Unhealthy Food Additives | Fitbie

How To Read Nutritional Information

4 Scary Truths About Food Additives

We assess the merits of four food additive claims and explain how you can avoid these scary chemicals by reading food labels carefully

You Call That Food?

4 Scary Truths About Food Additives // Unhealthy food additives in your food © Getty Images

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That jug of 100 percent orange juice in your fridge-natural as can be, right? Just the luscious juice and pulp squeezed from fresh fruit. Or not: Many brands spike their juices with "flavor packs," essences and oils formulated to simulate the taste of, well, fresh-squeezed oranges. These "packs" contain chemicals such as ethyl butyrate, but you'd never know it from the juice's label. "Industry insiders say the formula for fresh orange flavor is as elusive as the formula for Coke," says Alissa Hamilton, Ph.D., J.D., the author of Squeezed: What You Don't Know about Orange Juice.

It's all perfectly legal. Ethyl butyrate is just one of nearly 4,000 additives that the FDA has approved for use in our nation's food supply. (Search: What the heck's in my food?) Without them, processed foods wouldn't look as appetizing, taste as fresh, or last as long in your pantry. But these "enhancements" also mean you don't always know what you're eating. In the case of OJ, pending class-action lawsuits have accused juice makers of misleading consumers. But you don't have to wait-we have our own verdict on additives and your health.

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