Reading food labels is becoming more common, but most people do not know what they should avoid. I have put together a list of the most dangerous ingredients to avoid no matter what. These ingredients are found in many foods, so it is crucial to your health and your family’s health to get into the habit of reading the ingredient labels before buying an item.
High Fructose Corn Syrup -This is not a natural ingredient, despite the commercials that advertise it is. Yes, it may have started in the form of corn, but the final product is far from it. Its high level of processing changes the composition of the natural vegetable we all know as corn, making it a foreign substance in the body and treated as such when ingested. This makes it difficult for the body to digest as well, creating stress on the digestive system as well as the liver. It causes dramatic insulin spikes in the body because of its highly refined state, making it very dangerous for diabetics. It is also a major contributor to today’s obesity epidemic. This is because the high insulin spikes cause a person to feel hungry soon after eating food that contains this ingredient, increasing the likelihood of overeating.
Hydrogenated oils – These oils are also known in the partially-hydrogenated state as trans fats and are known to cause major heart problems such as hardening of the arteries, which can lead to a heart attack or heart failure. Since these oils are unstable, when they are heated or cooked they cause free radicals to form. If ingested this can cause damage to healthy cells making the body more susceptible to cancer. Hydrogenated oils are found in many foods and can be fully hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated. Both forms are bad, but it seems that partially hydrogenated oils are actually worse because they are the true trans fatty acids.
MSG – This is a neurotoxin, which means it is toxic to the brain. It can cause various types of neurological issues such as memory loss, stuttering, or seizures. It has even been linked to the development of Alzheimer’s Disease. MSG can cause brain damage in a fetus if consumed by a pregnant woman and can also impede brain development in children. Since fetuses and children are more sensitive to its effects, it is actually more dangerous for them to be exposed to it.
One of the most common side effects of MSG is headaches, but others may include allergic reactions, nausea, weakness, weight gain, or heart palpitations. None of these sound like fun, so please try to avoid them by avoiding MSG.
Artificial Sweeteners (Splenda, Sucralose, Aspartame, Acesulfame, Saccharin, Sweet-n-low, Equal, etc…) – Artificial Sweeteners can cause damage to the thyroid gland, affecting metabolism and making it difficult to lose weight (ironically). A great book to read about this is called, “Sweet Poison” by Janet Starr Hull. Studies have shown that people that drink diet soda gain more weight than those that drink regular soda, so really what is the point of ingesting these alternatives anyway?
These sweeteners can also have toxic effects on the brain causing conditions such as depression, anxiety, and insomnia. These are man made chemicals and not naturally occurring ingredients. Please do not put them in your food for any reason. Other healthier sugar alternatives include Stevia and Xylitol, both of which are natural sweeteners (just be careful with Xylitol around dogs as it can be fatal to them, but not you). Xylitol is actually good for your teeth, so that is a bonus!
So add these items to your do not consume list! You will be amazed at how good you feel once they have been eliminated from your diet. Also, a good rule of thumb when food shopping is that if you cannot pronounce it, most likely you should not eat it. There are exceptions such as some big named vitamins, so when in doubt look it up!