Ingredients in Packaged Food to Avoid

Eat real food, vegetables, clean eating, avoid processed and packaged foods

Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners, also known as synthetic sugar substitutes, have been around since the late 1800’s but became more popular in the early to mid 1900’s as a way to avoid excess calories from traditional sugar. Artificial sweeteners are often many times sweeter than sugar, meaning manufacturers can use less, making them a cheaper alternative to natural sugar. They are widely used in processed foods such as soda, baked goods, candy, condiments, dairy products, bread, cereals, and anything labeled as “sugar-free”.

Artificial Colors

Artificial colors are used in a number of packaged food products, many of which are listed above. Manufacturers put food dye in products to make packaged foods more appealing. Many canned pickles, for example, have green food dye added to make them…more green? Again, we have the word “Artificial” present telling us these products are man-made, aka stay away. Artificial colors are most often made from petroleum, which is also used to make transportation fuels, asphalt and plastics. Yummy?

Artificial Flavors

There isn’t a lot of evidence to support artificial flavors having a negative impact on our health. They are, however, often found in low quality packaged foods that should be avoided in the first place. To be on the safe side, I personally steer away from anything with artificial ingredients.

Hydrogenated Oils

Since they are cheaper and easier to produce, hydrogenated oils are commonly found in processed food. When reading your food labels, avoid these saturated fats and look instead for healthy oils such as olive oil, flaxseed oil, sunflower oil or avocado oil.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Similar to the artificial sweeteners discussed earlier, high fructose syrup is popular with food and beverage manufacturers because it is a cheap alternative to real sugar. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is made from corn starch. The corn starch is broken down in to 100% glucose (a simple sugar) molecules, also known as corn syrup. Enzymes are then added to convert some of the glucose into fructose, another simple sugar. High fructose corn syrup gets it’s name from it’s high fructose content, which can be up to 55% of the composition. The remainder is glucose and water.

As a reminder – I am not a doctor. If you have special dietary needs or would like to discuss a plan specific to you, please consult your physician.

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