That junk food stowed away in your freezer or pantry isn't just a treat—it could be harmful to your health. Even foods labeled as "good for you" could contain additives that your body won't love.
Watch out for these tricky ingredients lurking in your favorite everyday foods.
Corn Syrup1 of 8
This all-too-common ingredient is an inexpensive sweetener added to many candies and sodas. Unfortunately, trace samples have been shown to contain mercury, a deadly ingredient when consumed at high volumes. Not to mention, there are so many natural sweeteners out there that are better for you and won't spike your sugar levels as quickly, such as agave or honey.
As seen in: Sweetened yogurt, salad dressing, breads, canned fruit, juice, granola bars, condiments
Yellow #52 of 8
Most colorants, including yellow #5 (also known as tartrazine), actually contain carcinogenic, or cancer-causing materials, and have been linked to migraines, anxiety, blurred vision and allergic reactions. In European countries, any food that contains Yellow #5 requires a warning on the label, and in countries like Austria, the ingredient is banned outright.
Essentially, any food that needs a colorant probably needs to stay out of your cart.
As seen in: Powdered chicken broth, pickles, orange cheeses, yogurt, butter, alcohol mixers
Enriched Flour3 of 8
Wheat germ and bran are removed from this type of bleached flour, making it void of any nutrient that would be beneficial for your body. Also, since your body is able to break down enriched flour so quickly, it will cause your blood sugar to spike and lead to increased fat storage. Worse yet, enriched flour is often manufactured with magnetic iron that the body cannot absorb, leaving behind unnecessary toxins.
As seen in: Pasta, pizza, baked goods, cereals
Aspartame4 of 8
You've probably heard of this one and its potentially harmful side effects. Although artificial sweeteners may sound like a great way to cut calories, they can actually do a number on your metabolism, and studies have shown that large quantities could be linked to increased cancer risk.
As seen in: Diet soda, gum, yogurt, sugar-free candies
Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)5 of 8
BHA is added to keep foods from spoiling, and it is currently deemed safe in low doses. However, the National Institute of Health categorizes BHA as a probable carcinogen. BHA is also found in rubber, wax food packaging and even petroleum products.
Electing not to consume products with this additive could keep you on the safe side of potential harmful effects.
As seen in: Potato chips, preserved meat, butter, beer, instant mashed potatoes
Potassium Bromate6 of 8
This sneaky little additive is found in most breads and mass-produced baked goods. It's an attractive option to manufacturers for speeding up the baking process, making it more cost-effective. However, this ingredient has been linked to kidney failure and should be approached with caution. Opt for fresh items from the bakery and ask directly about baking processes when possible.
As seen in: Bread, bread crumbs, rolls
Azodicarbonamide7 of 8
This ingredient is commonly found in products you'll find in the freezer isle. It's also used to make flour appear whiter. Non-food uses include being used as foaming for gym mats and shoes, which isn't as appetizing. The danger? It's been linked to asthma cases.
As seen in: Frozen dinners, pasta mixes