Ideally, in a healthy diet you would eat only whole unprocessed foods. However, that is not always an option. Whether on a budget, pressed for time or even traveling, eating solely whole unprocessed foods 100 percent of the time is unrealistic. When choosing processed, prepackaged or canned food of any sort, try to avoid these common ingredients and additives, in order to keep your healthy lifestyle on track.
#1: Artificial Flavors
Many foods, even those marketed as “healthy” contain artificial flavors. There are over 3000 artificial flavors known to be used in various foods. The problem with these dangerous additives is that they are comprised entirely of chemicals made in a laboratory and they don’t have any nutritional value to offer consumers. Be on the lookout when reading nutritional labels. You can often find artificial flavors in cereals, flavored yogurts, juices, ice cream and sometimes even ordinary food like bread. Artificial flavors have been known to have a wide array of detrimental effects on the body such as cancer, infertility, dizziness, allergies, brain damage and birth defects.
#2: Trans Fats
Often marketed as partially hydrogenated oil, trans fat is twice as hard for the human body to dissolve as normal saturated fats. Companies prefer to use trans fats because they are cheaper to make and have a longer shelf life. Trans fats have been shown to increase LDL (bad cholesterol) while simultaneously decreasing HDL (good cholesterol), and have been linked to conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Trans fats are commonly found in foods like margarine, shortening, crackers, cookies, prepackaged desserts and chips.
#3: Corn Syrup/High Fructose Corn Syrup
Often considered to be the ultimate evil ingredient, high fructose corn syrup is essentially deadly for the human body. Consumption of HFCS is linked to obesity, diabetes and hypertension among other things. Consuming HFCS also causes insulin resistance and drives people to eat more. It is also typically derived from genetically modified corn.
#4: Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
MSG is often labeled as other ingredients such as natural flavoring, yeast extract, autolyzed yeast extract, disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate, caseinate, textured protein, hydrolyzed pea protein and many others. Because most people are starting to steer away from MSG, brands have begun labeling it as the other aforementioned ingredients in order to trick consumers. The sodium in MSG is not the problem however, it is the glutamate. The glutamate is linked to several neurological and neurodegenerative disorders like migraines, seizures, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.
#5: Artificial Coloring
Similar to artificial flavors, artificial colors are developed in laboratories and offer no nutritional value. Many artificial colors on the market are linked to various forms of cancer. Blue 1 and 2 gave laboratory mice cancer. Red 3 caused lab rats to grow tumors on their thyroids. Green 3 has been linked to bladder cancer. Yellow 6 has been linked to tumors on kidneys and adrenal glands.
If you do your best to avoid these ingredients, your body will surely thank you.