If you’ve been looking for a reliable health food product, you may have been tempted to simply trust any labels that advertise the product as “natural” or “healthy.” Unfortunately, even foods that advertise themselves as healthy often have a number of ingredients that are harmful to your health.
This is why it’s important to read the labels on your food and to do some research on the ingredients that are listed. Knowing what goes into the health food product that you’re purchasing will give you the chance to make more informed decisions about what you’re actually eating.
To help get you started with recognizing what to avoid in your health food products, we’ve listed some of the most common harmful ingredients. Many of these ingredients can lead to unpleasant or even dangerous health problems, so make sure to look for them next time you’re at the grocery store.
You might be surprised to discover that cane sugar is a top ingredient added to many health food products. This is because sugar is often considered a natural sweetener, especially in its raw or less-processed forms. However, processed or not, sugar is associated with numerous health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, and tooth decay. The World Health Organization has even called upon countries to reduce their overall sugar intakes, in order to improve overall public health.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Aside from being unhealthy, from an empty calorie standpoint, high fructose corn syrup is also believed to disrupt your body’s ability to signal that you’ve had enough to eat. Because of this, some researchers are concerned that high-fructose corn syrup can actually lead to obesity. Furthermore, in addition to avoiding high fructose corn syrup, it’s also important to stay away from regular corn syrup–which is also high in calories.
Artificial sweeteners won’t spike your blood sugar or provide you with extra calories, which is why many people believe them to be a healthier option than sugar. Nevertheless, there is some concern that artificial sweeteners can still lead to obesity and other health problems. Some of the main artificial sweeteners to look for include: aspartame, saccharine, sorbitol, and sucralose. One alternative to artificial sweeteners is to use stevia, which is a low-calorie, plant-based sweetener.
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
MSG is a popular additive that is used to enhance the flavor of food. Some people view MSG as safe, but many others find that MSG triggers unpleasant side effects, such as headaches, nausea, and heart palpitations.
Hydrogenated Oils (Trans Fats)
Hydrogenated oils are processed oils that are often added to foods because they increase shelf life. It’s important to look for these oils on your food labels because hydrogenated oils can lead to high cholesterol and other health problems. In particular, be sure to look out for hydrogenated oils in products such as shortening and peanut butter.
BHA and BHT
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are commonly used as preservatives to prevent food from becoming rancid.
Unfortunately, although these additives prevent food from spoiling, research is beginning to show that they might also be carcinogens. Furthermore, BHA and BHT are often used in food packaging materials. This means that they may be present in food without actually being listed on the ingredient label.
Sodium Nitrates and Sodium Nitrites
Nitrates and nitrites are often used in the process of curing meat such as bacon or sausage. These two preservatives are thought to be linked to health problems, such as heart disease, which is why it’s important to do your best to avoid them. It’s also important to know that many processed meats that are marketed as natural, or as “no nitrates or nitrites added,” will still have nitrates and nitrites present. This is because even when nitrites and nitrates aren’t added to the meat, these compounds are actually created as part of the meat curing process.
In many cases, there have not been enough scientific tests conducted to tell whether artificial colors are safe or not. However, many animal tests have shown that artificial colors can have a variety of negative health effects. Ultimately, the colors that are used in your food will depend on the country you live in, so it’s important to research the colors listed on your food labels.
Other Toxic Ingredients That Won’t be Listed on the Label
Depending on a region’s regulations, hormones are sometimes administered to animals to encourage rapid growth. These hormones can then be transferred to your food supply via animal products such as meat and milk. If you’re not a vegetarian, then the best way to avoid these hormones is to look for animals that have been raised naturally.
When animals are kept in confined living quarters and fed unhealthy diets, they become much more vulnerable to infection. In order to prevent infections from developing, low levels of antibiotics are often added to animals’ food supplies. Using antibiotics in this way contributes to the development of dangerous antibiotic-resistant diseases, which can lead to infections that are difficult to treat.
Although it can feel overwhelming at first to read food labels, the process will feel less daunting once you begin to recognize some of the most common harmful ingredients.
Do you want to learn more about choosing the right health food products that will give you better health and energy? Please visit our website or contact us to learn more about what you can do to improve your health through great nutrition!