Secret Ingredients in Food Labels

Dear Friends,

Do you ever feel this way?

Reading nutrition labels is so confusing! Nutrition changes all the time and I can’t spend hours at the grocery store…I feel so frustrated… Can’t label reading be simple?

Mysterious ingredients

The majority of processed foods at the grocery store have several secret ingredients and mysterious additives that we can’t even pronounce. Have you ever spent time reading them? For example Twinkies, so popular in US and similar to a doughnut, has 39 ingredients – a little cake filled with additives.

75% are processed foods

Processed foods make up 75% of our national diet so, on average, we are consuming 8-10 pounds of additives on a yearly basis. Although it’s the FDA’s responsibility to check these ingredients, due to lack of staff, this does not currently occur.

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4 groups of ingredients are available


The artificial sweeteners, including acesulfame K, aspartame and saccharine. Acesulfame K is used in sweets, chewing gum, desserts, sodas and it’s 200 times sweeter than sugar. Some studies with rats have shown that this chemical can cause cancer.

Aspartame, 200 times sweeter than sugar, decreases the acid levels in urine, making individuals more prone to urinary infections. Meanwhile saccharine, 350 times sweeter than sugar has also shown cancer predisposition in rats.

Dyes and Colors

The second group, which includes the dyes and colorings, can make us wonder what we’re consuming, especially when our teeth and tongue change color. In this group we find the caramel coloring, found in various products and producing toxicity in studies with animals. The yellow 5 and 6 dyes can produce allergies and hyperactivity in children; same as with blue dye, which is found in sweets, drinks, animal food.

Preservatives and Additives

The third group, preservatives and additives is quite diverse. The partially hydrogenated oils are starting to fade away although they have been used quite a lot by modifying liquid oils to solids and increasing shelf life. These increase Trans Fats in our body, which is related to heart problems.

Famous MSG

Last but not least, MSG or monosodium glutamate, found in meats, condiments, soups and baked goods can bring about allergies or asthma in some individuals.

Share your Comments:

What do you read on the labels?

About Debbie

Debbie Polisky, MS, MBA, CLT is a Bilingual Nutritionist, Zumba Instructor, Wellness Consultant and Adjunct Faculty who uses mind and body techniques, such as mindfulness, stress management, exercise, dance/zumba, yoga and nutrition to improve the lives of patients, students and the community. She has over 20 years of experience in the healthcare field, in two countries, Argentina and in USA and in her two native languages, English and Spanish.