Hidden Ingredients: Those Dirty Little Scoundrels

In my pre-allergy / eczema diagnosis, I didn't care a whole lot about ingredient labels. I wasn't big on processed foods, but when I did consume them I didn't think much about the ingredient label. But OH how life is different now! I'm that person who will read ingredient labels of things I don't even intend on eating... just because I'm curious. On top of the fact that there are a bunch of questionable man-made chemicals on ingredient labels... 

Companies aren't required to disclose all of the ingredients!

What the hell?

Why is that considered ok?

Don't we deserve to know what we're?

We are the gatekeepers of our own bodies and it really only makes sense to have the option of knowing exactly what we're putting into/onto them. So, this whole thing is kinda messed up and wrong. The first time I learned about hidden ingredients was at the doctor's office when I was being given my propylene glycol allergy diagnosis.

The doctor told me a story about hidden pg in extracts. He had been creating some sort of beauty cream or serum (or something along those lines) and got a call one day. As it turns out, one of the extracts was coming all the way from the middle east. Between the heat and the delivery time needed, the item would have spoiled. They told the doctor that it could be dissolved in propylene glycol to help preserve it. Then they asked him this question: would you like us to add propylene glycol to the ingredient list? He said something like, "Don't you have to?" And their answer was no. The reason?

It was an extract and extracts are only required to say "extract"... no matter what the extract is actually dissolved into. This means that many of those lovely botanical products out there are full of hidden ingredients!


In an effort to avoid hidden ingredients, it's best to stick with making your own meals with organic meats, vegetables and grains. Using herbs, oils and other pantry items can really zazz up those basic and nutritious ingredients. It's actually my favorite way to cook!

Since it's not always possible to cook or make everything from scratch that touches our bodies, we end up having to buy stuff at the store. Arming yourself with a little bit of knowledge can go a long way when it comes to ingredient labels. As a general rule, if you don't recognize the ingredient... it's probably best to stay away. If there's a chemical or preservative you don't know much about, give it a Google!

Here are some other things that contain unlisted ingredients which you'll find on ingredient labels:

  • food coloring
  • artificial flavors
  • natural flavors
  • modified food starches
  • fragrance

Got anything to add? Post in the comments!