By now you are probably not surprised by the many foods and food ingredients that have been identified by reputable institutions and government agencies as being dangerous to your health.
List of Ingredients That Are Killing Us.
- Refined Sugar
- Saturated Fat (Red Meat)
- Trans Fat
- Omega 6 Fatty Acid
- Refined Carbohydrates (white bread, white rice, potatoes)
- Gluten and Casein
- Sodium Nitrate
- Propylene Glycol
- Potassium Benzoate
These ingredients found in many processed foods and other than grass fed animals cause inflammation in the body which are the root of most of our serious illnesses experienced by consuming the American Diet.
Did you know that inflammation is the common link between such debilitating conditions as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cancer, and arthritis? Did you know inflammation is thought to be the culprit behind the visible signs of aging? Inflammation is a wellness buzz-word these days, and for good reason. If you reduce inflammation in your body, you’ll not only look and feel younger without the plastic surgeon’s intervention, but you’ll significantly lower your risk for chronic disease!
Inflammation is your body’s response to stress – whether from your diet, lifestyle or environment. Think of what happens when you catch a cold. You may experience inflammation in the form of a fever as your body heats up to eradicate the effects of the invading virus or bacteria.
This kind of inflammation is good, but the modern epidemic of chronic, low-grade inflammation destroys the balance in your body. When your body’s systems experience a constant inflammatory response, you become more susceptible to aging and disease.
It is believed that one of the main causes of inflammation is low-grade bacterial, viral, and fungal infections in the bloodstream and organs like the stomach and gastro-intestinal tract.
For example, H pylori is a bacterium in the stomach that contributes to inflammation and the development of ulcers. H pylori is present in 50% of adults over 60 years old and in 20% of adults under the age of 40!
As you can see, inflammation is quite common and caused by more than just pathogenic organisms.
A major contributor to inflammation is too much fat, sugar, and protein in your diet, constant dehydration, consumption of too many sodas or caffeine, inactivity, and lack of sleep can all increase inflammation in your body.
An imbalance of bacteria and fungi in your gastrointestinal tract, also known as dysbiosis. This causes your immune system to overreact to bacteria in your gut and can be without notable symptoms.
Stress! Constant psychological, emotional or physical stress raises the level of cortisol, creating inflammation. For more on the effects of stress on your body, read Why Stress is a Major Killer When It Comes to Health.
Environmental toxicity from our air, water, food pollutants and toxic metals like mercury and lead enter our body by eating or breathing these toxins and contribute to inflammation and have been linked to diseases as varied as endometriosis and cancer.
It may be hard to resist desserts, pastries, chocolate bars, sodas, even fruit juices. However, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition warns that processed sugars trigger the release of inflammatory messengers called cytokines. Sugar goes by many names so look out for any word ending in “ose,” e.g. high fructose corn syrup, fructose or sucrose on ingredient labels.
It is equally important to note that eating sugary foods and those that are made from refined starch can be detrimental to eye health. These low-quality, low-nutrient carbohydrate foods can increase the risks of getting cataracts and AMD.
Low-quality carbs have a high glycemic index which can lead to having high sugar concentrations in the eyes. Frequent and long-term consumption of sugary foods can cause inflammation and oxidative stress which may eventually damage the tiny capillaries and the retina in the eyes.
Trying to go sugar-free? Aspartame is the technical name for the brand names NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, and Equal-Measure. This is a NEVER EVER EAT substance because it is so DAMAGING to your health
Aspartame is a non-nutritive, intense artificial sweetener found in more than 4,000 products worldwide. It is a neurotoxin, which means it affects the brain. If you are sensitive to this chemical, your immune system will react to the “foreign substance” by attacking the chemical, which in return, will trigger an inflammatory response.
Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Many of these reactions are very serious, including seizures and death.
According to researchers and physicians studying the adverse effects of aspartame, the following chronic illnesses can be triggered or worsened by ingesting of aspartame:
- Brain Tumors/cancer
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Mental Retardation
- Birth Defects
Aspartame is made up of three chemicals: aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol. The book Prescription for Nutritional Healing, by James and Phyllis Balch lists aspartame under the category of “chemical poison.” If you Google each of these chemicals you shall see, that is exactly what it is.
Several studies have shown that saturated fats trigger adipose (fat tissue) inflammation, which is not only an indicator for heart disease but it also worsens arthritis inflammation. Pizza and cheese are the biggest sources of saturated fats in the average American diet, per the National Cancer Institute. Other culprits include meat products (especially red meat), full-fat processed dairy products, pasta dishes and grain-based desserts.
Harvard School of Public Health researchers helped sound the alarm about trans-fat in the early 1990s. Known to trigger systemic inflammation, trans fat can be found in fast foods and other fried products, processed snack foods, frozen breakfast products, cookies, donuts, crackers and most stick margarines. Avoid foods with partially hydrogenated oils in the ingredient labels.
Omega 6 fatty acids are an essential fatty acid that the body needs for normal growth and development. The body needs a healthy balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Excess consumption of omega-6s can trigger the body to produce pro-inflammatory chemicals. These fatty acids are found in oils such corn, safflower, sunflower, grapeseed, soy, peanut, and vegetable; mayonnaise; and many salad dressings. Use olive oil whenever you need an oil.
White flour products (breads, rolls, crackers) white rice, white potatoes (instant mashed potatoes, or French fries) and many cereals are refined carbohydrates. per Scientific American, processed carbohydrates may trump fats as the main driver of escalating rates of obesity and other chronic conditions. These high-glycemic index foods fuel the production of advanced glycation end (AGE) products that stimulate inflammation.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavor enhancer commonly added to Chinese food, canned vegetables, soups and processed meats. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified MSG as a food ingredient that’s “generally recognized as safe,” but its use remains controversial. For this reason, when MSG is added to food, the FDA requires that it be listed on the label.MSG has been used as a food additive for decades. Over the years, the FDA has received many anecdotal reports of adverse reactions to foods containing MSG.
It must be said that research, organized by food lobbyist have found no definitive evidence of a link between MSG and these symptoms. Researchers acknowledge, though, that a small percentage of people may have short-term reactions to MSG. Symptoms are usually mild and don’t require treatment.
Dr. Russell L. Blaylock, a professor of neurosurgery at the Medical University of Mississippi, recently published a book thoroughly detailing the damage that is caused by the ingestion of excessive glutamic acid (about 99 percent of MSG). Blaylock makes use of almost 500 scientific references to show how excess free excitatory amino acids such as aspartic acid and glutamic acid in our food supply are causing serious chronic neurological disorders and a myriad of other acute symptoms.
You need some salt for good health, but most people eat too much. Americans now eat more salt than ever before. Eating too much salt may increase the risk of developing high blood pressure which is a risk factor for heart disease, stroke and chronic kidney disease.
Nearly a third of Americans have high blood pressure. Another third have prehypertension, a condition in which blood pressure is higher than normal but not quite high enough to be diagnosed as hypertension. If you have high blood pressure or prehypertension, studies have shown that you can lower your blood pressure by eating a healthy diet and particularly eating less salt.
Salt and sodium are villains when it comes to living with high blood pressure and heart disease. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest that people with hypertension or prehypertension limit their daily sodium intake to just 1,500 milligrams. Currently, the average American eats more than twice that amount, or about 3,400 milligrams a day.
Eating Less Salt
The taste for salty foods is something that is learned. It is possible to re-train your taste buds to get used to eating foods without added salt.
More than 75 percent of the sodium you eat in a day comes from packaged foods, not what you add at the table with a saltshaker. Some of the saltiest sources of packaged foods include:
- deli meat
- frozen pizza
- vegetable juices
- canned soup
- canned or bottled tomato products
Sodium nitrate is a type of salt that is added to hot dogs, bacon, lunch meats and other cured meats to help preserve them. In higher doses nitrates are also used as fumigates to kill rodents and these nitrates can leach into the soil, contaminating the food supply. While much smaller amounts are directly used in some prepared foods, there are health concerns related to sodium nitrate. The FDA permits a maximum amount of 2.75 ounces of nitrates to be added to 100 pounds of chopped meat. However, it is not yet determined how much sodium nitrate is safe to eat.
Although sodium nitrate is used as a preservative that helps food from spoiling and becoming contaminated with harmful bacteria, it can cause adverse effects. In infants and toddlers, high concentrations of nitrate can lead to a condition called “blue baby syndrome,” which can be fatal in some cases. The United States Environmental Protection Agency notes that this happens when nitrates bind to red blood cells, blocking their ability to carry life-giving oxygen throughout the body.
Another reason to avoid nitrates is the link to an increased risk of cancer in both children and adults. The Linus Pauling Institute warns that nitrates are associated with an increase in brain tumors, leukemia and nose and throat tumors. With these strong warnings, its best to avoid sodium nitrate whenever possible.
Butane is certainly not just used for cigarette lighters anymore. You can also find butane in some chicken nuggets. Butane acts as an artificial antioxidant that food manufacturers use to keep chicken nuggets fresh.
Butane is also present in other frozen and packaged foods such as crackers, cereal bars and chips. So, the next time you’re craving for some chicken nuggets, perhaps you might like to make some homemade ones.
This substance is what makes your ice cream creamy and smooth, but propylene glycol is the same substance used in cosmetics, deodorant and cars.
Propylene glycol is an anti-freeze substance, so be wary of this antifreeze chemical when buying cake mixes, low-fat ice creams, dog food and salad dressings.
Although it is good for your vehicle, it isn’t as good for your health.
Many people love drinking diet sodas as they want to quench their thirst whilst not drinking a lot of sugary calories. A diet soda is certainly sweet and bubbly yet it is also an unhealthy concoction.
Diet sodas can contain potassium benzoate and when ingested this can form into benzene which is a carcinogen. It can also be found in some fruit juices which contain ascorbic acid and vitamin C, and that can worsen the effects of benzene in the body.
Additionally, this substance is present in low-fat salad dressings, olives, syrups, apple cider and jams. So, read your labels before purchasing.
Artificial additives are not the only ingredients to be wary of. Soy was once the darling of the health food world and touted as a replacement for many foods. Many people believe that eating soy food products for obtaining protein in their diet, is the healthiest alternative to eating meat proteins.
Recent studies are disputing this and claiming that excess soy consumption can be bad for health, and more specifically, that only some soy is actually beneficial for humans.
These studies reveal that soy is linked to problems with fertility, low estrogen levels in women and early puberty among children. Soy was also found to contribute to an imbalance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the body.
Most of the accusations point to unfermented soy and there is increasing guidance to only consuming products made from fermented soy, preferably organic.
Avoid soy oil, soy sauce, soy milk, soy protein and soy isolate, unless they have been fermented. Currently 60% of soy and other soy-containing food products found in the market are not the fermented type.
Alcohol is a burden to the liver. Excessive use weakens liver function and disrupts other multi-organ interactions that will cause inflammation. It is best eliminated or used in moderation.
Knowing about the existence of these ingredients in our foods is the first step to reducing your consumption of these dangerous chemicals.
To improve your dietary health, avoid packaged or processed foods as much as possible. Opt for natural and whole foods.
You may find it hard to forego ice cream or diet sodas, but once you get used to NOT having them, you will find that you will lose the cravings for many unhealthy fast and processed foods. Healthy food selection, is a life and death issue. So JUST DO IT!