The yoga mat on which you practice your sun salutations may also be an ingredient that you ingest. Subway recently announced that the company will be removing the chemical azodicarbonamide from its bread products. The same additive that gives Subway’s famous breads their buoyancy and lightness is also used as a foaming agent in yoga mats and flip flops.

While Subway has made this change to improve its “healthy” image, the news has spread that other chain restaurants, such as McDonalds and Arby’s, has also been using the same ingredient in its products. Even grocery products, including Smucker’s Uncrustables and Sara Lee’s breads, include azodicarbonamide.

Although azodicarbonamide is permitted for use by the Food and Drug’s Administration, this chemical is banned in Europe and Australia. Long-term effects of this chemical include asthma, respiratory problems, cancer, and skin irritation. The side effects may seem scary, but a 1999 World Health Organization study claims that these side effects tested on animals only occur when the chemical is ingested in massive doses.

The idea of a rubber and plastic-related ingredient in your food may not sound so appetizing, but there is currently no concrete evidence that consuming this chemical will create a significant negative health impact. So go ahead, say namaste and eat your favorite foods in peace.

For readers who want to make more natural breads, try this no-knead sandwich bread recipe from Food52.

What do you think about ingredients like azocarbonamide being added in everyday foods? Do you know of other ingredients that may surprise people? Do you believe they are harmful? Join the conversation below!


More good stuff here: