Healthy Eating Tips: Food Additives

What’s Really in Your Food?

These scary facts about food additives might stop you dead in your tracks the next time you dine out

What's Really in a...

What’s Really in Your Food? // KFC Chicken Pot Pie © Mitch Mandel/Thomas MacDonald

Image: Mitch Mandel/Thomas MacDonald
Food used to be so simple. A 1950s ice cream sundae contained about eight or nine different ingredients. Today, you can walk into any Baskin-Robbins in the country and order a sundae with 50 or more additives, most of them junk-food fillers that you would never stock in your pantry at home—unless of course you cook with polysorbate 80 and hydrogenated coconut oil.

And these newly bloated, calorie-rich foods are at the heart of our obesity problem. And yes, it’s a big problem: Compared with their normal-weight peers, overweight people are 30 percent more likely to have asthma, 44 percent more likely to have high blood pressure, and 64 percent more likely to be hospitalized for diabetes. And the fact is, we're heavier than we've been at any other time in history.

In my latest book, Eat This, Not That! 2012, I unravel the mystery behind some of your favorite fast foods. Read on for some freakish examples. But be warned: The truth may be tough to swallow.