Category Archives: additives

cupcakes-1149695

Types of produce for natural food coloring

A large portion of the foods that we consume contain artificial food colorants. Many of these artificial food dyes have been banned for use in food manufacturing in the United Kingdom, Norway and other European countries. However, they are still considered safe for use in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Thankfully, there is a growing number of various concerned groups who heed the warnings of numerous reports linking artificial food colorants to a myriad of health problems. Health-conscious consumers, for instance, actively take matters into their own hands and opt for natural food colorants. Some food manufacturers are giving in to the demands of these consumers, along with the outcry of health advocates and medical communities. Kraft, General Mills, Nestlé and a few more companies have pledged to phase the use of synthetic food colorants out in their manufacturing process.

While FoodFacts.com joins the American public in celebrating the ingenuity of the country’s confectioners during National Candy Month, we maintain that you should take caution in consuming sweet treats that are filled with artificial food colorants. This month, we shared important information of two of the most commonly used artificial food dyes according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Red Dye #40 and Yellow Dye #5, including the risks they pose to our health.

Staying away from vibrant, artificial food dyes doesn’t mean you’re left with dull, colorless foods. The great news is, you can make your own natural food dyes from produce. In the previous blog post, we shared a recipe for homemade red and yellow food dyes made from raspberries and mangoes, respectively. Today, we’re sharing other types of produce that you can use to make natural food colorants. After all, June isn’t just all about the candies; it’s also National Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Month!

Red and Pink

  • Beets
  • Pomegranate

Yellow

Blue  and Purple

  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Radicchio
  • Red cabbage

Green

  • Spinach
  • Matcha powder

Orange

  • Carrots
  • Paprika

Bear in mind that there are different processes in making your own natural food colorants, depending on the type of produce you decide to use. Homemade natural food dyes are boiled, puréed or dissolve with vinegar.

If you don’t have the do-it-yourself bone in you, there are brands of natural food coloring that you can easily purchase from grocery stores. Use the All My Food Facts app to see their health scores. Get the app on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon!

macarons-920491

Recipe: Red and yellow natural food dyes

Bright colors make food all the more enticing, and FoodFacts.com has always cautioned consumers against the excessive consumption of foods containing artificial food colorants (AFCs). This National Candy Month, we discussed some of the health problems associated them. Of the AFCs, we covered the two most commonly used by food manufacturers in the United States, Red Dye #40 and Yellow Dye #5.

Thankfully, there are brands of natural food colorants available for the health-conscious parents and bakers. On the other hand, you can also make your own chemical-free food dyes. In this blog post, we are sharing a recipe for red and yellow food dyes made from fruits.

Ingredients

  • To make red, use raspberries
  • To make yellow, use mangoes

Directions

  1. Start with either fresh or frozen fruit. Put it in a blender to create a thick liquid.
  2. Use a fine strainer to remove seeds.
  3. Pour juice into small saucepans and cook over medium heat until mixtures are reduced to thick, colorful pastes.
  4. Pour into frostings, dough or batter. Stir color evenly.

Note: Pour excess into ice cube molds and freeze to store, and defrost thoroughly before next usage.

 

Find out how your go-to food colorants fare in our health score. Get the All My Food Facts app on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon!

Study links polysorbate 80 and other emulsifiers to Crohn’s disease, colitis

food-additivesWhat’s an emulsifier and why is it used in our food supply? When you prepare a vinaigrette, the oil and vinegar don’t combine. They seem to repel each other. A recipe will tell you to whisk the dressing until emulsification occurs — that would be the combination of the ingredients that repel each other. This happens with ingredients in packaged foods. Some things just don’t mix well and emulsifiers are used to combine them and stabilize the product. Unfortunately there are more than a few controversial emulsifiers. Things like carrageenan and Polysorbate 80 and its cousins 60 and 65 are included in a long list of additives used to bring certain ingredient happily together in a processed food product. Polysorbate 80 is the focus of new research that will definitely be important for some members of the FoodFacts.com community. Read on.

Common additives in ice cream, margarine, packaged bread and many processed foods may promote the inflammatory bowel diseases ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease as well as a group of obesity-related conditions, scientists said on Wednesday.

The researchers focused on emulsifiers, chemicals added to many food products to improve texture and extend shelf life. In mouse experiments, they found emulsifiers can change the species composition of gut bacteria and induce intestinal inflammation.

Such inflammation is associated with the frequently debilitating Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis as well as metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions that increase risk for type-2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Mice were fed emulsifiers diluted in drinking water or added into food, which were found to trigger low-grade intestinal inflammation and features of metabolic syndrome such as blood glucose level abnormalities, increased body weight and abdominal fat weight.

Consuming emulsifiers increased the risk of colitis, mimicking human inflammatory bowel disease, in mice genetically susceptible to the condition, the study found.

Georgia State University microbiologist Benoit Chassaing, whose study appears in the journal Nature, said the effects seen in mice “may be observed in humans as well.”

The study involved two widely used emulsifiers, polysorbate 80 and carboxymethylcellulose. The researchers are planning human studies and are already studying other emulsifiers.

Emulsifiers are used in margarine, mayonnaise, creamy sauces, candy, ice cream, packaged processed foods and baked goods. They can make products like mayonnaise smooth and creamy instead of an unappetizing amalgam of water and oily globules.

A key feature of inflammatory bowel diseases and metabolic syndrome is a change in the gut microbiota – the roughly 100 trillion bacteria that inhabit the intestinal tract – in ways that promote inflammation. In mice given emulsifiers, the bacteria were more apt to digest and infiltrate the dense mucus layer that lines and protects the intestines.

Incidence of inflammatory bowel disease and metabolic syndrome started rising in the mid-20th century at roughly the same time that food manufacturers began widespread emulsifier use, the researchers said.

“We were thinking there was some non-genetic factor out there, some environmental factor, that would be explaining the increase in these chronic inflammatory diseases,” Georgia State immunologist Andrew Gewirtz said.

“And we thought that emulsifiers were a good candidate because they are so ubiquitous and their use has roughly paralleled the increase in these diseases. But I guess we were surprised at how strong the effects were.”

If Polysorbate 80 isn’t on your avoid list, this information is a good enough reason to add it. Carboxymethylcellulose hasn’t been considered controversial, but more extensive studies like this can move it over to that list. We all need to make sure that we stick to our time-consuming label-reading habit every time we shop. Controversial ingredients don’t get less controversial. Over time, science continues to find more damaging effects they’re responsible for. Let’s be good to ourselves and our loved ones and keep controversial additives out of our diets!

http://news.yahoo.com/study-links-common-food-additives-crohns-disease-colitis-191811524–sector.html?soc_src=mail&soc_trk=ma

Baskin-Robbins picks up on the latest Fall trend with new Pumpkin Cheese Cake Ice Cream

mainLogoIt appears we no longer need to see the leaves falling from the trees around us to know that Fall has finally arrived. We just wait to see fast food chains and packaged food and beverage manufacturers introduce their new pumpkin-flavored anything to know that the new season is upon us. Pumpkin coffee, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin tea, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin pudding … there’s pumpkin everywhere!

Baskin-Robbins didn’t miss out on the pumpkin trend this year, introducing Pumpkin Cheese Cake Ice Cream.

We’re slowly discovering that many of the pumpkin options being offered don’t include any actual pumpkin, containing instead natural and/or artificial flavors. So FoodFacts.com had to investigate Baskin-Robbins latest fall addition.

We found out that in fact Pumpkin Cheese Cake Ice Cream DOES, in fact, include pumpkin in its ingredient list! But don’t get too excited — there’s more news ahead, and it isn’t all good.

Let’s start with the nutrition facts for a 4 ounce serving:

Calories:                          260
Fat:                                    12 grams
Saturated Fat:                    7 grams
Sugar:                               27 grams

Baskin-Robbins refers to a single 4 ounce scoop as a large serving. We’re not in agreement with their serving size assessment. 4 ounces of ice cream is the basic single serving size detailed on most packaged ice creams — and it’s not what most people are consuming as a serving. So we need to keep that in mind. We also need to keep in mind that the 4 ounce serving detailed on the Baskin-Robbins website contains almost 7 teaspoons of sugar, most of which (as indicated by the ingredient list) is added sugar. Please don’t misunderstand, we know it’s ice cream, but this one does appear to be somewhat over-sweetened. In addition, the ingredient list is really unpleasant, at best. Take a look:

Cream, Nonfat Milk, Cinnamon Cream Cheese Flavored Ribbon [Sugar, Cream Cheese (Pasteurized Milk and Cream, Cheese Culture, Salt, Carob Bean or Xanthan or Guar Gum), Invert Sugar, Water, Corn Starch, Spice, Caramel Color, Titanium Dioxide (Color), Natural Flavors, Annatto (Color)], Pumpkin Pie Base [Solid Pack Pumpkin, Brown Sugar (Sugar, Cane Molasses Syrup), Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Spices, Orange Juice Concentrate, Propylene Glycol, Cellulose Gum, Salt, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Citric Acid, Yellow 6], Sugar, Ginger Snaps [Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Sugar, Molasses, Soybean Oil, Leavening (Baking Soda, Calcium Phosphate), Ginger, Salt, Soy Lecithin (Emulsifier), Sulphur Dioxide], Corn Syrup, Cheesecake Base [Corn Syrup, Water, Cheese Blend (Nonfat Milk, Cellulose Gum, Lactic Acid, Cultures), Buttermilk, Natural Flavor, Lactic Acid, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative)], Whey Powder, Stabilizer/Emulsifier Blend (Cellulose Gum, Mono and Diglycerides, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Polysorbate 80), Red 40, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Blue 1.

Well over 50 ingredients. Artificial color. Natural Flavor. Carrageenan, Polysorbate 80. High Fructose Corn Syrup. And that’s just a handful of the controversial ingredients featured in this ice cream. There are so many sugar additions in this list — Sugar, Brown Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Molasses — even someone with a sweet tooth might think this is overkill. Even Ben & Jerry’s Cheesecake Brownie ice cream contains less sugar per serving — and honestly, those sugar additions are actual sugar unlike what we’re finding in this new Baskin-Robbins flavor.

It occurs to us that if we’re craving pumpkin flavor, it makes sense to cook with this beautiful fall vegetable. We can find organic pumpkin puree and prepare an actual cheese cake — one that doesn’t include the ingredients featured here. O.k. – it’s won’t be ice cream. But the weather’s cooling down anyway.

So Baskin-Robbins, while you did manage to include pumpkin in this new pumpkin-flavored offering, we’ll definitely be skipping the Pumpkin Cheese Cake Ice Cream. There are better treats out there to satisfy our fall food cravings!

https://www.baskinrobbins.com/content/baskinrobbins/en/products/icecream/flavors.html?popupurl=/content/baskinrobbins/en/products/icecream/flavors/pumpkin-cheesecake-ice-cream.html

Food additive approvals … are conflicts of interest endangering consumers?

The FoodFacts.com website offers an extensive collection of information on controversial ingredients – which include many food additives. BHA, BHT, TBHQ, Azodicarbonamide, Sodium Benzoate and numerous food dyes are just examples of the many additives that are currently considered GRAS – or Generally Recognized as Safe by the FDA.

After educating yourself on any of these additives, it’s surprising to find that they are included in the GRAS list. We sometimes wonder why an additive that’s also included in antifreeze made it into our food supply … or how coloring that has been shown to exacerbate ADHD tendencies in children is still an allowable ingredient. Today we read about a study that may provide some insight into these and other important questions regarding the safety of a variety of different additives.

The study was conducted by the Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington, D.C. Researchers used conflict of interest criteria developed by a committee of the Institute of Medicine to analyze 451 GRAS notifications that were voluntarily submitted to the FDA between 1997 and 2012.

For the 451 GRAS notifications, 22.4 percent of the safety assessments were made by an employee of an additive manufacturer, 13.3 percent by an employee of a consulting firm selected by the manufacturer and 64.3 percent by an expert panel selected by either a consulting firm or the manufacturer, according to the results.

“Between 1997 and 2012, financial conflicts of interest were ubiquitous in determinations that an additive to food was GRAS. The lack of independent review in GRAS determinations raises concerns about the integrity of the process and whether it ensures the safety of the food supply, particularly in instances where the manufacturer does not notify the FDA of the determination. The FDA should address these concerns,” the study concludes.

The Food Additives Amendment of 1958 allows manufacturers to determine when an additive is GRAS. After a GRAS determination is made, manufacturers are not required to notify the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), although in some instances the agency is notified, the authors write in the study background. The study goes on to add that the individuals that companies select to make these determinations may have financial conflicts of interest.

Marion Nestle, Ph.D., M.P.H., of New York University, commented on the study saying it provides an important addition to the growing body of evidence for undue food industry influence on food safety policy. Nestle also commented that the lack of independent review in GRAS determinations raises serious questions about the public health implications of unregulated additives in the food supply, especially the additives that the FDA does not even know about.

FoodFacts.com wanted to get this important information out in front of our community. We should all be aware of the possibility that the Generally Recognized As Safe designation can be more about food manufacturers than food safety. In response to these findings, we encourage our community to reach out within their own networks and educate other consumers regarding the use of controversial ingredients in food  products.   Our knowledge can be a powerful thing. And as always, let’s avoid processed foods, so that we can avoid the questionable additives that are lurking in our food supply.

http://media.jamanetwork.com/news-item/research-examines-conflicts-of-interest-in-approvals-of-additives-to-food/

Sodium Benzoate coming to prepared meat and poultry products in a grocery store near you

One of FoodFacts.com’s most important missions is to educate consumers about the controversial ingredients found in our food products. There are so many food additives that aren’t good for our bodies and that have actually been linked to a myriad of serious health problems, conditions and diseases.

One of those food additives is Sodium Benzoate. This widely used preservative prevents the growth of microorganisms in acidic foods. It can cause allergic reactions and exacerbate asthma symptoms in sufferers. It is also known to exacerbate ADHD symptoms in both adults and children alike. In addition, and most concerning, is that when it is used with ascorbic acid (vitamin C), the two ingredients can react together to form small amounts of benzene which is a carcinogen.

Today we learned that Sodium Benzoate, along with Sodium Propionate and Benzoic Acid which had been prohibited for use in meat and poultry products will now be approved as of May 6th, 2013. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has stated that these three additives are safe for use as antimicrobial agents in certain ready-to-eat (read prepared) meat and poultry products.

This ruling was prompted by a petition from Kraft Foods Global, Inc. in 2006 to allow their use to inhibit the growth of Listeria in ready-to-eat meat and poultry products. In 2010, Kemin Food Technologies also petitioned for their use for the same purposes. After evaluating the requests, the FDA stated that it had no safety objections to the use of the preservatives. They reviewed the supporting data which was supplied by Kraft and Kemin. While they concluded that the companies had established the safety of the preservatives, it asked for more data and granted both companies waivers to conduct trails on the efficacy of the additives as antimicrobial agents.

Data was then collected from in-plant-trials and scientific studies that illustrated that these substances do not conceal damage or make the products in which they are used appear better or of greater value then they actually are. Research findings demonstrated that the use of the additives is effective in controlling the growth of Listeria in ready-to-eat meat and poultry products.

There are many studies which have already been conducted linking Sodium Benzoate to numerous side effects and health concerns. FoodFacts.com is not especially concerned with the Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service’s insistence on data that shows that the additives do not make the products appear superior to others that do not contain them. We are, however, extremely concerned that these controversial ingredients will now be making their way into even more products on our grocery store shelves when we are already aware of their harmful potential. It would appear that instead of working to remove potentially harmful ingredients from our food supply, the FDA and the food industry are working expand their use. This isn’t good news for consumers and it’s something we’ll need to keep an eye out for in ingredient lists beginning in early May. Let’s stay aware and keep reading labels so that we can continue to avoid those ingredients as best we can.

http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2013/usda-oks-sodium-benzoate-other-food-preservatives/

Diacetyl effects on the brain

Mmmm, buttery anything. There are very few folks we know here at FoodFacts.com who don’t enjoy the flavor of butter in sauces, baked goods, snacks and well, basically, anything. But did you ever wonder how that butter flavor found its way into many of the processed foods we find on our grocery shelves?

Some of them contain a flavoring ingredient called diacetyl. Diacetyl is a naturally occurring byproduct of fermentation and exists in low levels in both beer and wine. When the levels of diacetyl go up, the buttery flavor and aroma result. But, diacetyl has been a controversial ingredient for quite some time. The United States National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has suggested that diacetyl may be hazardous when heated and inhaled over a long period of time. Workers in factories that manufacture artificial butter flavoring have been diagnosed with brohiolitis obliterans, an uncommon lung disease that is quite serious. As a result many of this, many major microwave popcorn manufacturers removed diacetyl from their products.

Now there is a new study out that again involves the chronic exposure of workers in factories producing the ingredient. While it’s been removed from most major popcorn brand, you can still find it in margarines, snack foods, and baked goods. And this time, the results of the new study link it to intensifying the effects of a protein that’s present in Alzheimer’s disease.

In Alzheimer’s disease, beta-amyloid proteins clump together in the brain. These “bunches” of protein are actually a marker for the disease. Researchers realized that diacetyl has a structure similar to the substance that causes the beta-amyloid proteins to “bunch” in Alzheimer’s disease victims. So they studied whether it could act in the same manner as other substances on those proteins.

Sadly, it does appear that diacetyl increased the levels of protein clumping. Not a great relationship between the flavoring and Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, it was found that diacetyl also intensified the protein’s toxic effect on nerve cells in a laboratory setting. The amount of diacetyl exposure that made that occur was the standard occupational level. This is another blow to workers in the flavoring industry. And on top of all that, more experiments conducted in the lab illustrated that diacetyl can penetrate the barrier between the blood and the brain which is what prevents harmful substances from entering.

This truly revealing research is especially alarming to industry employees, whose exposure to the flavoring is long-term and raises the really disturbing possibility of neurological problems. In addition, FoodFacts.com does wonder if diacetyl really belongs in the GRAS category. If chronic exposure has this level of harmful effect on the brain, perhaps other studies need to be run on the flavoring that go further than those conducted in the past to determine its level of safety for the consumer. Read more here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120801132606.htm and as always, read labels!

Bug Colors. Are Cochineal Beetles in Your Food?

Here at FoodFacts.com, we have been fielding several inquiries on colors extracted from Cochineal Beetles over the past few weeks.

 

Most recently, this topic has been the talk of the town following a news report on the subject, which revealed that the coloring created from the Cochineal Beetles was used in a Starbucks Strawberry Frappuccino drink. This has caused both vegans and non-vegans alike to criticize the coffee chain, both on the ick factor and the notion that vegans are unknowingly ingesting animal products when consuming the drink in question.

 

But the use of color from Cochineal Beetles is nothing new. The colors created from the beetles are cochineal extract and carmine, the latter of which was recently the focus of a controversial ingredient day on the FoodFacts Facebook page. The colors are extracted from the female Cochineal Beetles, which are raised in Peru, the Canary Islands, and elsewhere, and provides a red, pink or purple color to the products it is in.

 

What many people don’t realize when questioning the “bug ingredients” is that such colors could illicit a severe allergic reaction in some people. Over the past several years, doctors both in the United States and outside of the country have determined that colorings could cause allergic reactions, such as sneezing, asthma and even anaphylactic shock.

 

Both carmine and cochineal extract can be found in food items such as candies, juices, ice creams and yogurts. It can also be found in certain medicines, including cough drops. Finally, these ingredients can be found in dyed cosmetic products, such as lipstick.

 

So how does one avoid it? By reading the ingredients on the packaging and knowing what colors are derived from the beetles, you should be able to avoid the products if you need to because of an allergy, or want to because of the ick factor. Knowledge is power, after all.

 

We here at FoodFacts are wishing you the best!

The scoop on diet frozen meals

Every day, FoodFacts.com looks into the benefits and drawbacks of hundreds of different food products in our database. Sometimes we surprise even ourselves with the information. And sometimes, we know that the measure of nutritional value of a food product is really determined by the lens through which it’s being observed.

For instance, when it comes to frozen diet meals, there are a few different ways to observe nutrition. You might say that would be a simple matter of calories and fat — and then all the brands would qualify as healthy options for those seeking to reduce their weight. But there are a few other manners in which to look at these frozen meals and determine whether or not they should be part of a diet plan at all.

FoodFacts.com has a “rule of thumb” — that is to be wary of any food product with a long list of ingredients. Generally speaking, the longer the list, the more likely you are to find ingredients you don’t recognize and that may, in fact, be controversial. And generally speaking, in most cases, frozen diet meals feature these long ingredient lists. There are certainly exceptions, but the majority of frozen diet meals contain ingredients that you wouldn’t find in your fridge or your pantry. We thought we’d take a look at four common ingredient concerns for these meals.

Sodium
The recommended daily allowance for sodium for adults is about 2300 milligrams. That’s about a teaspoon. You’ll find that most diet frozen meals contain about 30% of the RDA for a 2000 calorie per day diet. That’s a lot of salt — especially when you consider the portion sizes of the diet meals This can vary slightly up or down depending on meal content and brand. Excessive sodium consumption can lead to high blood pressure, or hypertension, which is a risk factor for heart disease, stroke and kidney failure.

BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)
BHT is an antioxidant that is used as a preservative, keeping foods from oxidizing and spoiling. You’ll find BHT in a wide variety of processed foods. It is popularly used in frozen foods. BHT may be carcinogenic. Other side effects of this food additive include elevated cholesterol, liver and kidney damage, infertility, sterility, immune disorders, increased susceptibility to carcinogens, and behavioral problems. While BHT isn’t present in every frozen diet meal, it’s not an uncommon additive and something you may want to carefully watch out for.

Sodium Benzoate
Manufacturers have used sodium benzoate for a century to prevent the growth of microorganisms in acidic foods. The substances occur naturally in many plants and animals. Sodium Benzoate can cause hives, asthma, or other allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Again, not every frozen diet meal contains sodium benzoate, but it’s a fairly common ingredient and one you want to keep an eye out for.

Disodium Inosinate
An expensive flavor enhancer usually used with the cheaper Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) alternative. It comes from the nucleotide Inosine monophosphate (IMP) commonly found in mushrooms and meats. Nucleotides are information-carrying molecules (seen in DNA) and help with the body’s metabolic processes. It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration but like MSG, is associated with certain allergic reactions after consumption. Again, if you’re purchasing diet frozen meals, read the labels carefully – this is not an unusual ingredient.

While it’s certainly tempting to go the route of frozen diet meals while trying to lose weight, we all need to keep in mind that it would be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to cook lasagna with meat sauce for 270 calories per serving. Even if you use skim-milk cheeses and 97% lean ground beef, you’ll have a problem bringing it in at under 300 calories. The point is it’s not diet food. Most of the food featured in frozen diet meals, regardless of brand, isn’t meant to be diet food. Hence, the food additives and ingredients you can’t pronounce and the high levels of sodium. They have to add to the food to make it appetizing.

So if you’re trying to lose weight, the healthiest option would be to stick to foods that will work within your diet goals. Grilled chicken and turkey, fish, and lots and lots of fresh vegetables will fill you up, nourish your body and help you to reduce your caloric intake. The additives you’ll find in diet frozen meals won’t do any of that for you.

Reduced levels of nitrites in hot dogs had no significant affect on incidence of colon cancer

images-1
FoodFacts.com
thought our community would find this story of particular interest. Back in 1978, the United States government mandated the addition of vitamin C to hot dogs. This would reduce the amount of nitrites and would, by the popular opinion of the time, reduce the rate of colon cancer in the country.

The FDA required hot dog manufacturers to include either ascorbate or erythorbate in their products. Both of these would offset the amount of nitrites present in the meat. Nitrites are what is added to processed meats like frankfurters. They enhance flavor and color in addition to extending shelf life. Unfortunately, as the meat is cooked the nitrites mix with amines in the meat to form cancer-causing nitrosamines. The presence of vitamin C would reduce the nitrites and prevent the cancer.

Great idea.

A new study, however, has revealed that although there has been a notable drop in the number of people who die from colon cancer, there really hasn’t been much of a change in the number of people who actually get colon cancer. These findings were presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting just this week. While researchers agree that the amount of nitrites in hot dogs were definitely reduced by the changes made by the government, those reductions did not decrease the risk for colon cancer in the country. Researchers feel that the results would have been evident by now.

It was agreed that the decrease in the death rate from colon cancer is most likely attributable to earlier detection and better treatments.

While the researchers agreed that reducing the nitrites in hot dogs was a beneficial move, the hot dog issue is difficult to determine. Since not everyone is a hot dog fan, and even most of those who are aren’t eating them in excess, studying the issue is clouded.

Regardless of its effect on colon cancer, it’s better for everyone that today’s hot dogs carry reduced quantities of nitrites compared to their 1970’s counterparts.