WTH is BHT?

veggie basket–It’s in cereals, breads, lotions, and even in gum!! You might have seen the viral article on Buzzfeed about 8 foods that are banned in other countries, but that are still being used in the U.S. Here is the article: http://www.buzzfeed.com/ashleyperez/8-foods-we-eat-in-the-us-that-are-banned-in-other-countries

Critics have pointed out that some of the information in the article is exaggerated or outdated, like the use of BVO in sports drinks, and Olestra in chips. But what caught my eye about the above-mentioned article is BHT, because they say it’s in gum. And if you know me, you know I love gum!

So what is BHT? It’s butylated hydroxytoluene, which is added to foods to preserve fats. It’s also used as an antioxidant in jet fuel, rubber and petroleum products and packaging materials. The same chemical used in jet fuel is also put into our food?? That’s comforting!

Is it necessary? No! Are there alternatives? Yes, like Vitamin E. But which one do you think is cheaper?

I started to look at the ingredients in my cosmetics and bath products. It’s basically in every Bath and Body works item (soaps and lotions)! It was also in some of my Neutrogena sunscreens. Then I looked at the majority of cereal bars and cereals at the grocery store and they all had it (except the Cascadian Farm or other organic brands). And then I looked at gum (most brands!)… which I’ve been chewing every day of my existence… and there it was: BHT to preserve freshness!

The FDA allows this ingredient to be used as a preservative (which is not used U.K., Japan and many European countries) although it’s known to have caused cancer, liver, kidney and thyroid problems in lab rats. It’s also been linked to hyperactivity in children and behavioral changes in adults. The FDA alleges that in minimal amounts, BHT does not cause damage to humans.

But here is the thing… I am eating it, putting it on my body, and chewing on it EVERY DAY! The same chemical that’s used in jet fuel??

Yes, I’m a little obsessed, and angry, that so much crap is put into everything we consume.

That’s why I read every label and watch what I put in my basket, because if it comes in a box, it’s likely not as “natural” as the label says. How can “food be thy medicine” if it is full of chemicals? Choose wisely my friends! Let’s break bad habits, and NOT BUY CRAP or WE WILL EAT CRAP if it’s in our pantry.

Want more? Just do a little research on-line about BHT. Start with this http://www.inrfood.com/ingredients/54 which explains concisely what it is and how it is used. Then, maybe you can read this document from the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) which says that while BHT is not believed to be highly toxic, “it cannot be completely ruled out that the hepatotoxic effects caused by high and chronic doses of BHT may result in persistent cell proliferation, which is known as a possible mechanism of non-genotoxic carcinogens”.  http://www.chemicals.moew.government.bg/chemical/site/File/registers/profile/128370P.pdf

Here’s to healthy eating! And please… don’t feed your kids just ANY cereal in the morning! Is that the best way for them to start their day?? Ok, I’m done. For now.

 

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