During my first year of college I took a nutrition class and a big part of the course curriculum was designed around making sure we understood food labels. The professor didn’t emphasize calorie counting or the food pyramid like one would think… she wanted to make sure that we knew exactly what we were putting into our bodies, as well as the ingredients we should be avoiding when it comes to processed foods.
In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to worry about this because we wouldn’t be eating processed foods; however, with our busy lifestyles we have to find food that is capable of being on-the-go with us.
Here is a list of top ingredients that you should stay away from:
- Enriched or bleached flour
- Artificial Sweeteners such as Aspartame, Saccarin, and Sucralose- Aspartame accounts for 75% of adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA . Saccarin has been found to cause bladder cancer in male rats. Sucralose is found in soft drinks… and you already know how I feel about those. (www.organic-nature-news.com)
- High Fructose Corn Syrup- a common sugar additive in processed foods like tomato sauce, ketchup, soft drinks, and baked goods. It is cheaper to produce and transport than table sugar but not necessarily something you want to consume a lot of. While there has always been some problems with high fructose corn syrup, most recently there has been concerns around its contribution to obesity. (www.organic-nature-news.com)
- Trans Fats- BAD. Don’t eat whatever is in that box. Trans fats are linked to heart disease and other cancers.
- Shortening, Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Oils (such as palm and soybean)- Industrially created fats that contain high levels of trans fats which raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol, which in turn contributes to a risk of heart disease. (www.shine.yahoo.com)
Also, when looking at ingredients on the ingredient list, be aware that what is most prevalent in the food comes first. So, if it is something like whole grains, nuts, etc. you are on the right track. If it is something along the line of sugar, salt, or bleached flour… You should reconsider.