Ingredients are added to processed foods for many purposes. They keep food fresh (preservatives). They give food appealing colors (colorants). They give food flavor (flavoring). They give food texture (texturants). Although these chemicals have been tested for safety, many times we find out years later that artificial ingredients we thought were safe really weren’t. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has great information about the safety of additives if you’d like to learn more.
Here’s an ingredient list from a well-known cereal bar. You decide–healthy or not-so-healthy?
CEREAL (RICE, WHOLE GRAIN WHEAT, SUGAR, WHEAT BRAN, SOLUBLE WHEAT FIBER, SALT, MALT FLAVORING, MALTODEXTRIN, THIAMIN MONONITRATE [VITAMIN B1], RIBOFLAVIN [VITAMIN B2]), CORN SYRUP, SOLUBLE CORN FIBER, FRUCTOSE, STRAWBERRY FLAVORED FRUIT PIECES (SUGAR, CRANBERRIES, CITRIC ACID, NATURAL STRAWBERRY FLAVOR WITH OTHER NATURAL FLAVORS, ELDERBERRY JUICE CONCENTRATE FOR COLOR, SUNFLOWER OIL), SUGAR, VEGETABLE OIL (SOYBEAN AND PALM OIL WITH TBHQ FOR FRESHNESS, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED PALM KERNEL OIL), MALTODEXTRIN, CONTAINS TWO PERCENT OR LESS OF DEXTROSE, SORBITOL, GLYCERIN, NONFAT DRY MILK, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL STRAWBERRY FLAVOR, SOY LECITHIN, SALT, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, NIACINAMIDE, COLOR ADDED, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6), BHT (PRESERVATIVE). LESS THAN 0.5g TRANS FAT PER SERVING