Tips and Tools

Read first before eating

Disclaimer: We do not intend to discriminate any one company or product. The concern that we have is that these food companies are following what the BFAD (Bureau of Food and Drugs) is allowing.

When was the last time you checked the back label of the food you’re about to buy? When was the last time you truly knew what you were eating? If you’re reading this while munching on some store bought snack food, read the ingredients and then count how many of them are words you don’t understand or know of. Google these words and then tell me if you’re going to finish that bag of chips.

obese filipina The sad fact is that a lot of Filipinos are now obese. They have gained so much weight from all the junk food that are easily available and cheap. Sadly, these food have been banned in other countries or at least their ingredients and they’re still widely available here and are generously used in almost everything.

We used to color our food and clothes with natural dyes. We used natural and organic dyes that weren’t harmful to our bodies, granted they might cause allergic reactions to some people but they were natural and fatal allergic reactions are rare. Wikipedia lists a number of natural dyes that we use from insects and plants. The same article also indicates the dangers and studies that were done that correlates the use of chemical food dyes with ADD and ADHD.

The most common of these chemical food colorings are Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6. Red 40, also known as Allura Red or Red AC …was originally manufactured from coal tar, but is now mostly made from petroleum. 

I never really thought about what I eat and what makes up the food that I’m eating. In hindsight, I really should have noticed them and read them and understood them because I was blissfully but dangerously unaware about the dangers in the food that we eat.

It started when I was happily munching away at some baked porky pops. (Chicharon by Oishi). I read the label and wondered what the ingredients were as they were things that I’ve never heard of before. Disodium inosinate, TBHQ and BHA. Since I was in front of the computer, I googled them. This is what I found:

tert-Butylhydroquinone (TBHQ, tertiary butylhydroquinone) is an aromatic organic compound which is a type of phenol. It is a derivative of hydroquinone, substituted with tert-butyl group.

Wait… Phenol? Isn’t that a flammable gas? In the same Wiki article, it also said: A number of studies have shown that prolonged exposure to high doses of TBHQ may be carcinogenic, especially for stomach tumours

I thought it was okay since I wasn’t really consuming more than 0.02%, right? But TBHQ isn’t just found in chips. It’s in those yummy chicken nuggets in McDo. They spray it with TBHQ to make it last longer. It would take about 315 chicken nuggets for us to be able to ingest that dangerous level. So maybe it’s not that bad… I was trying to justify what I was eating. I was still munching happily when I thought, wait..if it’s from the family of butane, would it be flammable? It was… watch the video here:

Needless to say, I chucked that bag of porky pops in the bin immediately. When did real chicharon burn like that?! It was black and sticky and it was sparking and spurting. I’m putting this in my body? And then it hit me. I’m willingly allowing my kids to eat this. I started reading on other ingredients within the most common food that the kids eat. There was red 40, yellow 5 & 6 – which I thought were just food colourings. Until I realized that these food colourings are actually by products of petrol. These are all excerpts from Wikipedia articles. I shall put the other links to the other articles at the bottom of this article for your further reading:

On Red 40
Allura Red AC is a red azo dye that goes by several names including: Allura Red, Food Red 17, C.I. 16035, FD&C Red 40
Red AC was originally manufactured from coal tar, but is now mostly made from petroleum.
  (Like that makes it better?!) The results (of the research) suggest that consumption of certain mixtures of artificial food colours and sodium benzoate preservative are associated with increases in hyperactive behaviour in children.

On Yellow 5
Tartrazine (otherwise known as E number E102, C.I. 19140, or FD&C Yellow 5) is a synthetic lemon yellow azo dye used as a food coloring. Tartrazine appears to cause the most allergic and intolerance reactions of all the azo dyes, particularly among asthmatics and those with an aspirin intolerance. Symptoms from tartrazine sensitivity can occur by either ingestion or cutaneous exposure to a substance containing tartrazine. A variety of immunologic responses have been attributed to tartrazine ingestion, including anxiety, migraines, clinical depression, blurred vision, itching, general weakness, heat waves, feeling of suffocation, purple skin patches, and sleep disturbance. Certain people who are exposed to the dye experience symptoms of tartrazine sensitivity even at extremely small doses, some for periods up to 72 hours after exposure. In children, asthma attacks and hives have been claimed, as well as supposed links to thyroid tumors, chromosomal damage, and hyperactivity.

On Yellow 6
Sunset Yellow FCF (also known as Orange Yellow S, FD&C Yellow 6 or C.I. 15985) is a synthetic yellow azo dye, manufactured from aromatic hydrocarbons from petroleum. Sunset Yellow itself may be responsible for causing an allergic reaction in people with an aspirin intolerance, resulting in various symptoms, including gastric upset, diarrhea, vomiting, nettle rash (urticaria), swelling of the skin (angioedema) and migraines. The colouring has also been linked to hyperactivity in young children

I don’t blame Oishi and the other food companies, after all, they’re being allowed by the government to use these products. Also take note that these dyes are not only found in food, they’re also in Cosmetics and in Drugs. That’s what the FD & C stand for – Food, Drugs and Cosmetics. It’s in your lipstick, it’s in your pills, and it’s in your lotion, your toothpaste, in everything! Maybe we should look into asking the government to have stricter regulations on these chemicals as these same chemicals are already banned in some European countries as well as the US.

We used to be able to eat food without it being colourful. I don’t know about you but I have a hard time eating colourful food. It’s not natural and it makes me feel like I’m in a Rainbow Brite movie. I don’t want to prolong the life of my food; I want to eat it fresh. I don’t want to eat chemicals. I want to eat food. As a parent, I was burdened with guilt now that I know what these things are. Doing the grocery might be more stressful and takes twice as long but I want to be able to give my kids and my family healthy food.

Please, read before you eat. I’ve added several links below for you to read.



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