When it comes to losing weight or toning your body, improving your diet is 60 percent of the work, which is why you should be aware of unhealthy ingredients to avoid. While you should never neglect exercise, it is important to focus on what you are fueling your body with. Oftentimes it is hard to tell healthy food products apart from those that you should always stay away from, but taking a look at the nutrition facts should always give you an idea about the nature of the food product. Therefore if you are ready to shape up your diet, here are 7 unhealthy ingredients to avoid in any food you consume.
1. High Fructose Corn Syrup
One of the most notorious unhealthy ingredients to avoid is the high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). It is commonly used as a sweetener in sodas and other fruit-flavored drinks as it is cheaper than regular sugar. Besides the shocking amount of pure fructose and sugar found in HFCS, it also contains a good amount of chemical toxins. Due to the fact that HFCS contains chloralkali, a trace amount of mercury ends up in our food. Over time it can accumulate in our body and cause major health problems. So HFCS should serve as a red flag for processed junk food. The best you can do for yourself and your body is to banish any food with this ingredient on its label from your house.
2. Partially Hydrogenated Oil
Nowadays, it is getting even harder to find food products that do not contain partially hydrogenated oil. However it is crucial to rid your diet from this ingredient, as it is not something that is safe or healthy for your body; these oils are what the Mayo Clinic refers to as "the cholesterol double whammy."
The only soy products you should be consuming are fermented and organic ones. Anything else should stay out of your kitchen. While soy is often considered to be a healthy, low-fat and cholesterol-free alternate to meat, it is not something you want to have as a staple in your diet. Past research has proven that this ingredient impairs fertility, alters estrogen in women, lower sex drive, produces imbalance between omega-6 and omega-3, and even triggers puberty in children early on.
4. Artificial Coloring/ Flavors
Artificial colorings and flavorings have absolutely no nutritional value and only cause detrimental effects on your health. They are derived from chemicals made in a laboratory that are linked with cancer. For example Red 3 which is used in cherries, candy and baked goods has been shown to cause thyroid tumors and Green 3 added to candy and beverages, has been linked to bladder cancer. So please stay away from these artificial chemicals as hard as it may be.
Instead of consuming refined sugar from soft drinks, juices and other processed foods, satisfy your sweet tooth by eating fruits, which contain natural sugar. Refined sugar is the main source of calories that screws up your metabolism, raises blood pressure, damages your liver and messes with your hormones. Today even infant formulas contain the same amount of sugar as one can of Coca-Cola!
6. Enriched/Bleached Wheat
While enriched wheat is refined wheat with re-added nutrients that have been stripped during the process, it is still not nutritionally worthy to be part of your diet. It's stripped of its most nutritious portions (the bran and germ) during refinement, often bleached, then nutrients are added back in. Why? So breads and other products will last longer on store shelves. So keep in mind that enriched wheat does not belong in your food.
7. Hydrogenated Oils (Part 2)
While hydrogenated oils are healthy in their natural state, they are quickly turned into poisons during manufacturing. After the processing that they undergo, their molecules closely resemble those of cellulose and plastic and believe it or not, they are actually just one molecule away from BEING plastic. Consumption of hydrogenated oils contributes to high blood pressure and stress on your digestive system among a number of other health drawbacks.
Staying healthy is not just about staying away from junk food but it is also about being aware of where your food comes from and what it is made out of. Therefore if you are ready for a health-kick, watch what you eat and if you see any of these ingredients on the label of your food, run like the wind! What are some other unhealthy ingredients you forbid from your diet?