What is hiding in your food?
Pre-made foods, whether canned, packaged, dehydrated or anything with added non-food substances is a processed food. Alarmingly, over half of the average American’s diet consists of these types of foods. Processed foods are often more convenient than their whole food counterparts, which is one of the reasons they have gained popularity over the last few decades. But, have you ever stopped to think, “Is this food actually made of natural or whole food ingredients?”
Let’s take just a glimpse in to see what you are really eating!
Artificial sweeteners like Sucralose, Aspartame, High Fructose Corn Syrup and Saccharin have been linked to various health problems including cancer, heart, liver and kidney complications, obesity and diabetes. Furthermore, these sweeteners may cause headaches, dizziness, trouble seeing and GI issues in some individuals. You may also see these products labeled with name brand products such as Splenda, Equal, Sweet N Low, Nutrasweet and more.
From the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:
The annual American Society for Nutrition Public Information Committee symposium for 2007 titled “High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS): Everything You Wanted to Know, But Were Afraid to Ask” served as a platform to address the controversy surrounding HFCS. Speakers from academia and industry came together to provide up-to-date information on this food ingredient. The proceedings from the symposium covered 1) considerable background on what HFCS is and why it is used as a food ingredient, 2) the contribution HFCS makes to consumers’ diets, and 3) the latest research on the metabolic effects of HFCS. The data presented indicated that HFCS is very similar to sucrose, being about 55% fructose and 45% glucose, and thus, not surprisingly, few metabolic differences were found comparing HFCS and sucrose. That said, HFCS does contribute to added sugars and calories, and those concerned with managing their weight should be concerned about calories from beverages and other foods, regardless of HFCS content. Source.
Artificial colors like Red 40, Blue 1 and 2, green 3 and Yellow 5 and 6 can be found in baked goods, candy, ice cream, sauces, drinks and other processed foods. The artificial colors blue 1 and 2 lead to cancer, damage chromosomes and cause tumors. Red 40 has been banned in many countries due to its link to various cancers and its ability to cause hyperactivity in children. Other artificial colors have been attributed to causing asthma, liver malfunction, thyroid and adrenal problems and various other issues.
Preservatives like BHA/BHT (Butylated Hydroxyanisole), Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Benzoate begin the list food life extenders linked to health problems. From carcinogen to hormone disruptor to tomorrow enhancer, these dangerous preservatives can be found in sodas, meats and other prepackaged foods.
Oils and Fats
Oils and fats like hydrogenated Oil, brominated vegetable oil and Olestra can show up in processed foods like potato chips, breads, snacks and more. When a fat is hydrogenated, it is converted to a trans fatty acid. Trans fats have been shown to increase bad cholesterol, or LDL, and triglycerides in the body while lowering the good cholesterol, HDL. Furthermore, other oils and fats found in some processed foods have been linked to birth defects, GI issues, heart attack, organ damage and even blood clots.
Binding and Thickening Agents
Binding and thickening agents like Carrageenan, Propylene glycol and Polysorbate 60 can be found in canned goods, salad dressing, spices, dairy products and other pre-made foods. Carrageenan has been found to cause ulcers, and alongside, Polysorbate 60, it can cause cancer. Propylene glycol or antifreeze, is considered generally safe by the US FDA and some other countries.
The list of toxic food ingredients does not stop here. Schedule an appointment to speak with one of certified Registered Dietitians in order to gain more tips and tricks to rid your diet of these common toxic ingredients.
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– CASEY EDMONDS, CHC
Health Advisor | Email Casey