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    6 ingredients you never want to see on a nutrition label

    4:58 AM, Sep 4, 2012   |    comments
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    Today's THV is working for you by helping you make good food choices for a healthier lifestyle.

    The Food and Drug Administration has approved more than 3,000 additives, most of which you've never heard of. Here are 6 ingredients you want to avoid if you see it on a nutrition label.

    1. BHA - This preservative is used to prevent rancidity in foods that contain oils. Unfortunately, BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) has been shown to cause cancer in rats, mice, and hamsters. The reason the FDA hasn't banned it is largely technical-the cancers all occurred in the rodents' forestomachs, an organ that humans don't have.

    2. Sodium Nitrite - Nitrites and nitrates are used to inhibit botulism-causing bacteria and to maintain processed meats' pink hues, which is why the FDA allows their use. Unfortunately, once ingested, nitrite can fuse with amino acids (of which meat is a prime source) to form nitrosamines, powerful carcinogenic compounds.

    3. Caramel Coloring - This additive wouldn't be dangerous if you made it the old-fashioned way-with water and sugar, on top of a stove. But the food industry follows a different recipe: They treat sugar with ammonia, which can produce some nasty carcinogens. A Center for Science in the Public Interest report asserted that the high levels of caramel color found in soda account for roughly 15,000 cancers in the U.S. annually.

    4. Castoreum - Castoreum is one of the many nebulous "natural ingredients" used to flavor food. Though it isn't harmful, it is unsettling. Castoreum is a substance made from beavers' castor sacs, or anal scent glands. 

    5. Parabens - These synthetic preservatives are used to inhibit mold and yeast in food. The problem is parabens may also disrupt your body's hormonal balance. A study in Food Chemical Toxicology found that daily ingestion decreased sperm and testosterone production in rats, and parabens have been found present in breast cancer tissues.  

    6. Food Dyes - Plenty of fruit-flavored candies and sugary cereals don't contain a single gram of produce, but instead rely on artificial dyes and flavorings to suggest a relationship with nature. Not only do these dyes allow manufacturers to mask the drab colors of heavily processed foods, but certain hues have been linked to more serious ailments.

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