Did you spot the SIX nasty additives in this American Cheezit cheddar nachos flavour?


In numbers, these are TBHQ 319, annatto 160b, monosodium glutamate 621, autolysed yeast extract (also 621), disodium inosinate 631 and disodium guanylate 627. See more in linked factsheets.

Can you answer these questions?

1. Is cultured dextrose a kind of yoghurt, a kind of sugar or a nasty preservative?

2. Wraps can have more nasty additives than bread - true or false

3. Is there any MSG in a product that says "no added MSG"?

4. Which group of additives are most likely to cause asthma?

5. It's OK to put artificial colours in children's toothpaste because they don't swallow it - true or false?

6. Artificial colours in your vitamin supplements or cough medicine don't have to be listed on the label - true or false?

[Answers: 1c, 2 true, 3 there usually is, 4 sulphites220-228, 5 false, 6 true]

Like to know more?

Q: Can you spot the issue with this CERTIFIED ORGANIC bread (which comes from USA but the same rules apply in Australia and New Zealand)?


A: That's right, the bread preservative 282 propionate has been hidden as "cultured organic wheat flour" - avoid anything with "cultured" on the ingredients label if you react to propionates. See blog post on cultured dextrose etc and factsheet on propionates

Q: Vodka is failsafe but flavoured vodka is not. What might be the problems in this Green Apple Vodka?


A: Hard to read, but this vodka contains preservative 211 sodium benzoate and three nasty artificial colours 102 tartrazine, 110 sunset yellow and 133 brilliant blue. So far as we know there are no eyes inside our mouths, so why does it need to be coloured at all? Better to stick to straight vodka and drop in a piece of apple if you must.



Q: Energy gels are really healthy and great things for sports people to use, right? So what might be a problem in the following sports product and what are some better ideas?


A: As you can see from the label below this energy gel contains two preservatives known to cause problems: 202 potassium sorbate, and 281 sodium propionate. The two flavours can also cause problems for some people. Here are two great recipes for rehydration and energy

Failsafe sports drink 1

Failsafe sports drink 2 from WHO


And here is the latest information:

The Best Sports Drink May Be Sugar Water - Put down your Powerade (Kori Perten December 06, 2015)

Exercise is important for good health, and so is giving your body the fuel and replenishment it needs as you sweat your way through a lengthy cardio workout. That’s why sports drinks are so popular with runners and other athletes.

But is your sports drink of choice an effective endurance aid? According to one recent study, you might be better off just downing a bottle of ordinary sugar water.


Researchers at the University of Bath in England conducted an experiment in which 14 long distance cyclists exercised after consuming glucose-based sports drinks, water with sucrose (good ol' table sugar), and plain water. They found that while ingesting both sucrose and glucose helped prevent a decline in liver glycogen, which helps you maintain stable blood sugar levels during endurance exercise, sucrose yielded the best results.

“We found that the exercise felt easier, and the gut comfort of the cyclists was better, when they ingested sucrose compared to glucose,” explained lead researcher Dr. Javier Gonzalez.

Many sports drinks contain glucose, or a mixture of glucose and fructose, although some are sucrose-based. Molecules of sucrose are actually made up of linked molecules of glucose and fructose, offering a combination of the two that may be more easily absorbed by the gut—and therefore more readily accessible to athletes as fuel.

The Latest Smart Tech Product is... a Cup?

Based on the study, which has been published by the American Journal of Physiology—Endocrinology & Metabolism, Gonzalez ventures that “when your goal is to maximize carbohydrate availability, sucrose is probably a better source of carbohydrate to ingest than glucose.”

It’s important to keep in mind that a study conducted on such a small number of people (all of them serious cyclists) is by no means definitive. Furthermore, many sports drinks contain electrolytes, in addition to simple carbohydrates, which can also factor into athletic performance.

Still, if you’d rather take this information with a spoonful of sugar than a grain of salt, the researchers behind the study recommend sipping some sugar water when exercising for a period of at least two and a half hours. According to the scientists, you should consume up to 90 grams of sugar—diluted at a ratio of about two teaspoons of sugar per 100 mL of water—per hour for optimal performance.


Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2015 Dec 15;309(12):E1032-9. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00376.2015. Epub 2015 Oct 20.
Ingestion of glucose or sucrose prevents liver but not muscle glycogen depletion during prolonged endurance-type exercise in trained cyclists.
Gonzalez JT1, Fuchs CJ2, Smith FE3, Thelwall PE3, Taylor R3, Stevenson EJ4, Trenell MI3, Cermak NM5, van Loon LJ6.

The purpose of this study was to define the effect of glucose ingestion compared with sucrose ingestion on liver and muscle glycogen depletion during prolonged endurance-type exercise. Fourteen cyclists completed two 3-h bouts of cycling at 50% of peak power output while ingesting either glucose or sucrose at a rate of 1.7 g/min (102 g/h). Four cyclists performed an additional third test for reference in which only water was consumed. We employed (13)C magnetic resonance spectroscopy to determine liver and muscle glycogen concentrations before and after exercise. Expired breath was sampled during exercise to estimate whole body substrate use. After glucose and sucrose ingestion, liver glycogen levels did not show a significant decline after exercise (from 325 ± 168 to 345 ± 205 and 321 ± 177 to 348 ± 170 mmol/l, respectively; P > 0.05), with no differences between treatments. Muscle glycogen concentrations declined (from 101 ± 49 to 60 ± 34 and 114 ± 48 to 67 ± 34 mmol/l, respectively; P < 0.05), with no differences between treatments. Whole body carbohydrate utilization was greater with sucrose (2.03 ± 0.43 g/min) vs. glucose (1.66 ± 0.36 g/min; P < 0.05) ingestion. Both liver (from 454 ± 33 to 283 ± 82 mmol/l; P < 0.05) and muscle (from 111 ± 46 to 67 ± 31 mmol/l; P < 0.01) glycogen concentrations declined during exercise when only water was ingested. Both glucose and sucrose ingestion prevent liver glycogen depletion during prolonged endurance-type exercise. Sucrose ingestion does not preserve liver glycogen concentrations more than glucose ingestion. However, sucrose ingestion does increase whole body carbohydrate utilization compared with glucose ingestion. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26487008

Q: Which ingredient in jelly beans could cause loud, aggressive behaviour? For two weeks at the end of last term, my son was eating a packet of jelly beans a day and you could see his behaviour getting worse every day. He wouldn't listen, and the teacher was complaining.



A: For the jelly beans in the photo, artificial colours 102, 122, 129 and 133 are linked to behaviour problems. In Europe, a product with these additives would have to carry the warning 'MAY HAVE AN ADVERSE EFFECT ON ACTIVITY AND ATTENTION IN CHILDREN'. This question was asked on the Fedup 2011 Roadshow - the mother genuinely did not know the answer despite working as a health professional. We think this shows that Australian food regulators FSANZ have failed in their role to protect consumers because Australian families should have the same protection as European families


These Homebrand noodles claim "No added MSG", so what makes them so delicious?



ANSWER: Talk about misleading. Look at the Ingredients panel!


The lawyers have written this label technically correctly – there is no added monosodium glutamate (MSG or food additive 621). Instead Woolworths have added 620 glutamic acid, which is an almost identical source of free glutamates. Then there are two doses of the ribonucleotide flavour enhancer 635, which is only added to boost the effects of glutamates. So where are the glutamates? They are very high in the "ingredients" yeast extract and hydrolysed soy protein, plus the "added" 620 glutamic acid.


This Network wrote the Australian Competition and Consumers Commission (ACCC) complaining about the increasing and misleading use of "No added MSG". They told us to talk to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), who in turn told us to talk to....the ACCC.


Here's the packet – is this Mission spinach and herb wrap failsafe?



ANSWER: It looks clean and green, but ALWAYS check out the Ingredients panel:


How many ingredients here are not failsafe?

The worst ingredients are the two artificial colours 102 tartrazine and 133 brilliant blue, which are in the herb seasoning! This wrap also contains two preservatives 282 calcium propionate and 200 sorbic acid, known to affect food intolerant children. Then there's the synthetic antioxidant 320 butylatedhydoxyanisole (BHA) which affects many people.

Five nasty additives in one healthy-looking wrap. It is 1% "spinach and herb seasoning including plus green colour" to make you think it actually contains spinach and herbs.

NOT failsafe.




Are these Skinns potato chips failsafe?

Here's the boast, the "Chip with nothing to hide"

Front of pack claims:

  • Gluten free
  • No added MSG
  • Baked not fried
  • Preservative Free
  • Made with Sunflower Oil
  • Golden Corn Added for wholegrain goodness
  • 75% less fat than regular chips


Ingredients list:

Potatoes, Maize Polenta, Seasoning [Sugar, Maltodextrin, Salt, Acidity Regulators (262, 330), Flavour (Natural), Yeast Extract, Tomato powder, Hydrolysed Vegetable Protein, Spices, Vegetable Powder, Anti-caking Agent (551), Vegetable Oils, Flavour Enhancer (635)], Sunflower Oil, Emulsifier 471, Flavour


No, it hides MSG as yeast extract and hydrolysed vegetable protein and it contains flavour enhancer 635 to boost the effects of MSG 10-15 times. It also contains tomato powder which is a concentrated form of salicylates and amines for those who are sensitive to them.

More information about MSG, flavour enhancer 635 and more label shenanigans at http://fedup.com.au/information/fin-campaigns/product-of-the-year



What's wrong with this label from a food intolerance point of view?

ANSWER: You would need a degree in food technology to recognise that the ingredient "cultured dextrose" is probably the bread preservative calcium propionate 282 or some other form of propionate. Preservatives are required by law to be shown on the label, but this one is particularly misleading if you are trying to avoid preservatives. "Cultured wheat" is another way for food manufacturers to hide the preservatives that consumers don't want.

What is cultured dextrose? WIKI

This is a tough one, as a biologist I can say that the name "cultured dextrose" doesn't really specify what is within. Alcohol could be cultured dextrose, as could penicillin. This is one of those industry vernacular phrases, virtually designed to mask the actual nature of the ingredients. Not to say it is harmful, but without industrial access to msds and other proprietary info about cultured dextrose products like Microguard. I have faced this in my career where I have basically had to threaten the company with discontinuing use of their product if they didn't disclose more. I have read a couple of descriptions that say "various peptides and metabolites"- that could be anything under the sun grown via bacteria or yeast (or even chinese hamster ovary cells), and I would worry about people that have food allergies.

Possibly a far better alternative to the nasty BHA and BHT like chemicals we usually get, but I wish they would spill the beans on my hummus.

Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_cultured_dextrose#ixzz1KrlTzLP6

What is cultured dextrose? YAHOO

Cultured dextrose helps control the outgrowth of pathogens and spoilage organisms in refrigerated meals. It can replace chemical preservatives like sorbates and benzoates for a clean label, and is particularly effective against Lactobacilli, yeast, molds, Listeria monocytogenes and heat-resistant spore formers.

When MicroGARD is added as an ingredient to a food, the common name "cultured skim milk", "fermented skim milk", "cultured dextrose" or "fermented dextrose", as applicable, is required to be declared in the list of ingredients on the final food.


What is MicroGARD?

MicroGARD® Fermentates

  • A patented natural, clean-label range for shelf life protection

Key benefits

  • Protect shelf life
  • Maintain the organoleptic qualities of food
  • Meet consumers' demand for natural products
  • Organic products also available in this range



And here's another using "cultured dextrose", which may not only be misleading, it may be an outright lie given the claim on the packet about "no artificial preservatives".


Look out for "cultured wheat" too, which is another way to hide preservatives.