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Beware!! The food you eat may contain petroleum based additives!!

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

Markets are flooded with numerous options of packaged food that flash very healthy labels on the front! The real information lies in the Ingredients list which is on the behind of the pack!! The Food industry is fooling us to buy convenient easy food by putting such labels on the front whereas when you check the ingredient list, it is laden with toxic chemicals that are carcinogenic! Did you know many of them are petroleum additives!! Let's find out more…..

I have been through a phase of eating out of packets and feeding myself all processed food as I was unable to cope up with my hectic work schedules as a Structural design engineer! This led to a spiral of nasty health issues which left me clueless as what is going on with my body??

With an intention to get back to good health and being fit, I was determined to do the required research that will make me feel energetic and free from all the diseases I was falling prey to!! Little did I know at that time, that the only problem was my mindless intake of processed food that are laden with harmful chemicals!

This blog is just to bring awareness about the huge amount of toxic chemicals we are letting in our body unknowingly!

Making informed and conscious decisions regarding your diet will help you a long way to a disease free and healthy life.


The most profound finding was to always check the food labels. There is a simple thumb rule that If you find additives with chemical names that you might have not heard of, then it most probably does not deserve to be on your plate. You can search up details on the ingredients in it then make that decision to include it in your diet. I did follow this simple thumb rule and experienced immense improvement in my health!

Be it biscuits, chips, ready to cook foods, stock cubes, cereals, Frozen foods etc. etc.. basically anything you pick from the aisle of a supermarket, first read the labels! Unknowingly you might be just loading your system with carcinogenic and other harmful chemicals that might lead to some chronic disease eventually! Most of them are petrochemical additives!! Can you believe it!


The most common synthetic additives that are petroleum based and found in most store bought packaged snacks like biscuits, cookies, chips etc. are,

  • Benzoic acid.

  • Sodium Benzoate.

  • Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)

  • Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)

  • TBHQ (Tertiary-butyl hydroquinone)

As you see, above names itself give you the sense of complex chemicals. They are extremely detrimental to your health. Most of them are carcinogenic or can trigger other health issues. Snacking on them can be like a slow poison. There are so many ways we are letting petrochemicals into our bodies.


Lately during this pandemic I wanted to stock up on some savory Indian snacks, I found a few, even though they did not have any additives but it was cooked in "Cotton seed oil and palm oil". Cotton is supposed to be the most dirty crop which is mostly genetically modified and laden with petrochemical pesticides! Oil from cotton seeds is a big NO, Unless the cotton seed oil is certified organic.

If you missed reading our previous blog on Organic cotton then you can read it here.

It will explain you how conventional organic cotton farming can help the soil, water and plant moreover is free from toxic chemicals sprayed on them.

Palm oil is very famously known to be genetically modified and palm tree farming has caused tremendous destruction to our Amazon forests leading to global warming.

So well I opted for preparing home cooked healthy snacks for my kid.


While baking cakes and cookies the most common ingredient that is used is Vanilla essence and baking powder.

Most of the Vanilla essence brands available in market are artificial flavors and if you see the ingredients, it says Vanillin. Many ingredients are quite deceptive from their names! Example: Vanillin - It is an artificially prepared vanilla flavor from petrochemicals and wood pulp! Try to find a genuine natural vanilla essence in an organic store near you.

Did you know your kitchen staple Baking powder contains aluminium which is a neuro toxin. To know more on health side effects of aluminium you can read the blog here.

Hence always check for ingredients and buy aluminium free baking powder.


Always stay away from artificial colors or artificial flavors. They are made of petrochemicals. NATURAL flavors too might be made from natural ingredients but processed with many synthetic chemicals.

Unfortunately the bright colored candies found in stores are laden with artificial colors and flavors that are all petrochemical based. It is in the better health of our kids to keep them away from these candies. According to research the food color called Tartrazine that is used in some candies is linked to cause ADHD Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in kids.

Main reason of so many additives in the packaged food is only to increase their shelf life, enhance its flavors and make it cost effective and profitable for the business. Freshly cooked snacks cannot stay fresh for very long.


Recently we all are becoming aware of this issue of chemical laden fresh produce!

It is highly recommended to pick certified organic fresh local produce, grains, spices etc. including packaged food products.

USDA certification products are grown organically without the use of GMO and toxic herbicides like glyphosate which is famously known as "ROUNDUP". According to International Agency of research on cancer, Glyphosate is linked to be cancerous and can trigger a host of many other health issues. These toxic chemical fertilizers and pesticides are made from petrochemicals.


There is plenty of healthy brands that are creating some amazing healthy snacks and food. Hence educate yourself and pick the right food for the health and wellness of yourself and your loved ones.

I earnestly suggest to my readers to explore the resources from a famous nutritionist "Vani Hari" also known as the "Food Babe" to know in detail about the harmful additives added to your packaged food. She has done an extensive study on these harmful additives and also initiated so many petitions against big brands to change their ingredients and make it safe for consumers. Her Website is a great guide to understand the food labels and make healthy choices.

Now there are options to healthy snacks but you just need to read the labels and pick the right ones...Preferably freshly hand cooked snacks are the best! If you do not cook yourself then you can always get them from small businesses who are working really hard to get freshly cooked healthy snacks and food for your convenience! Support small businesses in your community and ditch those additive laden packets.

Try and eat organic as much as possible and try to buy certified organic food as that will ensure you of getting genuine organic food. Organic food might be a little expensive at present but very low compared to the money we will have to pour in our health issues. The more we consume organic that will be the normal and will be more affordable down the line, along with good side effects of reviving our soil health, groundwater etc. must say will give a new life to our Planet.

The Industrial revolution in agriculture is harming our entire ecosystem and leading to droughts, desertification of rich farm lands, water shortage, soil erosion, climate change and reducing the quality of the food grown with reduced nutrients and more chemicals in it. We as consumers can choose to eat healthy and deny buying the cheap food options so the Food industry will have no other choice but to work on getting us healthy nutrient food.

Eating Local food produce and supporting our local farmers will help us tackle the health crisis and our survival by reviving our Eco system and tackling issues like climate change. You can also opt to grow your own veggies and fruits in your backyard if possible.


Food Fix, #1 bestselling author Mark Hyman

Written & Compiled by Pallavi Santhapuram

Disclaimer: This blog is for information purpose only and is not intended to change anybody’s personal views. All the information provided in this blog is true to the best of my knowledge, but there may be omissions, errors or mistakes. The blog should not be seen as advice of medical, legal or any other type. I reserve the right to change or update the focus or content on my published or upcoming blogs at any time.The information within this article is researched and compiled from the references provided.

THE ECO LOOP and the author is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article. The suggestions or opinions appearing in the article are just the authors views. THE ECO LOOP does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

1 Comment

Well researched, useful and informative write up particularly under the present circumstances of prevalence of COVID-19 Pandemic.

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