Dangers of Packaged Foods



BY: Dr. Al Sears

They’re in every grocery store…those brightly colored boxed of prepared foods loudly claiming how healthy they are.

But they’re not what you think.

Nearly all of the prepackaged “low-fat,” “low carb,” and “heart-healthy” meals lining the shelves are just shadows of real food…with little to no nutritional value.

Here are the hidden dangers of eating these chemically enhanced “health” foods and how you can stay healty by eating the way nature intended.


Most people think of “flavoring” as something that comes directly from the food it tastes like.  For instance, most people assume that strawberry flavoring comes from squeezing a bunch of strawberries and extracting the flavor from the concentrate.

But the truth is something else entirely.

The strawberry flavor found in many diet-food snacks and desserts is in fact made up of 50 different chemicals.

The science that goes into making flavors like this is quite advanced, which is why food companies emply an elite group of chemists called “flavorists” who create these substances.


The act of processing food strips the flavor right out of it.  Take a prepackaged “low fat” roast beef dinner, for example.

First, a factory processes the beef to remove the fat.  While they’re at it, they add chemicals to make sure it doesn’t spoil.  Then they add more chemicals in the form of food coloring to make it look more appealing.

Next, they sterilize the food and cook it to excess to ensure there’s no risk of bacterial contamination.  Then it’s tossed through handling and packaging machinery and sent to another machine where it’s ultimately frozen.  With the extreme heat, machine-handling and extended exposure to air, more vital nutrients are lost with each passing second.

A factory-prepared dinner like this would taste (and smell) bland, lifeless, and sterile.

This is why food makers add chemicals back in to make what they’re selling taste like real food.  Your store-bought “roast beef” dinner may have the appearance of the real thing – but it’s all a dangerous trick.


Companies might claim that their flavorings are “natural.” But natural in this context is defined by the FDA in a way that’s hard to believe -it simply means any chemical that’s approved for use in food.

And any food prepackaged in a can, foil wrapper, sealed package, plastic container, or box has a cocktail of natural flavorings added back in after it’s processed.

The strawberry flavoring in a Burger King stawberry milkshake, for example, had 74 chemicals  But these substances that are being used to fool your taste buds, chemicals like amyl acetate and benzyl acetate, can harm your health.

Amyl acetate, for example, can be claimed as natural on a label.  But it’s been linked to nervous system problems, depression, indigestion, chest pain, headaches, fatigue, and irritation of the mucous membranes.  Benzyl acetate, on the other hand, has been found to cause gastrointestinal, bronchial, eye, and ear irritation.

This is just scratching the surface.  The fact of the matter is that the FDA is asleep at the switch when it comes to food safety.

Over the years, they have banned 23 artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives in the U.S.  Most were deemed unsafe only after years and years of human consumption  For example, it took 50 years for the FDA to ban the food dye Orange Number 1 when it was shown to cause organ damage.

Bottom line:  it’s better to be safe than sorry.  Avoid these packaged chemical weapons as much as possible and concentrate on getting your nutrition from real foods.


If you don’t want to consume any of these unnatural and toxic chemicals, here are some easy ways to eat natural food with real flavor:

  1. Go back to the backs.  Our native ancestors ate what they could hunt and gather.  And that was natural meats and eggs, veggies, unmodified fruits and nuts, and olives.  They ate a lot more protein and fats than most modern Americans.  And they ate fewer carbs – and no processed foods or foods cooked with vegetable oils.  As a result, their archaeological records show virtually no heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, or obesity.
  2. Eat fresh, locally grown organic fruits and veggies as much as you can.  Food grown from local farms is much fresher than food at the grocery store.  That’s because most produce is transported an average of 1,500 miles.  And many of the nutrients get depleted during transit.  But not only is locally grown food more nutritious, it also tastes great.  And if the farmer uses organic methods, you don’t have to worry about consuming harmful pesticided and fertilizers.
  3. When shopping at grocery stores, stay in the exterior aisles and stick to organic dairy, meats, and produce.  You can pretty much disregard everything in between.  Those aisles are filled with nothing but processed foods loaded with harmful chemicals.
  4. Read labels carefully, even for organic food.  If you shop in the exterior of the grocery store, you won’t need to take this step.  But if you ever need to grab something in the interior, check the labels of anything packaged in a can, box, or plastic (even the organic stuff) for “natural and artificial flavors.”  If you see these terms on labels, stay away.