We’ve all seen that one person in the store scanning every tin of beans or every packet of mash seeing what is in each and even comparing upto five products at a time, breaking down the ingredients and how much protein, fat, carbs etc. is in each one. I am one of those guilty people, I like to know what I am putting into my body, after all there are many food additives we should steer clear of and avoid!. When you put your mind to it, any food that requires a label has been altered from it’s natural state or processed. Looking at the label and you will often find many ingredients you probably have never even heard of, e-numbers, emulsifiers, coloring, you soon begin to wonder what all these strange extra ingredients are, just because the food standards agency deems it as fit for consumption does not mean that it will help keep our body’s at optimum levels. Here I have compiled a small list of 5 of the worst culprits that you should avoid.
We love to have things that taste sweet but without the calories or sugar, unfortunately the truth is not so good, you will usually find Aspartame/ Acesulfame K in many sugar-free treats like diet soda, candy etc. but the saving on calories is definitely not worth it.
Back in 1995 more than 75% of reports sent to the FDA concerning adverse reactions were to do with aspartame consumption, people have reported a large range of symptoms from weight gain, depression, memory loss, slurred speech and even vision problems. Aspartame has Phenylalanine in it (a completely harmless amino acid), aspartic acid (a neurotransmitter) as well as methanol.
This is a chemical that degrades into formic acid and formaldehyde at the body temperature. Formaldehyde is listed as a human carcinogen by the international agency for cancer, it is something you should avoid even in small amounts. Apart from cancer causing properties, studies have also linked it to weight gain, increasing sugar cravings and insulin resistance, the sweetener may also make chronic diseases even worse.
Things like diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, Alzheimer’s, Parkinsons, Epilepsy, Fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis. Watch out for Acesulfame K on labels as well, this is usually added to aspartame and other sweeteners to help rid them of aftertaste. Acesulfame K contains methylene chloride which has not had much scientific scrutiny at all. Things you will usually find artificial sweeteners in are: diet sodas, Jell-O, sugar-free gum, some cereals, sugar-free beverages, toothpaste, plus many more, look out for the ingredients on all labels.
Compared to normal sugar, high fructose corn syrup is very similar in terms of calories and chemical composition. Both are half glucose and half fructose, it doesn’t mean it is now good for you, on the contrary.
Consuming a lot of fructose is bad for your health and metabolism, fructose does not stimulate insulin like glucose can which can lead to insulin resistance in muscles and the liver. Insulin resistance means that your body is not storing sugar like it is supposed to, sugar levels will stay high and fat storage will also increase, this leads to weight gain, obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Is this not motivation enough to get rid of it from your diet?
With fructose, 30% more fat is stored when compared to glucose, fructose also does stimulate leptin, the hormone that triggers satiety. This will mean you won’t feel as full and end up eating more.
I’m sure you are worried about your waistline but think of the effect on your heart, liver and kidneys. A diet with a lot of fructose in it lowers good cholesterol whilst in turn increasing bad cholesterol, raises blood pressure and puts a lot more stress on your kidneys.
Fatty acids then accumulate in the liver setting the stage for liver disease.
Natural sources are obviously far less concentrated than artificial ones, like HFCS. The good natural stuff is found in fruit, fruit juice, sugar cane, some vegetables and honey.
These foods contain vitamins, minerals, enzymes as well as healthy phytonutrients that will benefit you when consumed in moderation (1 to 3 servings daily).
Commonly found in: Table sugar, agave nectar, breads, candy, condiments, salad dressings, canned vegetables, cereals, infant formula, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), flavored yogurt and maple syrup.
Trans-fats are produced using a process called hydrogenation making the oil unlikely to spoil and less oily to the touch.
It is best avoided as it raises bad cholesterol and lowers good cholesterol levels. This can lead to clogged and hardened arteries which may lead to heart problems, strokes etc. it will also cause inflammation which can increase the risk of diabetes and other health issues.
Food labels are now required to have all trans fat contents listed, it is recommended to limit your portions of it to 2g per day.
Although it isn’t just a case of just checking he label anymore, manufacturers can claim 0% trans-fat content in their products so long as the content falls below 0.5% per serving, it basically means that your favorite margarine that you like could put you over the daily limit without you even realizing with just 4 servings.
An easy way to detect them is to look for partially hydrogenated oils on the label, fully hydrogenated oils do not contain them.
Common items containing trans fats are bakery items such as donuts, biscuits, pizza dough, margarine, fried fast food and anything with partially hrdrogenated on the label.
Foods with lots of artificial colors are low in nutritional value and highly processed. It is better to avoid them if possible, read on to see why.
Artificial food colorings have been known to push young children into autism, hyperactivity and other behavioral disorders, furthermore studies on animals have found certain artificial colorings to be carcinogens which cause chromosome mutation, neuron damage and even tumor development. Many European countries have banned them altogether.
Even caramel colorings have been labeled as carcinogens to humans and yet caramel coloring remains very widely used for food coloring on the market.
Any of the following are dangerous colorings you should leave well alone:
Msg is mostly used to enhance flavor to give foods a more savory taste, although it can taste better you’re better off with herbs and spices.
Did you know that MSG is also an excitotoxin, this is a substance that can over stimulate neurons to damage or death.
People who have allergies to MSG can experience burning sensations in the head, mouth and neck, muscle tightness, fatigue, numbness or tingling, upset stomach, migraines and headaches, swelling, hives and other skin reactions.
Regular consumption of MSG can make depression worse as well as causing migraines, retinal damage and obesity.
Most commonly found in Chinese food, chips, soups, salad dressings, cookies, frozen entrees, frozen meals, lunch meats, seasonings, gelatin, plant protein extract, hydrolyzed oat flour, breakfast sausages, ‘natural’ flavorings, calcium/sodium caseinate, textured protein, autolyzed yeast and yeast extract.
You should be able to now hit the stores armed with the knowledge of what food additives to avoid based on their labels,if you are still unsure of something then just avoid it. Please feel free to comment below.
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