(Article first published as Top Food Additives You Really Need to Avoid on Technorati.)
The vast majorities of processed foods are packed with calories and have been stripped of any nutrients that we require to maintain optimal health. Over the course of years and decades, the lack of vitamins and minerals from natural foods slowly leads to chronic disease conditions such as diabetes, cancer, dementia and heart disease. The artificial chemical compounds in processed foods (all those items in the ingredients lists with names you can’t pronounce) become packed away in your fat tissue and lead to systemic inflammation and depleted antioxidant resources.
Food Additives Lead to Chronic Illness
There are more than 3,000 food additives approved for use in the US and considered ‘Generally Regarded as Safe’ (GRAS) by the FDA. More than 90% of the typical diet is composed of processed foods, meaning that very little food is eaten in its natural form providing nutrients that are properly absorbed by the body.
Food additives include preservatives, sweeteners, artificial colors and flavors as well as flavor enhancers, all designed to provide maximum calories with very little nutrition. The publication Food Matters lists the top food additives you must avoid to preserve your health.
Artificial Sweeteners: Most commonly found in diet or sugar-free drinks, gum, baked goods and even toothpaste, foods that contain aspartame have been shown to contribute to brain aging. Aspartame is neurotoxic and causes loss of memory and difficulty learning new tasks. Researchers believe it may be linked to increased incidence of brain tumors and diseases like lymphoma, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
High Fructose Corn Syrup: High Fructose Corn Syrup has been infused into most processed foods since its inception in the early 1970’s. Extensive scientific research has linked the sweetener to increased levels of obesity due to the way fructose is metabolized in the body and lipid abnormalities that cause diabetes and increased risk of heart disease.
Trans and Hydrogenated Fats: Trans fats have been chemically altered through hydrogenation or cooking at high heat. These synthetic fat molecules are unnatural and cause problems at the cellular level when being used as a component for cell wall synthesis. The most common foods are deep fried, processed and commercially baked products. They are known to increase the risk of death from a heart attack by 25%.
Health minded individuals are experts at deciphering food nutrition labels. The best way to avoid these dangerous additives is to eat nothing that has more than one ingredient on the label, or has no label at all (fruits, vegetables and minimally cooked meats). Reading nutrition labels to avoid a wide array of unnatural food additives will lower your risk of chronic illness and extend your natural lifespan.