Home for Christmas, I find it more difficult to avoid foods I easily forget about when I live and eat alone. My mom made Italian Beef for dinner, something I have been eating since childhood. The beef is slow-cooked with jardiniere and beef boullion cubes, then served over French bread.
I bagged the bread and was able to slice into a loaf of homemade white bread our friend had given us. The jarndiniere didn't have any preservatives, to my relief, but the beef boullion was something else. Reading just the nutrition facts, one might rejoice at the zero calories and wince at the high sodium content. But check out all the ingredents wrapped in one Wyler's Instant Beef Flavor Boullion Cube:
SALT, HYDROLYZED SOY PROTEIN, SODIUM BICARBONATE (that's baking soda)
MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE (the infamous enemy of Chinese food lovers everywhere),
SUGAR, ONION POWDER, BEEF FAT, HYDROLYZED CORN PROTEIN, DEXTROSE, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, BEEF STOCK, GARLIC POWDER, BEEF EXTRACT, NATURAL BEEF FLAVOR, WATER, SOYBEAN OIL, DISODIUM IOSINATE, HYDROLYZED TORULA AND BREWER'S YEAST PROTEIN, CORN MALTODEXTRIN, CARAMEL COLOR, AUTOLYZED YEAST EXTRACT, CALCIUM SILICATE, HYDROLYZED WHEAT GLUTEN PROTEIN, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN OIL, NATURAL FLAVORS (finally!),
LACTIC ACID, SILICON DIOXIDE (this is "glass" for those of you non-chemists),
CALCIUM LACTATE (MILK), SOY LECITHIN, ARTIFICIAL BEEF FLAVOR, TRICALCIUM PHOSPHATE, PROPYL GALLATE, FD&C RED #40, BUTTER FAT, ALPHA TOCOPHEROL (ANTIOXIDANT), BHA (PRESERVATIVE), CITRIC ACID
Shucks. As I read this in the late afternoon, I realized my dinner meat had been marinating in this bouillion broth most of the day. I didn't want to hurt the feelings of my mother, who plans meals when us older kids come home. Eating just the salad for dinner would have been rude. I ate the beef and avoided the juice as much as possible.
Which ingredient to research first? There are so many to choose from. How about the acronym.
BHA, Butylated hydroxyanisole, is a mixture of phenolic compounds, benzene rings with different phenol groups chemically bonded at different points. This is a chemically altered agent that keeps fatty foods, mainly meats, from becoming rancid. (1)
A division of the World Health Organization, the International Agency for Research on Cancer consideres BHA and its counterpart BHT carcinogenic. BHA has been named a cancer-causing agent in California, and the National Cancer Society lists it under "Known and Probable Carcinogens" (2).
Whole Foods has this ingredient on the unacceptable foods list. Dr. Janet Starr Hull has listed this as an additive to avoid (3). I agree.
Read More: http://www.mindfully.org/Plastic/Antioxidants/BHA-BHT.htm
1. http://chemistry.about.com/od/foodcookingchemistry /a/bha-bht-preservatives.htm
2. http://www.cancer.org/docroot/PED/content/PED_1_3 x_Known_and_Probable_Carcinogens.asp