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So I was eating a bag of chips the other day, and for the most part, I trust some of the chemicals that are listed on the ingredients of "natural" chips. But 2 ingredients caught my attention: Disodium Guanylate, and disodium inosinate. I decided to check them out, and was horrified when I dug deeper.
First, I found that disodium guanylate is a flavor enhancer. No big deal, right? Salt is a flavor enhancer. But the wiki article I read specifically mentioned that this ingredient does only 2 things. first, it enhances flavor. Second, it causes cancer. Guanylate is an amino acid that inserts itself into your DNA and disrupts the chain. I'd get into the specifics, but it gets really scientific. The end result is that it is absolutely terrible for you.
As I kept searching, I found some more articles on Guanylates. The most famous is MSG (monosodium guanylate). This ingredient, and the disodium form, is actually made from dried fish. While manufactures used to be able to list it as "spices", on their ingredients list, that practice was banned by the FDA. You'd think that was great, right? Not really. In order to get around telling consumers that their products cause cancer, companies started calling MSG "Natural flavors".
Now I don't want you to think that "natural flavors" automatically means MSG, but it very easily could, and you'll never know. So what you should take from this is that when you see "natural flavors" on any ingredients list, you could very easily be eating dried fish flakes. For those vegetarians who don't eat fish, you may want to be extra careful.
I know that it would just be better to always cook your own food, but let's be real: that isn't always possible. Snack foods are just easy sometimes. I know I like quick snacks.
Sorry if this destroys your worldview on what you can buy from Whole Foods, and other natural food stores. But along with the post I made warning against Agave, a few years ago, if you're concerned about what you put into your body, you really need to be careful of who you trust wit your food.