While many of us look for fat and sugar content on food labels, there are often lists of other ingredients that we tend to glance over or ignore. But, understanding food labels is crucial to making good, healthful decisions for yourself and for those in your family.
Of course, most foods have some sort of additive; whether it’s a colour-enhancer or a preservative to help it last for longer. But, there are a whole host of common ingredients that often appear on our food labels, but that aren’t particularly good for us. In fact, some are downright dangerous in the long term. Being educated about and aware of these is key to ensuring that you keep your body in optimal condition.
Understanding Food Labels – Common Ingredients and Their Effect on Your Health
1. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
This is a common additive that makes savoury dishes a little tastier because it’s a flavour enhancer. It is most commonly found in salty snacks, chips, frozen meals, canned food, processed food, restaurant food and take-aways.
Humans can metabolise MSG in big quantities. But, when people have experienced sensitivities, the symptoms are jarring. They experience sweating, flushing, chest pain, facial numbing, swelling and headaches. Still, this is when it is consumed in really large quantities. So, for those that aren’t particularly sensitive to it, reasonable amounts of MSG shouldn’t cause any damage.
This is the most common artificial sweetener and is most often used in sweeteners, diet fizzy drinks, sugar-free iced teas and most foods that claim to be “sugar-free” or “diet” but still taste sweet. It’s made up of aspartic acid, methanol and phenylalanine and has been proven to cause a host of serious health symptoms. These include nausea, depression, irritability, headaches, muscle spasms, strokes, cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
3. Partially Hydrogenated Oil or Trans Fat
These are the worst kinds of fat for gaining unhealthy amounts of weight and for heart health. They actively increase the bad cholesterol in your body and lower the levels of good cholesterol. Trans fats are commonly found in all fast food, as well as chips, cakes, biscuits and other baked treats, frozen pizza, microwave popcorn, margarine and non-dairy coffee creamers.
4. Sodium Nitrite
This is a preservative that extends the shelf life of meat and fish products; with a lethal dose of only 2.6 grams. It is often used in bacon, ham, polony, Vienna sausages, spam, salami, and smoked fish. This ingredient could harden and narrow your blood vessels, including your arteries. It leads to heart disease and increases your likelihood of developing diabetes. More seriously, it also causes various types of cancer when consumed in large quantities.
5. Xanthan Gum
Xanthan gum is a popular gluten-free thickener that is known to have health benefits like lowering blood sugar levels and cholesterol. It’s commonly found in ice-cream, gravies, sauces, salad dressings, baked products, syrups, juices, gluten-free, and fat-free products. While it is generally harmless, it can cause digestive issues (diarrhoea, gas and bloating). It isn’t suitable for infants; anyone that can’t tolerate wheat, corn, soy or dairy; anyone on medication for diabetes; or those preparing to go into surgery.
6. Phosphoric Acid
This substance is what makes soft drinks fizzy. It’s also found in soap and fertiliser. But, phosphoric acid can cause gastrointestinal issues, breathing problems and dermatitis (dry, itchy, swollen patches on your skin). The acidity also isn’t good for your teeth and bones. Stay away from fizzy drinks.
7. High-Fructose Corn Syrup
This sweetener is, as its name implies, made from corn and high in fructose (a simple sugar). It’s usually found in sweets, breakfast cereals, fizzy sodas, juices, and snacks. While it is generally fine to consume in very small quantities, the long-term effects of regular consumption include developing diabetes, gaining weight (particularly around the belly), and experiencing inflammation at a cellular level. This inflammation can be the root cause of many chronic illnesses, as well as cancer.
Staying Healthy Beyond the Food Label
Of course, we almost definitely can’t avoid all of these nasty ingredients in our food. In fact, we often don’t even know about all of them. So, be proactive about removing toxins from your body. Norden’s Rewind Toxin Removal System, a detox spray, is tasteless and extremely effective in ridding the body of toxins and harmful heavy metals. The Norden’s Ultimate – Zeolite is another toxin removal substance that not only removes toxins but adds essential minerals. When your body is under pressure and needs a little TLC, include Organamin, which has 74 trace elements and minerals that are in an especially bio-available form to give your system a real boost.
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