10 Toxic Ingredients to Avoid In Order to Be Healthy
When I first started to focus on eating healthier and losing weight I didn't think twice about these 10 toxic ingredients. (Read about my 125 lb weight loss) I focused more on calories than chemicals. Now, I realize how important it is to have quality calories, nourishing calories, and to eliminate toxic chemicals.
Some of these chemicals can cause us to have crazy cravings, store fat, raise cholesterol, increase risk of heart attack, stroke, and cancer.
Even though the FDA approves these food additives, some of which are banned in other countries, we need to avoid them if we want to be healthy.
Palm Oil -
Palm Oil is used to help foods stay "fresh", meaning it can stay on the supermarket shelves for years. Like other trans fats, Palm oil raises your LDL and triglycerides (bad cholesterol) and lowers your HDL (good cholesterol). Is Palm oil in your pantry? Pitch it and ditch it! P.S. It's in fast food, too!
Partially Hydrogenated Oil or shortening
It clogs your arteries, causes obesity, increases your risk of heart attack and stroke. You'll find it in a lot of man-made "foods" like crackers and cookies. If it's in your pantry - pitch it and ditch it! Use healthier oils like olive, avocado or coconut.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Studies show over the last 40 years, we are consuming less refined sugar, but we’re consuming almost 20 times as much HFCS. Americans consume more calories from HFCS than any other source. It’s in practically EVERYTHING. It increases triglycerides, boosts fat storing hormones, and drives us to overeat and gain weight.
Interestingly, you are becoming a savvy consumer and have realized how harmful it is, so chemical crap producers have started to eliminate it. In its place they are opting for refined sugar, but you will also see at the bottom of the ingredients label - sucralose, a.k.a. Splenda. Why? Because we are addicted to the sweetness of HFCS and refined sugar isn't enough. I suggest you steer clear of sucralose/Splenda.
Nitrites and Nitrates
Sodium nitrite is a synthetic preservative (that's a nice way of saying chemical crud) added to meats like hot dogs and deli meat to help them maintain that nice pink color.
The problem is, when you cook it the nitrites can combine with amines in processed meat to form nitrosamines, and these are carcinogenic - a.k.a CANCER.
Nitrosamines inflict cellular damage and have been linked to cancer, typically in your colon, bladder, stomach, or pancreas.
BHA and BHT
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are preservatives found in cereals, chewing gum, potato chips, and vegetable oils. It keeps food from changing color, changing flavor or becoming rancid. It can affect the neurological system of our brain, alter our behavior and has a potential to cause cancer. BHA and BHT are oxidants which form cancer-causing reactive compounds in your body.
You will find it listed almost at the bottom of the ingredient list. These cancer causing chemicals are found in potato chips, gum, cereal, frozen sausages, enriched rice, lard, shortening, candy, jello, and bakery items.
Aspartame, a.k.a Nutrasweet and Equal, is often found in foods labeled "diet" or "sugar-free".
Aspartame is believed to be carcinogenic and accounts for more reports of adverse reactions than all other foods and food additives combined.
It is a neurotoxin and carcinogen. Known to erode intelligence and affect short-term memory, the components of this toxic sweetener may lead to a wide variety of ailments including brain tumor, diseases like lymphoma, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue, emotional disorders like depression and anxiety attacks, dizziness, headaches, nausea, mental confusion, migraines and seizures.
Acesulfame-K, a relatively new artificial sweetener found in baking goods, gum and gelatin, and has been linked to kidney tumors. Its found in: diet or sugar-free sodas, diet coke, coke zero, jello (and other gelatin), desserts, sugar-free gum, drink mixes, baking goods, cereal, breath mints, pudding, kool-aid, ice tea, chewable vitamins, and toothpaste.
Splenda, a.k.a. sucralose is the newest artificial sweetener on the market and has its share of side effects, such as reducing good gut bacteria and makes some medications less effective. When baking with Splenda, it releases a potentially toxic compound called chloroproanols. It can also alter insulin responses, blood sugar levels, and has been linked to inflammatory bowel disease.
You have to read labels because manufacturers are starting to eliminate HFCS and adding back in sugar, however they also add in Sucralose, just to make sure its super sweet for us.
Opt for sugar and keep it in moderation - less than 10 tsp a day.
Label reading tip - 4g of sugar = 1 tsp
This ingredient is banned in Europe, China, Canada, and Brazil. California requires products containing Potassium Bromate to have a warning label. Why? Because it has been known for decades to cause cancer in laboratory animals. But you’ll still find it in breads and bakery products. You might see it listed as bromated flour, too.
Why do they put it in our food? It improves the elasticity and strength of the dough. It also speeds up the process of making bread and makes it a nice white color.
Personally, I would rather have a darker baked good that took a little longer to make, than cancer. How about you?
Natural and Artificial Flavors
You might wonder, what's wrong with natural flavors? They are natural, after all.
Most people assume that "natural flavor" describes something from nature, when in fact, most natural flavors are created in a lab, just like artificial flavors. The only difference is that natural flavors must be sourced from a natural product.
When you see words like “natural flavor” or "artificial flavor" on an ingredients label there is no way to know what it actually means. It could mean that one unnatural additive is included, or it could be a blend of hundreds of additives.
For instance, the "natural flavors" in your strawberry granola bar aren't simply crushed strawberries. Actually, it probably consists of a chemical originally found in strawberries, extracted, chemically enhanced and added back into your bar in a lab. (BTW, orange juice is notorious for this).
It boils down to, "natural flavors" often bear little resemblance to the natural product from which they were derived. Some natural flavors even contain propylene glycol, a solvent, or BHA (one of the 10 to avoid)!
Genetically engineered flavor enhancers can also be listed under the artificial flavor or natural flavor label. Unless it is certified organic, pitch it and ditch it!
Bonus tip: If your goal is weight loss, these "natural and artificial flavors" can cause cravings
Artificial colors can cause hyperactivity and behavioral problems in some children, and some have been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals. They can even lead to a significant reduction in IQ.
Artificial colors are found in soda, fruit juices, fruit cocktail, cereals, cakes, candy, gummies, Jell-O, Kool-Aid, bakery products, drinks, lemonade, soda, maraschino cherries, ice cream, American cheese, mac-n-cheese, vitamins, pharmaceuticals, toothpaste, pet foods, and salad dressings.
Watch out for these: Blue #1 and Blue #2 (E133) - Banned in Norway, Finland and France. May cause chromosomal damage.
Red dye # 3 (also Red #40) (E124) - Banned in 1990 after 8 years of debate, but continues to be on the market until supplies run out! Has been proven to cause thyroid cancer and chromosomal damage in laboratory animals, may also interfere with brain-nerve transmission.
Yellow #6 (E110) and Yellow Tartrazine (E102) - Banned in Norway and Sweden. Increases the number of kidney and adrenal gland tumors in laboratory animals, may cause chromosomal damage.
So, look for products that use plant sources for natural dyes, i.e. beets. That's what we used to use and it's what Europe uses now that they know better.
Next time you see something that resembles a rainbow, question where that color came from and pitch it and ditch it!
MSG is an amino acid used as a flavor enhancer in soups, salad dressings, chips, frozen entrees, and many restaurant foods.
It is known as an excitotoxin, a substance that over excites cells to the point of damage or death.
Studies show that regular consumption of MSG may result in adverse side effects which include depression, disorientation, eye damage, fatigue, headaches, and obesity.
It affects the neurological pathways of the brain and disengages the "I'm full" function which explains the effects of weight gain.
Of course we all know it can be found in Chinese food, but it is also in many snacks, chips, cookies, seasonings, most Campbell Soup products, frozen dinners and lunch meats. Here are just a few of the names it goes by:
I encourage you to ditch these 10 toxic ingredients and Intentionally Eat instead. As you begin to phase out these chemicals and incorporate more natural nutritious foods you will feel better and possibly lose weight.