7 Horrible Foods You Should Not Allow Near Your Mouth

Not long ago, a seemingly radical idea arrived at the grocery store—the mandatory nutrition information label. Designed to help consumers get a clearer picture of what exactly was in their food, the idea essentially legislated food processors into being more transparent about their ingredients.

Instead however, we got a lot of confusion as Big Food found ways to put questionable substances and suspected carcinogens in plain sight, right there on the nutrition label! Buried in the small print, with abbreviations and chemical chart names only Stephen Hawking would understand, consumers were left little more enlightened than they were before mandatory labeling.

To help unravel the label gibberish, here are the 7 ingredients you should always leave behind on the supermarket shelf:

1. Aspartame

If it says Equal or NutraSweet on the box, don’t put it in your cart. It’s a chemical sweetener that’s loaded with phenylalanine. This is a neurotoxin which many scientists believe can alter brain function, cause behavioral changes in adults and even mental retardation in growing fetuses when used by mothers-to-be. If that weren’t enough, side effects can also include headaches, seizures, menstrual problems, and gastro-intestinal distress.

2. BHA and BHT

These two similar chemicals are used to prevent oil-containing foods from going rancid. A seemingly admirable enough use. However, they also come with some serious concerns—they’re known carcinogens, having caused cancer in lab rats, mice, and hamsters. Avoid it BHA and BHT all costs.

3. Food Coloring

Designed to make foods more attractive, food coloring has an ugly side: caramel coloring manufacturing involves the use of industrial solvents and carcinogens. Red Dye No. 3 is associated with tumor development. Red Dye 40 and Yellow 6 are closely associated with aggressive behaviors and impulse control problems in children. Stay far, far away.

4. Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein

Hydrolyzed vegetable protein is a chemically created, flavor-enhancing protein substance that’s similar to MSG, but whitewashed a bit with a healthier sounding name. The problem with HVP is that it contains hidden MSG, so you can still wind up sickening yourself with headaches, migraines, heart irregularities and so on. Two more members of the MSG family to avoid: autolyzed yeast extract and hydrolyzed yeast extract – they, too can make sensitive types feel awful.

5. Parabens

Parabens are chemical preservatives most commonly found in cosmetics and beauty products, but oddly enough, they’re also found in many baked goods, like breads, cakes, pies, pastries, cereals and some processed meats. Designed to inhibit mold growth, there’s evidence to suggest that parabens in food may play a contributing role in hormone-related problems in women, such as breast cancer, and reduced testosterone levels in men. Steer clear.

6. Partially Hydrogenated Oil

Partially hydrogenated oil and trans-fat are essentially one in the same. Most folks don’t realize that a product can claim “0g trans fat” as long as there is less than a half gram per serving. S o if you see it on the label, don’t buy it (even if it says trans fat free). Case closed. Sure the stuff makes your food less likely to spoil, but it clogs your arteries, raises bad cholesterol and lowers the good cholesterol and who needs that?

7. Nitrites

Left unadulterated, meat will start to spoil and look pretty unappetizing quickly. Add some refrigeration and a layer of nitrites, and the shelf life, not to mention the fresh-looking red color, lengthens significantly. But what happens to the nitrates when humans ingest it? Well, not only can nitrites trigger headaches and allergic reactions, research indicates that a daily habit of nitrate-laden cured meats can increase risk of cancerous tumors.

While I don’t recommend eating foods with nitrites, if it’s unavoidable, then start you meal with antioxidants Vitamin C and E to protect your body. (Note: Naturally occurring nitrites, like those in some vegetables don’t cause health woes, so feel free to eat your veggies!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT BONUS!

While carefully reading labels can help you make somewhat better choices, here’s a more radical and much simpler approach: stop buying foods with labels on them and make the switch to whole, natural, organic or local, grower-to-table foods. You’ll get exactly what your body needs and virtually none of the dangerous additives your body is better off without.

For more ideas on how to treat your body to additive free foods, take a look at my top 9 Superfoods.

Frank Lipman, M.D.

Pioneer in Functional Medicine
For Dr. Frank Lipman, health is more than just the absence of disease: it is a total state of physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social wellbeing. Dr. Lipman is a widely recognized trailblazer and leader in functional and integrative medicine, and he is a New York Times best-selling author of five books, How to Be Well, The New Health Rules, Young and Slim for Life, Revive and Total Renewal.After his initial medical training in his native South Africa, Dr. Lipman spent 18 months working at clinics in the bush. He became familiar with the local traditional healers, called sangomas, which kindled his interest in non-Western healing modalitiesIn 1984, Dr. Lipman immigrated to the United States, where he became the chief medical resident at Lincoln Hospital in Bronx, NY. While there, he became fascinated by the hospital’s addiction clinic, which used acupuncture and Chinese medicine to treat people suffering from heroin and crack addiction. Seeing the way these patients responded so positively to acupuncture made him even more aware of the potential of implementing non-Western medicine to promote holistic wellbeing. As a medical student, he was taught to focus on the disease rather than the patient, and now as a doctor he found himself treating symptoms rather than the root causes of illness. Frustrated by the constraints of his training, and the limitations in helping his patients regain true health, he began a journey of discovery to search for the path to meaningful long-term health and wellness. He began studying nutrition, acupuncture, Chinese medicine, herbal medicine, functional medicine, biofeedback, meditation, and yoga. Dr. Lipman founded the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in 1992, where he combines the best of Western medicine and cutting edge nutritional science with age-old healing techniques from the East. As his patient chef Seamus Mullen told The New York Times, “If antibiotics are right, he’ll try it. If it’s an anti-inflammatory diet, he’ll do that. He’s looking at the body as a system rather than looking at isolated things.”In addition to his practice, Dr. Lipman is the creator of Be Well, an expanding lifestyle wellness brand he founded in 2010 to help people create, sustain and lead healthier lives. He is also the instructor of the mbg Video Course, 14-Day Detox.
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Frank Lipman, M.D.

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