10 Chemicals to Avoid in Food Products
Obviously, optimal health requires you eat clean the majority of the time. Clean, meaning as close to the foods natural state as possible. And majority of the time refers to the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time you eat clean and 20% of the time you can indulge in the fries, chocolate, ice-cream etc. However, even the 20% foods can still be clean-ish. Sure, sugar isn’t good for you, but if you eat it in moderation it won’t do much harm, but any food that’s processed with a bunch of chemicals isn’t healthy no matter what category of the percentage split it falls into. Over time this junk can mess with your body chemistry and hormones, making you both sick and overweight. Here are 10 ingredients to avoid whenever possible because they’re pure garbage:
1. Trans fats (hydrogenated oils)
Used in food to enhance the taste and extend the shelf life, trans fats are dangerous because they increase the body’s LDL (“bad”) cholesterol while decreasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol; they also heighten the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and a host of other health problems. Trans fats have been banned, but it is still going to be several years for these evil fats to be rooted out of our food supply.
2. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
HFCS is a highly refined sweetener that’s found in most processed foods. This additive is so calorie-dense it’s one of the major contributors to the obesity epidemic. Like trans fats, it raises bad cholesterol levels and can lead to diabetes.
3. Artificial sweeteners (sucralose, aspartame, and saccharine)
Believe it or not, plain old sugar is better than what’s inside those little pink, blue, and yellow packets. Artificial sweeteners are made with chemicals known to be neurotoxins and carcinogens, affecting brain function. Some of these chemicals affect your weight by triggering the hormone that instructs your body to store fat, and decreasing levels of serotonin (which regulates your mood, sleep cycle, and digestion).
4. Artificial colors (Red no. 40, Yellow no. 6, Blue nos. 1 and 2)
Artificial food coloring has been linked to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), chromosomal damage, and thyroid cancer, among other conditions.
5. Sodium nitrites and nitrates
These food additives are used to preserve, flavor, and add color to processed meats like bacon, ham, and hot dogs. They’re carcinogenic and can negatively affect the function of the liver and pancreas, the organ responsible for insulin production.
6. Growth hormones (rBST and rBGH)
Studies have linked growth hormones, which are given to conventionally raised dairy cows and cattle, to early puberty and obesity.
7. Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
A flavor enhancer often found in soups, seasonings, frozen entrees, and many restaurant foods, MSG is known to overexcite brain cells in the hypothalamus. Studies have shown this may increase hunger and trigger strong food cravings, leading you to overeat.
8. Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)
You’ll find these preservatives in cereals, chewing gum, and potato chips. In large quantities, both BHA and BHT can wreak havoc in your body, from disrupting your endocrine system to producing cancer-causing compounds.
Eating farm animals that have been administered antibiotics passes along those drugs to our bodies. Steady doses of antibiotics can affect our ability to break down carbohydrates, absorb vitamins and minerals, and synthesize hormones.
Consuming produce doused with pesticides (dichlorophenol or 2.5-DCP, in particular) has been linked to childhood obesity. These chemicals disrupt the endocrine system, causing the body’s metabolic system to malfunction.