There has been a massive shift in the way people cook their food. A time when modest grandmas and stay-at-home moms fused natural ingredients in their cooking enhanced the dish’s taste and health. They turned whatever nature handed them into a super delicious and nutritious platter. Unfortunately, that is not the case today. It’s not the humble cooks anymore who enhance your taste buds with spices and herbs. Still, it’s a gang of people with sci-fi skills who have introduced artificial food colors to pop up the dishes and emulsifiers to give a smooth texture to ice creams. The list is endless, or dyes that make the Greek yogurt look more vibrant, drifting further away from the real food that our ancestors once ate.
Perhaps you have always known the significance of eating natural foods, but knowledge without awareness is useless. Foods spiked with additives cause significant weight gain and hyperactivity, and some even lead to heart ailments and cancer. Check out the list below to see the unlisted chemicals that overrun your food, and you would be averse, knowing the harmful side of the same.
Sodium Nitrite and Nitrate
Sodium Nitrate is a preservative generally found in bacon, hot dogs, sausages, canned and packaged fish, beans, and meats. These prevent bacterial growth on food substances, increasing their shelf life and making them look fresh as ever. High heat makes the sodium nitrite and nitrate with amino acids releasing cancer-causing agents called- nitrosamines.
Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil
Most food processors use manufactured fat because of its low-cost production and long shelf life. Trans fats are created by infusing hydrogen gas into vegetable fats under high heat. You will find these in non-dairy creamers, pastries, cakes, frozen foods, portions of margarine, soups, crackers, and fast food. Trans fats are significantly more responsible for artery blockage than saturated fats, but it’s effects are not limited to the heart alone. It adversely affects the brain and the sexual organs.
While most health organizations recommend keeping the trans fat levels low as much as possible, the FDA’s faulty labeling strategies leverage the manufacturers to add .49 grams per serving and yet go free without disclosing the ingredient in the packaging. But embrace yourselves with some sunshine, the FDA was forced to ban the use of partially hydrogenated oils in foods. That necessarily may not mean the food processors will adhere to it. You still can see restaurants using trans fats in a substantial amount of the food they serve. WHO is persistently working to eliminate these harmful fats globally from the food supply, but till then, let’s choose to eat wisely and not mindlessly.
Fully Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil
To get a substantial consistency, manufacturers blend non-hydrogenated liquid fats with hard fats. You’ll find these mostly in baked items, peanut butter, and margarine. The impact of fully hydrogenated vegetable oil on your heart is immeasurable. It decreases the good cholesterol (HDL) and increases the bad cholesterol (LDL), putting you at a high risk of heart attacks.
Artificial Food Coloring
The food colorings found in puddings, cookies, chips, cereals, bread-mix, condiments, and beverages are the most common harmful food additives. Various studies have established a link between growing learning disabilities like dyslexia in children using these dyes in high concentration. Countries like Sweden and Norway have banned the usage of artificial food colors. In contrast, in the rest of the European countries, the manufacturers have to label their food packaging: “May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.” These food dyes are also responsible for causing allergies in some people. Heaps of research based on animals reveals the potential risk involving intestinal and renal tumors. Volumes of research-based data and documentation are evidential of these food colors’ harmful effects, yet the FDA doesn’t move an inch. There’s no cake or pastry on earth worth your health.
BHA and BHT
BHA and BHT are the abbreviated terms for butylated hydroxytoluene and butylated hydroxyanisole. BHA and BHT are petroleum products that preserve fats and oils. These are in butter, chips, crackers, cereals, and beer in substantial quantities. Out of the two, BHA is significantly harmful, posing the threat of cancer. It is a human carcinogen, and its usage in the food industry is highly questionable.
Interesterified Fat: A Human-Made Fat
This is a semi-soft fat designed as an alternative to meet the high demand for trans fat. It is created by blending chemicals with fully hydrogenated and non-hydrogenated oils. You will find a high concentration of interesterified fat in frozen foods, canned soups, margarine, and pastries. Interesterified fat increases blood sugar and decreases insulin in your body. It also increases LDL and lowers HDL. Human-made fat hardens the arteries and is the primary cause of heart strokes.
Corn starch is known for the high concentration of sugar. Corn syrup is prepared using enzymes that break down the corn starch into smaller sugar compounds, used as a liquid sweetener and food thickener. The subsidies regulated by USDA to the corn industry make corn available in abundance at a significantly low cost, which is why you will notice corn syrup making it indispensable in the food industry and products. Every possible food will have corn syrup as a ubiquitous ingredient, from bread, soups, to frozen foods and treats. It has zero nutritional value but can contribute significantly to your bloating love handles.
Lack of awareness and concern for proper nutrition is majorly responsible for mindless eating. Fad diets with artificial additives have slowly and gradually robbed you of your health and swept away the natural ingredients that once were an integral part of cooking. Listed above are additives with harmful compounds that you should indeed avoid consuming. We hope this article awakens your inner-being and you make the right food choices going forward.