The foods we consume nowadays are all piled high with a list of ingredients on the back label that many of us have either never heard of before or cannot even pronounce out loud. Which begs to question: do we really know what we’re putting in to our bodies? Truth is, we really don’t. We just hope that because the FDA has approved it for consumption that we’ll be fine as long as we don’t overdo it.
We want to believe that food manufacturers have our best interest in minds, but the fact of the matter is that companies only care about taste & shelf life. As a result, you find their foods loaded with all sorts of ingredients. But we only want to direct your attention to a few ingredients that pop up all of the time.
Common Food Additives to Avoid
The FDA has received more complaints regarding aspartame than any other food additive on the market – and trust us, there are A LOT of additives in this industry. With that said, aspartame has actually been found to cause cancer in animals during early studies. We’ve also found that our body converts aspartame into formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen. I’ll think we’ll pass on aspartame, which you’ll commonly find in most products that claim “diet” on them, namely diet sodas.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
This ingredient I am sure most of us are familiar with, because it is added to many products as an inexpensive option to real sugar in an effort to sweeten beverages. However, studies have shown that the fructose contained in high fructose corn syrup goes directly to our liver, converts to fat, and ultimately can lead to heart disease – which is one of the top diseases that claim many lives besides cancer.
See also: The Dangers of Sugar
Nitrates or Nitrites
Just the name alone is scary enough. Nitrites and nitrates are both commonly used to cure meats. Studies have found that when these ingredients combine with our stomach acids, they produce nitrosamines, which have been linked with cancer. Is it worth it? We don’t think so.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG for short) has been given a bad wrap over the years, for good reason. This “flavor enhancer” – again companies care a lot about taste – has been associated with a variety of adverse reactions including heart palpitations, swelling, and facial numbness.
What you didn’t know about MSG is that behind the scenes this ingredient works on the nerves in our brain to fire rapidly. This rapid response mechanism heightens our sense of taste. Companies know & understand this and want you to believe their product tastes great, so they add it in.
Don’t be fooled however as companies try and bypass this by adding labels such as hydrolyzed soy protein or yeast extract, which in reality is still MSG with a different name.
Artificial coloring has been around for quite some time and it hasn’t slowed down one bit. Companies add them in because they make their products looks pretty, which is very deceptive because these chemical dyes are actually made from known carcinogens. By definition, a carcinogen is any substance known to cause cancer in living tissue. It’s also linked with exacerbating ADD/ADHD symptoms in children.
On the back of a label, look for ingredients towards the very bottom such as Red #40, Yellow #5, Blue #1, etc. & try your best to stay away.
We hope the next time you’re purchasing foods or groceries, you’ll take a quick look at the back of a label, spot any of these questionable 5 ingredients above and decide that it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Sometimes it’s worth spending a couple extra dollars as an investment in your health rather than settling for cheaper options that contain many questionable ingredients.