Toxic foods

Toxic Foods: Three Substances Found Everyday

Toxic substances abound nowadays. And the food industry is a master at hiding stuff you wouldn’t eat in the stuff you actually eat.

Here are 3 surprising sources of toxicity you might not know about

1. Arsenic

Aptly known as “The Poison of Kings” and later known as the less dramatic rat poison. For millennia, people and rodents alike died through this metalloid action. You might be surprised to find out that it is regularly added to the feed of chicken and turkeys. Why? Because it makes their blood vessels pinker, thus more appetizing.

Arsenic is a known carcinogen and interferes with DNA methylation and NRA transcription, causing epigenetic changes (1) Not something you want in a population of people who consumes chicken breasts by the ton!

2. Coal Tar

Ever wondered where the food coloring “red 40” and “yellow 5” came from? It’s coal tar. Now you know!

They conveniently add colors to anything from candies to cheese to pickles. But they are also potent neuro-toxins that attack the nervous cells and the brain. Thus causing brain degeneration. They are also linked to ADD and ADHD in children. In fact, cutting out sources of these chemicals is one of the first dietary intervention I advise during my Metabolic Analytics seminars (2, 3).

Tartrazine, the yellow 5 extracted from tar, is more commonly present in industrial, packaged food. And is literally everywhere. This list from Wikipedia will have you checking for a gastroscopy to see if your stomach looks like a napalm burned field.

It can be found in:

Desserts and sweets:

Ice cream, ice pops and popsicles, confectionery and hard candy (such as gummy bears, Peeps marshmallow treats, etc.), cotton candy, instant puddings and gelatin (such as Jell-O), cake mixes, pastries (such as Pillsbury pastries), custard powder, marzipan, biscuits and cookies.


Soft drinks (such as Mountain Dew), energy and sports drinks, powdered drink mixes (such as Kool-Aid), fruit cordials, and flavored/mixed alcoholic beverages.


Flavored corn chips (such as Doritos, nachos, etc.), chewing gum, popcorn (both microwave and cinema-popped), and potato chips.

Condiments and spreads:

Jam, jelly (including mint jelly), marmalade, mustard, horseradish, pickles (and other products containing pickles such as tartar sauce and dill pickle dip), and processed sauces.

Other processed foods:

Cereal (such as corn flakes, muesli, etc.), instant or “cube” soups), rices (like paella, risotto, etc.), noodles (such as some varieties of Kraft Dinner) and pureed fruit.

3. Bromine

This halogen metalloid is a close relative to iodine, chlorine and fluorine. While all the halogens except iodine are toxic, they share a closeness that makes them more dangerous. Indeed, they can replace one another on the thyroid receptor sites. Which will be causing hypothyroid issues obviously. This is bad news since bromine is the whitening agent used in table salt. It is additionally used in most commercial baked goods as a bulking agent that also speeds cooking.

So if you want to stay healthy, eat things a caveman would have had access to. Hence, bagel are out of the equation since last time I checked, there was not bagel tree on the planet. You can never go wrong with what mother Nature provides.

Stay healthy,

Coach Charles R. Poliquin


1) Baccarelli, A.; Bollati, V. (2009). “Epigenetics and environmental chemicals”.Current Opinion in Pediatrics 21 (2): 243–251

2) Rowe KS, Rowe KJ (Nov 1994). “Synthetic food coloring and behavior: a dose response effect in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, repeated-measures study”.J Pediatr 125 (5 Pt 1): 691–698

3) Donna McCann et al. (2007). “Food additives and hyperactive behaviour in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the community: a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial”. The Lancet 370 (9598): 1560–1567