Saturday, April 27, 2013

Fitness Friday: Food ingredients I avoid

Hey guys! Welcome to my very first Fitness Friday post! I know it was uploaded pretty late, and you probably didn't see it until Saturday, but I am a nightshifter, so it was still Friday for me! I apologize for that. Anywho, todays post is going to be about the ingredients I try to steer clear of when grocery shopping, and picking out my food. Just like with beauty products, I have a list of ingredients I try to avoid in my groceries. Most of you probably avoid these same ingredients as well, but I just thought I would share my list with you. Here we go!
DISCLAIMER: I am no expert. These are just MY own opinions based on my own research of these ingredients. Please don't take my opinion as the only word on these ingredients.. I know there is evidence both for and against each of them, but I choose to avoid them myself. Please make your own decision based on your own research. If you disagree with me, and these ingredients are fine with you that's great, I just CHOOSE to avoid them.

1. soy lethicin:  I know soy is marketed as a health food, but there are dozens of reasons that tell me otherwise. Soy contains phytoestrogens, which mimic estrogen in the human body, and when your body has too much estrogen, it can lead to things like cancer, testosterone imbalance, low sperm count in men, infertility, and many other health problems. Soy also contains anti-nutrients, phytic acid, and protease inhibitors. These prevent absorption of zinc, copper, magnesium, and calcium, which are important for many bodily functions, and also block important digestive enzymes that help break down certain proteins. I REALLY try to avoid soy lethicin, but with my bagels, it is HARD to find some without it. I have found some recipes to make my own though, which is very exciting!

2. canola oil: Another ingredient marketed as "health food". There are varying opinions of canola oil all over the internet. It is really up to you to decide if you think it is healthy to consume or not. I believe not. Here's why: canola oil is produced from genetically engineered, or "modified" rapeseed. That's strike one! Rapeseed is naturally high in uric acid, which is responsible for causing gout. To be extracted from the rapeseed, it has to be heated and and processed with a petroleum solvent, then processed again to remove wax that occurs during the first process, THEN, it has to undergo two more chemical treatments to alter the color, and deodorize the canola oil to make it possible to consume. That doesn't sound very healthy to me. I'll stick with coconut oil!

3. msg: This is an ingredient most people try to avoid. Msg is actually a neurotropic drug! What this means is that it causes problems with your nervous system, and may lead to shortness of breath, light headedness, bloating, fatigue, nausea, blurred vision, among other side effects. I don't find it very hard to avoid this ingredient, but it is one I never want to consume.

4. nitrates and nitrites: These are most common in foods such as bacon, sausage, pepperoni's and other processed meats. I find it terribly hard to avoid these in regular grocery store meats, but Whole Foods Market carries a couple different brands that are uncured, and nitrate/nitrite free! Again, online there are varying opinions about nitrates and nitrites, and it is up to YOU to decide for yourself, but I am just letting you know why I avoid them. Nitrates and nitrites fuse with amino acids in the body( and the meats they are used to cure!), and turn into nitrosamines, which are carcinogens. They have also been linked to cancer in patients with Parkinson's disease,  alzheimers, and type 2 diabetes. That's reason enough for me to avoid them.

5. BHT and BHA: These are found in lots of foods, processed meats, like bacon and pepperonis, chewing gum, frozen pizzas( the reason I stopped eating frozen pizza!), among other places. They are preservatives that keep oils in foods from oxidizing and becoming rancid. BHT is thought to be an anti-oxidant, and may have some antimicrobial properties, and both are considered  "generally safe" by the FDA, but there is ALOT of uncertainty when it comes to the effects on the human body with either of these preservatives. That makes me wary of them. Again, it is up to YOU whether or not you regard them as safe to consume.

6. parabens: Yes, parabens are in food too! I actually saw some tortillas recently that had methylparabens while I was grocery shopping...also I saw whole chickpeas that had parabens in them. I was shocked myself. I never knew they were in food. Another reason I am diligent about reading my ingredient labels! Parabens are chemical preservatives used in cosmetics, and apparently foods, to fight bacteria and fungus from forming.

7. aspartame and saccharin: I have a friend at work that I am always telling not to drink diet soda because of this ingredient. Other people tell her as well, and I think she finally quit! Yay Alex! Aspartame is an artificial sweetener often used in diet sodas, and other "sugar free" foods, and is linked to dozens of health concerns. Migranes, neurological problems, and even cancer. I really encourage anyone who is still consuming this product to just stop immediately. Saccharin is another artificial sweetener, and has been known to cause cancer in the urinary tract and bladder of rats, also in the ovaries and other organs in humans. Pretty scary stuff! If you want something sweet, I encourage you to not worry about the calories, but just consume a naturally occurring sugar in small amounts to satisfy your sweet tooth. Raw honey, dates, raisins, blackstrap molasses, and even raw sugar are better options than chemical filled man-made sweeteners anyday!

8. artificial coloring: This is the last of them I think....I may be forgetting some. These are just the ones off the top of my head that I avoid. Artificial coloring is a tough one to avoid if you like sweets, or anything processed. How do you think companies make their packaged foods look so appetizing and beautiful? Food coloring. Anything that says "FD&C" OR "lake" next to it are artificial colors and are found in food and also cosmetics! These fake colorings are actually derivitives of coal tar and petroleum...that's just what we want to put in our food or on our skin! How wonderful. Most if not all of these artificial colors have been linked to cancer and should be avoided ESPECIALLY by children.

9. High Fructose Corn Syrup: I'm pretty sure you have heard about the dangers of consuming this ingredient. It's a HIGHLY processed sweetener derived from corn (mostly gmo!), it increases your risk of weight gain and obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Has been linked to high triglyceride levels (bad cholesterol), causing hypertension, heart disease or stroke. Is hard for your liver to process causing damage to your liver, and HFCS even contains high levels of mercury! High mercury exposure can cause brain and nervous system damage!

10. Agave Nectar: Just like HFCS, Agave is basically just pure fructose. It has many side effects similar in nature to HFCS such as high triglycerides, insulin resistance, and even cardiovascular disease.

Well, that is all for my list of nasty ingredients...unless I think of more later, then I'll update! It is up to you as I said like 50 times by now, which ingredients you think are ok for you to eat, but I have read lots of info that tells me that I don't want to consume any of these I mentioned in this blog post.
Do you avoid any of these ingredients? What are some others you avoid?
~ Shauna


Ana goes green... said...

I agree with you on a lot of these, the one i find the most difficuly is the nitrites/nitrates there is very little choice here in the UK, I use coconut oil or butter for cooking and I was shocked to hear of paraben's on food! I have never seen that in the UK, that's crazy to hear. x

Caitie said...

I don't buy anything without reading ingredients! Like Ana said, nitrates/ites are difficult to avoid in Canada too - we don't have the options that you have in the States, so usually I just avoid packaged meats in general.

Also, I was under the impression that organic canola was fine, since non-GMO, but if the way it's processed is a problem you know if organic canola is processed any differently?

shookanuca said...

I honestly don't trust that there is an organic canola. I may be wrong on this, but I really just think canola is bad in general. I found a really informative post about the dangers of canola, and she explains in more detail. But it is really up to you... I don't want to force your opinion of it! :-)

mary said...

Hey Shauna,

I also avoid several of these foods. I hope you are up for a little healthy debate on one of the items on your list. You said, "Soy contains phytoestrogens, which mimic estrogen in the human body, and when your body has too much estrogen, it can lead to things like cancer, testosterone imbalance, low sperm count in men, infertility, and many other health problems."

I have also read up on phytoestrogens, and I think this is really overstating the any relationship between phytoestrogens and health outcomes. It is certainly something that needs to be researched more, so I understand wanting to avoid it, but studies have shown conflicting results. Some studies have even shown a protective effect against cancers. I get your point, and maybe I'm just being too literal, but causality is a complicated thing. Also, many foods contain phytoestrogens, and if you truly want to avoid them, including many fruits and vegetables, so if you truly want to avoid them you would have to cut a lot of good things out.

Anyways, that's just my thoughts, I hope I am not coming off as too critical, because of course I love your blog, and I respect your opinion.

shookanuca said...

No, that's fine. These are just my personal thoughts and why I avoid them. I respect your opinion as well, and love your blog. I just wanted to sharw my thoughts, and I don't want anyone to take my opinion as the sole fact. Of course it is up to everyone to do their own research on anything they are concerned about. I didn't mean to offend anyone, or anything.