Have you ever picked up an item in the supermarket and with all good intentions looked at the nutritional information label on the back, only to be confused by the amount of information you’re faced with? Checking food labels is a great habit to establish when you do your weekly shopping, but it’s hard to know what to actually look for!
Of course, the best way to avoid all the nasty preservatives and chemical additives is to eat only fresh, whole foods. However practically, this can be quite hard to achieve 100% of the time. So, to simplify things, we’ve made a list of the WORST chemicals that you can find in processed foods – if you pick up an item with one or more of these in it, put it back on the shelf IMMEDIATELY!
1. Artificial Sweeteners
2. Trans Fats and Vegetable Oils
interfere with basic cell membrane function, which can pave the way for cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Hydrogenated vegetable oils are common in most fast foods including crackers, chips and fried foods. Not only can these oils be highly inflammatory, promote heart disease and Alzheimer’s, they have an increased chance of being genetically engineered and contaminated.
3. Artificial Flavours
4. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
5. Artificial Colours (Dyes)
It’s scary to think how the colour of some processed foods can look so vibrant. Well, this isn’t by chance. In fact, many dyes are derived for coal tars. These artificial colours are linked to a range of health issues. For example, one of the most commonly used dyes, Red #40, may accelerate the appearance of immune system tumours in mice as well as triggering hyperactivity in children. Let’s talk about Blue Dye #2, most often used in candies, beverages and pet foods, has been linked to brain tumours. What about our baked goods, candies and cereals containing Yellow Dye #5? Well, they’ve been linked to hyperactivity, hypersensitivity and other behavioural effects in children.
6. High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
This enhancer is cheap, easily added to processed foods and is consumed in massive quantities every day. It’s hidden in surprising food items such as baby foods and condiments. Fructose is primarily metabolised by your liver and is metabolised much like alcohol, causing mitochondrial and metabolic dysfunction in the same way as ethanol and other toxins. Your body also turns this fructose directly into fat!
Preservatives are great for manufacturers – they can be added to food to increase their shelf life and therefore increase their profits! Preservatives have been linked to numerous health problems such as cancer and allergies. Here are the top five to watch out for: