Food Labels Translated: Top 10 Ingredients to Avoid

Even food that seem like they should be pretty straightforward – like a potato chip, for example – are typically loaded with a myriad of complex, confusing additives. And, yes, potato chips are not typically seen as “healthy” but, logically, they should consist of nothing but potato, oil and salt. Of course, this is seldom the case. The situation isn’t any better with supplements, either.

But it can be difficult to known which of these additives are totally acceptable and which should be avoided. To help you sort this out, here is a list of 10 common, to-be-avoided food ingredients.

  1. Polysorbate 80 and Carboxymethylcellulsose – These ominously named chemicals are part of a common class of additives called emulsifiers – substances used to improve the texture and shelf life of foods. A recent study found that these two emulsifiers altered the bacteria inhabiting the digestive tracts of mice in such a way that caused inflammation, Crohn’s Disease, diabetes, obesity and a host of other issues. It should be noted that polysorbate 80 and carboxymethylcellulsose were the only two chemicals studied but that doesn’t mean other emulsifiers are safe.
  2. Artificial Sweeteners – Although this is a pretty broad term, the most common – and therefore most studied – artificial sweeteners that you’re likely to encounter are aspartame, sucralose and saccharin. On paper, these chemicals seem like a great idea: The provide even more sweetness than sugar, with little-to-no caloric value. Statistically, however, artificial sweeteners have a strong connection to diabetes, obesity and plenty of related conditions. According to recent research, this is a result of altered gut bacteria – causing increased fat storage and chronically elevated blood sugar.
  3. Partially Hydrogenated Oils – This term, along with “shortening,” is code for trans fat. As you may know thanks to tons of bad press, these fats greatly increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
  4. Artificial Dyes – Specifically, blue 1 and 2, green 3, red 3, and yellow 6 have been linked to several forms of cancer including thyroid, adrenal, bladder, kidney, and brain. Some dyes also have a strong connection to behavioral problems in children.
  5. Monosodium glutamate – Despite it’s long history of use and how commonly it appears in our food, MSG is pretty controversial. There are many anecdotes claiming a severe adverse reaction to the flavor-enhancing salt but research has failed to proof that this condition exists. Likewise, some studies have linked MSG to obesity and diabetes, but these findings are usually connected to extremely high doses and other studies have produced contradictory results. The fact is, however, that MSG overstimulated your taste buds and can desensitize you to the natural flavor of foods – making you crave more processed options.
  6. Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) – A common preservative, BHA has been shown to interrupt hormonal signals which can create all sorts of problems. Included in the complications can be behavioral and metabolism complications, as well as some forms of cancer.
  7. Sodium Benzoate And Potassium Benzoate – Primarily found in sodas, these preservatives have been linked with an increased risk of cancer and thyroid damage. Interesting, levels of the damaging form benzene increase when plastic is exposed to heat or when the preservatives are combined with vitamin C.
  8. High Fructose Corn Syrup – Although the research surrounding HFCS has been mixed and controversial, the truth is that American’s eat way more of it than they realize. According to Tufts University, American’s get more calories from HFCS than any other source. Along with the excess calories and subsequent, HFCS can increase increase food cravings and cause adverse reactions in come people.
  9. Potassium Bromate – A thickener usually used in breads, potassium bromate has been linked to an increased risk of cancer in animals. Studies have not been able to conclusively reproduce this in humans, however.
  10. Sodium Nitrites and Nitrates – These multipurpose additives works are preservatives, colorings and flavorings – typically found in bacon and other processed meats. In high levels, these chemicals can increase risk of various cancers including liver and pancreas.

All that being said, each product offered in the Gnarly catalog is free of these harmful chemicals and uses only natural ingredients.

Eli Kerr

Eli Kerr

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