One of the very important things to look put for when you buy any packed food products is the nutritional information. All of us are constantly looking for what we can gain from a particular product from a particular brand. But unfortunately that’s not all you should be looking for. With all kinds of additives being used while manufacturing a food product, it is important for you to know which of these you need to be able to parse out as bad stuff. This can help determine whether you will have an overweight and unhealthy future, or whether you will turn out to be fit and energized.
Here, we have shortlisted eight ingredients you never want to see on your nutrition label.
BHA: Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) is a preservative that is used to prevent rancidity in food products that contain oils. BHA has been shown to cause cancer in rats, mice and hamsters and the only reason its use has not yet been banned is technical – BHA has caused cancers the forestomach’s of rodents, an organ that humans do not have. Research still suggests that BHA is reasonably anticipated to be a carcinogen, which is a good enough reason to eliminate it from your diet.
Parabens: Another form of synthetic preservatives used to inhibit the formation of molds or yeast in food products. The problem with parabens is that they can decrease they can disrupt your body’s hormonal balance. Parabens have also been found in breast cancer tissues.
Partially hydrogenated oil: A lot of products can deceive us by claiming that they have ‘0 grams trans-fat’ and have almost all their customers convinced that the product is completely free of trans-fat. This is not necessarily true. The FDA allows any product with less than half a gram of trans-fat per serving to claim ‘0 grams of trans-fat’ on the labels. This means that the product can have 0.49 grams per serving and can still claim to have ‘0 grams trans-fat’. These fractions can quickly add up, especially considering that you should not be consuming more than 2 grams per day. If you find ‘Partially Hydrogenated oil’ mentioned anywhere on the label, make sure you put the product back on the shelf.
Sodium nitrite: Nitrites and nitrates are used to inhibit botulism-causing bacteria and maintain processed meats, a reason why the FDA allows its use. Unfortunately, once ingested, nitrites can fuse with the amino acids (present in meat) to form nitrosamines which are powerful carcinogenic compounds. Ascorbic acid and erythrobic acid, especially vitamin C can reduce the risk and many manufacturers today add one or both of these to their products. However, limiting the intake is still the best way to avoid the risk involved with the use of nitrites.
Caramel colouring: This is one additive that would not be harmful if produced in the traditional manner, with water and sugar on a stove. But new processes of manufacturing involve treating the sugar with ammonia, which can result in some harmful carcinogens. This is the additive present in aerated beverages that make them so harmful.
Castoreum: One of the nebulous ‘natural ingredients’ that is not really harmful but it can be quite unsettling. Castoreum is a substance made from beavers’ castor sacs o anal scent glands that produce potent secretions that help animals mark their territory in the wild. However, 1000 pounds of the unsavory ingredient are used annually to imbue foods – usually vanilla or raspberry flavoured – with a distinctive musky flavor. This can be found in almost any food that contains ‘natural ingredients’.
Food dyes: Plenty of flavoured candies and sugary cereals rely on artificial dyes and flavours to suggest a relationship with nature. These dyes allow the manufacturer to mask the drab colours of processed foods, but certain hues have been linked to more serious ailments. Some of these artificial colouring agents were found to be carcinogens causing tumours. Avoiding products with these artificial agents is as much as possible is your best bet to avoid the associated complications.
Hydrolyzed Vegetable proteins: These are plant proteins, usually used as a flavour enhancers and are chemically broken down in to amino acids. One of these amino acids, glutamic acid can release free glutamate which joins combines with the free sodium in your body to form Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), an additive known to cause adverse reactions including headaches, nausea and weakness in sensitive individuals.
Eight ingredients that you should watch out for, once again highlights the importance reading the labels when it comes to food products.
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