It is undeniable that everyone loves their junk food now and then. However, it seems that humans are consuming “junk” even when they’re not intending to. Much of the food that we eat today is chock-full of preservatives, additives, colors, and who knows what else. Some of these items are more dangerous than others and can pose serious health risks.
Dangerous Food Additives to Avoid
Below you will find a list of the seven most dangerous food additives that you need to avoid.
1. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
MSG is a harmful flavor enhancer that is well-known for being in many Chinese food dishes, but is also hiding in other places. Many canned foods, soups, frozen meals, chips, crackers, and snack bars also contain MSG. Researchers believe that MSG can damage your body’s cells and may even lead to cancer, learning disabilities, Parkinson’s disease, and more.
2. Artificial Sweeteners
Many folks turn to artificial sweeteners because they are low calorie or no-calorie. However, what you get in return for this exchange of calories is frightening. For starters, consuming artificial sweeteners increases your appetite and increases cravings for sweet things. More importantly, however, these artificial sweeteners can cause serious digestive issues in the body and can kill the good bacteria needed in your gut.
Some researchers believe that artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, may contain toxins, abnormal amino acids which may even cause cancer. Some of the most common artificial sweeteners disguise themselves as aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, neotame, and acesulfame.
3. High Fructose Corn Syrup
High fructose corn syrup is added to almost everything, including many types of bread and cereals, to improve taste. This synthetic substance is not meant to be in the body and can lead to weight gain, insulin resistance, liver damage, and even certain autoimmune diseases. Because HFCS is added to many of the items found in a grocery store, be sure to carefully read all ingredients before you make a purchase.
4. Refined Vegetable Oils
This group of oils is highly refined and contains virtually no nutritional value. These oils include canola, corn, soybean, cottonseed, and safflower oils. Through the refining process, all of the redeeming qualities of these vegetable oils are eliminated and replaced with unnatural preservatives. Because they are cheap, refined vegetable oils are used in many restaurants for all deep-frying (fries, mozzarella sticks, chips, etc.). Try to avoid places that cook their food in these oils, and at home replace them with pure olive or coconut oil.
5. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
Almost all of the foods we eat contain GMOs to one extent or another, usually because they contain corn or soybean oil. GMOs have been linked to reproductive disorders, food allergies, and resistance to antibiotics. However, since they have not been around for all that long, science may still reveal even more negative side effects of GMOs as further research is done.
To avoid genetically modified organisms, try to eat organic as much as possible or even grow your own produce if possible. Also, be sure to read the list of ingredients in everything you buy; if it contains soybean or corn oil, this ingredient has likely been genetically modified.
Two of the most common preservatives used to prolong shelf life of items are BHA and BHT. Research has suggested that these two preservatives can cause damage to the neurological system, and may even be related to cancer. Another common preservative is sodium nitrite, which is found in many deli meats and hot dogs. Nitrates are believed to be linked to cancer.
7. Artificial Flavors and Colors
Anything that is artificial (i.e. not “real,” created in a lab) should probably not go into your body. Artificial ingredients have been linked to cognitive diseases, digestive issues, behavioral problems, and even cancer. In addition, a lot of young children have an allergy to these artificial colors and flavors, causing persistent and painful rashes. The top four offenders to avoid include blue dyes #1 and #2, red dye #3, and yellow dye #5.
To avoid many of these harmful foods, try to grow as much of your own produce as possible and make your own snacks at home (fruit rolls, granola bars, dried fruit, etc.). Also, make it a habit to look at the ingredients before you buy something. If there are more than 6 ingredients in a particular item, that is usually a warning flag. If the list of ingredients is thick with words you cannot pronounce, you should just put it back on the shelf.
If your budget allows, opt for organic as much as possible. For the health of yourself and your family, it is extremely important to avoid these dangerous foods as much as possible.