I recently read an article on the FoodMatters.tv website that listed their "Top 10 Food Additives To Avoid". While I do agree with a majority of what they've detailed, you should know that there is some disagreement (from various sources) on the validity of some of what's presented.
Here's their "Top 10" list of villains:
- Artificial sweeteners, in particular Aspartame;
- High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS);
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG);
- Trans fat;
- Common food dyes (Blue 1 & 2, Red #3, Yellow #6 and Yellow Tartrazine);
- Sodium sulfite;
- Sodium nitrate/nitrite;
- Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydrozyttoluene (BHT);
- Sulphur dioxide; and,
- Potassium bromate.
There are some entities, including the USFDA and Health Canada, that believe Aspartame IS safe to use. Well, although it may be "safe", is it beneficial to your health? Artificial sweeteners make food sweeter but don't provide any other nutrients. They have a different chemical makeup than naturally occurring sugars, so the amount you need to produce a sweet taste is different than for sugars. Be careful, and remember, "artificial" anything is NOT real food.
High-fructose corn syrup is another highly refined "artificial" sweetener. It's been a cornerstone of the food and beverage industry since it began to be produced on a large scale in the 1970's. It's sweeter than sugar and helps extend the shelf life of processed foods. As a mixture, its chemical composition differs from sucrose, and some say that's critical in its effect on the human body.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is used as a "flavour enhancer" in too many foods to list. But, in Canada, it's NOT regulated as a food additive. In fact, the Health Canada website states "While there is no regulatory limit to the amount of MSG that may be added to food, the amount of MSG added should be at levels consistent with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)." Do you really want to rely on the manufacturer to follow some form of healthy guideline?
Trans Fat? Enough has been said on this topic that there's no need to regurgitate all the "bad for you" information here. It's sufficient to say - AVOID IT whenever possible!
With respect to the food colour dyes, the Canadian Food and Drug Regulations currently allow manufacturers to use the general term "colour" for one or more food colours. As a result, it may not always be easy to determine what's in your food. So, if you see one of those listed above on the label, be very wary.
The remaining "culprits" are either preservatives (that's how a Twinkie stays "fresh" for SO long), colourants or "flavour enhancers". Again, they're not "natural" to the foods that they've been added to and they provide no nutritional value. You should be cognizant of this when reading your labels.
It's been said that people will probably spend more time actively researching their next new car, phone or high-tech device than they do in researching what toxins may be in the food they eat and feed to their children. Really, does that make sense? I'm hoping that's not accurate.
But, please, don't simply take what we say as the "be-all or end-all" of your health information. Be your own health advocate. Research, get the answers, find the alternatives and then act accordingly. It does take some time and effort, but you'll not only be wiser for your efforts, you'll be MUCH healthier.
And, remember, if you want help with your nutrition, Nutritional Counselling (and assistance) is included as part of our Group Training classes or it can be an add-on service to our other fitness options. Contact the office for more information.