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I Can’t Believe I Used To Beg My Mom To Put These In My Lunch Box

When I was little, we had a Kmart really close by my house. Every time we would visit, I would beg my mom for Little Debbie Snacks for my lunchbox. Those boxes of deliciousness (and now grossness) lined the end cap of the aisle so nicely by checkout, we just couldn’t miss them when we walked by. Little did I know at the time, that I was eating one of the most controversial preservatives ever invented. You’ve probably heard all about this ingredient in cosmetics, shampoos, lotions, toothpastes and deodorants, but may not realize that you could be eating it too. This endocrine-disrupting preservative has been found in the urine of over 90% of Americans, so nearly all of us are being exposed to it from a variety of sources – and there’s absolutely no reason we should be eating it! 

The Culprit: Parabens

Parabens are added to some processed foods as a preservative. You’ll find it mostly in cheap baked goods like muffins, cakes and tortillas. But, it’s also added to some seemingly healthy products like trail mixes. 

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The problem with parabens…

The scientists at the Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently came out with their Dirty Dozen Guide to Food Additives and propyl paraben makes their list as one of the most hazardous ingredients in our food. Their guide lists the 12 worst offenders in the ingredient world that are associated with serious health concerns and which the FDA has failed to take serious action on. 

Parabens have been researched extensively and found to be endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are linked to breast cancer (sources: 1, 2, 3, 4), and reproductive problems (sources: 1, 2, 3). Parabens act as a weak synthetic estrogen, and endocrine-disruptors like these are believed to be a contributing factor in the increasing incidents of early puberty in young girls. According to a report in the New York Times:

“Of particular concern are endocrine-disruptors, like “xeno-estrogens” or estrogen mimics. These compounds behave like steroid hormones and can alter puberty timing. For obvious ethical reasons, scientists cannot perform controlled studies proving the direct impact of these chemicals on children, so researchers instead look for so-called “natural experiments,” one of which occurred in 1973 in Michigan, when cattle were accidentally fed grain contaminated with an estrogen-mimicking chemical, the flame retardant PBB. The daughters born to the pregnant women who ate the PBB-laced meat and drank the PBB-laced milk started menstruating significantly earlier than their peers”.

Although parabens are generally believed to be excreted from the body within hours after exposure, these health effects are being attributed to recurrent exposures that take place over time. As we’re repeatedly exposed to parabens in our environment and food, this is a real hazard. 

Parabens can be in your food even if it’s not on the label.

This is because parabens are sometimes naturally occurring in food (such as blueberries and vanilla) and can also appear in food packaging, contaminating its contents. Researchers recently tested food products from a grocery store in New York and found parabens in 90% of a wide variety of foods: drinks, dairy products, oils, fish, grains, meat, fruit, vegetables – so they are everywhere! This means that we can’t completely avoid parabens, but we can do our best to minimize our exposure. Eliminating them as a food additive is an easy way to start.

What To Look Out For In The Grocery Store:

When parabens are added as an additive, they are fairly easy to spot on an ingredient list, as long as you know what to look for. There are a few different types approved to be added to food, and this is how you might see them listed on the ingredient label:

  • “Propyl Paraben” or “Propylparaben” 

  • “Methylparaben”

  • Sometimes listed as “Methyl and Propyl Parabens” or “Methyl-Propyl Paraben”

  • “Heptylparaben” This paraben additive is permitted in beer & wine, but unless they agree to list their ingredients we’ll never know if it’s used.

  • “Artificial Flavor” or “Artificial Flavoring”  The FDA allows parabens in synthetic food flavorings.

  • “Ethylparaben” – not commonly used in food

  • “Butylparaben” – not commonly used in food

Besides checking out the ingredient list, it’s always a good idea to consider the packaging that is being used in any packaged food, because these chemicals may leach into the food. This is yet another good reason to ditch processed food and head straight to the farmers market!

Food Brands Guilty of Using Paraben Additives:

Last month, the EWG launched a campaign, demanding that U.S. companies remove parabens from their food after their Food Scores database found parabens in 49 widely-available processed foods. Cheap processed foods are the biggest offenders… big surprise! Here’s just a few popular brands that have been known to use paraben ingredients according to EWG’s database:

  • Little Debbie 
  • Weight Watchers
  • Sara Lee
  • La Banderita Tortillas
  • Emerald Breakfast
  • Private Selection 
  • Cafe Valley
  • Archer Farms
  • Arizona Snack Company
  • Mrs. Fields (adds parabens to some frosted cookies)

Paraben Graphic copy-2

A major place that you may find paraben additives is in your local grocery store’s private-label bakery section. Ask the bakery department if they will let you read the ingredients in their special-order cakes before you ever order anything. I don’t believe in deprivation, and I know there are times in our lives when we just need to eat cake! Instead of picking up a chemical additive laden supermarket cake, try out my fantastic pound cake recipe with homemade chocolate frosting. If you want more help avoiding processed foods with synthetic preservatives, you’ve got to check out the Food Babe membership program. You’ll get exclusive weekly tips, a new monthly meal calendar with recipes, grocery lists and the support of the Food Babe team. Hope you’ll consider joining us! 

Don’t Be Fooled By The Naysayers

Some people who have a vested interest in continuing the use of these synthetic chemicals like to say, “Vanilla naturally contains parabens! Your recipes contains parabens!“. It is true that parabens occur naturally in foods like blueberries and carrots, but does that mean we should stop eating these healthy foods? Absolutely not! As over 90% of us have been shown to have parabens in our urine, we are being over-exposed to parabens, and it’s not because we are eating too many vegetables. There’s no reason for food manufacturers to continue the use of synthetic paraben additives as preservatives in food. As stated in the post above – parabens are everywhere – so we should do our best to limit our exposure by choosing foods (and beauty products) without these additives. Propylparaben is on EWG’s list of food additives to avoid for a reason. The use of synthetic parabens as an additive is irresponsible and should be stopped. 

Please spread the word

Do you know someone who isn’t reading ingredient lists or is still buying brands like Little Debbie Snacks? If so, please share this post with them! The real food movement is spreading like wildfire because of your sharing, so thank you!

Xo,

Vani

 

 

 

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86 responses to “I Can’t Believe I Used To Beg My Mom To Put These In My Lunch Box

    1. With fertility issues, believe me, parabens are on my no-no list. I mean, I knew Little Debbie was gross (even though I love those pecan swirls, ugh). You don’t realize just how awful these are. I “Accidentally left’ a Swiss Cake roll, okay, Ho-Ho on my fridge and it stayed there for 3 years. And it looked the exact same after 3 years of sitting on my fridge. Um, i prefer food now that is able to mold!!!!! I bet it tasted the same too. I guess anything that is named “Ho-Ho” should be obviously avoided, duh.

      Disappointed big time to read about the La Banderita Corn tortillas! I liked those, but no more.

      1. Hi Laura,
        Whenever I read about fertility issues, i feel compelled to share about the Fertility Care Clinic at Creighton University. Dr.Hillgers and his team developed NaPro Technology which allows women to discover the underlying causes of their infertility. I suffered numerous miscarriages and it was not until I worked with them that we were able to address the underlying causes. NaPro has a 3 times higher “take home baby” rate than IVF, and is Natural. We paid about $1,200 total about 5 years ago. I highly recommend working with clinic at Creighton. We did it from our home in Arizona….
        Blessings

      2. Thanks Rebecca, will be looking into that! As I have 2 kids, travel would be difficult and as anyone who has struggled with fertility (even secondary fertility) issues like me….it can so so so frustrating! I’ve considered so many options, hormonal assessments saying they cost like 6000!! So stressed. Thanks for this tip.

    2. Thanks Food Babe. I enjoyed your talk on Hay House World Summit. I discovered there was MSG in my cans of soup and have noticed it impacts my sinuses. Now, I will look out for the Parabens in my food, which I never thought about or have noticed beyond my shampoo and conditioner. Thanks for your poltical agenda that help make the world a better place.

      It does hurt a little about Little Debbie when the church that made them has a reputation of living 7 or 8 years longer than the average American in nutrition text books. They were the one who used vegetable oil instead of lard, which changed how other companies do things. When I joined the church, it was the only snack cake that was okay to eat at that time since I no longer ate pork. I was 17.

      I will finish reading this article.

  1. I used to beg for the junk foods too, because for some strange reason, my parents thought they were okay and we always had tons of them in the house. I was starving all the time when I was growing up, and could hardly get any real food, but junk foods were always there. Now that I’m an adult, I make sure to get plenty of real foods, especially foods with fat, and I just don’t even crave all the junk food, and the artificially flavored stuff is disgusting to me now. My parents used to tell me that all of our food was fortified with vitamins and minerals in the USA, and therefore, they said, we never needed to worry about eating a healthy diet, because we were getting too many nutrients anyway. I found out later that synthetic vitamins don’t work as well as natural ones in whole foods, and it *does* matter if we eat a healthy diet, and it’s possible for people to be poorly nourished even in the USA…

    1. Nicole – It’s insane the amount of mis-information our parents received from the food industry and government! Thank goodness for people like yourself that are spreading the truth and getting people healthier! Thank you!

      1. Thank you, I actually don’t have a lot of impact on people, but I like to post my meals on facebook and just show people what I’m eating (if it’s something I’m proud of). My landlady/housemate also started buying a lot more organic foods after she saw that all my stuff in the fridge was usually organic. Anyway I’m enjoying the blog and it’s great to see all the work you’re doing.

    2. Americans are not poorly nourished. They are malnourished…. lacking in some of the most basic of vitamins and minerals. Big difference there.

      As per parabens, they are also in our makeup, skin products, and hair products. I am going to be one happy mom if we can get all this crap kicked out of our products!

      WAKE UP America! You’ve been fooled!

      1. I thought I was responding to a comment about my comment but didn’t find it here. I suppose it was removed. However, for anyone who thinks that parabens are OK in their cosmetics, hair care, and skin care products, think again.

        The Environmental Working Group finds parabens linked to organ system toxicity, reproductive and fertility problems, birth and developmental defects, and endocrine (hormone) disruption.

        The good news is that you can find alternatives to parabens for keeping cleansers and creams shelf-stable or using no preservatives.

        http://www.treehugger.com/slideshows/health/10-paraben-free-skin-care-products-soft-safe-skin/

    3. Do you realize how many people you just insulted by writing this “I was starving all the time” and “I could hardly get any real food”.

      You were starving and nobody reported your parents to Child Protective Services? There are children and people starving because they don’t have access to any food. The food you call harmful and dangerous would be considered a luxury to some. What about people who can’t afford the most expensive foods? What about the people who don’t have refrigerators or access to fresh fruits and vegetables? How much food did you produce today and how many people did you feed? How do you propose we produce safe and healthy food for our nation?

      1. Seriously, thanks for saying this. It needed to be said. Perspective and compassion are not among the long suits of the Food Babe Army.

      2. I believe the writer’s comment (Nicole) was merely just a common expression using the literary technique of exaggeration – not meant to be taken literally. It doesn’t seem to be that she meant she was literally starved as a child rather that she was constantly hungry because the junk food was not satiating her body’s needs for nutrition. I’m so hungry I could eat a cow – also common literary exaggeration. I can’t believe you did that; I’m going to kill you – also common literary exaggeration. Since this technique is such a common one for human expression, we must be careful not to apply literal interpretations where they just don’t make sense.

      3. I have fed countless thousands of people, in answer to Mr. or Mrs. Troll (Seriously?) who asked how many people I’ve fed today. I worked at McDonald’s for almost ten years. Today, I fed myself.

        I guess trolls and paid disinformation agents are just something we learn to expect whenever we become influential enough to actually have an impact on what the corporations are doing. Sigh……

      4. At this moment I’m so exhausted I can barely think, but I’m going to attempt to answer anyway. I never commented here before and didn’t know what kind of comments to expect. You might not be a troll. I’m sorry for saying that.

        Yes, I do casually throw around the word ‘starving,’ and I’m not even conscious that it’s an exaggeration. I take it for granted and that’s how I talk.

        Even so, though I was not as severely starving as the skinny dying kids you see on television when they are asking for donations, it still matters and it’s important and you should do something about it when you are severely hungry all the time, and I was. Many people ignore the hunger because they know somebody isn’t literally going to starve to death, but that is harmful to the body. You should obey your hunger signals, and also your children’s hunger signals as well. It is not enough to live life by merely ‘not dropping dead.’ We need much, much more than that to be healthy.

        I do actually have the physical deformities described by author Weston Price, the narrowing of the face and the crooked teeth, resulting from poor nutrition in the womb and in my early life, and overall I’m kind of a small, skinny person whose body never really grew up. You might not have read Weston Price, but to make a long story short, he researched the differences between people living in primitive tribes, versus people living in modern societies, and actually, the malnutrition in modern societies is pretty severe. In a lot of ways, primitive hunter gatherers are eating better than we do, without any money to buy food. In fact, the less money they have, the better they eat.

        Hunter gatherers are eating things like caviar on a routine basis, and King Salmon, and things like that, when they are free to go fishing and hunting on their own land. These are extremely expensive luxury foods in a world where all the rivers have been dammed so no fish go there anymore, all the fields have been plowed and covered with concrete and asphalt and rows of corn and mowed lawns, all the trees have been chopped down, all the free roaming giant herds of grazing animals have been destroyed. Those expensive luxury foods came from the wild lands and have been destroyed by the modern world. In that sense, people who have no money are doing better than we are.

        My proposal for how to solve the world food problem is, unfortunately, so extreme that nobody is going to do it. To make a long story short, land ownership is the root of all evil. People need to be put back on the land. That’s an extreme point of view, and I really only started thinking that in the past few years, after many years of thinking about this.

        In the short term, though, people need to get rid of zoning laws that forbid people from grazing cows in their backyards and raising chickens there. Putting grazing animals into your yard is the fastest, easiest way to get your own food, and they also need to make it legal to slaughter your own animals in your own backyard, too. That one thing is probably the quickest way to fix the food problem in the United States. In other countries, the food shortages have other causes, which are political – again, land ownership being the root of evil, people taking the land away from the primitive farmers and hunters who live there, and giving it to land developers who build skyscrapers and apartments and roads and chop down every tree and make it impossible for herds of wild animals to live there.

        I don’t know the maximum length that my comment can be…. this probably won’t post.

        But yes, my body *was* starving for something, but my family and I were never taught the truth about food. I did benefit from my parents hearing about the Feingold Diet, when it was on some TV talk show in the late 1970s, but that wasn’t enough – I still starved, and I’ll use that word – when I was a teenager, and I ate several bowls of cereal, and entire boxes of pop tarts, every day, because I had nothing else to eat but that crap, and couldn’t just cook real dinner foods. It’s really, really important to always eat the very best foods, all the time, when you are hungry, and to especially make sure that you get saturated animal fats from healthy animals, because we’ve been told not to eat fat for so many years that it’s very hard to find foods with healthy fats.

        So – safe healthy food for the nation = backyard cows, goats, chickens, guinea pigs, which you are allowed to slaughter by yourself on site. And we need to get in the habit of eating insects, and eating the organ meats and every part of the animal that is edible. We need to eat native plants that naturally grow in our climate without any added water or special treatment.

        And, in the more distant, more impossible future, an end to land ownership as it is today – but that won’t happen. And I haven’t worked out the details of that either… a lot of anarchists are debating about that kind of thing and I have never settled on a ‘plan’ that I think would work in reality. The next best thing is, create an intentional community where things are done the way you think they should be done.

        End wall of text.

      5. To LISA
        Wow. I can tell you have put some thought into your plan. It sounds great except for the political and economical and environmental/biological aspects of it. Subsistence farming is not all that it is cracked up to be. Spending a majority of my day hunting and gathering food so I can stay alive doesn’t sound that appealing to me. As far as having a cow in your backyard… I’m sure the EPA and other similar federal, state, county, local agencies would have some issues with it. If you had a cow in your backyard or a pig in your basement what would you feed it? Humanity tried this way of surviving and it worked out well for some but caused a great amount of hardship and toil for many others.

      6. To Seriously: I believe your recent post should say, “To Nicole” due to the fact that you only discuss issues from Nicole’s post. Lisa wrote about you taking literary exaggeration literally when it’s not meant to be taken that way. It comes in many forms: overstatement, hyperbole, exaggeration – all of which are figures of speech. All are acceptable writing techniques. All are commonly and widely used.

  2. Thanks, Food Babe. You are the best!! Can you provide us an update on the progress toward the formation of your Advisory Board? Keep up the great work!

    1. Hi John – It’s been established and been using the council of several experts for sometime now. I’ll be updating the site with more specifics soon. Thanks for your interest.

      1. Thanks, Vani. I will look forward with great interest to the coming specifics!

  3. Thanks again for all the work you do Vani, it is so hard to see friends struggle with asthma and other health issues that are simply caused from the chemicals and bad food they put in their body. All we can do is lead the horse to water, it is up to them to make the right choices once they know the truth. Eat clean, be healthy…pretty simple! 🙂

  4. Hey Vani,

    I have to admit, I started reading your articles because of the rather negative media coverage on your work. Coming from a strong science background (Biology major and Biotechnology masters), my initial reaction to your work was perhaps closer to how some of your anti-fans have been.

    However, the more I read your articles, it just dawned upon me that in the end, even if people disagree about whether controlled scientific experiments have proven or not proven that something is bad, it really doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, if I see no more paraben in foods, then it is at best a step towards health and at worst no harm done (except maybe causing food manufacturers to have to spend more money trying to make their products without these ingredients).

    So thanks for the work you do and keep going. I still do understand why some people can disagree with “fear mongering” without scientific proof, but really, at the end of the day, if a slice of pound cake can be eaten without unnecessary additives and ingredients, then I think it’s a victory for most of us.

    1. While I somewhat agree with your stance, I have to disagree that the “Food Babe” and her “movement” is not harmful to our society.

      Will removing these chemicals make us safer or healthier? POSSIBLY. There is no PROOF of any of it. What the food babe does, and others like her(Looking at you Fox News), is prey on the dwindling capacity for critical thinking in America. She preys on uneducated, willfully ignorant people, and has created a mass media empire, where she will become rich and famous, and no one is going to get any healthier. Does she have a background in nutrition? No. Yet she feels compelled to educate you and advise you as if she does. She is literally lying to her follower’s faces, and people are lapping it up. Her brand is a poison to your mind, which is far more potent than the minute concentrations of the “deadly” chemicals that you are ingesting.

      While you are all busy worrying over TRACE amounts of chemicals, which if you as a biologist should know, are completely harmless, she is making millions. I pity anyone that cannot see this drivel for what it is.

      1. “Lying to her followers faces…”

        “…prey on the dwindling capacity for critical thinking in America.”

        “There is no PROOF of any of it.”

        “TRACE amounts of chemicals, which if you as a biologist should know, are completely harmless…”

        What’s your agenda? You act as if Americans shouldn’t have the right to expect chemicals to be taken out of food, to have proper GMO labeling on our food, to basically be given a CHOICE.

        It hardly matters if you say there are ‘trace amounts’ of anything in food. What matters is how people FEEL, and all of us are pretty damn aware of what’s healthy for our bodies once we actually pay attention. There are literally thousands of articles in print and on the Web discussing horrible practices in the food industry and the USA is ground zero for every single one of them and has been for decades. Why? Because corporations have been profiting from the use of chemical additives in our food. It’s that simple.

        Do corporations have a history of caring about Americans? Let’s go ask the Tobacco Industry. The same folks from that industry that are now major holders in food companies like Kraft.

        Your attempts to defame Vani are not going to stop intelligent Americans from making their own choices when it comes to what they eat.

      2. (to Wake Up) Pardon me, but I am not an “undeducated person nor willfully ignorant”being “preyed upon”. I am however, an adult, a mother, and grandmother, and I have a right to know what is in my food. You go ahead and eat the processed GMO laden food to your hearts content. I choose a different path and I apprecaite Vani’s work and I don’t care if she is making money. You may not be aware that there are HUNDREDS of other sites, blogs, etc that offer the same insights, or drivel as your sad Monsanto agenda calls it. Go Vani and thanks !

      3. We have come far but we still have a long way to go.I have personally changed my diet and my “friends” because some people are just too ignorant and literally think you are weird for trying to eat healthy.I have gotten rid of my heartburn and i feel fabulous. I watch what foods i buy for my daughter, however i cant completely avoid it as the school system is having “cupcakes with a lots and lots of coloring” and other questionable ingredients in their food that they call treats.

        That’s why we need more people like Foodbabe and there is nothing wrong with making money for a good cause and not screwing people like GMO’s companies and various others.

        PS:
        I am not uneducated !

      4. To Mr Wake Up
        It is a shame you need to post such a tainted view. So I am a health care professional and have studied all aspects, even those insignificant subjects such as the Krebs Cycle. In addition I am an unproud recipient of Agent Orange, and so my son is fighting his battle because of that. And the increase in infant,childhood problems, and you say they are minute. I think not. All the disease and unexplained health issues are proof enough. I applaud the Food Babe she might be onto something. Healthy life styles never killed anyone. Have a great day
        Anthony

  5. Keep it up Foodbabe. I see a lot of sites trying to discredit you, and because of this I unsubscribed from them in my RSS feed. I’m not going to give them the page views if they are going to spread misinformation. I do enjoy posting pro Food babe comments on them though, but they were usually taken down very quickly.

  6. I to love Little Debbie Cakes and am sad to know about the dangerous junk in them. Do you have a recipe for a substitute Little Debbie with the good tasting creamy filling?

  7. I am happy to see that you do your research, and most if not all of the naysayers, are either misinformed, or they are working with Big Agra, Monsanto, Koch, ect. Its taken 20 years but I can now honestly say my family and I are 98% organic. (the 2% would be going out to eat, we don’t eat fast food and we try and find places that serve organic food, but sometimes you are stuck with conventional, but we at least look for FOOD and not FUD, if you know what I mean.) You’re articles are well thought out, and well informed. Keep it up Food Babe, we’re right with you on food and its issues.
    Ken

    PS One more thing I would like to add, it would be nice if you can post other options for nuts. My wife is severely allergic to tree nuts (including coconut) and even though we know and agree that nuts and their oils are better for you, in our household that isn’t an option. Luckily we have found alternatives in seeds, beans, legumes, ect. but sometimes with your recipes we have a hard time finding an alternative and we end up not trying what you offer. Just my 2 cents on this issue. Thank you for reading.

    1. Ken, I’m not going to replace Food Babe on this item but if you will look up Christina Pirello, ChristinaCooks.com, she may be able to help you in this matter. She has a show on PBS called “Christina Cooks” and gives common, easy vegan, natural, organic meals and would probably have something to replace nuts with.

      As for the fact that parabens occur naturally in blueberries and such, there is a vast difference between man made food and God made food. Any time man starts manipulating what God has designed to nourish us, he starts destroying our health.

    2. I am a naysayer, not uninformed and not part of all the “bigs” you named unless the fact that I farm conventionally makes me part of “big ag.” There are so many issues involving agriculture and food production that you people have absolutely no awareness of that makes your labeling of us naysayers laughable. Consider this one as you eat organic:

      http://www.foxnews.com/science/2015/05/27/taxing-organic-products-could-solve-california-water-problem-experts-say/

      You will discount it because it says fox news but if you do a google search you will find many news outlets reporting this. I trust researchers at Stanford far more than I trust the food babe. If you don’t then you are the one who is misinformed and by choice which is pretty sad.

  8. Foodbabe…I saw a post you had on facebook, with a picture of “Nature’s Own” wheat bread…listing one of the ingredients as AZODICARBONAMIDE and that it is linked to asthma, allergies etc. I went to the local office depot and printed off some copies of it…and then went to Wal-Mart to stick these copies onto the bread shelves! But I looked at the ingredients of this bread and there was NO MENTION of this ingredient in this bread…or any other bread by Nature’s Own. I felt really stupid for being so naïve.

    1. Read first then go to print and plus if there is less than a certain percent they legally do not have to share what they are putting in it.. So maybe you were not being naive… Maybe they were not being transparent.

    2. That’s the bread my in-laws buy. Yes, the label has definitely listed azodicarbonamide because I looked for it. If I recall correctly, I read somewhere within the past few months that they were going to be removing that ingredient. If it’s been removed already, that is a step in the right direction. Nature’s Own heard Food Babe. And good for you for being aware and trying to make others aware.

    1. I applaud all the good work that Vani and so many are doing. I think the scope of the battle against lobbyists and companies like Monsanto is as big a battle or even bigger than the battle to end the Vietnam war.
      One topic that interests me that I have not seen anyone address us decaffinated tea and coffee. What chemicals are used to decaffinate and how bad are they?
      I drink a lot of tea and am wondering if decaf is healthy.

    1. whole foods is banning carageenan in all their foods next year. I know because they are making a local dairy change their flavored milk formulas. there’s alot of articles out there on the possibility of carageenan causing cancer.

    2. I myself enjoy ice cream that doesn’t have carrageenan or gums or thickening agents in it, just because I don’t like having to CHEW my ice cream – it hurts my teeth. Ice cream that melts in my mouth feels nicer. Turkey Hill makes a natural ice cream without carrageenan.

  9. Thanks for the info, I am trying to lose weight and watch my sugar intake as well so learning this gives me the willpower to stop eating so much sweets expecially little debbie.

    Sincerely DLH

  10. Never ate them, never liked them not because I thought they were really bad for you but because my mom always baked homemade but I used to buy them for my sons and husband and only stopped only because one son ate too many and needed to loose a little weight. Now I know not to ever start buying them again.

  11. Little Debbie and I have not been friends for a while. Like you, I used to eat them guilt-free and in excess in my childhood. But as an adult, I know that I can’t have good health, fitness, and all the snack cakes I desire, too. Something’s gotta go, and I’ll be damned if it’s my health! I was not aware of the parabens, and their ill-effects. Thanks for pointing to the ingredient so I can watch out for it elsewhere!

  12. The errors of our youth! Remember those ooey-gooey marshmallow covered cream-filled cakes– Snoballs!?! The marshmallow topping was often covered in bright pink (hmmm) or white coconut marshmallow topping! Ugh!-

  13. I have a question. I think it’s odd that there are organic and natural products from huge artificial companies (organic tostitos, coca cola life, all natural lunch meat, all natural smuckers jelly, etc.). Do you think it is a little bit suspicious?

  14. Most of that stuff tastes like sweetened shortening anyway so we stopped buying it a very long time ago.

  15. Love you, food babe. many years ago I grew up on highly processed food and ended up with IBD and life changing surgery as a “cure.” Wouldn’t wish it on anyone. You’re waking people up and giving me hope for the future of food and health.

  16. Vani and staff. . .Thank you for the continual heads up on what is or isn’t in our food. It is critical that the American public wake up and realize how dangerously tainted our food has really become. There is clear evidence that eating right is paramount to minimizing all chronic disease. I truly believe that more people are seeing or making the connection to health and diet. Eating processed foods, non-organic fruit/vegetables/meat(s) and unsafe/polluted water are instrumental in poisoning our physiological and neuro-mental systems of our bodies. All of the top five diseases in this country are still on the rise. Cancer, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes can all be linked to diet. Alzheimer’s forty years past was unheard of and today over 14ooo Americans daily are being diagnosed. Alzheimer’s is also known as diabetes III. The real answer and the only direction to go is eating right; organic.. American’s have in the past and I am sure soon again, we will have to stand up and demand what is right. I read all of the comments that folks are bringing to the surface at Food Babe. It shows me that we are gaining ground, we are becoming more aware and educating ourselves. Fight back by educating yourself, families and friends. Fight back by what you don’t buy. Support the local farmers and start small but start growing organic . . herbs are a great way to start. Vertical gardens and community gardens. As a health professional, I have witnessed remarkable changes for people who have regained their health through diet. I have talked with hundreds and hundreds of people who also have changed their eating habits and regained and have maintained health through what they eat and avoid!! The new paradigm shift in medicine is going to prevent disease before it happens as it always has in the past and always will in the future; eating healthy God created food. Great job Food Babe and great job everyone. . Keep up the good work!!!
    jpakdc
    p.s. nobody makes an apple like God!

    1. Amen to that….and if I can add……p.s. nobody makes an apple & other tasty fruits & vegetables like God!

  17. I recently noticed that Parabens are a listed ingredient in my child’s daily liquid allergy medicine Zyrtec!!! My children have been taking this during allergy season for years. Im concerned about the long term effects & disgusted with the company that makes the liquid form specifically for children !

    1. It seems the entire pharmaceutical industry use these types of preservatives and chemicals. The latest one I saw was caramel coloring level IV in infant Vitamin D drops – it’s appalling!!!

  18. vani, is there anyway you can check the coffee creamer makers for they also put carrageenan in their products, I just love international coffee cmr. I made a phone call and they are dismissing my claim and won’t speak to me. want to say that you are protecting the future children coming up and they need to know they are eating healthy without the worry of guilt because of the ingredients in our food. thank you for all your efforts, you are a god in my eyes!!!!

  19. To Wake Up…
    Every day we are learning how to become nutrition experts by using the info The FoodBabe and others have researched. Do not discount the value of this education being offered…do your own homework too. I don’t care if it is only trace amounts, GET IT OUT OF OUR FOOD! Food producers need to know I refuse to buy from them if they include unneeded and harmful additives.

  20. Maybe we should start by cleaning up the food that is being processed with bad additives. THEN, what the kids eat WILL be healthy.

  21. Parabens that are naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables, are they worth being concerned about? Like other fake/artificial things, is it just the synthetic parabens we should avoid and be concerned about? Do the naturally occurring parabens have the same effect on puberty? I have 3 little girls, so this is a concern for me. I thought I just needed to avoid added hormones.

  22. I remember when every single unit-sale of Little Debbie snacks were $0.25/ea. My co-worker and I would walk down to this little hole-in-the-wall store to buy $2.00 worth and consume 8 snacks each in one afternoon. We would do this day after day. I look back now and see how I was a junkie getting my fix. Lack of self-control really but soooo delicious. Was it the chemicals in these snacks that made me crave more??

  23. My daughter (23 years old) used to ask me to buy them and I did. Recently she noticed she was eating to many and gaining weight. So I have stopped buying them. Guess I will not waste anymore money on that junk food!

  24. I am perplexed about how many haters follow Food Babe and constantly make comments on these blogs. I don’t bother to follow people I disagree with nor ones I find issues of credibility with their statements . I also don’t make make comments on their blogs because if I dislike them or their claims, I simply ignore them. It’s not worth my time to follow and comment on something I don’t agree with nor like. I think this is true for most people.

    When I see the overwhelming number of haters following Food Babe just to disagree, I wonder what they have vested in this topic for them to follow or care. I can imagine executives, stock holders, and all of their receptionists for these major corporations making it part of their daily routine to visit Food Babe’s blogs and social media just to throw out the same jargon, “There’s no proof,” as a means to continue to confuse the consumer. There’s too much profit at stake (selling junk as food) for them to lie down without a fight. Otherwise, why care what Food Babe has to say if you don’t agree? People without vested interests just ignore and move on because it doesn’t affect them.

    1. Well said Lisa, well said. As more people vote with their dollars and stop purchasing all the processed crap, something must be hitting a nerve of the big corporations. It’s funny that as I experimented with my body and gave up processed foods and have avoided GMO’s as much as possible I have never felt better. And I forget – where is ONE unbiased HUMAN study of the safety of GMO’s? ( one not fabricated by Monsanto) Haters are gonna hate. Stay Strong !

  25. WOW! The food industry shills are out in force on this one! With literally thousands of untested food additives, stuck into foods, creating possible chemical interactions in our bodies, accumulating over time and probably creating untold adverse health effects…………. now, I am supposedly ignorant, uninformed and incapable of critical thinking, if I avoid those additives?
    Sorry, but until I see independent studies on those additives, AND their interactions with one another, I would be ignorant if I DID consume them.
    I don’t know WHAT thought process, on the part of some people, would lead them to refuse to believe that consuming hundreds of untested chemicals every day, might not be harmful to their health, keeps them so blissfully stupid.
    It IS critical thinking, when you consider the probability, that petroleum based additives and things cooked up in laboratories to fundamentally change food, so it is, more shelf stable or more appealing to the senses, is in anyone’s best interest, OTHER, than the food manufacturers’ bottom lines.
    They do NOT stick that industrial waste into food for their consumers. They do it to avoid finding clean alternatives to them and to save themselves money. They don’t care about their customers’ health. They care about their customers’ money. (Although, I am of the opinion, that they would save money, at this point, if they bought fewer chemicals and used real ingredients, which would likely be cheaper, if they would take the time to study the cost/benefit ratio of eliminating chemicals from food)
    I am fairly certain, that in this day and age, the chemists that decide which chemicals to put into the food, are smart enough to work with natural substances, too. Why a company would hire scientists to continue to find ways to poison people, are not using them to appeal to a wider customer base, by asking them to find ways to get rid of chemicals, and make the food more appealing to more consumers, is just poor thinking of the part of the food industry.
    Chipotle, Panera, McDonalds, and other fast food restaurants, are beginning to see the benefit of attracting health conscious customers, into their stores. They have a long way to go, before their half-measures will sucker ME into their establishments, but it’s a start. They wouldn’t be going Non-GMO and eliminating chemical additives, if they didn’t see the benefit of removing cash, from the pockets of a whole new demographic of health-minded consumers, that currently, eat at home and buy organic foods, instead of their junk food.
    Because they know, WE do our research and won’t be fooled by having a bone thrown to us, now and then, they are starting to understand that they will have to, at the very least, offer up some organic foods and cleaner foods, to make us comfortable enough to darken their doorways.
    Even a few of the big manufacturers, are seeing the light and if their bottom lines weren’t suffering and their focus groups weren’t telling them, that most people would prefer fewer chemicals, GMO’s, insecticides, herbicides and fungicides, in our food, they would NOT be bothering to try to find ways to get people like me, into their establishments or preferring their foods, to bring home from the store.
    In the long run, it will be the companies that did their research and found ways to get into the health-conscious consumer’s pocket book, that will prevail, as more and more people, get sick, put two and two together, and realize it’s what they have been eating, that is making them feel ill.
    It takes only 21 days, to form a new habit and 21 days is enough time for someone to realize that they actually DO feel better, when they eat well. So every time a consumer takes 21 days or more, to actively avoid processed foods and fast food, they lose a customer. In 14 days, most people lose their craving for processed foods and become satiated by a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts. Their bodies become capable of absorbing nutrition from real foods and no are no longer in starvation mode, from trying to pull nutrition from nutrient deficient junk foods, that deprive them of vitamins and minerals and keep them in a constant state of malnutrition.
    Mother Nature isn’t stupid. When people consume things that were put here for the express purpose of nourishing us, our bodies respond in kind. We’ve made the switch to healthful, organic foods and now spend less money on food, because we eat less and get more nutrition. Our bodies are no longer asking us to constantly go to the kitchen for more food, to just fill the hole. Buying organic food, is cheaper in the long run, because, we no longer feel the need to stuff ourselves silly..
    Anyone with an attention span of 21 days, can find this out for themselves and people are doing, just that, in droves. The sooner the food processors realize that, the sooner they will realize the potential they have to attract more consumers, by making them happy. A kindergartener, could reason that out.

      1. Nope, I actually use my brain, so it’s well-lubricated and in fine working order.

    1. You seem to be an expert in nutrition, corporate finance and chemistry. I’m surprised you haven’t been hired by someone to solve the world’s problems with your simplified, first approximation answers. Do farmers want to make money? They sure do. They have families to feed and take care of; they have taxes to pay just like everyone else; they want to save for a rainy day or send their kids to college. Why should the people in the food industry work for free to produce your food? What about all the food and resource waste that comes from not using preservatives? Do you suggest we all go back to eating salted pork and pickled vegetables?

    2. “Chipotle, Panera, McDonalds, and other fast food restaurants, are beginning to see the benefit of attracting health conscious customers, into their stores. They have a long way to go, before their half-measures will sucker ME into their establishments, but it’s a start.”

      It is called marketing – not science. If the consumer asked for a burrito made of unicorn horns and puppy tears I’m sure Chipotle would try to provide it. It doesn’t mean it is based on science or even reality. Are you really improving the world or are just changing marketing strategy?

      Chipotle: Food with Integrity, Marketing Without (integrity)

      1. If you eat it, it isn’t wasted. There are also preservatives, from natural sources. Many of them.
        Yes, I’ve done my research. Factory Farming is deleterious to the environment, wildlife and human health. The methods used, strip the soil, pollute the air, water and earth, and all have alternatives that are less harmful and just as cost efficient.
        In the U.S. it’s all about making money, but that doesn’t mean you check your conscience at the door, when you go to work. In this day and age, farmers and food companies are capable of doing things with less damage to the planet and the people. They CHOOSE not to. I have no objection to anyone, making money. I object to them doing it at the expense of the planet. Why is that so hard to understand for some people? Organic farmers all over the world do it, every day and with the jack boots of the FDA and USDA and other regulatory agencies on the backs of their necks, the whole time. They put up with it because they care about their impact on the planet.
        Growing clean, chemical free food is treated by the government, as though it is poison and organic farmers must prove they are doing it right, while conventional farmers, that deal with poisons, get away, literally, with murder and almost zero oversight. You shills for the biotech industry, need to get lost and go form your own food blogs, encouraging the use of poisons and untested Franken foods and see how far you get. I don’t think anyone is going to pay people that disagree with you, to go up on your website and poke holes in your feelings about depleted soil, nutritionless food, GMO’s, Cancerous Chemicals and harmful food additives. Why do types like you, even bother? You’ll never change one mind on this site, nor will anyone believe you. If you want to die of cancer or suffer with an auto-immune disease, that you got from your eating habits, and burden the health care system and cost people money in higher premiums, just like smokers do, all I can say is go for it!

    3. “If you eat it, it isn’t wasted. ”
      You can’t eat it if it is rotten.

      Let me give you a simplified example. Two fields of strawberries; one conventional and one organic. The day before they are suppose to be picked it rains. In the morning the fields are too wet to harvest. The organic berries can’t be picked or sold because they have mold growing on them. The conventional field was treated with an effective fungicide that has minimal environmental impact. They can be picked and packaged. The pickers get paid and the farmer is able sell them and use the money to cover the cost of inputs.

      What do you do with the rotting strawberries? What about the farmer who invested in the berries. What is he suppose to do now? What about the people that were going pick the strawberries? No work no pay. What are the effects further along the supply chain?

      There are always trade offs when you have to allocate resources.

    4. “There are also preservatives, from natural sources. Many of them.”

      What makes you think food scientists aren’t using preservatives from ‘natural’ resources? Have you considered that food scientists are exploring both options. Maybe in some instances using a synthetic might make more sense. How do you know that using the “natural’ preservative isn’t harmful to the environment? These issues aren’t either/or.

    5. “Factory Farming is deleterious to the environment, wildlife and human health. The methods used, strip the soil, pollute the air, water and earth, and all have alternatives that are less harmful and just as cost efficient.”

      What do you mean by ‘factory farming’? Many small farmers are guilty of polluting. Many small farms can’t afford erosion control or proper waste management. The accurate statement would be “farming is deleterious ….” Big doesn’t necessarily mean bad and small doesn’t mean good.

    6. “I object to them doing it at the expense of the planet. Why is that so hard to understand for some people?”

      Have you ever thought that food producers try and keep production costs low so poor people can afford food? Human life and well-being or a pristine planet. I have faith that most human beings would consider all the factors involved.

      Humans exist at the expense of the planet. Organic farming doesn’t spare the planet. 7 billion people are going to effect the planet no matter what farming method they use. Do you really think 7 billion people (and growing) can live on this earth without doing damage?

      1. “Do you really think 7 billion people (and growing) can live on this earth without doing damage?” – There are 1 Billion people obese and 1 Billion people hungry! So whatever you think is working is all screwed up beyond belief! Also humans are more sick today than ever in human history. There are enough facts and reports published daily. So at least acknowledge the problem!

    7. “Organic farmers all over the world do it, every day and with the jack boots of the FDA and USDA and other regulatory agencies on the backs of their necks, the whole time.”

      I’m not sure what your point is. The National Organic Program is run by the USDA. Secretary Vilsack worked with the USDA to get $52 million in grants for organic.

      Organic growers asked the USDA to set guidelines for products labeled as organic.

    8. “Growing clean, chemical free food is treated by the government, as though it is poison and organic farmers must prove they are doing it right, while conventional farmers, that deal with poisons, get away, literally, with murder and almost zero oversight.”

      There is a lot in that statement. Where should I start?
      -“chemical free food” WTF?
      -“organic farmers must prove they are doing it right” To get the benefits given to producers of organic products, growers must follow the rules that they helped to draft. I don’t see a problem here.
      -” while conventional farmers, that deal with poisons, get away, literally, with murder and almost zero oversight. ” This statement clearly demonstrates your ignorance of agricultural regulation. I don’t like to use the word ignorance but in this case I can’t find a word that is more accurate. Apparently you haven’t read all the rules and regulations from the multiple agencies concerning agriculture.

    9. “Why do types like you, even bother? You’ll never change one mind on this site, nor will anyone believe you.”

      When people trash my passion, my way of life, my family’s life blood I’m not going to stand idly by. I may never change the mind of the posters but there are people who read this site because they are interested in providing safe, healthy food for their family without depleting the planet. I’m just offering them a different perspective. Is this so unbelievable?

      There are serious issues dealing with food safety and resource allocation but they aren’t presented accurately on this site. The food babe seems to ignore relevant and important food safety topics. I haven’t seen anything mentioned about unpasteurized milk, the Peanut Corporation of America, or Country Of Origin Labeling.

      The food babe seems to avoid the controversial issues. Maybe it is easier to attack Monsanto and ingredients that don’t impose immediate physical harm?

  26. One thing I would say in favour of parabens is that they’ve been in use for so long that we do have a better idea about their long term effects than other preservatives, companies always want their products to last as long as possible so they often will use some form of preservative, some of the newer preservatives may be even more damaging than parabens.

    It’s probably best to cut out all added preservatives if possible- lots of food have natural preservatives or can be preserved without chemically engineered preservatives (anything in a can, in oil, in vinegar ect. usually won’t need additional preservatives).

    Also (this is more skincare than food) but anything that says less than 1% parabens is talking rubbish- 1% is an insanely high amount of parabens. And if something says paraben free watch out for other preservatives.

  27. Oh wow, this is insane! I had no idea that it was SO bad. I think I want to do even a deeper research of it. I typically try to cook everything from scratch and not to provide “bad food” for my toddler. However, now I know I MUST stay away of these bad things. Thanks so much for all the explanations and the investigation you have done. It truly is a lot of help!

  28. Vani – I used to do the same thing! My standard lunch was cream cheese (definitely not organic) and jelly (probably all sugar and no real fruit!) on bright white bread (the kind that gets all paste-y if you chewed it a lot – yuck!) – I loved it…how crazy.

    Any advice on convincing a husband to cut out all this junk? He’s gotten a ton better (doesn’t drink soda any longer, etc.), but he thinks everything in moderation is fine (problem is his moderation translates to eating processed food daily!).

  29. Oh no my blueberries! Won’t stop eating those. They fight cancer! But we DO avoid parabens in all personal care products and as food additives. They recently have been reported to prevent breast cancer drugs from working. We say avoid and therefore are not permitted in any products on our “shelf” at The Choosy Chick. Thanks Vani – PS – had a few of those LD oatmeal pies back in my day too!

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