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What’s really behind our food addictions

Tags: food
Our research team came across this article written for a Health & Wellness company's bi-monthly newsletter, The HealthBeat.  The article, written by naturopathic doctor, Dr. Melissa Bennett (owner of the The Olive Leaf, LLC. in Norcross, GA), reveals some of the hidden chemicals commonly found in our foods and how it affects our health.

If you have not been paying attention to the product labels on the packaged foods you purchase, here are some good reasons why you should start doing it. Check out the article republished here:

Do you know what’s lurking in your food?  
What’s really behind our food addictions

I recently visited a local grocery store and as I was browsing the aisles, something caught the corner of my eye.  The bright orange and red bag, with floating pieces of orange chips drew me in.  Because I am a Naturopathic doctor and this is what I do for a living, I decided to read the label.  After reading the label, I spent some additional time researching food addiction and gained greater insight into our food industry.

In my exploration, I found there were several additives listed on the label which may adversely affect your health.  I would suggest you investigate any additives, especially if you have symptoms that may be linked to food /chemical intolerance.  This is my specialty.  You also want to inform your PCP (Primary Care Physician) of any symptoms you are experiencing.  Throughout this article, I have cited several resources that will provide more in-depth information on the subject of food additives, especially if you are struggling with food addiction or battling weight problems.

How many additives are in your food?

The following were among the 50 additives found on the bag of chips I mentioned above: maltodextrin, monosodium glutamate, partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oil, corn flour, disodium phosphate, natural and artificial flavor, dextrose, artificial color (including Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 40), sugar, sodium caseinate, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, corn syrup solids (Frito Lay, 2015). These items are listed under “Ingredients” which is part of the labeling on every prepackaged consumable item. We are not taught to pay attention to this part of the packaging, but rather focus primarily on the “Nutrition Facts.”

According to, the consumption of the following additives can have these possible side effects:
  •  Maltodextrin. Possible side effects: the consumption of maltodextrin has side effects and health risks similar to most food additives. These include allergic reactions, unexplained weight gain, bloating, and flatulence.
  •  Monosodium Glutamate. Possible side effects: a burning sensation in the back of the neck, forearms and chest; facial pressure or tightness; chest pain; heart palpitations; headache; nausea; numbness in the back of the neck radiating to the arms and back; tingling or warmth in the upper body; drowsiness; and weakness. FASEB (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology) referred to these symptoms collectively as MSG Symptom Complex. 
  • Partially Hydrogenated Soybean or cottonseed oil. Possible Side Effects: trans fats work against the body in many ways. They increase bad cholesterol -- low-density lipoprotein, or LDL -- and decrease good cholesterol -- high-density lipoprotein, or HDL. Furthermore, they block the production of chemicals that combat inflammation and benefit the hormonal and nervous systems, while at the same time allowing chemicals that increase inflammation. This means that trans fats promote inflammation and negatively impact cholesterol levels.
  • Natural and artificial flavor (Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 40). According to Dr. Mercola, Red 40 may accelerate the appearance of immune system tumors in mice. It also causes hypersensitivity (allergy-like) reactions in some consumers and might trigger hyperactivity in children. Yellow #5 (Tartrazine) causes sometimes severe hypersensitivity reactions and might trigger hyperactivity and other behavioral effects in children. Yellow #6 (Sunset Yellow) caused adrenal tumors in animals and occasionally causes severe hypersensitivity reactions. These are also in Cosmetics.
Sinking the Sub 

Chips are not the only concern. Recently in the news (reported by CBS News), a restaurant which sells primarily sub sandwiches had to remove a component from their bread called azodicarbonamide. This ingredient is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in food as a bleaching agent and dough conditioner. Azodicarbonamide is also the same material that is in Yoga mats. I thought the irony of this is that you could eat the sandwich and exercise the calories off by using the bread!

This ingredient has since been removed from the dough, but the problem is that this was not the only chain using this specific ingredient. “The Environmental Working Group published a list of nearly 500 food products containing the chemical.” (CBS NEWS/AP April 11, 2014) Another chain restaurant which sells chicken was recently notified by a consumer called “The Food Babe” that their most popular sandwich contains over 150 chemicals.

Getting ALL the Nutritional Facts

On the back of every product consumed, you will notice a larger label which usually says “Nutritional Facts.” This label is important because it will list the calories, total fat, cholesterol, sodium, potassium, total carbohydrate, proteins and vitamins value, per serving, which will provide insight into the nutritional content of the foods. Supposedly, this will allow you to make an educated decision on how many chips you will actually be consuming. Once you read the label you can simply pull out 10 to 12 chips and put the bag away! Maybe in another universe, but not in America! This phenomenon could be blamed on exceptional marketing techniques (which definitely have a role in manipulating our food choices) or could it be even a little more out of our control?

Let’s say a chemical or several chemicals are strategically placed in our foods which enhance the flavor to a point where we crave it without knowing exactly why we are craving it. The secondary label usually in ‘very’ small print is “Ingredients”. This label is relegated to a second tier, but is just as important or even more so than the infamous “Nutrition Facts.” What is the point of having “Nutrition Facts” if we are simultaneously being bombarded through manufactured chemicals to eat more than we were intending, because of irresistible flavor additives?

Eating out

This is not only true in foods on your grocery store shelves, but also in our restaurant industry. Many of the “Mom and Pop” restaurants of yesterday are gone and we are left with different restaurant chains that are usually part of several large corporations. Have you noticed as you drive through town
after town, you will see the same exact restaurants over and over again? The powers that be, which control our food supply, are aware that the average American will spend approximately $1,000 per year on dining out (Forbes Investing, February 2013). According to the New York Times article “The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food,” this is called “Stomach Share” which is the amount of digestive space that any one company brand can grab from their competitors. This competition has resulted as of 2013 with one in 3 adults clinically obese, one in 5 children clinically obese, 24 million Americans with Type 2 Diabetes and 79 million with prediabetes. Gout, which was considered ‘a rich man’s disease’, now affects over 8 million Americans.

The primary goal of restaurant chains is to make their food as tasty as possible so that you will partake of their food and bypass the competitor. According to Sean Williams (The war on your stomach: Why you eat Twinkies and Coke), they are “impelling a high-tech arms race that includes such foreboding machines as a $40,000 simulated mouth which has enabled Frito Lay’s army of 500 chemists, psychologists and technicians, employed at a cost of nearly $30 million a year, to determine that consumers most prefer a chip that snaps with four pounds of pressure per square inch” (NY Times Article, Michael Mosley).

In defense of the corporations, they may feel there is nothing inherently wrong with this scenario. They believe ‘it’s just business’ and they are not intentionally on a mission to hurt anyone. They are just using what is available within the food industry and what is approved by the FDA to increase consumption of the foods they supply.

 Xooma to the rescue!
Besides corporate gain, there are other factors that dictate why we have so many flavor enhancement additives, food colorings and chemicals.  According to a book I recently read by Mark Schatzker called “The Dorito Effect” (The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor), we have over utilized the land and because of mass production of foods and mass consumption, our foods have become ‘less favorable’ as well as ‘less nutritional’.
If you’re reading this, you are most likely a Member of Xooma Worldwide.  That also means you are already enlightened to the fact that the mineral content in our soil has been depleted dramatically over the years.  Our soil contains a fraction of the amount of minerals compared to 50 years ago, and this continues to decline.
This is exactly what our ‘flag ship’ product X20TM is compensating for – the lack of minerals from other nutritional sources.  Not only does X2O contain over 70 trace minerals in each individual sachet, it’s also in a bioavailable form, which simply means it more readily helps the body.  X20serves many purposes.  A primary benefit is providing trace minerals that are vital to our overall health, and the fact that our bodies do not produce minerals.  Then, these minerals serve to alkalize our water and in turn, our bodies.  These benefits are preventative and help compensate and eliminate the chemicals and colorings that are being added to our current food supply.

YOU, as the consumer

So what can you do as a consumer to keep your body healthy on a day-to-day basis?  As Bodey Fox says, “This life is only a dash.”  So you do not want to become overly obsessed with trying to eat perfectly.  This is very difficult to maintain and hats off to those who can eat completely organic, especially if your budget permits.  But what about the rest of us who have large families or who are on a stricter budget?

The key to maintaining health is to live by the famous quote, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

The following is a very general guideline to follow.  In my practice, I provide a structured program which includes micronutrient testing as well as food sensitivities.

  •  Make good choices by adding as much non-processed foods back into your diet as possible.  Curtail the ‘whites’ (most bread, potatoes, pasta, and rice), since they don’t deliver very much nutrition per calorie, and they often have very high glycemic indexes – resulting in excessive insulin production, and potentially insulin resistance and adult-onset diabetes.  If you must eat grains, eat whole grains – for better fiber, mineral, anti-oxidant, anti-cancer and cholesterol reduction benefits. 
  • Curtail the desserts and the snacks (pies, cakes, candy, potato chips, pretzels, etc.) for they
    deliver almost no nutrition per calorie.  Increase fruits (especially berries, like blueberries, blackberries, or strawberries) to fully or partly substitute for the desserts. Substitute healthy teas such as green tea (discourages stroke, heart attack, cancer, and neurological damage) for empty-calorie sodas.  Helping stabilize blood sugar, in addition to X2O, is Xooma’s Berry BalanceTM.  Berry Balance helps maintain a healthy blood sugar level throughout the day (which is also a key component to hormone balancing and weight management). 
  •  Curtail saturated fats (reduce red meat portions, trim visible fat, substitute liquid oils, especially olive oil for butter and hard margarine to improve heart/cancer health. 
  •  Increase fish consumption, especially high omega-3 oil varieties (cold-water fish like tuna,
    salmon, etc.  Note that there is some controversy on this, with some advocating greater flax or walnut oil rather than fish.  Eat more tree nuts, especially walnuts and almonds to replace fatty meats).  A super high-quality, pure fish oil (without mercury or any other contaminants) is Xooma’s Omega 3/75TM. 
  •  Increase vegetables of almost any type, the more variety the better. Buy as much as you need to enable you to feel full at the end of a meal.  A great addition to your daily regimen would be to include Xooma’s Adult  SuperfoodTM.
  • Read your labels, educate yourself on what you are putting in your body.   If you can’t pronounce it - try to avoid eating it! 
  •  Use a high quality daily multivitamin like Xooma’s LifeSourceTM in combination with the above-mentioned Xooma products will help supplement what we eat, and offer even greater prevention.  And supplementing your meals Xooma’s AssimilatorTM (a potent enzyme complex) helps break down nutrients in the food and improve digestion. 
  • And most important, the X20 water sachets keep you hydrated, cleansed, mineralized and alkalized which constitute the foundation of health.

Remember the most important aspect of healing is to know that the body is fearfully and wonderfully made by our creator.  And if you give it the nourishment needed, which consists of the physical, emotional and spiritual, you can achieve great things for yourself as well as your friends and family.

Yours in Health,
Melissa Bennett, ND, MIFHI, CTN, CNW
Naturopathic Practitioner/Emory Predictive Health Partner

This post first appeared on In Search Of Natural Health, please read the originial post: here

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What’s really behind our food addictions


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