Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Add some poison, makes it last longer / pour thicker / taste good

It's the night before the Food Festival, and me and Morgan Pudwell, the VP Sustainability for the CSU, have just finished putting together our additives series. We've covered a decent amount of ground:

  • Carageenan
  • Aspartame
  • MSG
  • Soya Lecithin
  • Maltodextrin
  • Xanthan Gum
  • Artificial Flavour
  • Natural Flavour
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
I've learned a lot doing this - because distilling the information down to the basics has required a fairamount of sifting, reading, filtering... There's a lot out there. On top of the wikipedia entries, the health food sites, the doctors' sites, the academic papers and the blogs, there's the industry groups and companies manufacturing the stuff.

The ultimate conclusion? Additives are everywhere, and they are pretty much all killing us and making us sick in one way or another. in addition to polluting the environment. I like to think I live a pretty additive free life, comparatively, but I imagine I'm still pulling the stuff in through eating out and the foods I'm not quite ready to give up - Haagen Daaz ice cream, for example.

I found a great blog providing a good overview of some of the above and a bunch more, here. It's pretty depressing, I gotta say - how we let it come to this. Some of the stuff I read linked additives to psychotic behaviour, depression, anxiety... It's got me thinking about talking to a friend who is a psychologist at a local hospital about patient diets. I know when my dad was in hospital with colon cancer in 2005 the food was disgusting and the 'nutritionist' advocated white bread and boiled vegetables and had no issue with jello. Sigh. 
Time are hopefully changing...

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