By Dr.Nethi Weerasinghe
Nowadays people tend to eat more processed and junk food due to their busy competitive life style. But what we don’t know is that these foods contain unhealthy ingredients which cause dangerous health problems. Listed below are some of the bad ingredients commonly found in food industry.
High fructose corn syrup(HFCS)
HFCS is a sweetener unknown to most, but used heavily by the food industry, especially in sweetened beverages. It is made out of genetically modified corn and processed with genetically modified enzymes. HFCS is similar to the normal table sugar but much cheaper to produce than sugar. That is why you will find it in soft drinks, processed food and junk food type of products.Such as coca cola,pepsi,sprite,breakfast cereals,candy bars,sauses etc. HFCS inhibits the hormone (Leptin) responsible for telling your brain that you are full. It may contain mercury and can damage tissues in our body.
Consuming too much HFCS can lead to health problems such as heart disease,obesity,diabetes and more. Therefore it is better to limit products that contain HFCS or avoid it completely.
Trans fat (Partially hydrogenated oils)
Trans fats are industrially manufactured by adding hydrogen to the liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. It is more harmful to your arteries than saturated fat. Trans fats boost your LDL or “bad” cholesterol and decrease HDL or “good” cholesterol that makes you more likely to get heart diseases.Trans fats are Mostly found in fried or battered food like French fries,ready meals,frozen meals,cake mixes,margarine sticks,snack food and more.
Food can call them as Trans fat free even if they contain up to 0.5 mg of trans fat per serving. Therefore it’s better to read the food labels before consuming them. If you see hydrogenated in the ingredient list try to avoid the product. It is more important to find a balance. It doesn’t help your health if you want to choose product with high saturated fat just to avoid tiny amount of trans fat. Therefore find the balance and consume this products absolute minimal.
Artificial sweetener is 180 times sweeter than sugar. It is also an excitotoxin that encourages free radical growth. This can accelerate aging and other health problems. Some of the common health problems include, Brain cancer,headache,sleep problems,memory loss,dizziness,cramps,rash,fatigue,diarrhea and more.
Artificial sweeteners are mostly found in products marketed as sugar free or diet such as diet sodas,chewing gum,jellies,baked goods,fruit juices and ice cream.
It is an attractive alternative to sugar because it contains no calorie which means no nutritional value. But this does not mean it will not lead to weight gain. This is because artificial sweeteners can increase your appetite which will lead you to eat more. So if you are someone who drink lot of diet soda, thinking that this will not lead to weight gain, it can hinder your weight loss progress plus many other health problems that may come with it.
Artificial colourings mostly found in cereals,candy bars,soda drinks,snack food and specially those are marketed to children. They will be listed on the ingredients as blue 1,blue 2,red 3,yellow 5 and more. These colourings do not add any nutritional values and may cause health issues. Such as chromosomal damage, thyroid tumours etc.
So next time when you are shopping, pick foods coloured with natural colourings like beta- carotene and carmine instead of artificial ones.
To conclude, if you can’t pronounce the ingredients on a product, don’t eat it. If it is too complicated and you can’t be bothered to go through ingredient list you are better off eating that food.Food in its purest form with high nutritional values which has not been processed and it is good for your body.