Packaged and processed food has become a staple in the standard American diet; candy bars, pop, juice, chips, cookies, ice cream, cakes, pies, hot pockets, and frozen entrees are now the norm for meals and snacks. We have become permanent fixtures at the restaurant table, drive thru and take out counter. We are saving time and sometimes money, but at what cost?
Most of the packaged and processed food we consume contains dangerous ingredients that are harmful to our overall physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Keeping in mind that the goal of clean eating is to eat foods as close to its natural state as possible, these four ingredients do not even come close and should be avoided at all costs:
1. Artificial sweeteners-Aspartame and Sucralose – These are found in Splenda, Equal, and NutraSweet. There are thousands of products that contain aspartame. Be careful of anything that says “low calorie”, “no sugar added”, “sugar free” and “diet”. They likely contain artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners can cause headaches/migraines, dizziness, depression, anxiety attacks, heart palpitations, weight gain, and irritability. They can also worsen some disease such as fibromyalgia, diabetes, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease. If you are going to use sugar when you cook or in your coffee or tea, skip the artificial sweeteners and use organic cane sugar or honey.
2. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)-This flavor enhancer is found in canned soups, crackers, soy sauce, salad dressing and frozen dinners. Why is it so dangerous? MSG is what is called an excitotoxin-it overexcites your cells to the point of damage. Regular consumption of MSG can cause obesity, eye damage, headaches, nausea, fatigue, disorientation and depression. Avoid packaged and processed foods as much as possible. When you season your food, don’t use seasonings containing MSG.
3. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) – High fructose corn syrup is not natural sugar like cane sugar, but is an industrial food product. Products with high fructose corn syrup are cheaper and sweeter and that is why it is used so often. You can find high fructose corn syrup in anything from bread to cough syrup. Regular consumption of HFCS can cause obesity. High fructose corn syrup is only found in highly processed foods which lets us know that the food is as far from its natural state as possible which can cause heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure.
4. rBGH/rBST-If you are going to drink cow’s milk or consume any dairy products, make sure it is from cows not treated with rBGH/rBST. rBGH/rBST is an artificial hormone made from ecoli bacteria that is injected into cows to make them produce more milk. This hormone causes infection in the cow’s udders and then they are given antibiotics to fight the infection. This can cause pus and blood to transfer to the cow’s milk. rBGH/rBST milk has been linked to breast, colon and prostate cancers.
There are many more that can be added to the list, but this is a great place to start when trying to eliminate toxic ingredients from your food. Remember, “if you don’t recognize an ingredient, your body won’t either”.