Monthly Archives: December 2016

Hidden Food Additives to Always Avoid


When it comes to avoiding food additives, the list could be a very long one. The bottom line is that foods packed with artificial ingredients, sugar, food dyes, food coloring, high levels of sodium and trans fats should be avoided as much as possible. In this article, we will examine some of the food additives you will want to try to avoid. We’re about to start the new year, and there is nothing like making a healthy resolution!


One key fact to discuss before venturing into the different food additives to avoid is which foods are the most likely to contain additives that you shouldn’t consume. Processed foods and fast foods are usually packed with an array of additives. In fact, if you want to dramatically reduce your chances of being exposed to the additives on our list, simply reduce or even eliminate fast foods and processed foods from your diet.


#1 Sugar-Hiding by Many Different Names

sugarYou’ve probably heard that sugar is bad for you. Most people, however, don’t realize just how damaging sugar is to the human body. Sugar causes DNA damage which can weaken the body’s immune system and actually promote disease. You likely already know that sugar is bad for you. The various food companies that make billions off sugar also know that most of us now know that sugar should be avoided.


What many don’t yet realize is that sugar is being put into all kinds of foods, including foods such as bread and pasta sauce, under a wide array of different names. At first the sugar industry was focusing on sugar camouflaging names, like corn solids and high-fructose corn syrup, but recently the diversity of sugar names has increased.


Now, there are dozens of different names for what is essentially sugar. That means that even if you’re actively seeking to avoid sugar, you can still fall into the sugar trap!  What should the typical consumer do? The simple answer is to reduce, as much as possible, your consumption of processed foods and fast foods. Remember, the purchasing decisions that you make do matter. By refusing to buy unhealthy foods, you are sending a clear and powerful message to food companies; that message is that you want real food without added sugar.


#2 What’s in Your Meat and Dairy?


Quite often discussion of harmful food additives skip right over issues such as what might be hiding in your meat, dairy, fish, poultry, fish and eggs, which is unfortunate. The topic of bioaccumulation is one that doesn’t receive the attention that it deserves. The simple fact is that the higher up the food chain an animal is the greater the chance of bioaccumulation issues.


tuna-1648597_960_720One well-known and well-documented example of bioaccumulation problems is fish. Over the last few decades, it has become a well-known fact that many larger fish can have bioaccumulation issues, for example, mercury in tuna. Sadly, however, the issue of bioaccumulation isn’t just a concern in fish, but instead is a factor for the entire food chain. Meat and poultry brings with it concerns about hormones and the kind of feed the animal received.


cow-419081_960_720Added hormones can be very problematic and can have long term health consequences for both animals and humans. Cattle are frequently given foods and drugs designed to make them larger and heavy so as to increase profits. Avoiding these hormones, chemicals and drugs is a must for anyone who consumes meat or poultry.


Opting for organic and free range beef and chicken products is one way to reduce one’s risk. Another option is to opt for goat milk, yogurt and dairy as goats are generally not raised in massive farm conditions like dairy cattle and typically receive far less antibiotics and hormones.


#3 Artificial Sweeteners Should be Avoided


tape-403591_960_720Artificial sweeteners are in many problems. In particular, pay special attention to so-called “diet products.” Diet products are usually low in nutrition but high in chemicals and artificial ingredients. As a result, the body cries out for nutrition and those eating diet products usually find that they ultimately eat more and not less.


Artificial sweeteners have been linked to many health issues and additional studies are most definitely needed. Many scientists and researchers worry about the safety of artificial sweeteners and want to see additional studies. The safest move is to avoid artificial sweeteners.


agaveThere are some natural alternatives that can be used in moderation. Coconut sugar is all natural and far lower on the glycemic index than sugar; it is in stark contrast to a supposedly healthy sweetener alternative agave. Agave is natural since it comes from a cactus. But it is also highly processed and high on the glycemic index, as a result if can’t exactly be considered healthy. Coconut sugar is a safer alternative.


Another safer alternative, again in moderation, to sugar is xylitol. Derived to tree bark, xylitol is both widely used and studied. It is very low on the glycemic index and is often used by diabetics for this reason. In addition, numerous studies have shown that xylitol is actually good for overall mouth health as xylitol reduces the levels of cavity causing bacteria in the mouth. Once again, the key to using safer sugar substitutes such as coconut sugar and xylitol is to use these sugar substitutes in moderation.


Avoiding harmful foods can be difficult. For social reasons, for example a dinner with friends at a restaurant,  you may find it necessary to eat foods that you might otherwise not eat. Of course, this is fine on occasion. What you do on a day-to-day basis will be what ultimately determines your health and well-being.


Finally, when it comes to selecting foods, read labels carefully at the grocery store. If the label is full of unfamiliar ingredients, simply place it back on the shelf.


Posted by December 25, 2016 at 2:00 PM under Home Living Tips