Have you ever looked at the list of ingredients on a food package and realized you had no idea what they were? Food labels sometimes read more like a list from a science experiment than a list of ingredients we actually recognize. Of course the more foods we choose that don’t come with a nutrition label, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, the better. However, there are times when we need to buy something with a label and it’s important to understand what’s in a product before we buy it.
There are many ingredients on food labels that are best to avoid. By staying away from these ingredients, your body will thank you by running smoothly and performing all the normal bodily functions with ease.
Here are my top ten ingredients I recommend avoiding:
1. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG): MSG is commonly found in all processed foods, everything from canned goods to potato chips. When you ingest MSG, it damages nerves by “overexciting” them, as well as harming brain cells and sparking your appetite, causing you to eat more.
2. Artificial Flavours: Found in a majority of foods today, artificial flavours can have serious negative effects on your health. These effects include reproductive complications, neurotoxicity and cancer causing tendencies.
3. High Fructose Corn Syrup: High fructose corn syrup can be found in many sweet processed foods. Aside from it being made from genetically modified corn, high fructose corn syrup can cause accelerated weight gain, insulin resistance and even diabetes when consumed regularly over a long period of time.
4. Table Salt: We are not talking about sea salt or Himalayan pink salt, we are talking about man-made table salt. Table salt contains over 30 chemicals and is bleached, causing spikes in blood pressure and is detrimental to the liver and kidneys.
5. Hydrogenated or Fractionated Oils: These two types of oils are toxic. Hydrogenated oils, in effect, are used for preserving products. When you consume the hydrogenated oils however, it is like pouring “plastic sludge” into your blood stream. Fractionated oil, on the other hand, is the almost solid fat product extracted from oil and has extremely harmful effects on the body.
6. Artificial Colouring: Artificial colouring has been linked to cancer. Different colourings, such as Blue 1 and 2, as well as Red 3 and Green 3, are connected to cancers ranging from the thyroid to the bladder.
7. Canola Oil: Aside from being an effective insect repellant, canola oil has no benefit whatsoever to the human body. It is extracted from plants that have been genetically modified and extensively bred.
8. Potassium Sorbate: Potassium sorbate began a revolution in food preservation. While it will successfully keep food fresh, it is a carcinogen known to cause cell mutation in animals and have toxic effects on organs.
9. Sugar: Sugar is added to many processed foods. Excess sugar can contribute to a multitude of health problems including obesity, hormonal imbalances, weakened immune system, heart disease, liver disease, high cholesterol/blood pressure and an increased risk for certain cancers.
10. Aspartame: While aspartame is 200 times sweeter than conventional sugar and only has four calories per gram, it has been linked to neurological symptoms and it’s considered a multi-level carcinogen.
Learning to decipher food labels is important so you can be more aware of what you’re really eating and you can make the most informed decisions. To know what’s in the food you’re buying, I encourage you to read the ingredient list, and ignore the health claims on the front of the package. Happy label reading!