You’ve been told all your life that high fructose corn syrup is the evil of all evils, but you might be mistaken. Although high fructose corn syrup has been shown to increase the risk of getting obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease, there are worse food additives out there.

If food companies continue to use all of these highly processed ingredients, Twinkies might outlive us after all. We’re here to make sure that doesn’t happen. Here’s a ranking of five food additives that are even worse for you than corn syrup.

5. Titanium dioxide

For any of you chemistry majors out there, it sounds just like what it is: a solid metal oxide. Used as a white coloring for toothpaste, sunscreen and even paint, this chemical killer is also found in food like milk, marshmallows, cheese and mayonnaise.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer lists it as a potential carcinogen in humans. It is also associated with neurological and immune disorders.

food additive

Photo by Kelley Buck

4. Yellow coloring

Also known as artificial No. 5 & 6, it has been found to enhance ADD in children. In fact, Norway and Sweden both banned the usage of this additive and the European Union has strict labeling requirements when it is used. However, this hasn’t stopped the United States from using it in mac and cheese, sodas, chips and other popular snacks.

food additive

Photo by Annie Madole

3. Caramel coloring

causes cancer. In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer labeled this chemical as possibly carcinogenic because it mutates our DNA into a cancer blueprint for the body to replicate.  Soda isn’t so sweet after all.

food additive

Photo by Kavya George

2. Brominated vegetable oil

Who knew Mountain Dew and rocket fuel have aa common ingredient? Bromine, the main component in brominated vegetable oil, is a poisonous and corrosive chemical that causes major damage to organ systems, birth defects, schizophrenia, hypothyroidism and cancer. This food additive is so scary that it has been banned in Europe, India and Japan.

food additive

Photo by Ashton Caudle


Although this preservative has been found to cause cancer in three different species tested (which defines it as a carcinogen) the Food and Drug Administration proceeds to give it the seal of approval for food industries to use in cereal, chips and vegetable oil products. At least Europe, Australia and Japan are protecting their citizens from this killer.

food additive

Photo by Rohan Bajaj

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