Health One Family Medicine

Check That Label: Ingredients to Avoid In Your Foods

While many of us look at the amount of carbs, fats, and calories we consume, it is just as important to check the labels of the food we buy at the supermarket. Lab generated chemicals, flavor enhancers, and artificial sweeteners are present in so many foods that actually harm us. Here are the top 5 ingredients that you should avoid:  

1.    High Fructose Corn Syrup

HFCS is a highly processed glucose that has been converted to fructose and is one of the major sources of calories. Consumption of this artificial sweetener increases the levels of cholesterol. Many studies have found that it is linked to obesity and diabetes. HFCS is found in numerous food items, including:

  • Jellies and Jams
  • Soda
  • Flavored yogurt
  • Soup
  • Crackers
  • Cereal
  • Prepackaged meals
  • Ketchup
  • Mayonnaise
  • Bread

2.   Artificial Sweeteners

Sucralose, saccharin, and aspartame can actually be more dangerous on your metabolic systems as compared to plain sugar. Studies have found that these artificial sweeteners deceit your brain to forget that you can gain more calories from sweetness which encourages people to consume more sweet items. These artificial sweeteners are present in food items that you might even think would have sugar, including:  

  • Milk drinks
  • Juice
  • Instant Coffee, Teas and Breakfasts
  • Breath Mints & Gum
  • Yogurt
  • Diet or Sugar-Free Items

3.   MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)

This is a highly processed flavor enhancer. Even though glutamates can be found in natural foods like cheese and meat, the glutamates that the processed-foods industry has exploited get separated from their host through the process of hydrolysis. It is an inducer of metabolic syndrome, type II diabetes and obesity. MSG can be found in a lot of food items, including:

  • Yeast Nutrient
  • Yeast Food
  • Yeast Extract
  • Textured Protein
  • Sodium Caseinate
  • Hydrolyzed Protein
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Glutamate
  • Gelatin
  • Calcium Caseinate
  • Autolyzed Yeast

4.   Hydrogenated Oils

This is a major source of trans fat and is the worst enemy of heart health. This is created in labs where scientists inject a metal (aluminum, platinum or nickel) in an oil, usually coconut, corn, soybean, kernel or palm oil, which forms a solid oil or semi-solid oil. This is also listed in food label as interestified, hydrogenated, fully hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil. These oils are basically everywhere, including:

  • Coffee Creamer
  • Salad Dressings
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Hot Cocoa
  • Microwave Popcorn
  • Cookies
  • Granola Bars
  • Crackers

5.   Artificial Colorings

Artificial colorings may lead to numerous health problems and offer almost no nutrient value. These are typically listed in the food label as Orange B, Green 3, Blue 2, Red 1, Blue 3, Red 40, Yellow 6, and Yellow 5. These can be found in:

  • Sodas
  • Candies
  • Cereals
  • Other snack items, especially created for children

It is highly recommended that you look at the ingredient list carefully before you purchase an item. The best way to avoid these harmful ingredients is to consume more whole foods like vegetables and fruits, as well as lean meat, seeds and nuts.