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Common Toxins in Processed Food to Avoid
Our supermarkets are filled to the brim with items that claim to be food but in reality they truly contain very little REAL food. I want to go over some of the basic things that you should avoid while going food shopping. These are the MOST common toxins in processed food that you should avoid at all costs.
If you are already into natural health you have more than likely heard this term used. But for those that aren’t familiar with it, GMO stands for genetically modified organism. Basically the genetic material in the food has been artificially manipulated in a lab. The purpose of GMOs has been to create crops that are able to withstand massive amounts of herbicides or to produce its own insecticide. The long term purpose of GMOs is to increase yield, have tolerance to drought, and enhance nutrition- none of which has happened yet.
GMOs are linked with many health issues because common sense *should* tell us that we were meant to consume REAL food, not something whipped up in a lab. There are no long term studies done on the safety of GMOs and there is evidence that the studies that have been completed show really terrifying results. Cancer was one of the biggest issues found with GMO consumption. However, these truths about GMOs and their link to cancer don’t benefit the companies like Monsanto because all they care about is money and having control over the food supply- they don’t have any regard for people’s health.
Many countries have even banned GMOs because of how unethical their sale is. Some countries also have labeled foods that contain GMOs so people can make informed decisions on what they choose to buy. We don’t have that in the USA, but hopefully one day things will change. There are many activists working for the ban of GMOs or the labeling of them. Until then, we can buy organic whenever possible and we can look for the Non-GMO project certified sticker on certain products.
GMOs are in about 80% of conventional processed foods in the USA. Unless you are reading labels and researching companies, then you are probably consuming GMOs. The most common offenders for GMOs include corn, cotton, soy, beets, bananas, papayas, apples, potatoes, and some nutritional supplements. For example, most supplements that are labeled “Vitamin C” are actually derived from GMO corn! Talk about gross and misleading.
GMOs are an unknown that we are better off avoiding. Man keeps trying to improve upon nature when all they are doing is destroying it. Once you start eating organic foods and cut the processed junk out, you will taste the difference and never go back!
There is a lot of controversy surrounding artificial sweeteners. They are touted to be great great because they are supposed to not effect your blood sugar but they can still sweeten food. Sounds like a great concept, right? But even the FDA wasn’t sold on the so-called benefits of artificial sweeteners. They denied approval of aspartame for 20 years because of the flawed data on its safety and because of its side effects
Aspartame is one of the main artificial sweeteners. It is 180 times sweeter than sugar. More than 6000 products on shelves contain aspartame, including soda, vitamins, cough drops, and countless food items. If you’ve ever eaten something with an artificial sweetener, you’ll know how it tastes like pure chemical. That is because it is so unnatural!
Aspartame has been linked to migraines, MS, joint pains, heart issues, brain cancer, and many others. It is actually linked to weight GAIN and diabetes despite the claims of it not spiking blood sugar. So stay far away from anything labeled sugar free- it is usually laced with artificial sweeteners.
Food coloring is probably one of the most common additives out there. You’ll see it in vitamins, juice, fruit snacks, candies, and even some bread! These fake colors might look pretty but they are linked to many behavioral problems in children (think ADD, ADHD, temper tantrums, etc), tumors, ulcers, allergies, chromosomal damage, asthma and severe gut pain. Some of these colors are actually banned in other countries- a huge sign that they are not safe!
High Fructose Corn Syrup
This “sweetener” has been around for quite a while now. It is a cheap sweetener made from GMO corn. The media tried to make some propaganda a few years ago to convince people that corn syrup is no different than real sugar, but this was a huge lie. Corn syrup is abundant in nearly all packaged foods. Soda, juice, bread, ketchup, baked goods, and basically anything that is in a box will more than likely have corn syrup on its label.
There is such a huge difference between high fructose corn syrup and normal sugar. For one, natural sugars like those found in fruits are NATURAL. They are on Earth for a reason- to help give energy! HFCS from GMO corn is a man-made monstrosity that has no place in a human’s diet. HFCS is linked to diabetes, heart disease, cancer and liver failure- and that is just with moderate consumption!
A common ingredient found in processed foods is MSG, or monosodium glutamate. Glutamate is actually a naturally occurring amino acid but MSG is a man-made version of it. It is used to enhance the flavor of foods, and it tends to make people addicted to the foods that contain it. It is found most commonly in Chinese restaurant foods but it is found in almost every processed food out there, even baby food!
MSG is an exiotoxin- it over excites the brain and causes cell death. Overconsumption of MSG can lead to Alzheimer’s, Parkinsons, and many other neurological issues. Part of this is because MSG degrades taurine, an essential nutrient needed for brain health. Read all about taurine here.
The FDA even has a list of short-term reactions call MSG symptom complex. These reactions include numbness, burning sensations, tingling, chest pain, and headaches. All of these can be related to stressed out nerves because of the over-stimulation that MSG causes.
MSG goes by many names. Since people are starting to learn the truth about it and want to avoid it, companies have taken to listing it as many different things in order to confuse consumers. You’ll find a whole list here, but common names include torula yeast, yeast extract, glutamic acid, and autolyzed yeast. Not all glutamate is bad, such as the naturally occurring glutamate in gelatin and bone broth. It is actually very important for gut health! But it is a possibility to have a sensitivity to all glutamate, especially if you are taurine deficient.
Most processed foods are just a cocktail of all of this junk I mentioned above. If you ever actually look at a label for a cake or a soda, you’ll notice that there is very little in is that is natural or real food! There is no food in our food- and that is sad. Most of my generation grew up without the skills of previous generations when it comes to gardening and cooking, but more millennials are catching on, mostly for the sake of their own children. Something needs to change if we want our kids and grand kids to be healthy. Homemade food might take more work but it is definitely healthier, safer, and it just tastes better!