Wednesday, October 6, 2010
0 Consumer Health Watch: Cinnamon Consumption Advisory
I've decided to create a new series called "Consumer Health Watch," which will provide important information, updates, & advisories about food composition and quality. As the food industry and FDA frankly aren't currently doing an adequate job of policing the food production situation on their own, I'm starting this article series to help create more awareness about the products manufactured by the food industry. This way, you can be armed with the proper information to protect yourself and your family, and to make sure you're fully aware of what you're feeding your family and putting into your body. As they say, the body is a temple, and I hope that the knowledge provided in these "Consumer Health Watch" articles will help you to be a healthier & more informed consumer.
While it's true that this blog already contains a number of nutrition tips and provides lots of information about the health value & benefits of various foods, this blog's new "Consumer Health Watch" series clearly serves an entirely different purpose.
Then, she proceeded to give a mini-primer on the health concerns surrounding imitation cinnamon. I thought to myself, "Geez, I wonder how many people are aware of this information? Maybe I should send out an email to my friends & family to let them know about it." And then, I thought, "While I'm at it, why not write a blog post about it to inform even more people of these concerns?!" So, that's how the whole idea got started.
Anyhow, let's get down to the details of this advisory: As you may or may not be aware, there are actually four types of "cinnamon." Of the four primary sources of "cinnamon" used in cooking, Ceylon cinnamon is the only "true" form of cinnamon. Unlike the Saigon, Cassia, & Burmannii varieties -- all of which contain high amounts of coumarin (i.e., up to 1200 times the amount contained in Ceylon cinnamon), a toxic compound that negatively affects the nervous system, respiratory system, digestive tract, liver, and kidneys -- Ceylon cinnamon is not toxic.
coumarin can potentially cause internal hemorrhage and death. The truly frightening thing about coumarin is that this is the same ingredient found in commercial grade rat poison! Do you really want to put that in your body?! I know I sure don't. :)
Despite the ban of coumarin as a food additive in numerous countries (including the United States, since 1978) since the mid-20th century, vanillin, the compound used in imitation vanilla, as well as chamomile (an ingredient found in many herbal teas) and many tobacco products also contain high levels of coumarin. Also, the FDA still permits some natural additives containing coumarin "in alcoholic beverages only." So, be careful about monitoring your consumption of these products as well.
When you buy vanilla, be sure to look for the words, "pure vanilla extract." Also, please be aware that some products labelled as "vanilla" actually contain a mixture of vanilla extract AND vanillin.
Of course, it's always a good idea, in general, to read the labels of any food products you buy.
I hope that you've found this article to be informative and useful!