These days most people know the importance of reading labels on their food and drink choices before purchasing or consuming them. Words like ‘high fructose corn syrup’ and ‘red dye’ give health conscious folks the warning they need to avoid undesirable and risky ingredients.
While watching out for such terms on labels is an important first step, unfortunately many other unhealthy and even dangerous ingredients can be found lurking on labels under seemingly innocent names. Take a look to find out the top six food additives you will want to avoid!
- Cane Sugar/Juice. Research is revealing that all the excess sugar in the standard American diet (S.A.D.) is responsible for a host of serious health problems people are facing. From obesity to diabetes to heart disease, added sugars are causing major impacts on health and well-being. In attempts to keep profits high as people learn to avoid added sugars, manufacturers are labeling sugar under terms that sound healthier. The problem is all added sugars have the same negative effects on your health. Look out for terms like cane sugar, cane juice, fructose, beet sugar, turbinado, sugar in the raw, among others.
- Caramel Coloring. Caramel coloring is found in everything from soda to crackers and bread. At first glance, it sounds healthier than the artificial food dye names found in other foods. In reality, caramel coloring is just as risky as any other artificial food coloring. In fact, it is considered to be a possible carcinogen due to the chemicals used in making it.
- Enriched Wheat. Enriched wheat seems like it is wheat that has been made better. The truth is that enriched wheat is wheat that has been stripped of any inherent nutrients it may have initially had and then had a small amount of nutrients added back in. The end result is a refined wheat that contains little to no true nutritional value. Whether you follow a gluten free diet or not, enriched wheat is an ingredient that is best avoided completely.
- Soy. Soy is quite controversial these days. Some health experts adore it while others abhor it. When it comes to soy as a food additive, most everyone can agree it is best to skip it. When soy is added to foods it is typically in an isolated form. This isolated soy can have detrimental effects on hormone levels. If you want soy in your diet, opt for organic, fermented tofu or tempeh. And watch out for ingredients like textured soy protein or hydrolyzed soy.
- Natural Flavoring. We are taught to believe that natural is always good. While seeking a more natural diet is indeed preferable, the term itself is not regulated. This lack of regulation allows manufacturers to take a wide berth on what they label as natural flavors. Risky ingredients such as MSG, aspartame, GMO additives can all legally fall under the ‘natural flavoring’ label. Such ingredients can be carcinogenic and/or considered excitotoxins. Don’t fall for this vague, misleading, and potentially dangerous term!