Over 50% of the foods Americans eat are considered processed food. Processed foods consist of canned, dehydrated, or any foods with added chemicals in them to retain longer shelf life. Over the decades the food industry has focused more on finding ways to keep foods lasting longer than looking for ways to promote a healthier eating lifestyle making processed foods very easy to come by. Unfortunately, this way of eating introduces ingredients into our bodies that are considered toxic and can even lead to health complications.
The 10 Most Destructive Ingredients Found In American Foods
Palm Oil – Palm oil is one of the leading oils to have what is known as trans-fats. Trans-fats have no nutritional value and can raise your LDL and triglycerides while also lowering your HDL. Your HDL’s work to carry cholesterol from your blood back to your liver where it can be broken down and removed from your body. LDL’s can build up within your arteries causing them to narrow and possibly lead to blockage. An increase in LDL’s is unhealthy for your body.
Shortening – Most people know of this ingredient when it comes to baking. Grandmas cookie recipes probably all have shortening but this ingredient is another trans fat that you want to avoid. It’s also an ingredient that can lead to metabolic syndrome when too much is consumed. A metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions that increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. This includes high blood pressure, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels.
White Flour, Rice, Pasta, and Bread – While whole grains are good to have in your diet most of what we see today is refined; striping all the nutrients from an otherwise healthy food source. Refined grains lack fiber, vitamins, and minerals that are essential for the body. They are also easily digested causing blood sugar and insulin spikes. Barley, oatmeal, and brown rice are healthy alternatives.
High Fructose Corn Syrup – You will find this ingredient in practically everything. Though Americans have become more mindful about how much sugar they intake they consume nearly 20 times as much high fructose corn syrup in the last 40 years. HFCS increases triglycerides, leads to weight gain, and boosts fat-storing hormones.
Artificial Sweeteners – As much as it’s important to limit your sugar consumption; sugar is actually better than consuming artificial sweeteners. Things such as Splenda, Sweet’n Low and Equal are hard on the metabolic system and things like Aspartame have been linked to causing cancers.
Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Benzoate – These ingredients are actually preservatives that are often added to keep mold from growing on your foods such as bread. Benzene however is also known as a carcinogen and is linked to thyroid damage. When combined with ascorbic acid which is vitamin C, it can build up to dangerous levels within your system.
Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) – Here is another carcinogen that is known to promote tumor growth and impair blood clotting. Though it’s considered safe by the FDA it’s a major endocrine disrupter leading to an unhealthy imbalance of hormones. This ingredient goes by many names but is commonly referred to as salicylic acid; a common ingredient in cosmetic products.
Sodium Nitrates and Sodium Nitrites – These ingredients are linked with colon cancer and metabolic syndrome. They are often found as preservatives in meat like hot dogs and bacon.
Artificial Colors – Many of the artificial colors like red 3 and yellow 6 have been linked to health issues such as thyroid, adrenal, bladder, kidney, and brain cancers. After years of study, there are more products that use fewer of these ingredients or none at all because of how much they are linked with cancer.
MSG – MSG stands for monosodium glutamate and functions as a flavor enhancer. Glutamates themselves can be found in natural foods like cheese and meats but when they are processed they become a completely different ingredient which has been shown to affect a person’s brain chemistry.
With so much of our food being processed, it’s important to look at the labels and understand what ingredients are part of the product. Eating more raw and natural food sources will limit the effects that these ingredients can have on your body. If you do buy processed foods, buying organic will help to limit many of these ingredients as well. Eating a diet of raw and natural foods will not only aid in preventing health issues, but it will also help your body to thrive and perform at its optimal level.