August 6, 2009

Alternatives to foods with additives

Food additives used to enhance product shelf life or add color are worth watching out for -- especially if a child has allergies -- a U.S. food advocate says.

Studies are starting to show that some of these additives can be harmful -- even increasing cancer risk -- so as parents and consumers we really need to understand what is in the foods we choose, Gloria Tsang of says in a statement.

Her list of worst additive offenders followed by her additive-free replacement suggestions include:

-- Cured meats with sodium nitrite, a preservative linked to the formation of carcinogenic compounds. Alternative: Dinner leftovers.

-- Diet yogurt where natural sugars are replaced with artificial sweeteners. Alternative: Natural or organic yogurt with short ingredient lists.

-- Snacks prolonging shelf life with preservatives BHA and BHT. Alternative: Popcorn but not the microwave kind.

-- Soft drinks with artificial sweeteners and coal tar dyes. Alternative: Water, 100 percent juice, or milk.

-- Baked goods with artificial sweeteners or trans fats. Alternative: Baking bigger batches at home and freezing the extras to put in lunches.