In part 1 we covered artificial sweeteners, HFCS, Trans-fats, and MSG. In part #2 we will continue on through the world of unhealthy food additives. Once again, the only way to tell if this stuff is in the foods you and your family eat is to read ingredients lists. Unfortunately there is no way around this, and oftentimes you may not even be able to find a specific product that doesn’t have unhealthy food additives in it. For example, you may not be able to find pickles that don’t have nasty preservatives in it in a regular grocery store. You may need to go to a health food store or to the organics isle at your grocery store. Here is some other unhealthy stuff to look out for.
Sodium Nitrate and Nitrite
Nitrates are used as preservatives and for meat coloring (it makes brown meat turn red). If you’re a vegetarian, you won’t have to worry about these chemicals, but if you eat meat, watch out for them. Nitrates were almost banned in the 70’s so they’re definitely chemicals you will want to avoid. Look for nitrate free meats, and read ingredients lists to see if the meat in the products you buy have nitrates.
BHA and BHT
These are preservatives that are used in a variety of products such as chewing gum, potato chips and vegetable oils. As is the norm, read the ingredients list to see if BHA and BHT are used. These chemicals have been found to adversely affect the brain and contribute to obesity so steer clear.
You’ll have to go to the ingredients list to see if a food product has Dye’s in it. Some dye’s that are worse than others, regardless, they are usually artificial, and you should generally avoid them. Dye’s will be listed with a color and a #, for example yellow #6 and blue #3. Keep a look out for them in the products you buy for yourself and your family.
This substance is often found in soft drinks and other beverages. It is also used as a preservative in many processed foods. By itself sodium benzoate appears to be safe, but when vitamin c is added to the equation the mixture turns into benzene which is a carcinogen. Be on the lookout for Sodium benzoate in the ingredients list, and then check the Vit C % at the bottom of the nutritional label. If the product has both, definitely avoid it.
It is found in breads and is used to increase the volume of flour. Potassium Bromate is linked with cancer in lab animals so it should be avoided. Look for potassium bromate in the ingredients list of any bread products you consume.
That is the vast majority of unhealthy food additives that are packed into processed foods. There are certainly others, over 14000 actually. The best plan of attack is to avoid processed foods whenever possible. When you do buy processed foods, read labels, and look for products that don’t have a ton of ingredients. No you don’t have to eliminate all processed foods (lets be realistic), but eating more whole, organic foods will greatly benefit your health and energy levels. Stay tuned, the next post will go over BPA in plastics and what you need to do to avoid this dangerous chemical. Remember, Body Balance Healthy Living is dedicated to helping people lead a healthier lifestyle, and if you’d like to learn more, simply contact us. We have a variety of different services and programs to fit into your busy lifestyle. Exercise, eat healthy, and manage stress to live a better, healthier life. Thanks for reading and do something active today!