Anyone who's ever read a nutrition label knows that our food supply is full of hard-to-pronounce chemicals. Most are generally recognized as safe, as the Food and Drug Administration likes to say, but a few have given scientists cause for concern.
Azodicarbonamide, for instance. Subway announced last week that it would be removing the controversial chemical from its bread. Generally used for strengthening dough, azodicarbonamide is also found in yoga mats and shoe soles, according to the Centers for Science in the Public Interest. One of the breakdown products is a recognized carcinogen.
Though Subway is going to remove azodicarbonamide, there's a long list of other chemicals used in its bread: calcium carbonate, calcium sulfate, ammonium sulfate, DATEM, sodium stearoyl lactylate, potassium iodate and ascorbic acid, according to the restaurant's website (PDF).
And Subway certainly isn't alone. What other chemical additives are commonly found in your food? Here are seven, picked at random as good practice for the upcoming CNN Spelling Bee (just kidding).
Some 8.7 million pounds of meat from a Northern California company have been recalled because they came from "diseased and unsound" animals that weren't properly inspected, a federal agency announced Saturday.
The recall affecting Rancho Feeding Corporation products - as detailed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service - marks a significant expansion of one announced January 13, when just over 40,000 pounds of the company's products were recalled.
According to the U.S. agency, Rancho Feeding "processed diseased and unsound animals and carried out these activities without the benefit or full benefit of federal inspection."
Take a look at ingredients for some varieties of Subway's bread and you'll find a chemical that may seem unfamiliar and hard to pronounce: azodicarbonamide.
To say this word, you would emphasize the syllable "bon" - but the attention the chemical has been getting has not been good. Besides bread, the chemical is also found in yoga mats and shoe soles to add elasticity.
"We are already in the process of removing azodicarbonamide as part of our bread improvement efforts despite the fact that it is (a) USDA and FDA approved ingredient," Subway said in a statement. "The complete conversion to have this product out of the bread will be done soon."
In recent years, sugar – more so than fat – has been receiving the bulk of the blame for our deteriorating health.
Most of us know we consume more sugar than we should. Let's be honest, it's hard not to.
The (new) bad news is that sugar does more damage to our bodies than we originally thought. It was once considered to be just another marker for an unhealthy diet and obesity. Now sugar is considered an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease, as well as many other chronic diseases, according a study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine.
When you live in fear of you or your child accidentally ingesting peanut crumbs, any hope of undoing severe food allergy is welcome.
A large clinical trial published this week in the Lancet confirms what smaller studies have shown in the past: Oral immunotherapy - swallowing tiny, increasing amounts of peanut over time - has the ability to desensitize allergic individuals to peanuts.
Peanuts are one of the leading causes of food allergy reaction, and 400,000 school-aged children in the United States have this allergy, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Symptoms may occur from any contact with the peanut protein, which is why cross-contamination of foods can be very dangerous.
Choosing healthier snacks may soon be easier.
The Food and Drug Administration says that updating nutrition labels is a priority this year, although it's unclear when the labels will change.
The labels have remained pretty much the same for decades. It wasn't until the late 1960s that most food labels listed any nutrition information at all.
Editor's note: Cynthia Sass is a registered dietitian with master's degrees in both nutrition science and public health, and the author of "S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches." Connect with Cynthia on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
The first time I heard the word "clean" in relation to food was way back in the mid-1990s. I attended a conference about supermarket trends, and learned that grocery chains were starting to "clean up" store brand ingredient lists by removing unrecognizable terms.
Back then, this move was considered controversial, because it involved doing away with added nutrients, listed by their technical, non-household names (like pantothenic acid, a B vitamin), as well as eliminating preservatives, which meant short shelf lives (e.g., would consumers really want bread that gets hard or moldy within a few days?).
Editor's note: upwave is Turner Broadcasting's new lifestyle brand designed to entertain the health into you! Visit upwave.com for more information and follow upwave on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram @upwave.
The rumor: Zapping food in a microwave leaches out key nutrients
We've all heard about how microwaving food removes some nutritional value, but is it true? Is something bad happening to our food behind that microwave glass?
Paignton Zoo in Devon, England, isn't monkeying around with their animals' diets anymore. Zookeepers are trading the monkeys' favorite fruit in for green leafy vegetables, saying bananas grown for human consumption are full of sugar and calories.
"Wait, even the fruit isn't healthy anymore? What's left?!?!" CNN reader NeoPrudentist posted in what was soon rated the No. 1 comment on the story.
What's left, indeed. First coffee. Then salmon. Now this?