Have you ever wondered what exactly is in the food you eat? Some of your favorite foods might be misleading you. Many foods contain additional ingredients, turning (normally) healthy foods into unhealthy ones that are actually doing more harm than good. Read the list below to learn about the 5 hidden ingredients that are damaging your health:
1. Carrageenan– extracted from red seaweed, carrageenan is used to gel, thicken, and stabilize foods. Due to its ability to thicken consistencies and to help fill out the taste of low-fat versions of food items, carrageenan can even be found in organic foods. The problem with this additive is that it can cause inflammation, intestinal irritation, and in some cases, cancer.
2. Soy– there was a time (in the 1990’s) when consuming soy and soy products promised to give us health benefits like lowering cholesterol and protecting against breast and prostate cancer. Sadly, this is not true. Unfermented, as well as fermented, soy contains substances that suppress thyroid functioning which can lead to anxiety, mood swings, insomnia, difficulty losing weight, digestive issues, and food allergies. It can also produce infertility in women and loss of libido for men. Food labels are also misleading. Other aliases for soy are: mono-diglycerides, textured soy flour (TSF), textured soy protein (TSP), textured vegetable protein, lecithin, monosodium glutamate (MSG), bouillon, natural flavor, and textured plant protein.
3. Sugar– added sugar is found in a myriad of food items. Too much sugar in your diet can lead to weight gain which can lead to health problems. Americans consume up to twice the allowable amount of daily sugar. Be sure to read nutritional labels but be aware that sugar can be hidden under other names: corn sweetener, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, fruit juice concentrates, lactose, maltose, malt syrup, molasses, cane juice, cane syrup, and sucrose. Also, avoid artificial sweeteners such as sucralose, aspartame, saccharin, and maltodextrin.
4. Sodium– this is another term for salt. Foods rich in salt are unhealthy, leading to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Canned and processed foods contain particularly high amounts of sodium. Check food labels for sodium percentages and hidden sodium in the ingredient content list. Other names for sodium (or salt) are: monosodium glutamate, sodium citrate, sodium sulfite, sodium caseinate, sodium benzoate, sodium hydroxide, and disodium phosphate.
5. Artificial Color– commonly found in processed, empty-calorie foods (such as candies), color additives have been linked to hyperactivity and attention disorders in children. It can also lead to allergies and sinus congestion. Other parts of the world, such as in the U.K., have taken action by using natural dye replacements for artificial ones such as paprika and beetroot powder. The U.S. has not taken such action. Which artificial colors should you avoid then? Blue #1, Blue #2, Citrus Red #2, Green #3, Red #40, Red #3, Yellow #5, and Yellow #6 all come with high health concerns. Red #40 has shown observable decreases in hyperactive children whose diet has been restricted of this particular artificial color.
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