Receive Alzheimer's treatment and prevention news and analysis from our experts.


7 Toxic Food Additives to Avoid on the Alzheimer’s Diet

Posted by on Friday, July 12th, 2013

New research has questioned whether or not several food additives, like artificial sweeteners, may cause more harm then good. When it comes to reducing risk for Alzheimer’s and memory loss, the new book The Alzheimer’s Diet suggests several tips on how to make more Brain-Healthier food choices. Recent studies have shown that these sweeteners may actually increase weight gain and diabetes, but should these and other food additives should you avoid for maintaining the Alzheimer’s diet?

For some time the food industry has created more and more processed foods chock full of all sorts of chemicals, refined grains, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), and more.  The food supply has been transformed by the food industry in order to improve everything from the time span products can sit on the shelf to  the flavor and attractiveness. Foods have even been genetically modified so that they won’t attract insects (in order to save money on pesticides).

Food Additives NOT for Alzheimer's diet

Image Source:


Many nutritional experts feel that chemicals used to manipulate foods are actually toxic in the body and that they have a high probability of promoting disease.  Many artificial sweeteners, food additives, and preservatives have been linked to cancer, heart disease, obesity, causing skin conditions,   and cognitive disorders.  There has even been a connection made between some food additives and ADHD.


“For numerous suspicious and disturbing reasons, the U.S. has allowed foods that are banned in many other developed countries into our food supply,” says nutritionist Mira Calton who, together with her husband Jayson Calton, Ph.D., wrote the new book Rich Food, Poor Food.  The Caltons observed over 150 different food chemicals and came up with a list of foods to avoid due to their negative effects in the body.

“If you see any of the following ingredients listed on the nutrition label, don’t buy the product,” Calton warns. “Leaving these banned bad boys on the shelves will speak volumes to grocery stores and food producers about what informed consumers simply won’t tolerate.”  Visit to read the  list of foods that are toxic.

What Foods to Avoid on the Alzheimer’s Diet?

Avoid Food Additives on the Alzheimer's diet

Image Source:

Aside from diets high in processed carbohydrates, high-fructose corn syrup, fried/fatty foods, and an assortment of of other Brain-UNhealthy foods, Some additional food additives on the list of those that may be higher in toxicity that could be avoided on the Alzheimer’s diet include;

1. Sodium Nitrite/Nitrate- this chemical is used as a preservative for meat such as bacon and ham, hot dogs,  lunch meat, and other meats.  Nitrates are known to form a carcinogen called nitrosamines which have been found in studies to cause rectal, esophageal, and stomach cancer. Nitrates have also been linked to Diabetes, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s disease.

2. A Diet High in Artificial Sweeteners-these chemicals such as NutraSweet and Equal are found in sugar free soft drinks, table sweeteners, and sugar free gum and even in vitamins and breathe mints.  While there is no clear evidence that these “cause” Alzheimer’s or memory loss, individuals who have large amounts of these sweeteners may inadvertently have a higher intake of sugary carbs throught the day. Further study is necessary, and as such, these should be used in moderation.

3. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) – a common flavor enhancer used for seasonings, soups, lunch meats and in restaurant food such as Chinese food.  MSG has been known to be responsible for adverse side effects including; rashes, hives, cardiac arrhythmias, fatigue, headaches, and even depression and obesity.

Toxic chemicals to avoid on the Alzheimer's diet

Image Source:

4. BHA and BHT-these  waxy substances used to prevent foods from becoming rancid, are found in cereal, chewing gum, butter, beer, chips, and vegetable oil.  These chemicals have been found to cause problems with the nervous system and potentially to cause cancer. 

5.Olestra (aka Olean)- a chemical used in fat free potato chips that has been found to cause unmentionable side effects as well as depleting fat soluble vitamins and carotenoids.  This food additive was banned in Canada and the U.K.

6. Artificial coloring agents such as blue 1, blue 2, yellow 5, and yellow 6- found in many different foods including sport drinks, cheese, candy, cake mixes, and more.  According to Shape Magazine, “Recent studies have shown that when food manufacturers left foods in their natural, often beige-like color instead of coloring them with these chemical agents, individuals thought they tasted bland and ate less, even when the recipe wasn’t altered,” Calton says. Most of these artificial dyes are made from coal tar which is also used to kill lice and other small bugs.  Many countries such as the U.K. and Canada have banned this toxic chemical.

7. Hydrogenated Fats/Trans Fats- Trans Fats are hydrogenated oils which have been altered in order to increase the self life in food products.   These chemicals are commonly found in margarine, and hydrogenated vegetable oils.  These products have been known to increase bad cholesterol and lower HDL which is good cholesterol, thus increasing the risk of heart attacks and contributing to strokes, increased inflammation, and increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

In Conclusion

Keep in mind that not ALL food additives are bad for you.  Vitamin E used as a natural preservative is one example.   Now that you know what foods to avoid for Alzheimer’s prevention, why not pick up “The Alzheimer’s diet” book written by Harvard trained neurologist Richard Isaacson M.D. and Columbia-trained nutrition expert, Dr. Christopher Ochner, and learn which foods are recommend on the Alzheimer’s Diet>

For more easy to follow nutrition advice check out The Alzheimer’s Diet: A Step-by-Step Nutritional Approach to Memory Loss Prevention and Treatment, or visit to learn more about Neurologist, Dr. Richard Isaacson's 9 week diet plan and his cutting edge approach in the fight against AD in Alzheimer's Treatment | Alzheimer's Prevention: A Patient and Family Guide 2012 Edition. Also, sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates in AD treatment and prevention news.

Leave a Reply