The Seven Ingredients to Avoid in Processed Foods
Processed foods are filled with many unhealthy ingredients like preservatives, flavorings and dyes. More than 3,000 food additives are poured into our foods — and even our medications. Many of these chemicals are linked to prostate cancer, other cancers, heart disease, diabetes and wide range of health problems.
It is difficult to avoid all processed foods, but learning how to avoid the seven worst ingredients can help you focus on what to look for when reading labels. If you see any of the following ingredients on a food label, you may want to put the box back on the shelf and keep shopping. These ingredients are detrimental for your health and should be avoided if possible. In fact, if you have been suffering with unexplained headaches, bowel troubles or allergy-like symptoms, it may be time to look at your diet and eliminate some of the ingredients in processed foods.
Here’s a closer look at each type of additive and the health problems associated with it…
1. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavour enhancer found in many frozen dinners, salad dressings, chips and meats. MSG is mostly made up of the same neurotransmitter used by your pancreas, eyes, brain, nervous system and other organs for initiating processes in your body.
MSG overexcites your cells and causes the nerves in the brain to fire rapidly and repeatedly, leading to damage or death. This additive may worsen or trigger Alzheimer’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. MSG commonly causes headaches as well as heart palpitations, and an increased desire to eat more food. You have to use caution in reading labels for MSG: It can hide other under other names and be included in a variety of other additives such as yeast extract, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, vegetable powder, glutamate, caseinate and natural flavour.
2. Artificial Sweeteners
One of the biggest myths about artificial sweeteners is that they can help you lose weight. Found in diet foods, low-calorie foods, drinks and liquid medications, artificial sweeteners are meant to reduce the amount of sugar and calories consumed. However, ingesting artificial sweeteners can actually lead to even greater weight gain than results from consuming sugar. Artificial sweeteners are found under the names aspartame, sucralose (Splenda), saccharin and acesulfame potassium.
Artificial sweeteners can also cause headaches and dizziness, and some of them have even been linked to cancer. The amino acids in aspartame launch an attack on your cells, creating a toxic cellular overstimulation similar to the one that MSG causes. Artificial sweeteners, especially sucralose, inactivate digestive enzymes, changing the function of the gut barrier. That can cause or worsen inflammatory bowel disease. Research has shown that sucralose destroys up to 50 percent of your beneficial gut flora.
3. High-Fructose Corn Syrup
High-fructose corn syrup is an inexpensive alternative to sugar, but the cost to your health is that it can tax and damage your liver the same way that alcohol does. The fructose in high-fructose corn syrup goes directly to your liver, where it is metabolized into fat to be stored in your fat cells. It leads to obesity, heart disease, insulin resistance and other related health problems. You can find this additive in sodas, juices, many processed foods and liquid medications.
4. Artificial Flavours
Artificial flavours are used to mimic the taste of natural ingredients and make processed foods taste better. This category is very broad and unknown. One artificial flavour can contain almost 50 chemicals. Artificial flavors can contain genetically modified flavor enhancers, as can “natural flavour.” Artificial flavours are linked to allergic reactions and behavioral reactions.
5. Artificial Colors
Each year, 15 million pounds of artificial food dyes are poured into U.S. foods. Nine of the approved food dyes are linked to cancer and hyperactivity in children, as well as allergy-like reactions and sinus problems. These colorful dyes may make food, candy and even over-the-counter medicines look more attractive; but you should try your best to avoid these deceptive dyes.
6. Trans Fats
Trans fats are the least healthy fats you can eat. These solid fats originated as healthier, liquid vegetable oils but were hydrogenated to form a solid fat. these can cause many health problems. Avoid these completely. Trans fats can raise your triglyceride level and low density lipoprotein level (LDL) (otherwise known as your bad cholesterol), increasing your risk for a heart attack. Trans fats are linked to prostate cancer, heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
Processed foods have a lot of preservatives because these additives lengthen a food’s shelf life. Problems associated with preservatives can include allergic reactions, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, possibly cancer, etc.
Preservatives to avoid include BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), BHT (butylated hydrozyttoluene), TBQQ (tertiary butyl hydroquinone), sodium nitrate, sodium nitrate and sodium benzoate as well as polysorbate 60, 65 and 80. Both BHA and BHT can affect the neurological system of the brain, alter your behavior and potentially cause cancer. TBHQ is a chemical preservative linked to cancer that can also can cause tinnitus, nausea and vomiting. Sodium nitrate, commonly found in cured meats (hot dogs, deli meat and bacon), has been linked with higher rates of stomach, and pancreatic cancer. It is worth it to buy nitrate-free options. Sodium benzoate, found in juices and sodas, has been linked to allergies.
The sulfites found in dried fruits, flavoured vinegars and wine are other preservatives that cause undesirable reactions. They especially can affect people with asthma. Sulfites may cause headaches, rashes, bowel irritability and behavioral problems.
Generally fresher products is best and avoid the processed foods aisles that contain long lists of preservatives, sweeteners and unnatural ingredients. Carefully read the labels for foods and medicines so you can avoid the seven worst types of ingredients in processed foods. Doing this can help you protect your brain, prostate, heart and overall health.
Here’s to staying healthy & simply beautiful!
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