It’s no secret that what we put into our body matters. Each ingredient in every food can either aid our health, or deteriorate it and there is no other way to look at it. Below is a list of five ingredients that are commonly found in everyday foods, but are detrimental to our health.
1. BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoulene)
Butylated Hydroxytoluene is a lab made preservative that is found in anything from gum to cereal. It is generally recognized as “safe” by the FDA, however animal studies demonstrate that it causes cancer and is an endocrine disruptor. In high doses and over a long-term, BHT is toxic to mice and rats causing liver, thyroid and kidney problems.
2. High Fructose Corn Syrup
Found in nearly every processed food and sweetened drink, high-fructose corn syrup is a sweeter and cheaper version of regular sugar. It’s made by separating glucose and fructose which are usually bound together. This allows fructose to mainline into your liver, which activates fat production called lipogenesis. As a result, this leads to a fatty liver which is one of the most common diseases, affecting over 80 million Americans today.
Aspartame is a commonly used, low calorie artificial sweetener that is found in diet beverages, gums, candies and other sweetened foods. It contains about 4 calories per gram which is similar to sugar however it’s 200 times sweeter.
In 1981, the FDA approved aspartame for use in food in drinks, however many studies have been conducted on its safety since then. In fact, the FDA and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have set a limit on how much aspartame one can consume daily before its poisonous. Because aspartame is so sweet but low in calories, the body cannot properly process it. This results in many side effects such as headaches, ADHD, depression, congenital disabilities and even cancer. Any food or ingredient that has a safety limit should not be consumed, even in small doses.
4. MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)
Monosodium Glutamate is widely used to enhance the flavour of food. It is commonly used in restaurants, canned soups, processed foods and spices. MSG is classified as an exotoxin that has degenerative effects on the brain and nervous system. It causes several health complications such as ADD, depression, asthma, skin rashes, sleep disorders and heart irregularities. This is because glutamic acid acts as excitatory neurotransmitter in your brain, causing excessive stimulation of nerve cells.
5. Artificial Colouring
Artificial food dyes are chemical substances that were developed in order to enhance the appearance of food. They are widely used and commonly found in flavoured beverages, candies, baked goods and even salmon. Multiple studies have linked artificial colouring to serious side effects such as hyperactivity in children, as well as allergies and cancer. In fact, Red 3 also known as erythosine was partially banned by the FDA in 1990 after an animal study demonstrated that it increases the risk of thyroid tumors in male rats. However, that ban was later removed and Red 3 was replaced by Red 40. Despite the controversy, Red 3 is still used and found in many foods today.
I could write a whole book on every ingredient that we should avoid! But the only thing we can do is stay informed, continue reading ingredients on packaging and if there’s something that is unfamiliar listed- don’t buy it. These foods prevent weight loss and are linked to a number of side effects, but are still legally allowed in our food. I hope you take something from this blog and I encourage you to do your own research as well on other ingredients!