Top 10 Troublesome Ingredients By Sandy Tuin
1. Natural Flavors. Listed as natural flavors.
Found in: Baked foods, frozen dinners, candy and more.
What’s the big deal? Natural flavors include a number of naturally occurring (non-chemical,non-artificial) substances approved for use in food by the FDA. These flavors often come from allergy-inducing ingredients such as nuts and wheat.
How to avoid it? If you are prone to food allergies call the food manufacturer to learn the source of the natural flavor.
2. Artificial Colorings: Listed as yellow #6, blue #2, green #3, red #3 and more.
Found in: Candy, soda, gelatin, and more
What’s the big deal? Some studies link artificial colorings to a range of health problems including cancer, hyperactivity, thyroid and allergic reactions. They have no nutritional value.
How to avoid it? Steer clear of artificially colored foods. Opt instead for naturally colorful edibles like fresh fruits and dark leafy greens.
3. Chemical Cocktails. Unlisted
Found in: Non-organic product.
What’s the big deal? Conventional farmers spray their produce with chemical fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides to keep insects and weeds at bay. Residues of these toxic chemicals end up on your food, and some studies have linked them to cancer and birth defects.
How to avoid it? Wash your produce thoroughly with a mixture of 1 tsp mild dishwashing detergent and 4 liters of water. Buy organic or shop at the farmer’s market.
4. Sodium Nitrite: Listed as Sodium nitrite
Found in: Processed meats including bacon, ham, hot dogs, lunchmeats, and corned beef.
What’s the big deal? This preservative can mix with chemicals in the stomach to form nitrosamines, a carcinogenic substance linked to cancers of the pancreas, bladder and brain.
How to avoid it? Replace processed meats with fresh meats or purchase nitrite-free lunchmeats. Meat found in canned soups and frozen dinners commonly contains sodium nitrite, so check labels carefully.
5. High Fructose Corn Syrup: Listed as High fructose corn syrup, corn sweetener, corn syrup,
corn syrup solids
Found in: Frozen foods, sweets, breads, spaghetti sauce, ketchup, many canned vegetables, cereals, juices, sodas, breads and much more.
What’s the big deal? High fructose corn syrup increases your risk for diabetes. It also encourages overeating because its chemical structure tricks your brain into thinking your body is hungry. And it can raise triglyceride levels in the bloodstream, which increases risk of heart disease. Also contributes to high cholesterol and insulin resistance. Has no enzymes, vitamins or minerals and leaches micronutrients from your body.
How to avoid it? Limit your intake of added sugar to less than 10% of your total daily calories. And/or buy alternative foods that do not contain it!!
6. rBGH: Listed as rBGH
Found in: dairy products, including milk and cheese.
What’s the big deal? rBGH stands for recombinant (genetically modified) bovine (cow) growth hormone. Dairy farmers inject cows with it to stimulate milk production, and it ends up in the milk sold in grocery stores. Research has tied it to prostate, solon and breast cancers.
How to avoid it? Look for milk that says “no rBGH” on the label. Switch to organic milk or raw milk.
7. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG): Listed as Yeast extract, gelatin, textured and hydrolyzed proteins, calcium caseinate, sodium caseinate, and more.
Found in: A wide range of foods including chips, canned soups, salad dressings, fast food, and frozen dinners.
What’s the big deal? MSG can affect the nervous system and make you feel hungrier than you rally are. It may also trigger migraines.
How to avoid it? Read food labels carefully. Even packages that say “no MSG or no MSG added” can sneak the substance in disguised as any of the ingredients above.
8. Sodium: Listed as salt, monosodium glutamate (MSG), baking soda.
Found in: meat, eggs and dairy products. Also found in processed foods like canned soups and frozen dinners.
What’s the big deal? Your sodium count should not exceed 2400 milligrams a day, but some studies how Americans average intake is 3300 mgs a day. Excess sodium can raise blood pressure, which puts extra strain on your heart.
How to avoid it? Use herbs and spices rather and salt to flavor your food. Go easy on the salt shaker.
9. Omega-6: Listed as: Linoleic acid; sunflower, sesame, corn and soybean oils.
Found in: frozen and processed foods
What’s the big deal? Ideally, you should eat three omega-6 fatty acids for every omega-3 fatty acid you eat. But the ratio in most Western diets is between 10:1 and 20:1. Excess intake of omega-6 can raise blood pressure and increase your risk of heart disease.
How to avoid it? Eat fewer processed foods. Eat Omega 3 rich foods like walnuts, fish.
10. Trans Fat: Listed as: partially hydrogenated oil.
Found in: commercial baked goods like crackers and cookies; shortening and margarine.
What’s the big deal? Trans fats temporarily raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol.
How to avoid it? Even foods that claim 0 grams of trans fat on the label can contain it because food manufacturers don’t have to list amounts under 0.5 rams. But eating more than one serving of a food can easily double or triple that half a gram. Read the label to be sure there are not partially hydrogenated oils hiding in the ingredient list.
Author, Sandy Tuin, is a mom, grandma of four, Norwex Consultant and Manager, and gifted in all areas of home arts. You may contact Sandy at email@example.com
Follow-Up - I have received some additional good information since this article was posted:
If you're not aware of it, check out www.feingold.org. My children are on it and have been for about 6 weeks. Their behavior alone is worth doing things a little different. It is hard to get them away from the junk they were used to (and to get family members to cooperate) but their behavior has improved, so I'm sticking with it!
Thank you, HeatherDear Marilyn:
FYI: "natural flavor" is often something akin to msg.
This is a way for manufacturers to get away w/not listing such offensive ingredients. "spices" and anything hydrolyzed or autolyzed are the same thing.
check it out: http://www.truthinlabeling.org/nomsg.html
Ranch Alternative Dressing:
Marilyn. For Ranch Dressing I mix up:
6 Tbsp salt
1 2/3 TBSP pepper
2 1/2 TBSP garlic, granulated
6 TBSP onion powder
6 TBSP parsley
3/4 tsp paprika
2 1/2 TBSP sugar (optional)
When I want to make the dressing I add 2 TBSP of the mix to 1 1/2 cups mayo and 2 cups cultured buttermilk. If I want ranch dip I add 2 TBSP to 1 1/2 cups sour cream. It is the best dressing you have ever tried. Even people who don't like normally like Ranch dressing like it. I got the recipe from a cookbook called No-Guesswork Cooking by Kim Cahill - published by the Institute in Basic Life Principles, Inc. I sometimes double or triple the recipe for added convenience. Hope this helps. Megan Volmer