The 7 Most Harmful Ingredients To Look Out For!

fresh-fruit-390x260Previously, I spoke about food labels and their contents now let’s look at the ingredients, what to avoid and how they can harm us.

The average person consumes approximately 11 pounds of food additives per year in the form of preservatives, colours, waxes and emulsifiers.

Stay away from these like the plague.

Aspartame, Sucralose, Sorbitol

Aspartame otherwise called NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful or Equal is found in over 5,000 food products such as baked goods, chewing gum, diet carbonated beverages, desserts, candy and even some pharmaceuticals. Aspartame consists of three components: amino acid phenylalanine, aspartic acid and methanol. Methanol is toxic to humans, even when consumed in small amounts. Some of the most documented side effects are headaches, migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, heart palpitations, vision problems and anxiety. These reactions can be immediate or can occur in several days or several years later.

Trans fatty acids (TFA’s)

TFA’s are the really, really bad fats. This is where food technologist alters the chemical structure of a polyunsaturated fat. This process is called ‘hydrogenation’. If ever you see the word ‘hydrogenated’ or ‘partially hydrogenated’, put the product down. It is filled with chemically harmful fats that will only hinder your health. These synthetic fats are known to promote the build-up of plaque in arteries, increase cholesterol levels, promote cancer by causing dangerous defects in cell membranes, and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Food Dyes

Food dyes fall into the anti-nutrient category, meaning they have zero nutritional value and may be hazardous to your health. These synthetic dyes are usually found in foods such as, liquorice, cupcakes, baked goods, sugary breakfast cereals, and or even in certain vitamins, pharmaceuticals and toothpastes. This topic is still debatable, some studies show no effect, while other studies demonstrate it can worsen behavioural problems in children such as attention deficit disorder. The most problematic is the yellow dye E102 (Tartrazine) and also red dye #2, #3 #4 (made from bugs) and #40 (cochineal)  which may cause the worsening or development of allergies, asthma, hives and thyroid tumours.

Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) and Butylated Hydroxyonisole (BHA)

BHA and BHT are preservatives used to keep the flavour and colour in food and to prevent rancidity. Both are found in foods high in fat and oils such as meats, butter, beer, and snack food dehydrated potatoes and in chewing gum. These two preservatives have been implicated in various health problems such as cancer, increase in liver enzymes, bronchospasm and behavioural disorders. They also found tumour growth in lab animals and this is the reason why it is not banned by the FDA but it is banned in Japan.

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

Usually labels do not list MSG, but if it is not there it is not necessarily free of MSG. Look out for ingredients such as ‘autolyzed yeast’ and ‘hydrolyzed protein’. These ingredients contain a percentage of MSG. The symptoms associated with MSG include: headaches, migraines, stomach aches, irritable bowel disease, panic attacks, heart palpitations, mental confusion, hyperactivity and neurological disorders that can mimic Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. MSG tricks the brain into thinking that the food you are eating tastes good, causing you to eat more and more of the product. MSG is found in a high percentage of processed, bagged or bottled food.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

HFCS has been linked to trigger obesity. Despite the food industry’s marketing HFCS is not equivalent to sugar and it is cheaper to manufacture, that is why you will find it in most junk foods. It has been implicated in a variety of diseases and health problems, including heart disease, diabetes and weight gain.

Sodium Nitrite

Nitrites are used to inhibit botulism causing bacteria and to maintain processed meats pink hues, which is why the FDA allows their use. Unfortunately once ingested, nitrite can fuse with amino acids (of which meat is a prime source) to form nitrosamines, powerful carcinogenic compounds that may cause cancer.

About 80 percent of the “foods” on the supermarket shelves today did not exist 100 years ago.

Always keep in mind that the fewer ingredients found on the label, the healthier it is. The more the ingredients the longer the shelf life and possibly the least healthy too…


Yours in Health and Fitness!