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Dr. Oz: Caramel coloring causes cancer, chia seeds speed weight loss

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Dr. Mehmet Oz discussed the dangers of cancer-causing ingredients in common household items on the March 21 episode of the Dr. Oz Show ("The Dangerous Ingredient Manufacturers Don't Want You Know About"). *This episode originally aired Jan. 24.

Dr. Oz said the chemical 4-MEI (4-Methylimidazole) is a caramel coloring used in many of your favorite foods, including soda, soy sauce, bread, gravies, and pancake syrup.

Dr. Oz's guest was Dr. Urvashi Rangan of Consumer Reports. Dr. Rangan said 4-MEI is a dangerous carcinogen that can cause cancer.

In March 2012, the Center for Science in the Public Interest estimated that 15,000 cancers could be caused by the 4-MEI currently in sodas.

Consumer Reports is pressuring the Food and Drug Administration to set limits for 4-MEI use in foods, and to stop food manufacturers from labeling products containing caramel coloring as "all-natural."

Today, there are many foods in stores that claim to be "all-natural" with "no artificial ingredients" when, in fact, they contain caramel coloring. Dr. Oz is outraged that people are unknowingly consuming carcinogens and exposing themselves to cancer.

Triclosan in Antibacterial Soap Disrupts Hormones

Dr. Oz said another common dangerous ingredient is a chemical called triclosan, which is found in antibacterial soap.

Heather White of the Environmental Working Group said triclosan (which is also used in pesticides) disrupts hormone function by wreaking havoc on your endocrine system. When your hormones get out of whack, you gain weight and experience chronic fatigue.

Ironically, triclosan (commonly used in antibacterial soaps) weakens your resistance to bacteria, making it easier for you to get sick. Dr. Oz said the following products contain triclosan:

  • Antibacterial soap
  • Deodorants
  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Food cutting boards
  • Antibacterial hand sanitizers.

Epsom Salt Baths and Foam Rollers Relieve Back Pain

Dr. Oz said almost everyone experiences back pain at some point. He said you can relieve back pain by doing the following:

Epsom salt bath. Take a 15-minute bath in epsom salt twice a week to relax your back muscles. On a previous episode, Dr. Oz said an epsom salt bath also helps your body release toxins and promotes weight loss (you can take an inch off your thighs and stomach with one bath).

Foam roller stretches. Dr. Oz said you can ease back pain and increase your flexibility by using a foam roller to stretch out your body. Foam-rolling also increases blood flow to your muscles, skin and tendons, de-stresses you, and prevents injury.

Chia Seeds Block Fat and Accelerate Weight Loss

Dr. Oz said chia seeds have many health benefits, including aiding weight loss, making your hair strong and shiny, and aiding sleep.

Dr. Oz said chia seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which promote heart and brain health and relieves depression. They're also high in fiber, and contain magnesium, amino acids, and protein, so they suppress appetite and aid digestion.

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