In my #1 best-selling book Food Sanity, How to Eat in a World of Fads and Fiction, I expose many toxic chemicals that are used in our food supply. One such chemical is called titanium dioxide, a key ingredient found in sunscreen, paint, plastics, textiles and other industrial products. It’s responsible for its white color. Research has shown, small exposure of titanium dioxide can negatively affect the intestinal mucosa, the brain, heart, and other internal organs. This can lead to an increased risk of developing many diseases, tumors or the grown of existing cancer.
Would it surprise you to learn that this toxic chemical is also used to make salad dressings, cheese, coffee creamers, and icing? Titanium dioxide helps make these foods bright white and opaque and also adds creaminess to low-fat foods. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified titanium dioxide as an IARC Group 2B carcinogen, which means it is possibly carcinogenic to humans. When rats were exposed to titanium dioxide dust, this produced an increased incidence of lung adenomas and squamous-cell carcinomas. Having a 2B classification means there is some evidence of carcinogenicity in humans which is why it gets labeled as “possibly carcinogenic” instead of “probably carcinogenic,” (Group 2A classification.) To me, this is like splitting hairs. If someone poured a minuscule amount of arsenic poison into your spaghetti, and told you, “The amount is so small there’s only a possibility you’ll get cancer,” would you eat it? Arsenic poison doesn’t’ belong in your spaghetti just like titanium dioxide shouldn’t be used to make salad dressing!
This brings me to my biggest pet peeve! The EPA labels thousands of toxic chemicals in our food and water as “within safe limits” but how is this accurately determined? Let’s assume a healthy 200-pound adult consumes the same amount of ranch dressing with titanium oxide as his 38 pound ten-year-old son does. That’s the equivalent, based on body weight, of this ten-year old consuming six times more titanium dioxide than his father. Do you really think it’s fair for the EPA to say the amount of toxic titanium dioxide swallowed by this ten-year-old is within safe limits? What about someone who eats a salad every day with ranch dressing compared to another person that only consumes one salad per month? Can the EPA honestly expect us to believe both of these people are consuming a “safe” amount of titanium dioxide?
When humans eat titanium dioxide, this creates an inflammatory response of the intestinal tract that may lead to swelling in the bowel, which can cause an increased risk of colon cancer. Researchers have found traces of titanium dioxide present in all people that have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and colon cancer. That’s right, ALL of them. Doesn’t that take the risk way beyond the IARC Group 2B classification of “possibly” causing cancer?
Research conducted by the University of Sydney investigated the effects of titanium dioxide on gut health and found that it affected bacteria activity and promoted their growth in the form of undesired biofilm. Biofilms are bacteria that stick together and the formation of biofilm has been reported in diseases such as colorectal cancer. People with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and other bowel disorders are at greater risk and should avoid all food that contains this compound.
How to avoid Titanium Dioxide?
To avoid consuming this unnatural and “possibly” carcinogenic compound, read your food labels! Don’t fall for the common belief that just because something is sold at the grocery store it’s approved as being safe for human consumption. I could write a hundred blog posts on all the chemicals that were once considered “safe” by the FDA that ended up getting pulled off the market due to thousands of people getting sick and/or dying.
Instead of Ranch, Caesar, or Blue Cheese dressing, go with Italian and Vinaigrette dressings, which do not contain titanium dioxide. These white options also contain more calories because they are cream-based. If you can’t live without white salad dressing, try making your own at home. It’s actually quite easy and tastes so much better than store-bought salad dressings.
Here’s a great video sharing some easy to make homemade salad dressings:
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