Food Label or Warning Label: Top 10 Worst Processed Foods

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Food Label or Warning Label: Top 10

Worst Processed Foods

 

By Britta S. (Contributing author from www.swanson

vitamins.com/blog/)

 

Do you read your food labels?

 

Have you ever heard the rule “don’t eat anything you

can’t pronounce?” A hundred years ago, this wasn’t an

issue. Today, with all the processed foods in the standard

American diet (SAD), there are over 14,000 man-made

chemicals added as preservatives, artificial sweeteners,

and colors to nearly every food item found on the inside

aisle of the grocery stores. Even the produce aisle is

contaminated with pesticides and herbicides.

Therein lies one of the main benefits of eating an

organic, whole-food based diet. With organically

produced food, be it fresh fruit and vegetables or meat

and dairy products, you don’t have to worry about any

unnatural chemical additives sneaking onto your dinner

plate. You can find more and more organic foods these

days, from local farmers markets, an expanding section

at your local grocery store, as well as natural health web

-sites such as our own.

Unfortunately, many of those added chemicals and

preservatives are what make processed foods, including

fast foods, taste so darn good. So if you do decide to

make the switch and enjoy the benefits of organic foods

and the peace of mind, don’t be surprised if it takes your

tastes buds a few days to adjust. On the flip side,

organically produced food is typically so fresh and ripe, it

provides a depth of flavor you may have never

experienced before.

It’s important to read the label on anything you are

going to put in your body, but what are you looking for

on these labels? I’m sure you glance at the serving size,

calories, fat content and maybe skim through the

ingredient list. It can be a bit overwhelming.

 

We can't know about all 14,000 chemicals added to our

foods. So, I’m going to give you a list of the top ten

things that I try to avoid when choosing my

packaged foods.

 

Trans Fat

If the label reads “hydrogenated oils” or “partially

hydrogenated oils,” look for an alternative food. These

are good indications that the product contains trans fat.

Using trans fats in the manufacturing of foods helps

foods have a longer shelf life. When it comes to fat, trans

fat is considered by some professionals to be the worst

type of fat. Unlike other fats, trans fat both raises your

“bad” (LDL) cholesterol and lowers your “good” (HDL)

cholesterol. If possible, avoid foods that contain trans fat.

 

Saturated Fats

While the total fat content on the label is important to

read, the type of fat is where you really need to pay

attention. Foods like avocados, almonds, and olive oil

are high in fat, but notice the type of fat: monounsatur-

ated fats. These are good fats. The type of fat to avoid is

saturated fat – the type that clogs up those arteries!

 

High Fructose Corn Syrup

HFCS has gotten a bad reputation as being worse than

sugar, but that is not necessarily true. Sugar and High

Fructose Corn Syrup are digested the same way in the

body. Table sugar and HFCS are chemically very similar.

The reason to avoid HFCS is simply excess sugar content,

causing concerns such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease,

and more.

 

Sugars

Excess sugar is, plain and simple, not good for your body.

Just like we mentioned for HFCS, it can cause many

health complications. Be sure to look at the sugar

content of foods before consuming and enjoy in

moderation.

 

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

MSG is a flavor enhancer commonly added to canned

foods and processed meats. Although the Food and Drug

Administration (FDA) has classified MSG as a food

ingredient that has a GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe)

status, the use of it remains controversial. Over the years,

the FDA has received many anecdotal reports of adverse

reactions to foods containing MSG. The best way to keep

yourself safe is to avoid foods containing MSG.

 

Artificial Colorings

Blue 2, Yellow 5, Red 40. Science project or ingredient

list? Artificial colorings do nothing good for the body.

They are chemically composed and the best way to avoid

them is by consuming natural foods, free of added artif-

icial ingredients.

 

Artificial Sweeteners

While research is conflicting on the effects of artificial

sweeteners, there is something we know for sure: they do

nothing positive for your body. What they do is trick

your body into thinking it’s getting calories when it’s not

and therefore triggering a desire to eat. Artificial

sweeteners have been tied to excessive calorie

consumption. It’s best to avoid them and choose a

healthier option.

 

Sodium

Sodium is necessary for your body to function, but in

excess can cause extensive harm. The dietary guidelines

suggest consuming less than 2,300 mg of sodium per

day, or 1,500 mg in certain cases. Most Americans get

well over the suggested amount. The first thing you can

do is hide the salt shaker. Adding salt to food while

cooking or at the dinner table is very dangerous as most

foods are already high in sodium. It is very important to

look at the sodium content of your foods before

consuming.

 

Bleached

A pretty good rule when reading the ingredient list is to

look for the “whole” in the first couple of ingredients. If

your label reads “bleached flour” or “bleached white

flour,” there is probably a better option for you.

Consuming foods like brown rice instead of white, wheat

pasta instead of regular, or whole wheat bread instead of

white will do you a world of good.

 

Excessive and Unpronounceable Ingredients

List of ingredients seems quite excessive? Can’t pronoun-

nce half of them? It probably means that food is full of

chemicals, artificial, and processed ingredients. A short

ingredient list that consists of ingredients that you

recognize will be your best bet.

 

Article Credit: Britta, S. “Food Label or Warning Label: Top 10 Worst

Processed Foods.” Swanson Health Blog. Swanson Health Products, published

2 December 2013. Accessed 22 March 2015. <http://www.swansonvitamins.

com/blog/nutrition-with-vegetarian-style/top-10-worst-processed-foods?

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Image Credit: Samuell. <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Superstorewi

nkler4.JPG>. Published 17 November2007. Accessed 22 March 2015.

 

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