The Dirty Dozen: A Deep Dive into the Worst Ingredients Found in Processed Foods
Processed foods have become a staple in the modern diet, but their convenience comes at a cost. Many of these foods contain harmful ingredients that can have serious health consequences. In this article, we'll explore the worst ingredients found in processed foods and why you should avoid them. For more ingredients and resources please go to our Values & Standards page.
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
High Fructose Corn Syrup is a cheap sweetener commonly used in processed foods. Studies have linked HFCS to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other health problems. This is because it is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, which can cause insulin resistance, a condition where your body is less able to regulate blood sugar levels.
Trans fats are a type of fat that is commonly used in processed foods to increase their shelf life. These fats are known to raise bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and increase the risk of heart disease. Trans fats have been banned in many countries, but they can still be found in some processed foods.
Artificial sweeteners are synthetic chemicals that are used to sweeten processed foods without adding calories. Studies have linked them to weight gain, increased appetite, and other health problems. This is because they can disrupt the body's natural ability to regulate appetite and blood sugar levels.
Sodium Nitrite is a preservative commonly used in processed meats such as bacon, hot dogs, and deli meats. It has been linked to an increased risk of cancer, particularly colon cancer. Sodium Nitrite is added to these meats to preserve their color and flavor, but it is important to note that there are natural alternatives available.
MSG is a flavor enhancer commonly used in processed foods that has been linked to headaches, nausea, and other health problems. It is often used to enhance the savory flavor of processed foods, but it can also cause allergic reactions in some people.
Artificial colors are synthetic dyes that are added to processed foods to make them more visually appealing. Some of these colors have been linked to hyperactivity in children and other health problems. It is important to read food labels and avoid foods that contain these dyes.
Sodium Benzoate is a preservative commonly used in soft drinks, salad dressings, and other processed foods. It has been linked to hyperactivity, asthma, and other health problems. This is because it can react with vitamin C in the food, creating benzene, a known carcinogen.
Processed foods can be convenient, but they are often loaded with harmful ingredients. By avoiding these seven worst ingredients, you can improve your overall health and wellbeing. Instead, opt for whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Your body will thank you for it!