Nutritional Nasties

After my husband Joe had his first massive heart attack, I became very concerned about nutrition. In fact, I went so far as to take courses in vegetarianism in order to help us both become more healthy. One of the most important things I learned to do is read the labels on food packages.  Over the years I’ve learned a lot about what they put in the food we eat.

Make a point of reading not only the chart with the ratios of calories, and fats, etc. but
look underneath and see what the ingredients are. 

The first ingredient is always in the largest quantity.


In searching for pictures of nutrition labels, I could not find samples that show the ingredients.  So I took some photos of my own.  Notice that the ingredients may be found at the bottom of the chart or possibly somewhere on the side.

My samples are a fudge brownie mix and canned applesauce.
These are institution-sized containers from the High Country Senior Center’s kitchen.

·         Notice the applesauce is nothing but apples, water, and apple juice from concentrate.  Most applesauce you find in the grocery store is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup.
·         The brownie mix contains Sugar, enriched bleached flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid) partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oils, cocoa (processed with alkali) eggs, salt, artificial flavor, sodium bicarbonate

With all the chemicals and compounds used today, one needs to be especially careful.  Are you aware that there are hunmdreds of additives that can be legally put in your food?
I am convinced that one of the reasons our children today have colds they can’t shake and deadly allergies to certain foods is a consequences of the additives.

Why are additives put in our foods?

  • Manufactures have a vested interest in getting the FDA to allow their product into our diet.
    • Their lobbyists spend millions of dollars per year to get bills passed allowing these products.
  • Some additives are thickening agents.
    • Their purpose is to produce a product that uses less of the more expensive natural ingredient.  There is more concern about increasing a profit margin than in genuine concern for our health.
  • Cheap is good - chemicals are cheaper than real food. 
    • Some items we eat don’t even have food in them. They are nothing but an amalgamation of chemicals.  At least FDA requires that you cannot use the name of a food in a product unless it is in there somewhere.  For example, if you go to Wendy’s and buy a “Frosty”, you are not buying a chocolate MILK shake.  The word MILK is not in the name because there is no dairy or milk in it.  Nothing but chemicals.
  • Some additives are addictive.
    • High fructose corn syrup, for example is extremely addictive.  It is put in nearly every canned food on the shelf.  Literally every children’s cereal on the market is heavily laced with high fructose corn syrup. The manufacturers have addicted us to its sweetness, yet more harm caused by high fructose corn syrup than white sugar. Why is it that we need high fructose corn syrup in canned corn, nearly every canned fruit, nearly every beverage, and a high percentage of vegetables on the shelves?  It isn’t because they are healthy for us, but because when we become addicted to the product, we will continue to buy more.
  • Some additives supposedly ‘improve’ the food in some way. 
    • For example, anti caking agents are added to flour, sugar and salt. Why? Because it keeps those foods from clumping up in humid weather. One wonders if the convenience of pre-sifted flour is worth the potential risk to our health.
Take a look at Carageenan:
  • In order to make it go farther, Carrageenan is an extract from red seaweed usually added to cottage cheese and yogurt.  You are paying for a gelling agent which reduces the amount of milk a manufacturer needs to put in the product. It is called a ‘natural’ food because it is made from seaweed. Why do we need red seaweed in our dairy products?
For starters, here is a link to a list of food additives.

There are some 300 additives here. Skim over the list and become familiar with most of them and why they are used. I made a printout (23 pages) and keep it with my shopping book.
Sometimes it becomes a matter of juggling one’s toxins and trying to find the lesser of the evils foisted upon us by the food industry.
Over time I will be sharing with you information about foods I’ve noticed can harm us more than help us.

You are invited to point out Nutritional Nasties you have found.


  1. My oldest son is high functioning autistic and one of the worst chemicals he may accidentally come into contact with in food is TBHQ commonly found in things like Taco Shells, Cereals, and products containing nuts. A tiny amount of this preservative in his system will cause him to become absolutely unhinged 24 hours later. Our normally sweet kid becomes classic "ODD" (Obstructive Defiant Disorder) if this happens.

  2. Melissa, thanks for sharing. I am hopeful you can use dehydrating whole foods for him to avoid all those horrible chemicals.

    I just looked it up. TBHQ is a form of butane! Oh, we all need that in our diets, don't we? :(

    You might want to look over my page on RAW REPAST. There are a number of links for making crackers and such in your dehydrator. Of course, none of these items have preservatives in them.

    In the not-too-distant future, I plan on making a variety of them and posting the recipes.

  3. A Frosty does contain milk. It is the first ingredient (and milk products are also the 4th, 5th, and 6th ingredients too): Milk, Sugar, Corn Syrup, Cream, Whey, Nonfat Milk, Cocoa (processed with alkali), Guar Gum, Mono and Diglycerides, Cellulose Gum, Carrageenan, Calcium Sulfate, Disodium Phosphate, Artificial Flavor, Vitamin A Palmitate. CONTAINS: MILK.

    I will agree that I would like it better if everything after cocoa were left out...

    1. Thanks for the update. My bad... when I first paid attention to nutritional issues back in the 80's, Frosty was listed on a documentary as having no milk product in it, according to federal law, that's why it could not be called a 'milk shake'. it was categorized as a synthetic food. Looks like they must have changed the formula, but not the name.

  4. Linda, I am thoroughly enjoying your blog! I stumbled on it about two hours ago (I'm at work) and now can't remember what I was originally searching for. It's a wonderfully informative blog for anyone but a newbie would find this blog a treasure chest of information. Thank you for your hard work.

    1. HI Heather,

      (chuckle) I'm so glad you are enjoying it! It's all a consequence of mostly my own first-hand experience. You will find that I included not only what really worked well for me, but things that weren't so successful.

      It came about when I got so frustrated by not finding much and only scattered bits and pieces about dehydrating foods.

      Please don't hesitate to ask questions. I'll be glad to help whever I can.

  5. I am loving your blog. I wish I had found it earlier when I first started using the dehydrator. You have tons of great ideas on here. I will be checking in often. Love the healthy hints as well.

    1. Thanks so much, I appreciate the encouragement. For the past year I've been battling breast cancer. Just finished my chemo treatments. Once the "draino chemicals" wear off, I'm hopeful I'll be in a position to start experimenting and posting again.

      I've got a few ideas for some new recipes, but each one has to be tested and photographed before I post them.

      Also, I have a lot of built up stores of single ingredients. Need to lug it all down to the Senior Center kitchen, spread it out, and put together a bunch of completed meals. Did that a couple of years ago. Can't believe how quickly this stuff adds up when you are dehydrating regularly.

      Good luck, and have fun!