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The 3 Most Questionable Food Additives

Image of:  Apple being injected with green food additives by syringe.Natural flavoring and artificial flavoring.

These are terms we see every day on the food labels of our favorite drinks, desserts and snacks.

They’re general terms with very ambiguous meanings.  What’s considered natural by the FDA and food manufacturers may not be natural to you.  (Wait until you read about the additive extracted from beavers’ rectums below!)

Companies that perform chemical analysis are constantly discovering questionable and strange food additives in products on our local grocer’s shelves.  The questionable additives are potentially harmful to your health while the strange additives are only worthy of a cringe.

Below, we’re going to highlight some examples.


This is one of the strange ones.

The next time you go to purchase a raspberry or vanilla flavored product, you’ll second guess yourself.  Even though the product may have “natural flavoring” on the label, the flavoring may seem entirely unnatural to you.

What are we talking about here?  Quite simply, anal gland juice from a beaver.

Yes, food companies actually use this.

Beavers mix this secretion with their urine and use it to claim new territory.  Food companies use it to flavor things like fountain drinks and flavored foods.

Red #40

As the most popular food coloring in America, the Red #40 dye is perhaps the most harmful.

After causing large thyroid tumors in rats during studies, the FDA set out to ban the dye.  However, even the FDA – a division of the federal government – failed to succeed in banning it from foods we ingest daily.  They were successful in banning it from cosmetics and drugs, but not food.

Red #40 is most common in sweets like cakes, maraschino cherries, cocktail mixes and fountain drinks.

Currently, there’s no hard evidence that supports any threat to human health.

Acesulfame Potassium

Aside from aspartame, acesulfame potassium is one of the most popular artificial sweeteners.  Where aspartame is 180 times sweeter than natural sugar, acesulfame potassium is 200 times sweeter!  This is a chemical that has become increasingly popular in new product development over the years.

After various animal studies were performed, the chemical was found to cause breast, lung and thyroid tumors in animals.  Like Red #40, there’s no hard evidence to support the claim that acesulfame potassium causes human health problems.

Although labeled an artificial sweetener, this may have the same effects as sugar on the body.  Even though the calorie count is null, it causes a reaction in the brain that’s nearly identical to the one sugar causes.

If you’re an avid diet soda drinker, beware!