There will always be some ingredients in processed foods that we turn a blind eye to on the label. These are 5 ingredients that I implore you not to follow that mindset.
1. ENRICHED WHEAT
Wheat is already one of those grains that should be avoided, but the key word to watch out for is 'enrichment'. That means niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, folic acid, and iron are added after these and other key nutrients are stripped out in the first place during the refining process. That applies to whether it's wheat, rye, or other grains. All flour derived from wheat can be called "wheat flour," even if it is processed, bleached and stripped of its nutrition. Enriched flour is really just refined flour that has had a few nutrients re-added to it, but not enough to make any food made from this nutritionally worthy.
For a flour or flour-based product to be truly whole-grain, it must explicitly list “whole-grain wheat flour” as a primary ingredient and even whole-grain has many problems. Bottom line: Avoid the following ingredients:
- Enriched wheat flour
- Wheat flour
- White flour
- All-purpose flour
- Bleached flour
- Cake flour
- Bread flour
2. ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS AND COLORS
Flavor engineers are paid big bucks to make sure you never know the difference between "natural flavors" and the real thing.
Artificial flavorings are derived from chemicals made in a laboratory and offer absolutely no nutritional value and are a magnet for processed foods. They show up in almost everything today, including bread, cereals, flavored yogurt, soups mixes, and cocktail mixers, so they can be hard to avoid. Every single artificial flavor in the food industry has some kind of detrimental health effect. These include neurotoxicity, organ, developmental, reproductive toxicity and cancer.
Food colorings still on the market are linked with cancer. Blue 1 and 2, found in beverages, candy, baked goods and pet food, have been linked to cancer in mice. Red 3, used to dye cherries, fruit cocktail, candy, and baked goods, has been shown to cause thyroid tumors in rats. Green 3, added to candy and beverages, has been linked to bladder cancer. The widely used yellow 6, added to beverages, sausage, gelatin, baked goods, and candy, has been linked to tumors of the adrenal gland and kidney.
3. ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS
A few years ago, the Corn Refiners Association petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow the term ‘corn sugar’ as an alternative label declaration for high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The reason? Too many people were finding out how lethal HFCS was for the human body.
HFCS causes insulin resistance, diabetes, hypertension, increased weight gain, and not to mention manufactured from genetically modified corn.
Splenda/sucralose is simply chlorinated sugar; a chlorocarbon. Common chlorocarbons include carbon tetrachloride, trichlorethelene and methylene chloride, all deadly. Chlorine is nature's Doberman attack dog, a highly excitable, ferocious atomic element employed as a biocide in bleach, disinfectants, insecticide, WWI poison gas and hydrochloric acid. Chlorocarbons are never nutritionally compatible with our metabolic processes and are wholly incompatible with normal human metabolic functioning. Sucralose is a very common additive in protein mixes and drinks so beware all of you who love to add these into your smoothies.
The sale of aspartame, with only four calories per gram and 200 times sweeter than sugar, is sold under the trademarks NutraSweet and Equal. Results indicate that aspartame is a multi-potential carcinogen, even consumed daily at 20 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. That is a lower quantity than the maximum recommended by the FDA. It's one reason you should never purchase major brands of chewing gums.
Although it's often lauded as a healthy, cholesterol-free, cheap, low-fat protein alternative to meat, soy is NOT a health food. Any foods that list soy in any form as an ingredient should be avoided. Soy protein, soy isolate, and soy oil are present in about 60 percent of the foods on the market and have been shown to impair fertility and affect estrogen in women, lower sex drive, and trigger puberty early in children. Soy can also add to the imbalance between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.
The only soy products fit for human consumption are fermented and organic and I can guarantee you will never find this type of soy in most processed foods. The majority of soy is GMO and you can't get around this. Regardless of who I am speaking with, soy is one of those foods I use to gauge the nutritional IQ of others. You would not believe how many health practitioners and even Naturopathic Doctors still think soy is a health food. Please don't touch this stuff. Whether labeled organic, Non-GMO or conventional, here are 12 reasons to avoid any kind of soy.
Soy Lecithin has been lingering around our food supply for over a century. It is an ingredient in literally hundreds of processed foods, and also sold as an over the counter health food supplement. However, most people don't realize what soy lecithin actually is, and why the dangers of ingesting this additive far exceed its benefits.
Soybean lecithin comes from sludge left after crude soy oil goes through a "degumming" process. It is a waste product containing solvents and pesticides. The toxic hexane extraction process is what is commonly used in soybean oil manufacture today. Another big problem associated with soy lecithin comes from the origin of the soy itself. Look out for this emulsifier in ice creams, chocolate and many processed creams.
5. CANOLA OIL
Canola or rapeseed oil is poisonous to living things and is an excellent insect repellent. It is an industrial oil, not a food. It is a genetically modified plant designed through intensive breeding and genetic engineering techniques. The Canadian government and industry paid the FDA $50 million dollars to have canola oil placed on the (GRAS) List, "Generally Recognized As Safe". It is becoming increasingly difficult to find products that do not contain Canola oil.
Genetically modified Canola was derived in the 70s from cross-breeding of multiple lines of the rape plant to produce a much lower percentage of erucic acid, a known food borne toxin. In 1995 Monsanto created a genetically modified version of canola oil. Today almost 100% of Canola is genetically engineered. Thus, Canola is GMO by design and non-gmo or organic canola is more of a misnomer. It's another industry tactic to make consumers believe something is organic in nature which has never been by origin. Almost all Canola is now modified to be resistant to Monsanto's herbicide Roundup. More than one study has now verified that there is a large-scale escape of a genetically modified Canola in the United States.
Canola oil is a toxic oil and there's no other way to balance its description. It contains a long-chain fatty acid called erucic acid, which are especially irritating to mucous membranes. Consumption of canola oil consumption has been correlated with development of fibrotic lesions of the heart, CNS degenerative disorders, lung cancer, and prostate cancer, anemia, and constipation.
Large Study Shows Processed Oils Including Canola, Soybean and Corn Oil Increase Incidence of Lung Inflammation and Asthma
Please do not buy any food product containing canola oil if you can avoid it.
Other ingredients to keep an eye out for include preservatives such as sodium benzoate, BHA, BHT, propyl gallate, potassium sorbate, polysorbate 80.
About the author
Marco Torres is a research specialist, writer and consumer advocate for healthy lifestyles. He holds degrees in Public Health and Environmental Science and is a professional speaker on topics such as disease prevention, environmental toxins and health policy.