Ten of the worst food ingredients to avoid

Reading food labels is important but few of us do it consistently

We all know that reading food labels is important but few of us do it consistently as it’s simply way too confusing. However, there are certain ingredients that really are bad for us and burden our bodies with toxins and other harmful substances.

The three biggest offenders include foods with excessive sugar, MSG and trans-fats. MSG, for example, is often found at most fast food joints and in many guilty pleasure comfort foods.

“Some people may experience an allergic-type reaction with the consumption of MSG and it has been linked to migraines, diarrhea and heart palpitations” says holistic nutritionist Danielle Felip.

Top tips for understanding ingredient labels

When you are reading ingredient lists, try and make sure you research any unfamiliar ingredient. A quick ‘Google’ will usually reveal what it is you are putting inside you.

Try and build up a basic knowledge of the most common additives and this will reveal the dirty tricks the food ‘product’ industry gets up to. If it sounds like it has been put together in some lab then it probably has, and it doesn’t belong in your body.

I won’t call these foods as they are more mad-made ‘products’ with shelf-life and profit the driving force, rather than the provision of healthy nutrition. Some ingredients, like saturated and trans fats, sodium and even sugar can appear on an ingredient list as several different names; this is one of their tricks to keep you confused.

Some experts suggest sticking to foods with only five ingredients, adding that foods with over five or 10 ingredients are often packed with preservatives, sugars and other additives that are hard to digest. We definitely recommend that you look at the first few ingredients listed as these will be the most used ingredients in a product.

To help you make a start, here’s a list of the most used and most unhealthy additives routinely added to our day-to-day food.

1. Artificial colors

There’s a reason why most sugary treats give us a rush. Hidden artificial colors in foods can cause hyperactivity and headaches.

2. Bleached White Flour

Found in most white breads, bleached white flour is usually stripped of nutrients and fiber and adds little value to our diets.

3. High-Fructose Corn Syrup

This ingredient is found in most processed foods, including lunch meats, and has no nutritional value. It has also been linked to increase risks of type 2 diabetes, and overconsumption can be damaging to our livers.

4. Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners give food that sugary taste that is also quite addictive. Artificial sweeteners are almost always chemically derived and have been linked to migraines and even cancer.

5. BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)

BHT or butylated hydroxytoluene is often added to most processed foods to preserve fats. An overconsumption of this chemical can cause allergic reactions on the skin.

6. Partially Hydrogenated Oil

Partially hydrogenated oils (which are often found in cake mixes, peanut butter and baked goods) can decrease good cholesterol levels, are linked to heart disease and are hard for the body to dissolve.

7. MSG

MSG (monosodium glutamate) is a food additive that is found in many foods, especially in fast food restaurants. MSGs can overexcite our nerve cells in the brain and can even (eaten in large amounts) cause brain cell death. On top of that, MSGs also can lead to exhaustion after a big meal.

8. Sodium Nitrate and Sodium Nitrite

Sodium nitrates and nitrites are chemical compounds commonly found in meat products like bacon and hot dogs. Nitrates and nitrites can affect the way your body uses sugar and may increase the risk of diabetes and colorectal cancer.

9. Sodium Benzoate

Sodium benzoate is a chemical preservative that is used to prevent the growth of bacteria in foods like jams, fruit pies and soft drinks. It can also deprive our cells of oxygen and weakens the immune system.

10. Sulphites

Sulphites are food additives used to preserve food color and prolong shelf life in many food products including canned fruits, frozen fries and soy products. Sulphites can cause allergic reactions and flushed faces and swelling of the eyes, face, and tongue among others.

Source: Huffington Post

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