Additives that were supposed to make foods healthier, lower in calories and fat, or last longer, are really criminals with masks on, robbing up of our health. Here are the worst offenders:
1 ) High-fructose corn svrup. Found in almost every processed food but most notoriously in soda, sweetened cereal, yogurt, cookies, and ketchup. Secret hideouts: foods that aren’t sweet, such as breads, crackers, chips, spreads, and dressings. According to researchers, 20% of our carbohydrates and 10% of out total calories come from corn syrup alone. HFCS can increase fat gain because it’s more readily converted to fat in the body and doesn’t trigger the normal cues that tell us to stop eating. What makes it especially bad is that it’s added sugar by another name, which means it’s disguised. The ingredient list of many products included sugar multiple times, but each time by a different name: sugar, com syrup, high fructose corn syrup, molasses, black strap molasses, honey, cane sugar, maltodextrin, etc. They are all Justas bad as table sugar. Instead of fruit juice, eat whole fruits. Instead of white bread, choose natural whole grains. And opt for olive oil and vinegar instead of bottled salad dressing.
2) Trans-fats. Found in cookies, crackers, cake mix, frosting, and commercially fried food such as doughnuts, French fries, and onion rings. Hidden in low-fat foods such as dried soup, stick margarine, nondairy creamers, and fried fish and shrimp. Trans fat is often referred to by nutrition experts a “Franenkfat” because it’s something out of a chemistry experiment gone badly. Trans fat has desirable commercial properties – long shelf life, high melting point – but very harmful health effects. It increases inflammation, damages blood vessels and raises cholesterol. Trans fats may interfere with muscle growth and increase muscle breakdown. Trans fats cause you to store fat and increase inflammation. A new study linked trans fats not only to heart disease but also to certain cancers. Look for “partially hydrogenated oil’ on ingredient list.
3) Artificial sweeteners (acesulfame-K and aspartame. Found in almost anything that’s sweet and says, “sugar free,” like diet sodas, gum, and candy. These additives lull us into thinking that artificial sweeteners are okay. Recent studies suggest that unbundling sweet taste from calories can interfere with bodily systems used to gauge caloric intake: in other words, animals that drink artificially sweetened beverages get fat. Intense artificial sweeteners propagate a sweet tooth that damages the overall dietary pattern a number of ways. Avoid soda altogether. Drink seltzer, water, mineral water, and seltzer with fruit essence and teas.
4) Artificial colorings (Blue 1, Red 3, Yellow 6). They’re in about every colored candy you can imagine. Also in sodas, cherry juice, fruit cocktail, and some baked goods. Some evidence shows that Blue 1 may be a mild carcinogen, Red 3 may be linked to thyroid tumors, and Yellow 6 can cause allergic reactions. In a recent study, children had “significantly greater increases in hyperactive behavior” when given an active drink containing these food additives.
5) Parabéns. Found in toothpaste, soap, hair care products, deodorants, and lotions. Also in marinated fish products, salad dressings, and processed vegetables. This group of chemicals (used as preservatives) has a similar effect to estrogen in the body, which can lead to higher fat and lower muscle mass. In a study where researchers examined tumor tissue from 20 women with breast cancer, traces of parabéns were found in 18 of the samples. Look for ingredients that end in “parabéns”: methylparaben, proplyparaben, ethylparaben, butylparaben, etc.

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