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8 Foods We Eat in the US that are Banned in Other Countries

Carolina Sanchez

Do you eat any of these foods?

1. Artificial food dye: Used to make food-like products colorful, and inhibits nerve-cell development.

Found in:

Practically everything processed we eat: cake mixes, sports drinks, cheese, candy, and even MACARONI AND CHEESE. Think about it, if you're eating something that has been dyed a certain color, should you really be putting it in your mouth? The foods our bodies were intended to eat are not dyed artificially. Pick up a pint of fresh summer figs, or ripe donut peaches. They don't need ingredient labels or artificial colors to shine.

Why it’s dangerous:

Artificial dyes are made from chemicals derived from petroleum, which is also used to make gasoline, diesel fuel, asphalt, and tar! Artificial dyes have been linked to brain cancer, nerve-cell deterioration, and hyperactivity in children, just to name a few.

Where it’s banned:

Norway, Finland, Austria, France, and the U.K.

2. Olestra (or Olean): Lowers calorie counts while causing vitamin depletion and anal leakage.

Olestra (or Olean): Lowers calorie counts while causing vitamin depletion and anal leakage.

Found in:

Fat-free potato chips, corn chips, and French fries.

Why it’s dangerous:

Created by Procter & Gamble as a substitute for cooking oil, Olestra robs your body of its ability to absorb vitamins. Fun side effects include cramps and leaky bowels.

Where it’s banned:

The U.K. and Canada.

Healthy alternatives: Make your own chips! You can make them out of anything, sweet potatoes, potatoes, plantains, even kale! Just rub on your favorite spice and bake in the oven for crisp, olestra free deliciousness!

3. Brominated vegetable oil: Makes food dye stick to liquid, but also may cause birth defects and major organ damage.

Brominated vegetable oil: Makes food dye stick to liquid, but also may cause birth defects and major organ damage.

Found in:

Sports drinks and citrus-flavored sodas.

Why it’s dangerous:

Bromine is a chemical used to stop carpets from catching on fire, in other words, a flame retardant. Think this is going to help boost your athletic performance? Think again. BVO is linked to major organ system damage, birth defects, growth problems, schizophrenia, and hearing loss.

Where it’s banned:

In over 100 countries.

Healthy alternative:

Water or fresh coconut water. If you buy it from a can, bottle, or tetrapack, make sure there hasn't been any added sugar or additives. Coconut water contains electrolytes which may be beneficial for high-endurance workouts, but unless you are doing intense physical exercise, you really don't need to be worried about replentishing electrolytes and you are probably better off with just water.

4. Potassium bromate (or bromated flour): Keeps bakers' costs down, at the cost of your kidneys and nervous system.

Potassium bromate (or bromated flour): Great for impatient bakers, bad for your kidneys and nervous system.

Found in:

Wraps, rolls, bread crumbs, bagel chips, flat breads.

Why it’s dangerous:

Derived from the same harmful chemical as brominated vegetable oil, brominated flour is used to decrease baking time and reduce costs. Only problem is, it’s linked to kidney damage, cancer, and nervous system damage. Check the ingredients on your bread, it shouldn't have anything you can't pronounce or that you don't know the meaning of. Bread is one of the most simple things to make, there is absolutely no reason for it having a paragraph long ingredient list.

Where it’s banned:

Europe, Canada, and China.

Healthy alternatives:

Look for breads and wraps that don't contain this, like Ezekiel brand. ALWAYS read the ingredients!

5. Azodicarbonamide: Bleaches flour, plastic, and induces asthma as an added bonus.

Found in:

Breads, frozen dinners, boxed pasta mixes, and packaged baked goods.

Why it’s dangerous:

Used to bleach both flour and foamed plastic (yoga mats and the soles of sneakers), azodicarbonamide has been known to induce asthma. Is the convenience of popping a TV dinner in the microwave really worth ingesting these harmful chemicals?

Where it’s banned:

Australia, the U.K., and most European countries.

Healthy alternative:

Engine 2 has a whole new line of frozen plant-based foods. Try their organic fiesta blend which is organic brown rice, organic black beans, organic sweet corn, organic red bell peppers, and organic poblano peppers. That's it! No additives whatsoever, and you can make a meal of it! You can also try their line of veggie burgers, they're delicious! Look for them in your local Whole Foods or health food store.

6. BHA & BHT: Waxy preservatives linked to cancer and tumors

Found in:

Cereal, nut mixes, gum, butter, meat, dehydrated potatoes.

Why it’s dangerous:

Used to keep food from becoming rancid, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are known to cause cancer in rats. How about some butylated hydroxyanisole with that trident, it's dentist recommended, right?

Where it’s banned:

The U.K., Japan, and many other European countries.

Healthy alternative:

Honeycomb. If you feel like you need to be chewing something, this is certainly chewy, similar to gum (although not recommended for bubble blowing!). Go to your local farmers market and try to buy raw, unfiltered honey with the honeycomb inside.

7. Synthetic growth hormones rBGH and rBST: Harmful to cows and linked to increasing tumor development in humans.

Found in:

Milk and dairy products.

Why it’s dangerous:

Growth hormones are bad for cows and people, potentially causing infertility, weakened muscle growth, and a whole array of cancers.  Think you NEED milk for calcium? Think again. Humans are the only species that consume the milk from another animal. We simply don't need it after a certain period after birth, and neither do other animals. We are not the exception. Leafy greens like kale and collards are packed with calcium, just 3.5 cups of kale has more calcium than 1 cup of milk. Oranges, oatmeal, and broccoli are also good sources.

Where it’s banned:

Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, and the EU.

Healthy alternative: Try unsweetened vanilla (or plain) almond milk. Avoid the sweetened kinds as they can contain up to 7 grams of sugar per cup.

8. Arsenic: fancy some rat poison with that chicken?

Arsenic: Basically this ish will slowly kill you.

Found in:

Poultry.

Why it’s dangerous:

Used in some chicken feed to make meat appear pinker and fresher, arsenic is poison, which will kill you if you ingest enough.

Where it’s banned:

The EU.

Healthy alternatives:

 Try seitan as an alternative to chicken in your dishes. You can also try organic tempeh which is heartier than tofu. If you insist on eating meat, make sure it is certified organic, and if you can, purchase it from your local farmer. Talk to them how it was raised, what kind of methods they use, type of feed, etc. You'll really get to know your food that way.

Source: BuzzFeed Food