No matter what the labels say, you may be eating ingredients that are gross – or downright dangerous – every time you grab an apple, a bag of chips, or a box of cookies, and you’ll never even know it. Dr. Travis Stork is a co-host of medical TV show “The Doctors.” He says there are measurable quantities of bug and rodent parts in processed foods. He estimates that North Americans eat about 1 pound of bug and rodent parts every year without knowing it. Dr. Stork says it’s disgusting – but it’s not really going to hurt you.
For the harmful stuff, he starts with acrylamide – a toxic chemical known to cause cancer, reproductive problems and birth defects. It’s found in cigarette smoke, but it’s also created when certain foods – especially starchy ones, like potatoes - are baked, fried or roasted. In fact, several potato chip companies recently settled a lawsuit brought by the state of California, and agreed to change their manufacturing process to reduce the amount of acrylamide next year. Dr. Stork says the biggest danger lurking in our food supply is the pesticides on produce, which has been linked to birth defects, miscarriages, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and immunity problems. He strongly recommends avoiding the “dirty dozen” – the fruits and veggies with the highest concentration of pesticides. In fact, by going organic instead, you can reduce your pesticide intake by 80 percent. His list of produce to always buy organic: Celery, bell peppers, potatoes, lettuce, and leafy greens, like kale and spinach, as well as peaches, strawberries, apples, domestic blueberries, nectarines, cherries, and imported grapes. You’ll notice those are all produce you eat, skin and all.