sugar industry, and Monsanto (Monsanto is a giant food company that apparently exists to make money from foods, regardless of the potential for poison, for anyone who doesn't know that, which I suspect is many Americans).
Stevia is now widely available in the U.S. Information on side effects is conflicting and it depends on who sponsored the research, of course. Research by the aspartame companies shows it is bad; stevia sellers say it is good. I would not use Truvia, which is a sweetener derivative of stevia. I found one site that says that stevia makes your body process sugar a lot quicker. At there is some information, but it is a corporate site and doesn't say much. It does say there have been 1000 tests and it's found to be safe. Japan apparently has banned most sweeteners except for stevia and sugar.

8. Plastic food packaging seep chemicals into your food, particularly bisphenol A. When you cook in plastic containers, the exposure to the chemical is increased. Bisphenol is a hormone disruptor and can cause breast formation in men and severe hormonal imbalances in women. It may also encourage hormone-related cancers such as prostate cancer and breast cancer. See Plastics chemical bisphenol A found to promote prostate cancer in animal studies.

9. Love your Greek yogurt? During production, companies create a whey product that no one knows how to get rid of. It's toxic and has caused fish kills by the thousands when illegally dumped in streams and lakes.

10. That expensive extra virgin olive oil you're using because it's supposed to be so healthy for you - probably isn't. It probably isn't even olive oil. Many of these oils are cut with cheaper seed and nut oils.

11. That lovely red color of your favorite ketchup, including m husband's favorite, Heinz, comes from crushed bugs. Red- and pink-colored products are often dyed with cochineal extract, also known as the bodies of crushed-up little insects. Cochineal extract is also listed as carminic acid or carmine. The bugs come from Mexico.

12. No cream in coffee creamer. Those non-dairy coffee creamers have lots of sugar, a little kelp carrageenan), and some other stuff.

13. Carrageenan, which is a seaweed, is often used in ice cream.

Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here. I've been playing for a while and this is my 305th time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday


  1. There have been some scary stories coming out about carrageenan. Apparently it can inflame the intestinal lining! And it's in so many products!

    Artificial sweeteners have been a failure at fighting weight gain and diabetes. And stories are starting to link plastics with obesity! Unfortunately, most food comes packaged in plastic now.

  2. I never liked artificial sweeteners and weaned myself off sugar. There's a lot to be said for eating fresh fruit and vegetables and making your own stuff as much as possible.

  3. Thanks for posting this! Much helpful information here. Saccharin, however, was sold before 1977. My mother used it a lot when she first became diabetic in the 1950s. The little glass bottle it came in looked sort of like an aspirin bottle (Remember glass bottles?!). I think it went off the market sometime during the 60s (can't remember exact date) when it was thought to cause cancer in rats.

  4. Bunny pictures fantastic I can't get a taste for stevia

  5. I knew the shredded cheese was coated in something but I didn't know what. At least the wood pulp and those bugs in the red coloring are organic...if that's any consolation. ugh.

  6. Eating from your own garden is always your best and safest bet for foods that won't harm you.

  7. I bake with sucanat. It's unprocessed cane sugar, moreso than brown sugar. And I use much less than they call for. I buy virgin olive oil in glass bottles, which is getting harder to find. I think one of them is on the list on the story you linked to Bertolli (or something close). I suspect all the toxic additives are part of the reason cancer is on the rise.

  8. Gosh it's only my first time on Thursday 13 and its your 305th. If I carry on I've got a lot of catching up to do!
    A fascinaqting - if somewhat worrying post, thanks. Does this mean that if I put three teaspoons of Stevia in my coffee I get the equivalent of 900 sugars? Wow! I wonder how manycalories there are in a Giant Redwood branch? And that 'olive' oil story is amazing.

  9. Such fancy sugar names. But aspartame akin to rat poison? oh no.... Thanks for the one on extra virgin olive oil. I hate parting with extra bucks anyway.


  10. Oh my- I didn't know about a few of these. We use stevia & xylitol for sweeteners because my dh is a diabetic. He won't eat shredded cheese either! Now the ketchup one has really grossed me out! You didn't mention the cockroaches in chocolate..that one is pretty disgusting too!

  11. You're right--stuff we really didn't want to know, lol.


I enjoy your comments and always appreciate the opportunity to visit the blogs of my readers. I hope you have a great day!