There are three food additives that other countries ban but the Food and Drug Administration says are acceptable for American consumers.
1. Ractopamine: This beta-agonist is used to increase meatiness in 30 percent to 50 percent of cows, hogs and turkeys raised in North America. Russia stopped imports of North American meats because of ractopamine residue, and 160 countries ban its use in livestock. Why? Beta-agonists in pork sickened hundreds in China and long-term consumption may trigger ADHD and chromosomal changes. Solution: Always opt for ractopamine-free organic turkey.
2. Brominated vegetable oil (BVO): Used to help sodas and fruit-flavored drinks retain their artificial coloring, brominate (a flame retardant) may cause neurological problems, changes in thyroid hormones and early-onset puberty. It's banned by 100 countries. Solution: Read beverage labels, and don't buy ones with BVO - and stick with no-sugar-added natural beverages, water and black coffee or even caffeinated water.
3. Olestra: A fat-blocker added to snacks like chips inhibits absorption of fat-soluble vitamins E, D, A and K and may cause dangerous declines in beta-carotene and lycopene levels. Canada and the U.K. say no. Solution: Reduce your fat absorption by eliminating saturated and trans fats from your plate; choose heart-friendly olive oil, walnuts, almonds and omega-3 fatty acids.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.