Shopping for healthy food ought to entail an arduous task of looking through the labels. A great majority of food sold at stores is processed, meaning that it is laced with a number of additives, many of which are anything but wholesome. We all have heard of high-fructose corn syrup or MSG, but they are just the top of the iceberg, there are so many additives that had better be avoided, so take care you know of them; the more you know, the healthier your shopping will be!
1. Flavor additives
Whether the label says it is artificial or natural flavoring, both should be avoided. The difference is purely technical: natural flavors are harder to produce, therefore they are more expensive, and they sound better on the label. Nevertheless, it comes down to the same thing. Flavoring isn’t so harmful, but they are usually mixed in to disguise an ingredient that has a nasty taste or which shouldn’t be there really.
2. Color additives
Most of what we eat is dyed for easier consumption! As food is being processed it loses its natural colors, and has to be treated with a wide range of petroleum derivatives for coloring. Research shows that these additives can incite allergy and may hasten the development of some kinds of cancer. Be on the lookout for carmine, a red dye that is actually a bug powder, it’s even worse than petroleum derivatives.
3. Palm oil
Ending with “oil,” it will sound all right for some – yet some of these are deceptive, too. Palm oil is often used as substitute for trans fats, and you know you should avoid those! Still, researchers say palm oil is no better than trans fats. Moreover, the demand for palm oil is growing, leading to palm tree deforestation. Palm species are becoming threatened the world over.
4. All no-calorie sweeteners
All sweeteners are conducive to gaining weight, an excellent reason for steering clear of them, for being sweet and devoid of nutrients they make us want to eat carb-rich food, thus storing fat. Besides, they are suspected of causing cancer related illnesses. That’s the least you can say of them! There is aspartame that turns into formaldehyde, the chemical that is used in embalming; there is sucralose which is known to accumulate in water and fish. It means some ingredients won’t be metabolized, they remain and accumulate in our bodies.
5. Mechanically separated meat
Producers go on having fun separating meat mechanically and shaping it up then into fun images like dinosaur-looking nuggets. You have probably seen internet photos where beef looks almost unrecognizable, to be confused with strawberry mash. Are we to forget what a good chunk of real meat ought to look like? Give a wide berth to these childish games and go for proper healthy meat.
6. Sodium benzoate preservative
This is the stuff they use to prolong the shell life of juices and fizzy drinks. It may sound like good work – until you start to remember that foods are preserved by killing the life forms existing in the drink. Sodium benzoate inhibits cell energy production, which makes it a kind of poison. It is further metabolized into benzene, a substance found in gasoline, which is linked with the development of cancer.
This compound is often employed in fast food production as an anti-foaming agent in chicken meat. In other industries it is also widely used, for one, as breast implant filler. While we don’t want our oils to foam all over our piece of chicken, will it remain natural and wholesome when there is an implant filler around? Chew on it for an answer.
Nowadays we are immersed in foods with long lists of ingredients measured in several dozens. We may not succeed in avoiding all toxic ingredients manufacturers can come up with. Yet, it’s worth our health’s while to get to know more about what exactly we are exposed to when we sit down for a meal.