Food Additives to Avoid: BHA

Food Additives to Avoid: BHA

Much debate and confusion has occurred over food additives like butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA). Generally, when a chemical product, or any item for this nature, causes cancer in an animal, you can feel threatened by it. However, as of 2010 the US Food and Drug Administration has not banned BHA as a food additive. Scientists have proven that it causes cancer in three different animal species.

BHA Information

BHA is a food additive that helps preserve fats. It works as a chemically altered antioxidant consisting of hydroxyanisole made from methoxyphenol and isobutylene.

In its raw form, the substance feels like a fat and has a waxy texture. You commonly intake BHA through the consumption of foods like pastries, sauces, soups, gum and cereals. Generally, foods containing oils or fat substitutes have a higher chance of BHA composition.

Several medications use BHA as an ingredient. These include isotretinoin, simvastatin and lovastatin.

Carcinogenic Effects

Animal-based studies have shown that the consumption of BHA causes cancer in the fore stomach, which includes the kidneys. The food additive has also shown to cause damage to the thyroid in animal subjects. Since no major tests have proven similar effects in humans, some believe that there is no legitimate reason to fear BHA.

Like many other chemical food additives, BHA does not work in sync with our organs and it does have the ability to disrupt normal bodily functions. Our bodies have a very similar anatomical structure when compared to the animal test subjects used in BHA studies. This leads the fearful side of the debate to further express their grief toward the additive.

BHA Debate

Since BHA has been shown to cause cancerous effects in animals, many believe that the substance must not be a part of our food products. However, the opposing side of the argument claims that you generally never come close to consuming enough BHA to harm your body. The products that contain higher levels of BHA do not serve as food items as well. Medicines usually contain more BHA than products like chewing gum or snack foods like chips.

Avoiding BHA

Though the US Food and Drug Administration has not placed bans on BHA, you do have the ability to avoid eating products containing the food additive. All food items that contain the antioxidant must have nutrition labels or other warnings that tell you about its contents. Plus, most foods that contain BHA do not serve as healthy choices, and therefore generally get avoided by people with high health and fitness goals.

A Serious Threat?

In recommended moderation, BHA does not seem to pose serious risks to your health. The recommended daily allowance of BHA sits at 0.5 mg per each kilogram of your total bodyweight. Going above this limit remains a hard task since many food produces have limited their use of the food additive in their products.

Most foods that do contain BHA have minuscule amounts that generally will not cause any sort of major side effect. Contacting a medical professional will help you decide if BHA poses a serious risk to your body.