4 Harmful Ingredients in Packaged Foods
Nowadays, most Americans’ household food shopping list consists of processed foods. The majority of processed foods include artificial food additives. These food additives cause health risks. Processed and packaged foods have completely taken over the diet of Americans. Most processed foods are loaded with artificial flavors, sweeteners, salts, artificial fats, chemicals, coloring, and preservatives. But the most damaging thing is not what’s been added, but what’s been taken away. Processed foods often lack nutrients such as anti-oxidants, soluble fiber, and good fats. When that’s combined with artificial additives, it’s extremely hazardous to health.
Here are 4 harmful ingredients in processed foods that you should know.
1. Trans Fats
Trans fats are present in crispy crackers, bakery muffins, fast food, microwave popcorn, and french fries. Research now reveals that trans fats are twice as dangerous for your heart as saturated fat, and causes premature heart disease death. Trans fats are your heart’s enemy and are even worse than saturated fats. They increase “bad” LDL cholesterol and decrease “good” HDL cholesterol. Trans fats also raise your levels of artery-clogging lipoprotein and triglycerides.
Three-quarters of sodium in our diets comes from processed foods such as canned vegetables and soups, condiments, soy sauce, fast-food burgers, fries, and preserved meats like bacon, ham and deli turkey. In unprocessed edibles, sodium occurs naturally in milk, celery, beets, even in drinking water. Sodium is necessary for humans. It helps regulate blood pressure, transmit nerve impulses, maintain the body’s fluid balance, build muscle, and keep your senses of smell, taste, and touch working efficiently. You need sodium everyday to replace what’s lost to sweat, tears, and other bodily fluids.
What happens when you consume more salt than your body needs? Your blood pressure will rise, forcing your heart to work harder. At the same time, it makes veins and arteries constrict. If you want to know the real sodium count on a product, check the “Nutrition Facts” panel on the food package. Don’t believe the false claims on the package front such as “sodium-free,” “reduced sodium,” or “light in sodium” – that’s purely a marketing gimmick.
3. Refined Grains
Choosing refined grains such as white rice, white pasta, sugary low-fiber cereal, rolls, or white bread over whole grains can unfortunately increase the risk of heart attack. You have to be a clever shopper to lead a healthier life. Don’t be fooled by misleading label claims such as “made with wheat flour” or “seven grain” – that’s often just white flour bread topped with oats or colored brown with molasses. These refined ingredients can raise the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attack, diabetes, insulin resistance, and belly fat.
4. High Fructose Corn Syrup
High-fructose corn syrup costs less to make than sugar, it’s sweeter in taste and mixes more easily with other ingredients compared to traditional sweeteners. High-fructose corn syrup is present in most frozen foods, whole-wheat bread, hamburger buns, English muffins, beer, soft drinks, bacon, spaghetti sauce, and ketchup.
Researchers found that liquid sweeteners may disrupt your metabolism, raising the risk for diabetes and heart disease. High-fructose corn syrup also encourages over-eating. Fructose can destroy your body’s reserve of chromium, which is a mineral important for healthy levels of cholesterol, blood sugar, and insulin.
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