Friday, November 4, 2011

Avoid These 9 Worst Food Ingredients!

Everyone knows to keep an eye out for calories, fat and carbs when they're browsing the supermarket aisles, but are you paying attention to the little known, flavor-enhancing, often lab-generated chemicals that manufacturers are pumping into your food to cut costs and keep you hooked? Just because it isn't making you fat doesn't mean it's not rotting you from the inside-out. If you look out for only nine ingredients the next time you go shopping for food, make them these.

This nemesis of heart health is the primary source of trans fat. Manufacturers like it because it reduces costs, increases shelf life and stabilizes flavor, but it's a lose-lose for consumers. Trans fats are twice as difficult for the body to dissolve as saturated fats, and because they boost bad (LDL) cholesterol and have been shown to decrease good (HDL) cholesterol, they're active agents of heart disease, diabetes, nutritional deficiencies and cellular deterioration. Note: Products that contain partially hydrogenated oils, but have less than 0.5g of trans fat per serving can carry a “trans-fat free” label. Also keep in mind that “fully hydrogenated oil” does not contain trans fats.

Bottom Line: Avoid foods containing trans fats, including margarine, vegetable shortening, crackers, cookies, baked goods, salad dressings, breads and chips.

Though chemically similar to table sugar (sucrose), this cheaper alternative is a highly processed form of glucose converted into fructose—the type of sugar ordinarily found in fruit. The case against HFCS ranges from claims that it inhibits leptin—the hormone responsible for telling your brain that you're full—damages tissue and can contain toxic levels of mercury. The arguments against HFCS are inconclusive, but one thing is certain: too much sugar will harm bodily processes in countless ways, including increasing risk for diabetes, obesity and other metabolic disorders.

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