10 Bad Ingredients and Food Additives to Keep Out of Your Diet

Food companies are quite savvy at disguising various additives and ingredients on the labels of their foods. I always say if you need a dictionary to look up an ingredient, then put it back. But some ingredients sound like they may be okay to consume, or perhaps you’re just not aware of what they actually are.

So this Top 10: Hidden Food Dangers will shed some light about what goes on your plate, and in your body. Bear this information in mind the next time you’re at your local supermarket – and make some smart choices!

1. Sodium Nitrite – This sounds like just some added salt right? Wrong. How would you feel if you knew sodium nitrate’s been associated with causing cancer in lab animals, and is highly carcinogenic? It’s found in many meat products like ham, bacon, hot dogs, and others, and has also been linked to leukemia and brain tumors. Not so harmless anymore is it?

2. MSG – Sure we all know Mono Sodium Glutamate is bad for you by now, but guess what? It also has other names like textured soy concentrate, maltodextrin, yeast extract, autolyzed vegetable protein, and hydrolyzed vegetable protein. These contain MSG and as such may cause nerve damage. This is a tricky little tactic some companies use to avoid labeling their products with MSG.

3. High Fructose Corn Syrup- I’m sure you know this one! HFCS is found in everything from soda to breakfast cereals. The problem is that since it’s made from genetically modified corn and enzymes, it’s loaded with “unbound” glucose and fructose molecules and has been associated with obesity, tissue and heart disease. What the heck is genetically modified corn anyway?

4. Soybean Oil- Seems harmless upon reading it, but nearly half (and rising) of soybean crops are genetically modified, also known as GMO. When you play with Mother Nature, bad things are bound to happen. There’s been mounting evidence that GMO products have negative impacts on human health and because they’re unnatural, also pose a threat to the environment.

5. Enriched Flour- This actually sounds like a good ingredient doesn’t it? But “enriched” isn’t a good thing! In fact it’s actually quite bad as this product is highly processed and devoid of most of its nutrition since it’s been “bleached” and had most of the wheat germ and bran removed. Additionally, the type of iron that’s added in the enrichment process is heavily metallic and isn’t readily absorbed by the human body. Pretzels, cereals and pasta’s may contain this ugly imposter.

6. Potassium Bromate- Potassium is a key nutrient that’s needed for health, but don’t let this fool you into thinking it’s a healthy ingredient. It’s used to increase volume in breads, rolls, and other white flour products. But it’s also been shown to cause cancer in animals and may be a potential health risk for humans as well.

7. Food Colorings- You’ve seen Blue 1 and 2, Red 3, Green 3, Yellow 6 etc. I think many people are under the impression that they’re harmless – after all how dangerous can a little food coloring be? They’re found in beverages, candies, dried fruit, fish, and even pet food amongst other things. But they can actually be very dangerous, as they’ve been linked to adrenal, thyroid and bladder tumors and cancer.

8. Hydrogenated Oils- These oils are found in many manufactured foods, crackers, cookies and even your favorite Girl Scout variety! They’re used to extend shelf life and hold fat in a product. They contribute to heart disease, nutritional deficiencies, and the degradation of cellular health. There goes my thin mint fix.

9. Aspartate- This belongs to the “excitotoxin” category and is widely used as an artificial sweetener in soft drinks, ice creams, cereals, and many other products that are listed as “diet”, but also low in sugar. It’s chemical brother Aspartame is known to cause numerous health issues such as hallucinations, neuropsychiatric disorders, panic attacks, mood swings, dizziness, and even blackouts in some instances. You may be trying to watch calories, but using foods with this ingredient may cause you some serious health issues.

10. Gluten – I’m listing this a hidden food danger because I truly believe most people aren’t aware that they have a negative reaction to it. Gluten is a starchy substance found in wheat, barley and rye and contains an insoluble protein that many people are allergic to. Some people may have Celiac disease, which causes a whole host of health issues and pain, but it’s also estimated that millions of Americans are gluten sensitive, meaning they too suffer from various health problems when they consume it. Gluten’s known to exasperate existing conditions such as diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, osteoporosis, dermatitis and psoriasis.

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