Clean Eating: What I Learned in Eastern Europe About Food Ingredients and Additives

In this episode of “Wake Up with Patti Katter,” we dive into the world of clean eating and explore the stark contrasts between food ingredients in the United States and Eastern Europe. During my recent travels through Eastern Europe, I noticed the food tasted fresher and had fewer additives. This experience highlighted the significant differences in food standards between these regions.

Discovering Clean Eating in Eastern Europe:

  • European foods often use fewer and more natural ingredients compared to American foods.
  • Stricter regulations in Europe limit the use of artificial additives and preservatives, resulting in cleaner and more wholesome foods.

Common Additives in American Foods and Their Effects:

  • Artificial Colors: Used to enhance the appearance of food but linked to hyperactivity and potential carcinogenic effects. Banned in many European countries.
  • High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS): A cheap sweetener associated with obesity and diabetes, less prevalent in Europe where sugar is often used instead.
  • Partially Hydrogenated Oils (Trans Fats): Improve texture and shelf life but increase the risk of heart disease. Many countries have banned their use, though they are still found in some US products.
  • Preservatives like BHA and BHT: Prevent oxidation but have been linked to cancer. Restricted or banned in Europe, yet common in US foods.
  • Sodium Nitrate and Nitrite: Used in processed meats but linked to cancer risks. Strictly limited in Europe.

Why Clean Eating Matters:

  • Health Benefits: Reduces exposure to harmful chemicals and supports overall health. Clean eating helps with weight management and lowers the risk of chronic diseases.
  • Better Taste and Quality: Foods made with natural ingredients have a richer, more authentic flavor and are typically higher in quality.
  • Environmental Impact: Supports sustainable farming practices that are better for the environment and reduces reliance on harmful industrial methods.

Clean Eating Beyond Food:

  • Cosmetics: Many products contain harmful chemicals absorbed through the skin. Choosing clean, natural cosmetics reduces exposure to substances linked to health issues.
  • Baby Products: American baby formulas often have additives like corn syrup solids. European formulas are known for stricter ingredient standards and fewer artificial additives.

Making the Switch to Clean Products:

  • Read Labels: Check ingredients for simple, recognizable components and avoid long lists of chemicals.
  • Do Your Research: Learn about ingredient standards in other countries and choose products meeting higher standards.
  • Choose Natural: Opt for items with natural ingredients and avoid synthetic additives.
  • Start Small: Replace a few key items with cleaner alternatives and gradually make more changes.

Clean eating involves choosing whole, natural foods and avoiding products with artificial additives. My travels in Eastern Europe underscored the benefits of consuming foods with high-quality ingredients. In the US, the widespread use of additives in processed foods is concerning, leading many to seek cleaner options from international sources. Clean eating also extends to products like cosmetics and baby formula, where choosing natural ingredients can reduce exposure to harmful chemicals. I encourage you to start reading labels, doing your research, and making small changes towards cleaner, healthier choices.

For more content and resources on clean eating and living a healthier life, visit Thank you for joining me today. Until next time, stay healthy and make mindful choices for your well-being.

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