Cool Whip = Less Fat, More Cancer?

My husband randomly bought Cool Whip thinking it would be a nice treat for our daughters (to mix it with some fresh fruit). Looking at the ingredient list I immediately refused to feed our children with this. Cool Whip Lite says, that it "has 50% less fat than regular whipped topping". This is nice to know if we don't want to get fat, you might think, but in fact it contains chemicals and toxins that contribute to cause of cancer or other degenerative diseases. 

I decided to write this post to help people realize how important it is to read labels on all items you buy in the grocery stores. General rules for conscious shopping from my perspective are:

  • Be conscious of what you eat, that means you should read what's inside that jar, box or package of food you just bought. 
  • If you can't pronounce the words you see, you should not eat it. 
  • If the list of ingredients is more than 5, it is a sign of highly processed food. 
  • If you can't eat it, don't put it on your body. 
  • The best option is to buy organic, but maybe not always possible (cost, availability). At least try to be aware of what you are buying.

Let's look at the ingredients of Cool Whip together and start deciphering.

Water, Corn Syrup, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Coconut and Palm Kernel Oils), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Less than Two Percent of Sodium Caseinate (from Milk), Natural and Artificial Flavor, Modified Food Starch, Xanthan and Guar Gums, Polysorbate 60, Sorbitan Monostearate, Sodium Polyphosphates, Beta Carotene (Color). 

Except 2 ingredients, one of which is water, there's nothing natural about this stuff. These chemicals and additives are known to be toxic to human health. 

Corn Syrup or High Fructose Corn Syrup: is the simplest and cheapest way to substitute sugar. Princeton University recently found that corn syrup causes stronger weight gain than regular table sugar — and may also contribute more heavily to obesity and diabetes. And recent studies show it may also contain trace amounts of mercury, which may cause cancer, reproductive disorders and a myriad of degenerative diseases.

Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil:  is a manufactured product produced by taking a normal vegetable oil and adding metal as a catalyst. The mixture is heated and hydrogen is forced through it. The hydrogen attaches to the unsaturated vegetable oil. If there’s enough hydrogen, you end up with saturated fat. It turns out that our bodies can’t deal properly with hydrogenated vegetable oil. The hydrogenation changes the shape of the fat molecule (from a cis fat into a trans fat) which our bodies cannot recognize and do not deal with properly. Trans fat provides no known nutritional benefit, and is implicated in heart disease and diabetes. The National Academy of Sciences has concluded that there is no safe level of trans fat consumption. (The major sources of hydrogenated vegetable oil in the western diet are margarines, commercial baked goods, and fast foods fried in hydrogenated vegetable oil).

Sodium Caseinate: this dairy derivative has been linked to autism, brain malfunctions and allergies.

Xanthan and Guar Gums:  xanthan gum is made by fermenting corn sugar with a bacteria, Xanthomonas campestris. It’s the same bacteria that creates black spots on broccoli and cauliflower. The result is a gooey and sticky substance that is then dried up and ground into a fine white powder. Xanthan gum helps to prevent oil separation by stabilizing the emulsion, although it is not an emulsifier. Used in frozen foods and beverages, xanthan gum helps create the pleasant texture in many ice creams, along with guar gum and locust bean gum. Toothpaste often contains xanthan gum, where it serves as a binder to keep the product uniform. Xanthan gum may be derived from a variety of sources such as corn, wheat, or soy. If you're not allergic to one of these, Xanthan gum is (allegedly) safe to eat. 

Polysorbate 60: polysorbates are made by polymerizing ethylene oxide (a precursor to antifreeze) with a sugar alcohol derivative. The result can be a detergent, an emulsifier, or, in the case of polysorbate 60, a major ingredient in some sexual lubricants.Used in foods and beauty products, this chemically-derived emulsifier has been linked to organ toxicity, diarrhea and tumors in lab mice.

Sorbitan Monostearate: now come on, how beautiful word to name an ingredient in the food! This chemically-derived substance is commonly referred to as “synthetic wax”. In numerous studies, this substance has been linked to skin, eye and respiratory irritants to stomach disruptions.

Sodium Polyphosphates: it is a generic term for any sodium salt of phosphoric acid. Its granular or powder form serves as an emulsifier. Although, chemical industry argues that this additive has been well studied and is generally safe to use, it is still a chemical, that can carry some health risks, like skin irritation or lowering blood pressure.

Natural and Artificial Flavors: this could really be anything! It is a trade secret. That means the company doesn't have to disclose the specific flavorings.

On Kraft's website I also found that there is Cool Whip Sugar Free option available, but when you look at the ingredients, you see this:

Water, Corn Syrup*, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Coconut and Palme Kernel Oils), less than two percent of Sodium caseinate (from milk), Natural and aAtificial flavor, Modified Food Starch, Xanthan and Guar Gums, Polysorbate 60, Sorbitan Monostearate, Sodium Polyphosphates, Acesulfame Potassium and Aspartame** (sweeteners), Beta Carotene (color). *adds a trivial amount of sugar.

So this Cool Whip is not really sugar free, because it contains CORN SYRUP as a second ingredient! Besides ingredients mentioned above, this one also has 

Acesulfame Potassium: is one of the several artificial sweeteners. It is a product of Acetoacetic acid. It is known to be 180 - 200 times sweeter than table sugar, and adds sweetness to foods without adding calories or fat. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), this chemical additive has not undergone a thorough research and it may pose potential threat to health. Acesulfame Potassium may possess carcinogenic properties as some tests on rats caused tumors.

Aspartame: is a dipeptide of aspartic acid and a methyl ester of phenylalanine and it is approved for use in pharmaceutical products and is being used increasingly in chewable tablet and sugar-free formulations. Aspartame is the technical name for the brand names NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, and Equal-Measure. Aspartame changes the ratio of amino acids in the blood, blocking or lowering the levels of serotonin, tyrosine, dopamine, norepinephrine and adrenaline. It dissolves into solution and can travel throughout the body and deposit within any tissue. The body digests aspartame unlike saccharin, which doesn't break down within humans. There are over 90 different health side effects associated with aspartame consumption! Brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, mental retardation, birth defects, fibromyalgia, diabetes are just a few to mention. I would have to dedicate one separate blog post to name all side effects  and dangers of aspartame. According to Dr. Mercola, aspartame is the most dangerous substance added to the food. 

Seeing these ingredients I rather have a giant spoon of real, buttery whipped cream made of organic whipping cream plus few calories with it than a bunch of chemicals, that can harm my body more aggressively than just making me 12 g fatter. 

Remember, if the products say LITE, FAT FREE, SUGAR FREE or DIET, it doesn't mean they will make you healthy nor thin. Without investigating what's behind the words on labels, we are eating unnatural chemically processed items, not even to be called "food".

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