Additives & contaminants
You can dodge risky food additives (like aspartame and food dyes) if you know what to look for. But it’s trickier to sidestep contaminants (like endocrine disruptors and mercury) that don’t show up on a food label.
What to watch
Our Chemical Cuisine guide to additives
CSPI ranks food additives—from “safe” to “avoid”—in this definitive rating of the chemicals used to preserve foods and affect their taste, texture, or appearance.
Artificial and “low-calorie” sweeteners
Some sugar substitutes are safe. Others can give you GI distress if you eat too much. And some of the most common artificial sweeteners pose a risk of cancer that’s small…but troubling. We tell you which are which.
The low-down on low-calorie sweeteners
Do they cause weight gain, cravings, or diabetes? Here’s what the latest evidence shows.
What to know as companies cut added sugars
Not all sweeteners are alike
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals like BPA and phthalates that can interfere with estrogen, testosterone, thyroid hormone, insulin, or other hormones. They don’t just show up in our food (and its plastic packaging), but in cosmetics and other personal care products.
Other chemicals and contaminants in food
Looking for seafood that’s lower in mercury?
Safe and healthy grilling tips
How to cut down on acrylamide
What’s in your tap water?
Caffeine is safe for most (non-pregnant) adults if they don’t overdo it. But caffeine—and especially energy drinks—have downsides, so don’t get carried away.
Our chart of caffeine in foods, drinks, supplements, and more
The FDA doesn’t require companies to disclose caffeine, but many voluntarily do. We track how much caffeine is in their coffees, teas, kombuchas, sodas, energy drinks, coffee ice creams and yogurts, energy chews, over-the-counter pills, and more.
Is caffeine helping or harming your health?
Too much caffeine can do harm, but lower levels of caffeine (or coffee) have been linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, better exercise performance, and other health outcomes in non-pregnant adults.
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