Detoxifying Your Pantry
Dr. Perricone Discusses

Detoxifying Your Pantry

I have often written about the dangers of chemicals in our foods - one reason I do my shopping at farmer's markets, local food co-ops, health food stores and so forth. I am a firm believer of the slow food 'localvore' movement - do we really want to eat that head of lettuce grown 3,000 miles away?

If your pantry has foods (and I use the term loosely here) that contain any of these ingredients, I recommend that you toss them out. Keep your diet as simple as possible, with fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, grass-fed only meats, seafood that is safe and sustainable, fats such as extra virgin olive oil (avoid all other oils), legumes such as chick peas and lentils, and beverages such as green, white or black tea.


Hidden Sugars - Sugar comes in many forms. As you might assume, when we eat sugar it raises our blood sugar, and chronically high levels of sugar in the blood lead to the creation of the sugar bonds known as AGEs. Therefore it is very important to learn to recognize that there are many forms of sugar; in fact, the word 'sugar' may or may not appear on the label at all. Look for: white sugar, cane sugar, brown sugar, confectioner's sugar, invert sugar, raw sugar, beet sugar, turbinado sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, dextrin, honey, maple, evaporated cane juice, malt, molasses, dextrose, fructose, sucrose, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, maltose.

Artificial coloring - synthetic food dyes are unnecessary and are either toxic or are possible carcinogens, which means that they may promote cancer.

Aspartame and all artificial sweeteners, including saccharin - these are dangerous excitotoxins with many negative effects.

BHA - used to preserve fats and oils. Studies indicate it may be carcinogenic.

Brominated vegetable oil (BVO) - used in citrus flavored sodas and banned in more than 100 countries. It has been linked to damage in the major organ systems. Apparently the FDA does not require that it be listed on labels - so avoid any citrus flavored sodas (such as lemon or lime) as it is a good bet that BVO is included.

Carrageenan - stabilizer and thickening agent; found in everything from ice cream to yogurt. May be a carcinogen and is linked to toxic hazards, including ulcers and cancer; In addition to suppressing immune function, carrageenan causes intestinal ulcers and inflammatory bowel disease in animals and some research indicates that carrageenan is associated with causing cancer in humans.

Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils - these are the infamous trans fats directly linked to heart disease. The FDA published a paper stating that if people in the US stopped eating trans fat there would be 30,000 to 100,000 less deaths per year from CHD. Trans fats are also linked to breast and colon cancer, atherosclerosis, elevated cholesterol, depressed immune system, and allergies.

Nitrates - form powerful cancer-causing agents in stomach; are found in smoked foods such as deli foods, cured meats, bacon, hot dogs, pepperoni, sausage, etc.

MSG - A dangerous excitotoxin that may cause headaches, itching, nausea, nervous system and reproductive disorders, high blood pressure; pregnant, lactating mothers, infants, small children should avoid MSG; allergic reactions common; may be hidden in infant formula, low fat milk, candy, chewing gum, drinks, over-the-counter medications.

Look for the following ingredients that contain MSG:

  • Monosodium Glutamate
  • Calcium Caseinate
  • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
  • Sodium Caseinate
  • Hydrolyzed Protein
  • Yeast Extract
  • Hydrolyzed Plant Protein
  • Textured Protein (Including TVP)
  • Plant Protein Extract
  • Autolyzed Yeast
  • Hydrolyzed Oat Flour
  • Corn Oil

Neotame - related to aspartame, but allegedly more toxic.

Olestra - this fat substitute causes gastrointestinal distress. Also lowers absorbtion of carotenoids, nutrients that lower our risk of cancer and other fat-soluble nutrients.

Potassium bromate - bromate causes cancer. Potassium bromate is used in bread making.

Sulfites - can cause dangerous allergic reactions.

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