A Dangerous Disguise: Watch Out for These 4 Toxic Ingredients!


Anything that you consume, even water which we all need to survive, can be toxic in excess amounts. However, as you’re surely aware, some foods are much healthier than others. In most cases, natural ingredients are safer than synthetic ones, but many times foods that may appear to be healthy contain toxic ingredients that could contribute, not just to weight gain, but life-threatening health conditions. Make sure you check the food label on any processed foods and find out where everything else is sourced from to avoid these four toxic ingredients!

Trans Fats

Several years ago, trans fats were linked to heart disease, so manufacturers rushed to remove trans fats from their products and display on their food labels that there were zero trans fats. However, there’s a catch: food manufacturers are required by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to list the amounts of trans fats their foods contain per serving, but if the product contains less than 0.5 grams per serving, the manufacturer can list it as containing zero trans fats. So you could be consuming trans fats without even realizing it! Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils are the main culprits of trans fats, and they are found in processed foods such as peanut butter- giving it its rich, creamy taste but increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease at the same time. It’s important to carefully read food labels and look for all-natural products that don’t contain partially hydrogenated oils.

Heavy Metals

No, I’m not referring to Metallica or Iron Maiden here, but metals such as lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium which can be found in trace amounts in your found and are detrimental to your health. Lead, which can make its way into water supplies, is toxic even in the lowest concentrations. To safeguard against lead poisoning, it would be smart to invest in a water filter/filtration system. Mercury also poses a serious health risk and it is most commonly found in seafood such as tuna. In a high enough dose, it can cause brain and nervous system damage, and it is also toxic to the kidneys, liver, and heart. Pregnant women should be especially cautious about their seafood intake because mercury can pass from the mother to the fetus. Arsenic, which can be found in rice, is linked to a variety of health issues such as vascular disease, cancer, cardiovascular and central nervous system disturbances, and bone marrow depression. Cadmium, which is associated with bronchial and pulmonary irritation, kidney stones, and liver damage, can be found in a variety of foods including vegetable oils, potatoes, shellfish, baked goods, and chocolate.

Artificial Sweeteners

I’ve discussed before how bad artificial sweeteners are for your health! Some may claim to be a healthier alternative to sugar, but avoid these anything containing sucralose, saccharin, aspartame, and acesulfame-K like the plague because they contribute to gut dysbiosis, poor carbohydrate tolerance, weight gain, increased hunger, stress, accelerated aging, cognitive decline, and headaches.

Herbicides and Pesticides

Lastly, be careful about the produce you consume and avoid processed foods. It’s best to eat organic whenever possible, because genetically modified (GM) foods or genetically modified organisms (GMOs) raise a variety of safety concerns. Of all the GMOs grown worldwide, 80% are engineered to tolerate the toxic herbicide glyphosate, or “Roundup,” which is classified as a probable human carcinogen linked to Alzheimer’s disease, depression, autism, and Parkinson’s.

The point of this article is not to scare you away from all food, but rather to steer you away from processed foods. Consumed in moderation, none of these toxins will contribute to immediate health issues. What’s important is avoid your exposure to them as much as possible. It’s easy to reduce your exposure by eating natural, minimally-processed foods.

Be Aware of Giant Food Manufacturers

It’s a daunting fact that a lot of people don’t know, but thousands of food items that you commonly find at the grocery store are actually produced by a handful of giant multinational corporations. As you can imagine, these companies are not in the food industry to improve the overall health of the population or educate people about eating right. No, the only thing these 4 or 5 food giants care about is, you guessed it, making money, making a ton of money.

The way these food manufacturers are able to make so much money out of fake food is by adding a bunch of preservatives so the food lasts a really long time in store shelves and by adding a lot of additives that in the end will make the consumer addicted to the food. I know this sounds crazy, but let me take you step by step on how the process works:

Let’s say that that one of these huge food companies wants to come out with a new food product (as if they need anymore, right?). The first thing they will do is commission their food chemists to come up with two versions of said food product. The instructions are simple:

-Make sure the food product has a long shelf life.

-Make the food products as desirable as possible to every individual across the board.

So how exactly do the chemists complete these two requests? Well, first they load the product with a bunch of preservatives and test them out to see which one does the best job of holding the product up through a series of aging procedures. Then, to make the food product “desireable,” which is another way of saying “make it addictive,” chemists experiment with food additives like trans fat, caffeine, MSG, high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, artificial flavors, etc. Now something you should keep in mind is that these kinds of food additives alter your brain chemistry. That’s why you become addicted and begin to gain body fat. They also function in a way that you can binge on them and yet not feel super full, so you continue to eat the food product. And lastly sweet food products, for example, can actually alter your tastebuds, thus making you crave sweets more than your body really wants them.

So once the food chemists come up with their best concoction, the food manufacturer then focus on luring consumers through attractive, yet deceiving marketing that will undeniably pull in buyers. Once the food product versions are ready, the food manufacturers then test them with consumer groups and figure out which version of the commissioned food product is most addictive, and will in turn make consumers buy it no matter what. Sound evil enough to you? The end result of this process: consumers have yet another unhealthy treat to binge on and food giants continue to deepen their already deepened pockets.

I know this is a horrible reality to take in, and if this is new news to you I am sorry to break your bubble. But it’s important we educate each other of the unfortunate realities that are taking place in the food industry. We are so used to massive food production that we don’t realize what we are putting in our bodies. I bet there are a lot of food products in your house that you may think are healthy, but unfortunately are tapping into the criteria I just mentioned. So please do me a favor, go home and discard any of these kinds of food products. They are everywhere from sweets, lunch meats, prepared foods, and the list goes on. It’s time you retrain your brain, your tastebuds, and your body and cut the unhealthy addiction these food giants have introduced you to! Also, watch the movie Food Inc and continue to learn about this topic!


Condiments That are Making You Fat


Condiments might seem like a great way to enhance the flavors of your food or add a little spice, but did you know that some condiments are actually filled with additives that make it a lot harder for you to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight? These additives can do this in a few ways:

  • They can interfere with a hormone called leptin that tells the brain when you are full.
  • They can increase the fat-storing hormone called insulin which causes calories going in to be converted into fat instead of being stored as “muscle energy.”
  • They can also make us addicted to them by altering brain chemicals called neurotransmitters making us have more cravings and less control.

Additives to Avoid

It’s important to know what these additives are and which condiments more commonly contain them, so you know what to look out for next time you’re loading up the shopping cart. Here are 7 of the worst additives you should be removing from your diet as much as possible.

  1. Stripped Carbohydrates. These are usually listed as sugar, flour, enriched white flour, white flour, enriched bleached flour, enriched wheat flour, wheat flour, semolina flour, white rice, maltodextrin, glucose, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), fructose, sucrose, dextrose, and levulose.
  2. Artificial Sweeteners. These are usually listed as NutraSweet (aspartame), Sunette (acesulfame K), and Sweet ‘N Low (saccharin.)
  3. Added Caffeine in soft drinks and energy drinks. While a few cups of green tea or coffee each day is fine, you should be aware of when you’re consuming a little extra caffeine in that energy drink you bought on the corner.
  4. Trans Fats. Trans fats are also listed as partially hydrogenated oils.
  5. MSG. MSG is also labeled as monosodium glutamate.
  6. Excess Alcohol. One to two drinks per week is okay, but you shouldn’t be exceeding that, especially in one night.
  7. Excess Salt/Sodium. This is the norm for a lot of chips, crackers, canned food items, pickles, various cheeses, pretzels, condiments, and salted nuts.

Common Offenders

Now that you know what to look for on the label next time you shop, here are some top offenders you might need to remove from the pantry:

  • Kroger and Lawry’s Marinades: contains high fructose corn syrup.
  • Hunt’s Tomato Ketchup / Heinz 57: contains high fructose corn syrup.
  • Kraft’s Light Asian Toasted Sesame Reduced Fat Dressing: contains MSG.
  • Kraft’s Thick N Spicy Barbecue Sauce: contains MSG.
  • Hidden Valley’s Ranch Dressing: contains MSG.
  • Prego’s Italian Sauce Traditional: has 10 g of sugar per half cup.
  • Old El Paso Taco Seasoning: contains hydrogenated oils.
  • Reduced Fat (or regular) Jif Peanut Butter: full of hydrogenated oil and corn syrup solids.

Healthier Alternatives

What should you buy instead?

  • Heinz Organic Tomato Ketchup. This is a great choice over the original because it doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup.
  • Curley’s Famous Hot and Spicy Barbecue Sauce. This delicious BBQ sauce doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup or MSG in it.
  • Newman’s Own Salad Dressing. When it comes to salad dressings, you want a low sugar version that doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup.
  • Low Sodium Kikkoman’s Natural Soy Sauce. Their low sodium version contains 575 mg per tablespoon, while their regular contains 920 mg. That’s less than half the amount.
  • Lucini’s Hearty Artichoke Tomato Sauce. It only has 230 mg of sodium and less than 1 gram of sugar.
  • McCormick’s Original Taco Seasoning. Doesn’t contain any hydrogenated oils.
  • Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter. It contains only two ingredients: peanuts and salt.

It might seem like this is a lot to remember, but it’s actually pretty simple. As a rule of thumb, try to choose the low sodium and reduced sugar versions of food when available. Keep an eye out for high fructose corn syrup, MSG, and hydrogenated oils. And most importantly: if you’re reading a label and you don’t understand what the ingredients are, it’s probably not a healthy choice.

Snacks Which Cause Fat

Many of your favorite snacks can be the reason the ever anticipated summer body has yet to emerge. Mentioned in previous posts, nutrition labels are not as truthful as once expected, they hide true numbers and give false numbers to when someone is eating. Many of the foods, drinks, and even supplements on the fat causing list are ones you would least expect!

The first on the list is a Slim Fast drink mix. The fact that this drink has sugar as its first ingredient explains why they are served in such small portions which generally do not fill anybody up. These tricky drinks are the reason consumers over indulge in these snacks and drinks, they are un-filling and do not provide the right nutritional ingredients.

The second supposedly nutritious or healthy food is Weight Watchers chocolate chip cookies. Their first ingredient is enriched wheat flour, and the second ingredient is sugar, this so called healthy product is anything but healthy. If anything, having normal cookies in the right portion can have the same effect as having these cookies. 

Also making this list of unhealthy products is the Special K candy bars which contain sugar and partially hydrogenated oil as their first two ingredients. These ingredients are accompanied by the third ugly ingredient of high fructose corn syrup. All of the ingredients and nutritional facts can be very closely compared to a Snickers bar. You take a pick on which one sounds more enticing. And for many, picking up the Snickers bar is the more appealing choice.

The scariest of these foods is the Atkins Advantage chocolate peanut butter bar. This small bar which most likely will not satisfy hunger contains 6g of saturated fats and 12g overall. They also have just around 250 calories which does not make this bar advantageous in any way.

It is important to always read ingredients and facts closely, but also understand that portion sizes need to be accounted for when purchasing and eating snacks throughout the day.

The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem. You should not stop taking any medication without first consulting your physician.


The Truth and Benefit of Eating Organic

Eating organic does not have to burn a hole in your wallet and can greatly benefit you in the long run. Unfortunately, many people may still be confused about what ‘organic’ really means, but it isn’t a very hard concept to grasp. What may be harder, is figuring out where to get the most out of organic product for the right price.

According to the USDA, for food to be certified organic it must conform to a certain criteria set out by the federal organization. For produce like fruits and vegetables, it means that it must be grown without the use of conventional pesticides or fertilizers made using synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge. Produce must also not be grown through bioengineering or have been subjected to ionizing radiation.

Organic produce that is healthy and tasty

Organic produce that is healthy and tasty

Produce that is grown conforming to these organic standards are very beneficial. They lack stuff that may be harmful to us while still containing the stuff that is proven to be great for us. Organic produce contains higher content of phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals.

Cost is a big issue when it comes to eating organic produce, but there are plenty of options for getting around that. Buying organic produce at typical supermarkets does cost a lot more than buying non-organic certified produce. Buying at local farmers markets, on the other hand, is a great way to avoid the heavy price markup of organic produce experienced at supermarkets.

Another tip is to buy produce that is in season and to buy them in bulk. Fruits and vegetables can be frozen, lasting months at a time, and still taste the same when thawed. If you stock up on in-season fruits and vegetables, you will save a lot of money while eating food that can help you lose weight and stay healthy.

The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem. You should not stop taking any medication without first consulting your physician.