harmful ingredients
Penelope Wilson
Penelope Wilson
July 7, 2023 ·  6 min read

If you see any of these 12 ingredients listed on a package, throw it away immediately

Ok, let’s be honest here: we all know it’s way easier to grab something from the grocery store that we only have to heat up, pour out, or rip open. It saves time. It tastes good. and in most cases it satisfies our hunger cravings.

The convenience of packaged foods has taken over modern day society. More than three quarters of supermarket shelves are stocked with packaged and processed foods.

Despite sometimes carrying the label of healthy, or Organic, most  these foods contain a number of harmful chemical ingredients. There are over 3000 different types of chemicals purposely added to our food supply. Yikes.

Take a look at the ten ingredients you might not know are in your go-to convenient eats.

BHT (Butylated Hydroxyluene):

Found in: potato chips, lard, butter, cereal, instant mashed potatoes, preserved meat, beer, baked goods, dry beverage and dessert mixes, chewing gum, and other foods.

BHT was listed in 2005 by The National Toxicology Program as a reasonably anticipated human carcinogen. It is a preservative whose job is to prevent food from going bad or spoiling.  It is a major endocrine disruptor and can seriously mess with your hormones.  Oh, not to mention the fact that it is also used in jet fuels, rubber petroleum products, transformer oils, and embalming fluids. The Material Safety Data Sheet warns that BHT should not be allowed to enter the environment and can cause liver damage.

So, what should you do instead?

Alternative: Your best, and safest option is to try to avoid packaged foods whenever possible. The other option is to read the labels of everything you buy and toss any that list BHT. You can also stick to whole natural foods and avoid BHT entirely.

Blue, Green, Red, And Yellow Dyes:


Found in: Cereal, candy, chips, medication, and vitamins.

The artificial colors blue 1 and 2, green 3, red 3, and yellow 5 & 6 have been linked to thyroid, adrenal, bladder, kidney, and brain cancers. Almost all colorants approved for use in food are derived from coal tar and may contain up to 10ppm of lead and arsenic. Also, most coal tar colors could potentially cause cancer.

Alternative:  Seek out foods with the fewest artificial chemicals, especially when shopping for kids. Companies tend to make kids products brighter and more enticing. Look for color-free medications and natural food products that don’t contain artificial colors like these. Try natural granola with fresh fruit, slivered almonds, flax, and pumpkin seeds, instead of boxed cereal. Pair it with your favorite milk substitute.

Palm Oils:

Found in: Fresh or frozen pizza dough, instant noodles, shampoo, ice cream, chocolate, margarine, cookies, soap, fried foods, packaged bread and detergent.

Palm oil is in about half of all packaged products sold in the supermarket. While palm oil is the most efficient source of vegetable oil, its rapid expansion threatens some of the planet’s most important and sensitive habitats.

When a regular fat like corn, soybean, or palm oil is blasted with hydrogen and turned into a solid, it becomes a trans fat. Which help packaged foods remain “fresh.” Eating junk food with trans fats increases your risk of blood clots and heart attack.

Alternative: Avoid palm oil and other trans fats as much as possible. You can do this by reading the labels of store bought foods and baking your meals in the oven instead of frying them in oil.

Propylene glycol alginate (E405):

Found in: Ice cream, chewing gum, candy, beer, fruit juices, foamy dairy products, and most gel-like foods including; jellies, jams, yogurts, and salad dressings.  

E405 is an important stabilizer. It thickens liquids and stabilizes it at the same time. It also works as an emulsifier-keeps food fresher longer. It is derived from alginic acid esterified and combined with propylene glycol. It has many industrial uses including automotive anti-freezes and airport runway de-icers.

Alternative: Read the labels of your favorite products and lean toward the all-natural solutions instead.

Polysorbate 60:

Found in: cake mix, frozen dessert, salad dressing, doughnuts, foods with artificial chocolate coating, non-dairy whipped topping.

Polysorbate60 is a stabilizer widely used in the food industry. It is comprised of corn, palm oil, and petroleum. This ultra waxy mix doesn’t spoil so it often replaces dairy products in baked goods and other liquid products.

Alternative: Try to stick to the basics and use olive oil with lemon juice as often as possible. Olive oil, is in fact a fruit juice and contains a long chain of saturated fatty acids that alkalize your body’s PH. You can also make your own salad dressing at home using wholesome natural ingredients.

Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Benzene:

Found in: Soda, carbonated drinks, pickles, salad dressings, and fruit juices.

Preservatives added to soda to prevent mold from growing, but benzene is a known carcinogen that is also linked with serious thyroid damage. Dangerous levels of benzene can build up when plastic bottles of soda are exposed to heat or when the preservatives are combine with ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Think Fanta Orange, C Plus, or Orange Crush.

Alternatives: If you don’t think you can eliminate pop from your diet completely than I recommend investing in a sodastream. It’s fun. It’s easy. And you get to control how much flavor and fizz is in each and every drink.

Hydrogenated Oil:

Found in: Shortening, and fatty additives.

Ditch any food that lists shortening or partially hydrogenated oil as an ingredient, since these are trans’ fats. In addition to clogging your arteries and causing obesity, they also increase your risk of metabolic syndrome.

Alternatives: Grapeseed oil, coconut oil, ghee or olive oil.

Aspartame, Saccharin, & Sucralose:

Found in: NutraSweet, Equal, Sweet’N Low, SugarTwin, and Splenda.

Artificial sweeteners may be even harder on our metabolic systems than plain old sugar. These brand name, no calorie sugars, are supposed to be a healthier option in comparison to regular sugar.  These sweeteners are probably doing more harm than good! Studies suggest that artificial sweeteners trick the brain into forgetting that sweetness means extra calories, making people more likely to eating sweet treats and eat more of them.

Alternative: Nip your sweet tooth in the bud. Scan ingredient labels and forbid any and all artificial sweeteners from entering your mouth. Stick to natural sweetening options like honey, and coconut oil.

Sodium Nitrates and Sodium Nitrites:

Found in: Processed meats like; bacon, lunch meat, and hotdogs.

These two different preservatives. They’re believed to cause colon cancer and metabolic syndrome, which can lead to diabetes. Sodium nitrate and nitrate are mineral salts added to processed meats to add a red or pink color.

Alternative:  Protect yourself from these harmful preservatives by choosing fresh, organic meats or healthier mono-saturated fats such as; such as olive, peanut and canola oils and foods that contain unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids.

Sodium Sulfite (E221):

Found in: Wine and dried fruit.

Preservative used in wine-making and other processed foods. According to the FDA, approximately one in 100 people are sensitive to sulfites in food. Individuals who are sulfite sensitive may experience headaches, breathing problems, and rashes. In some cases, sulfites actually caused a fatality by clogging the airway completely, leading to cardiac arrest.

Alternative: Be aware of what you are drinking and eating. Always read the label and avoid any that list Sodium Sulfite as an ingredient.

So to sum up…


Save your body from having to eat all the above chemicals.

Come on, what are you waiting for?











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