There are many ingredients in foods that are more harmful to your health than you may think. Most food manufacturers and restaurants use taste as their number one priority. Even with healthier alternatives, such manufacturers and restaurants want to make a sale above all others, knowing that it is essentially the taste that keeps you coming back for more.
The following three ingredients are some of the most common yet detrimental types of ingredients in restaurants and grocery stores alike:
High Fructose Corn Syrup
What is it: HFCS is a man-made ingredient that is a combination of fructose and glucose. HFCS is made by changing the sugar (glucose) in cornstarch to fructose, which is another form of sugar. It is a cheap, easy to transport and keeps foods moist, which makes these things so appealing to food manufacturers.
Why it’s bad: Research says that the body absorbs and uses fructose and glucose differently. Glucose is used in the body to deliver energy to cells by increasing the production of insulin. In addition, glucose regulates hunger and fat storage by increasing the hormone called leptin. Both insulin and leptin act as signals to the brain that we are full from eating. Lastly, glucose regulates food intake by lowering the production of the hormone called ghrelin. Gherlin is a hormone that increases hunger and appetite. Hunger declines when gherlin levels decline, which is exactly what happens when eating carbohydrates containing glucose. However, fructose is used much differently in the body. Fructose does not increase insulin secretion, leptin production or lower ghrelin levels. As a result, some studies conclude that fructose will not regulate food intake and decrease hunger. In other words, your body is essentially tricked into craving more food and consequently storing more fat. It’s not that fructose itself is so bad but the fact that many people are consuming much more than they think.
Even with some contradicting research, high fructose corn syrup is sugar. Sugar can produce weight gain and other numerous health problems.
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
What is it: MSG is a flavor enhancer that is commonly found in Chinese food and various other foods.
Why it’s bad: MSG is made up of a dangerous food compound known as excitotoxins. Excitotoxins are protein, which make brain cells fire their impulses when they make contact with it. The brain cells keep firing until they are exhausted and then die. MSG can be addictive and can cause serious weight problems. MSG has been linked to numerous health problems such as headaches, sleeping problems, strokes and diabetes. In addition, since these excitotoxins interfere with brain chemistry, it can cause problems such as brain cancers, depression and ADHD.
What is it: Hydrogenated oil is used to prolong the shelf life of processed foods. Hydrogenated oil is the process of forcing hydrogen gas into oil at high pressure and temperature. This makes oil into a solid at room temperature, but also makes it very unhealthy.
Why it’s bad: Hydrogenated oils contain toxic trans fatty acids, which cause numerous health problems like heart disease, cancer, diabetes and more. Trans fats increase bad LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and insulin levels and decrease good HDL cholesterol. As a result, this greatly increases the chances for heart attacks.
There are so many foods that contain these harmful ingredients. Instead of listing them all, read the ingredients on anything you buy. This is the most effective way in making sure that you are eating healthier.
By simply reducing some of these ingredients in your diet, you could see some dramatic changes in both mind and body.