Weekday mornings are hectic! Amidst the chaos that ensues, breakfast is the most neglected. Forget breakfasting like a king, we barely manage to grab a bite! In the scant moments that can be spared, enjoying a hearty breakfast is impossible. Thankfully, there are breakfast cereals and an assortment of snacks that keep us going. They are convenient and are fresh in their boxes and bags. But they also contain BHA and BHT – suspected human carcinogens. Would you rather choose convenience over toxicity? That’s a tough one! Go-Nayked.com helps you decide.
What is BHA?
Butylated hydroxyanisole is a preservative that keeps oils in food from oxidizing and becoming rancid. Oxidation alters the color, odor, and flavor of food. It also reduces the nutrient content of food. BHA is found in breakfast cereals, meats, butter, chewing gum, dehydrated potatoes, and other snacks. Disturbingly, they are also found in cosmetics, petroleum products, animal feed, and food packaging!
How safe is BHA?
As BHA is almost indispensible in our processed foods as an additive, it is prudent to be concerned about its effects on our health. It is considered “generally recognized to be safe” or GRAS, by The Food and Drug Administration. It has been approved for use in various foods up to 0.02 percent of the oil or fat content of the food. For dry food like cereals, the FDA has set different limits. Take a look at this link – FDA Limits
Laboratory studies on rats and other animals have shown BHA to be carcinogenic (cancer-causing). The National Toxicology Program surmises that this preservative could be ‘reasonably anticipated’ to be a human carcinogen. In Europe too, BHA is an approved food additive but is categorized as a potential endocrine disruptor. Studies have reported adverse effect on sperm quality, lowering of testosterone and thyroxin levels, and decreased growth in rats.
What is BHT?
Butylated hydoxytoluene is also of the same family as BHA. It is added to food as a preservative, very often with BHA. Though there is no conclusive evidence suggesting it as a carcinogen, studies show that rats that were fed with BHT had developed lung and liver tumors. There were developmental and thyroid changes observed in these animals. The motor skills and coordination of these rats was also affected. On comparison, BHT seems the lesser evil. It bears the GRAS label too!
Know Your Facts
Additives that are ‘presumed’ safe by the government are classified as GRAS and don’t need to go through the pre-market review and subsequent approval. This could be perfectly understandable for harmless, natural additives like thyme or pepper, but to enlist additives with debatable safety like BHT and BHA as GRAS is unsettling to say the least. It is possible for manufacturers to obtain a GRAS status even without informing the FDA at all! It is entirely up to the consumer to check the facts.
- Check the product label for BHA and avoid it. A wide range of foods contain this additive, including preserved meat, snacks, and chips.
- Avoid products with BHT, especially if the product also contains BHA.
- Use the EWG’s Food Scores to find foods that don’t contain either additive.
- Try to eat fresh food or the food that has been minimally processed. Usually, they are more nutritious!
- Look out for packaged foods that use vitamin E as preservative or better still, use no preservative at all.
- Read these articles for more information about BHA, BHT, and other commonly used additives.
Add years to healthy living by subtracting additives from your food! Visit the Go-Nayked.com Marketplace to find breakfast cereals and treats that are good for you and free of toxins.