All those who actively strive to eat healthy will be shocked to find out that almost 500 food products sold in the US contain a chemical which is also found in yoga mats. Often abbreviated as ADA the chemical is known as azodicarbonamide.
The chemical might be familiar to many as it made headlines for being an active ingredient in the fast food chain Subway’s menu. Subway mainly used the chemical in their breads as it was an effective dough conditioner. Subway earlier this month however announced that they would be discontinuing the use of the chemical and would instead look for healthier alternatives. While this should have had customers heaving a sigh of relief researchers at the Environmental Safety Group disclosed that Subway might not be the only company involved.
Shopping in a grocery store customers are often looking for something healthy or that which meets their dietary requirement. Many of them are unaware that they end up purchasing a product which might not even be on their shopping list. Certain other products known to contain the chemical are pastries, breads, tortillas, pizza and so on. ADA in these food products is used to make the dough more elastic and also to bleach flour.
There is a reason why ADA is known as the yoga mat chemical. The chemical was originally intended to be used in yoga mats and plastic products such as flip-flops to make them softer and much more flexible. The general public might not be thrilled to learn that they have been unwillingly ingesting a chemical that is commonly found in the mats they use and even the shoes they wears.
Researchers even believe that a consumer is just as likely to find ADA while at a grocery store as they are at finding it in a factory manufacturing plastic. This striking conclusion was made plausible after the group revealed that as many as 130 companies besides subway have been actively incorporating the yoga mat chemical in their food products. Companies such as Little Debbie, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury were all discovered to be using the chemical but that was not even the most shocking part. Many companies that claim to only produce environmentally friendly of healthy food products also found their way onto the list.
The so called “health oriented” brands included Artisan’s Choice, Earth Grains and many more. Apparently it takes more than just putting “whole grain,” “100% healthy” and “natural” on the label to actually make it healthy and natural.
But what harm does using such a chemical in food products have? It is widely believed that the chemical can increase the chances of developing asthma and may even lead to the development of several skin allergies and skin diseases. The main source of concern is that it has not been tested what effect a concentrated dose of ADA might have. Even if small exposure might not be dangerous prolonged and constant exposure might even turn fatal. It should be noted that the food products that normally contain the chemical are ones that are consumed every day. If the chemical is indeed present than customers are exposed to it on a daily basis.
Consumers are advised to carefully select the products they purchase or consume. Normally the best advice is to stick with well-known brands but unfortunately in this case even that is not an option. It might be a safer alternate to consume home made goods as much as possible and only purchase products that have been the least processed. Since a number of companies are known to include ADA as an active ingredient it is best to err on the side of caution. Only rely on food products that are known for a fact to be safe because if left unchecked, the situation might elevate to disastrous proportions.
By Hammad Ali