There’s WHAT in my food??

How often do you think about the food you eat?  Where did it come from, where was it grown, how was it processed, what are the ingredients in it?  In this time of to-do lists that are too long, days that are too short, and the constant struggle to stay ahead, convenience foods are often a solution.  These highly processed foods are quick and easy and fit into our lives easily.  But what is really in there? 

When you look at the ingredients list of the foods you’re eating, can you identify what everything is? 

I’m a dietitian and have studied food and nutrition for years and I still find things on the ingredient lists of some foods that I don’t recognize!  Additives are widely used in processed products and because the amounts that are added to foods are typically so low, there isn’t much research available about them.  The food industry treats these things with an “innocent until proven guilty” attitude.  Which is just scary, really.  You’re the guinea pig but they never really tell you that. Today, I want to touch on one additive, in particular, Titanium Dioxide.  

This additive has been used in the food industry since 1966 and is commonly found in things like coffee creamer, sauces, spreads, pastries, candies, cereal, soup, clear beverages, processed fish, meat, fruits and vegetables, and even in toothpaste. (so, just about everything) Titanium Dioxide is used as a flavor enhancer and also to make foods look white and more opaque. 

The ideal particle size of Titanium Dioxide in foods is 200-300nm.  However, during the production of creating particles at that size, submicron-sized particles become an inevitable byproduct.  These submicron particles are a cause for concern because they can be absorbed by the gut. 

They get by the excretion process of the body to remove foreign items through digestion because they are so tiny. The concern becomes even more important in children because they are getting more of this additive per kilogram of body weight than any other group of people.  There is not adequate research on Titanium Dioxide by a long shot, but they are learning that the half-life of Titanium Dioxide is longer than previously thought, which means it can accumulate in the body.  

They are also seeing evidence of this product being linked to colon cancer.  What we know for sure is that more research is needed but in the meantime, it up to you to start looking at those ingredient lists, finding products that work for you and your schedule but have fewer additives and ingredients that you can’t pronounce. 

We are fortunate to live in a country that takes steps to keep our food safe but know that you can’t fully rely on those precautions and that you are ultimately responsible for your health. 

-Amy Denker, MS, RD, LD

More about me:

I attended Oklahoma State University and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Nutrition and Exercise. I went on to earn a Master’s of Science degree in Dietetics and Nutrition and completed the Dietetic Internship Program at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City.

I was the Nutrition Services Clinical Coordinator at Crittenton Children’s Center for over 5 years before changing my focus to raising my family. I am excited to now be involved with a company that is focused on providing healthy options for customers as well as providing education and resources for customers to make informed decisions for themselves and their loved ones!