16 Shocking Ingredients Found in Beer

Are you guys familiar with the Food Babe? If you aren’t, she’s a popular food blogger who investigates the truth about the food we’re putting into our bodies. She mostly investigates the harmful ingredients in processed foods, but last Wednesday, she did a comprehensive piece on the ingredients found in beer.

Here are 16 shocking ingredients she found in many of the beers sold in America:

1. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

2. Propylene Glycol – an ingredient found in anti-freeze

3. Calcium Disodium EDTA – made from formaldehyde, sodium cyanide, and Ethylenediamine

4. Many different types of sulfites and anti-microbial preservatives, linked to allergies and asthma

5. “Natural” Flavors – some of which come from a beaver’s anal gland

6. High Fructose Corn Syrup

7. GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) Sugars – dextrose, corn syrup

8. Caramel Coloring – Class III or IV made from ammonia and classified as a carcinogen

9. FD&C Blue 1 – made from petroleum, linked to allergies, asthma, and hyperactivity

10. FD&C Red 40 – made from petroleum, linked to allergies, asthma, and hyperactivity

11. FD&C Yellow 5 – made from petroleum, linked to allergies, asthma, and hyperactivity

12. Insect-Based Dyes – carmine derived from cochineal insects to color the beer

13. Animal Based Clarifiers – findings include isinglass (dried fish bladder), gelatin (from skin, connective tissue, and bones), and casein (found in milk)

14. Foam Control – used for head retention (potentially derived from animal parts)

15. BPA (Bisphenol A) – a component in many can liners, BPA can mimic the female hormone estrogen and may affect sperm count and other organ functions

16. Carrageenan  – linked to inflammation in the digestive system, IBS, and considered a carcinogen in some circumstances

If you’re anything like me, you probably read this list and saw nothing but a mess of big, scientific words. My mind doesn’t work that way either. But the Food Babe does a really great job breaking it all down so anyone can understand it.

If you’re concerned about the beer you drink, she has a list of 5 questions worth asking before purchasing a beer:

1.  What are the ingredients in the beer, from start to finish?

2.  Are any of the ingredients GMO?

3.  Does the brewer use any soy, corn, or rice processing ingredients, like dextrose or corn syrup?

4.  Do they add any natural, artificial flavors or colors to the beer, like yellow #5, caramel coloring, red #40, or MSG?

5.  Are there any additional preservatives, stabilizers, and/or clarifying agents added to the beer during processing? (Examples include: propylene glycol, Calcium Disodium EDTA, or anything ending in “sulfite”)

She also suggests going with German beers and craft brands if you’re looking for a safe bet, but you should still ask those five questions with any beer you’re trying for the first time.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Food Babe’s beer investigation, check out the full blog post here.

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