4 Food Additives to Avoid

Big Food is ditching risky ingredients: Kraft removed Yellow Nos. 5 and 6 from some of its mac and cheeses, and Gatorade got rid of brominated vegetable oil.

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But there's still a ways to go. We'd love to see more food folks quit the following chemicals.

Food Additives To Avoid

Artificial food dyes

Petroleum-based dyes such as Blue No. 2 and Yellow No. 5 are banned elsewhere for their potential roles in hyperactivity and cancer. Pick foods naturally colored by beets and turmeric; organics are a safe bet.

Food Additives To Avoid

Brominated vegetable oil

BVO contains bromine—a compound found in flame retardants—and is linked to memory problems. It's used as an emulsifier in some sodas, sports drinks, and juices, so check ingredient lists.

Food Additives To Avoid

Caramel coloring

It's made by heating sugars, often with ammonia, and the state of California has labeled one of its compounds a carcinogen. Opt for natural brown dyes like annatto extract.

Food Additives To Avoid

Butylated hydroxyanisole

This petroleum-derived packaged-food preservative is a probable carcinogen. But some spices adequately replace BHA, so there may be hope for a preservative-free future.

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