There is a new wave sweeping the internet about living “additive free.” Courses are popping up charging clients and prospective consumers for advice on how to live an additive free life and at the same time scaring the heebie-jeebies out of people with health claims that are not backed up, or are have inconclusive scientific evidence, yet still wanting to sell you a product or a service.
So what does an “additive free” diet mean? Well it means not eating any foods that contain additives. This includes colours, preservatives, flavours, anti-caking agents, flavour enhancers, food acids, modified starches, salts, and emulsifiers, to name a few. Now, not all additives used in the “manufacture” of foods are “bad” for you. But the majority of additives are, hence the reason these services are popping up all over the internet, and the average Joe Blow will need a science degree just to pronounce the majority of these additives. But living an additive free life is not as hard as you think. It’s not about which packet of chips is better for you, or whether Streets ice cream is better than Bulla ice cream. It’s about eating foods that contain no additives. In other words, what our grandparents ate. It’s about getting back to basics, and eating whole foods, plain and simple.
We need to own up and start being honest with ourselves, plain and simple. We know that overly-processed foods that come from a manufacturing plant or a production line are bad for you. We know that most things that come in colourful fancy packaging is bad for us. We know that fast-food outlets – the ones with drive-thrus attached to them that require five to twelve teenagers to make a hamburger, is bad for you. All these foods contain additives, lots, and lots of additives, more than most people ever realise. In fact, a Kids Happy Meal (hamburger, fries, apple juice & yogurt) in the US has 79 ingredients. Australia is not far behind, with 61 ingredients in the hamburger, fries and apple juice – MacDonald’s doesn’t sell yogurt in Australia.
I’m not going to lie, I’m not going to sell you anything, I’m just going to tell you – there is no magic ingredient. There is no magic pill, plant, treatment, or course that will tell you any different. Eating over-processed foods is bad for you, and we need to eat less of it, much, much less. So, how do you do it? We need to get back to basics; we need to read the list of ingrédients on food labels. We need to read the fine print which is usually found on the back of label or some other hard to find place (bottom of container, on side or written in such fine print that you need a magnifying glass). We need to follow these plain and simple rules:
Avoid products that have ingredients you can’t pronounce.
Avoid products that have more than five ingredients on the label
Avoid products with labels that lots of numbers (additive codes)
So, save your cash with these bogus courses and invest your $100 plus dollars in a box of fresh fruit and vegetables instead. For all you ice cream lovers out there, you don’t have to miss out, try this homemade version, I heard it’s delish.
FOOD ADDITIVE LIST – WHAT THE NUMBERS ARE: