We are all partial to a bit of sugary sweetness in our lives, despite the fact that we are told time and time again that it’s not good for us. But its ok, you reason with yourself, because for the few chocolate bars or sweets you might occasionally consume, you ALWAYS have diet coke and use sweetener, so it all balances out, right? Well at Ecohip, we recently came across some rather alarming facts about food products that would suggest otherwise. Whilst you think you might be abiding by your strict diet regime to cut down on calories and get in shape again after a (much deserved) Christmas binge, you may actually be subjecting your body to toxic chemicals. Results have shown that swapping your spoonful of sugar in that much needed cup of coffee, for artificial sweeteners may in fact have a negative effect on your nervous system. So to help you stick to you New Years resolutions, the HEALTHY way, we’ve compiled a list of top food nasties to avoid!
- Artificial Sweeteners: aka aspartame, saccharin, sucralose to name but a few. Tests have shown that artificial additives can inhibit the rate of growth of nerve cells of mice, but when these sweeteners were applied in conjunction with the artificial colouring quinoline yellow, the effect on nerve cells was seven times greater than when the substances were applied individually.
- Refined Sugar: Consuming large amounts of sugar leads to elevated levels of insulin. This in turn can lead to an increase in your waistline, lowered immune function, migraines and cardiovascular disease.
- Monosodium Glutamate: Ever wondered why something that can look so plain and unappetising can leave you with that “mmm can’t ….. stop…..eating…..soooo tasty” feeling? MSG is most probably why! Used in many processed foods to reduce production costs and enhance flavour, it can lead to headaches, nausea and that lethargic feeling. The effects have shown to be up to 4 times worse in children than in adults! Some tests have even shown that MSG when fed in large proportions to infant mice, destroyed nerve cells in the brain!
- Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil: When vegetable oil is combined with Hydrogen, the percentage of polyunsaturated fats (beneficial) are reduced and the amount of trans fats are increased. These trans fats are what can lead to heart disease, breast and colon cancer and higher cholesterol. They are commonly found in biscuits, some margarines and sweets.
- BHA and BHT: these block the process of oil rancidity, which is a result of oils being exposed to oxygen and light, causing it to degrade. Results have shown that these additives can affect sleep and may play a role in liver and kidney damage, behavioural problems and cancer.
- Caffeine: Yes, you read that correctly! Whilst we are all dependant on that kick caffeine gives us, in large doses it can be detrimental to our health. It causes calcium to be excreted from bones, leading to osteoporosis and possibly infertility. Whilst consumed in moderation, its effects can be beneficial, it is worth considering that it can cause birth defects, miscarriages and heart disease.
- Sodium Nitrate & Nitrite: Ham, bacon, sausage and corned beef may all contain sodium nitrate or nitrite. They can give meat that enticing pink tone, since they prevent the growth of bacteria. Once in the stomach however they can transform into cancer causing agents. Other effects may include headaches, nausea and vomiting.
- Artificial Colourings: It has long been known that you should avoid giving brightly coloured drinks or blue smarties to kids, since it can lead to hyperactivity. But artificial colourings can also harm adults. It can result in allergic reactions, visual disorders or nerve damage. For instance some blue colourings have shown to lead to uncontrolled cell mutations and divisions that can lead to cancer.
So when you next reach for the diet alternative fizzy drink, remember that it may actually be doing you more harm than good!! Instead of worrying over whether foods may contain any of these listed nasties, shop instead for organic and unprocessed foods. That way you can ensure that you are not consuming any unwanted chemicals and that your body will absorb all the nutrients it needs to keep you fit and healthy. And instead of reaching for sugary drinks, go for water, and plenty of it!! Not only is it essential for your body to function properly, but it can also keep your skin looking fresh and plumped up.