Recently I bought a pound cake at my local supermarket. The store is a national "brand name" store. The pound cake was made in the store's bakery according to the label. After consuming a generous portion of the cake I concluded it was good. I liked it.
Then I happened to glance at the label of ingredients. Some of the ingredients I could not pronounce and I certainly did not know what they were. My question is, "are these ingredients actually food?"
If I made this same cake at home I would expect the total list of ingredients to include:
* Baking Powder
I understand all these ingredients...and I can pronounce all of them. Every item on this list is what I would call "food".
Now, want to know what was in the pound cake I bought at the store? Here is a partial list of the ingredients:
* Annatto (food coloring)
* Diglycerides (emulsifier)
* Aluminum Phosphate (leavening agent)
* Propylene Glycol (wetting agent)
* Monoesters (preservative, kills mites)
* Carboxymethyl Cellulose (thickener)
* Potassium Sorbate (preservative)
All of these ingredients are approved for addition to food in the United States. All appear to be harmless except for Propylene Glycol.
"Propylene Glycol is a colorless, viscous, hygroscopic liquid CH3CHOHCH2OH, used in anti-freeze solutions, in hydraulic fluids, and as a solvent.
The MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for Propylene Glycol says: "May be harmful by ingestion or skin absorption. May cause eye irritation, skin irritation. Chronic exposure can cause gastro-intestinal disturbances, nausea, headache and vomiting, central nervous system depression.
(Reference: "Toxicological profile for ethylene glycol and propylene glycol (update). "Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), 1996. Atlanta, Ga; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service.")
The point is, why can't they sell pound cake made from flour, eggs, sugar and milk? The answer, of course, is that without all the enhancers and preservatives the pound cake would not last on the store shelve for weeks waiting to sell. So, I ask myself, do I really want to eat food that has been artificially prevented from rotting? Cake that is stale from sitting on the shelf for days or weeks. I think not.
Hopefully, this article will encourage you to read the labels of food you feed your family. While the heavily preserved foods from the store may not make you sick, can they really be as healthy as what you make at home with all natural food ingredients?