The United States is one of the few  countries in the developed world where you can get sick from food you buy from your local grocery store. Many "fast foods," such as breakfast cereal, frozen entrees and sodas that are consumed every day in the US cannot be sold in Europe, since they contain chemicals that European regulators have determined are dangerous to human health.

On, Tracey Gaughran-Perez writes: "Though it might not surprise you to hear that Olestra–commonly used in low/no-fat snack foods and known to cause serious gastrointestinal issues for those who consume it. The substance is banned in both the United Kingdom and Canada. More than 100 countries ban brominated vegetable oil, which has been linked to allergic reactions and, when consumed in large quantities, organ damage. It is based on the chemical bromine, which is commonly used as a flame retardant. It is present in many soft drinks sold in the US and is considered safe by the US Food and Drug Administration. Pepsico has pledged to remove it from their product Gatorade, but it is still present in many US soft drinks.

Most yellow processed foods in the US contain dyes called Yellow #5 and Yellow #6 that are linked to allergies, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and cancer in animals. The two dyes are coal tar derivatives. They are known to cause anxiety, migraines, clinical depression, blurred vision, itching, general weakness, heatwaves, feeling of suffocation, purple skin patches, and sleep disturbance. Even very small doses can cause reactions in some people.

Azodicarbonamide, which is a common ingredient in frozen potato and bread products and frozen dinners, and is also used to make bleach and foamed plastic products, has been banned in most European countries because it’s known to induce asthma, and is in fact deemed so dangerous that in Singapore its use carries a hefty $500,00 fine and up to 15 years in prison. It is considered safe by the US FDA.

Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are used as preservatives in many processed foods, especially cereals, in the US. They have been banned in countries such as the United Kingdom and Japan because studies suggest that they cause cancer. The US FDA considers them safe for human consumption.

Want to start eating right? First, try to avoid all processed foods and fast foods sold in the United States. Second, if you must use them, read the label and make sure that the product you are buying doesn’t contain dangerous substances.

You can also follow the diet in Anne Strieber’s bestselling diet book, What I Learned from the Fat Years.

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