How Junk Food Companies Exploit Americans with Ingredients Banned in Other Countries (Part 1/2)

This is part one of a two part series of guest posts from Vani Hari, a.k.a. Food Babe. It originally appeared here.

Thoughts of outrage, unfairness, disbelief, and ultimately grief consumed me while I was doing this investigation. A list of ingredients that are banned across the globe but still allowed for use here in the American food supply recently made news. While I have written about some of those ingredients before, this list inspired me to look a little deeper and find out how pervasive this issue is for us. Could these banned ingredients be contributing to the higher mortality and disease rates here in the U.S.?

The health of Americans is downright grim according to a report just released by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council. It declares “Americans are sicker and die younger than other people in wealthy nations.” The United States spends 2.5 times more on health care than any other nation, however, when compared with 16 other nations we come in dead last in terms of health and life expectancy for men and near the bottom for women.

Here is the breakdown for you:

  • More than two thirds of United States citizens are overweight – 33% being obese.
  • 32% of children are either obese or overweight.
  • 43% of Americans are projected to be obese in 10 years.
  • After smoking, obesity is America’s biggest cause of premature death and is linked to 70% of heart disease and 80% of diabetes cases.
  • And 41% of Americans are projected to get cancer in their lifetime!

These reports and statistics scream the word HELP!

Recently, I spent some time down in Mississippi volunteering in the most obese county in the nation. I found that while social and economic factors do play a part in this epidemic, the main culprit was the lack of nutrition education. The victims of obesity are likely the same victims of systematic brainwashing from Big Food marketers, relying on diet soda or low fat products or looking only at calories on product labels. Basically, they are doing what the food industry has been teaching them about losing weight versus finding out the truth about real food.

And that’s the problem – the food industry is the one leading our conversation in this country about food and nutrition, educating the mass public about what to eat and what not to eat. Coca-Cola recently even went as far as creating a special campaign to combat obesity – yes you read that right – a sugar filled soda company trying to stop obesity. (You can read my reaction to that here).

Unfortunately, the doctors in this country are not exactly leading the discussion either, since nutrition is not currently a focus in medical school. And the government has their hands tied by big food industry and chemical company lobbyists that basically control what the FDA approves, deems safe for human consumption, and our overall food policy.

So who is going to finally tell us the truth about our food?

The food industry does not want us to pay attention to the ingredients nor do they care about the negative effects from eating them. They certainly don’t care about the astronomical medical bills that are a direct result of us eating the inferior food they are creating.

The HELP we need starts here. We as a collective nation must stop this trajectory of sickness and rising health care costs, by understanding the ingredients we are putting into our bodies. We must challenge the U.S. food industry to discontinue the use of banned ingredients that are not allowed elsewhere in the world. We deserve to have the same quality food without potential toxins.

Food is medicine, and plain and simple, if our food is sick (filled with GMO’s, chemicals, additives, artificial ingredients, and/or carcinogens), collectively we as a country are going to continue to be sick.

Using banned ingredients that other countries have determined unsafe for human consumption has become a pandemic in this country. To prove this point, I found the best and easiest place to look for evidence was just across “the pond” in the United Kingdom, where they enjoy some of the same types of products we do – but with totally different ingredient lists.

Find out which products in the next installment of this series…

Vani Hari is Food Babe, a food activist and blogger. Follow her on Facebook, tweet her on Twitter, email her here and/or subscribe to stay updated on her latest posts.

  • Lisa R.

    Great report!

  • Liv marie

    Your are so right! Keep going!

  • Nat Samayoa

    Can’t wait to read more!

  • RP1973

    Please publish part 2 before you are McSued and McShutDown.

  • SuperMom101

    Terrific article! Looking forward to your second piece.

    After I experienced breast cancer at the age of 38 (thankfully over 12 years ago) I now steer clear of America’s highly processed, genetically engineered, factory farmed, franken-fake, chemically laden, artificially dyed, antibiotic administered, steroid injected, arsenic feed, food supply…. and I thought I was eating healthy.

    It’s so strange. America (and her children) have never been fatter, sicker or more malnourished and we can’t seem to figure out why.

    An “organic” apple a day helps keep the doctor away.”

    “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” – Ben Franklin

    Best health always….

  • Darlene Frisicaro

    Excellent article!

  • James Cooper

    We are probably getting sicker because of obesity and poor access to health care. There is simply no evidence that any of the additives you list are dangerous. If there is, you should cite the actual research rather than just making scary statements. And the safety of GM crops has been established in hundreds of studies, and there are no studies showing GM crops are harmful

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  • Jamie Hunken

    i can’t eat anything can I???