As the saying goes, “You are what you eat.” Though I doubt many of us would continue poor eating habits if we really knew what was in our food and the consequences it might have on our bodies.
After reading an article in Men’s Health, I realized that many Americans might be unknowingly consuming potentially toxic food ingredients. But before I get all doom and gloom about your food choices… I must admit that I have unknowingly eaten some of these items myself.
Maybe you’ve read articles or watched a documentary that discusses confusing food ingredient terms, but doesn’t explain what they mean for your health. Allow me to change that…
Ingredients You Do Not Want on a Food Label
(Adapted from Men’s Health, Eat This Not That)
Parabens – Sure, that ice cream sundae looks good and makes you forget all about your rough day. Unfortunately it is most likely loaded with parabens. A paraben is a synthetic preservative used to inhibit the growth of mold or yeast in food. This toxic ingredient has been proven to disrupt hormone balance in your body, decrease sperm and testosterone, and has been found present in breast cancer tissue.
You may want to think twice about that sundae and opt for an organic fruit sorbet.
BHA – This preservative may be listed as BHA or Butylated Hydroxyanisole. I can’t pronounce it and will definitely not eat it. Some studies have shown that this preservative has anticipated carcinogens – which means that it has the potential to cause cancer. No thank you!
Instead of eating processed cereal like Fruity Pebbles, trade it in for an organic apple with almond butter for breakfast. Yum.
Sodium Nitrate – Nitrate is, yet another, ingredient with potential cancer causing properties. This toxic ingredient is used to prevent the growth of botulism and keep meats looking fresh. Reduce your intake in order to avoid the risks of powerful carcinogenic compounds.
Instead of buying pre-packaged meat, stop at a local meat market in your way home from work. The butcher or clerk will be able to tell exactly where the meat came from and it most likely does not contain toxic ingredients.
Partially Hydrogenated Oil – Eww. This is basically another way to disguise trans-fat in your food. You may see companies or brands marketing items as “0 grams of trans fat”, but that could be completely false. The FDA allows food to be marketed as “no-trans-fat” if it has less than 0.49 grams per serving. Chances are that you are probably eating this artery-clogging ingredient without knowing it.
Fast food restaurants and frozen pizzas are the most well-known for hiding trans-fat. Choose a salad instead – your heart will thank you for it.
Caramel Coloring – Attention soda drinkers, this ingredient is terrible for you! Caramel coloring is treated with ammonia; which can cause potential carcinogens. With this possible cancer-causing ingredient, I’d rather not take my chances.
Food Dyes – Not only can food dye cause allergies and mysterious digestive troubles, but it is also another known ingredient to cause tumors. Yikes! Artificial coloring and dyes in your food is obviously not natural. According to Men’s Health, Yellow #5 is linked to hyperactivity in children as well. My suggestion is… don’t eat it.
Instead of snacking on dyed candy like Skittles, pick up a bag of all-natural fruit chews or gummy worms.
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein – Again, here is another byproduct that slips passed the FDA and continues NOT to be properly recognized on food labels. Let’s put it this way, vegetable protein is okay until you put “hydrolyzed” in front of it. This ingredient is processed and can release free glutamate – which turns to MSG when it enters your body.
You will find this ingredient in products like “Pasta Sides by Knorr”. Check the label first.
Have you cut these products or ingredients from you diet? Has it helped you to feel healthy and well? Please share your comments below or let us know if you have any questions.
Happy, Healthy Eating!