More Food Additives to Avoid

lunchmeatIn my last post I warned you of the dangers of consuming large amounts of Acesulfame K, artificial colorings, Aspertame, Equal and NutraSweet. In this post I will give you three additional ingredients to look for and avoid when reading food labels.

Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil/Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil: Although this oil decreases production cost by increasing shelf life and flavor stability, it also creates trans fats. Trans fats have been shown to increase the risk of coronary heart disease by increasing LDL (bad) cholesterol and lowering HDL (good) cholesterol. Manufacturers are allowed to advertise as trans fat free as long as there is less than a half a gram of trans fat per serving, but by reading the label and seeing this oil in the ingredient list, you can catch any trace of trans fat.

Monosodium Glutamate/MSG: Most people think that MSG is only found in Chinese food, but this flavor enhancer is found in packaged food, canned goods, packaged meats, salad dressing and chips. Although considered “generally safe” by the FDA, recent studies have linked MSG consumption with increased rates of obesity. Unfortunately MSG is often disguised on food labels under different names. MSG can also be listed as the following: Glutamate, Monopotassium glutamate, yeast extract, glutamic acid, calcium caseinate, sodium caseinate, gelatin, textured protein, yeast nutrient or autolyzed yeast. Once armed with the knowledge that MSG is often disguised as other ingredients on food labels, it is truly astonishing to find out how many products contain MSG.

Sodium Nitrate/Sodium Nitrite: Found in bacon, lunchmeat, hot dogs and other packaged meats, this additive has been linked to cancer. Sodium nitrate reacts with stomach acid and other chemicals in the stomach to produce nitrosamines. When consumed in large quantities, nitrosamines have been shown to cause cancer in animals.

Deciphering Food Labels: Additives to Avoid

In my previous post I taught you the importance of not getting caught up with fancy packaging and food labels. The most important thing to look at before buying a product is the nutrition information and the list of ingredients. Here are 3 (of 10) ingredients that you should AVOID along with a brief explanation of why.

Diet sodas contain both artificial sweetners and dyes

Diet sodas contain both artificial sweeteners and dyes

Acesulfame K: This artificial sweetener is found in gum, instant coffee, pudding and other sweet products. Initial studies have indicated an increased occurrence of cancer in animals, which means that humans are most likely at risk too. It’s always better to stick to natural sweeteners like honey or stevia.

Artificial colorings: Although that pink yogurt might look tastier than its white counterpart, the synthetic dye that produces the pigmentation has been recently proven to be a carcinogen.Artificial dyes are put into many products, such as sodas, juices, popsicles and other snack foods. It might sound like artificial colorings are impossible to avoid, but try to think of the food in its original form.If you have never seen a neon blue raspberry bush or orange milk coming out of a cow to produce orange cheese, you probably don’t want to be drinking blue raspberry drinks or eating orange cheese. Food labels are required to list any dyes used, so be sure to look at the list of ingredients to be sure.

Aspertame/ Equal/ NutraSweet: Used as an artificial sweetener in diet sodas and other low calorie sweets, these sugar substitutes can cause headaches, dizziness and an increased risk of certain cancers. They have become popular because they are lower in calories than sugar and honey, but need to be avoided. Not only do they cause health problems, but by consuming them you are actually training your taste buds to crave sweets more and more.