Unless you're living on a farm in the middle of nowhere, chances are you consume at least some packaged foods. Food scientists around the world are always working hard (not smart) at finding the cheapest ingredients to extend shelf life. Unfortunately, their job is not to look out for your health. Many ingredients used to sweeten, preserve and emulsify foods also rob your body of critical nutrients. Here are the one's to look out for.
"Even if you're eating a well-balanced diet, you're likely consuming some packaged foods, such as cereal, yogurt, and frozen vegetables, that are going to make you deficient in at least one micronutrient," says certified nutritionist Mira Calton, who co-authored the book Rich Food, Poor Food with husband Jayson Calton, Ph.D. "The fact is, Americans are overfed, but under-nourished."
Ridding your diet of the following toxins hem will help you retain more micronutrients with every bite.
1) *** PROCESSED SUGAR ***
Aliases:Agave nectar, brown sugar, cane crystals, cane sugar, caramel, crystalline fructose, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, honey, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, malt syrup, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose, syrup
Found in: Sodas, dessert items, candies, frozen fruits and vegetables with sauces or marinades, sauces, soups
Robs Your Body of: Vitamin C, calcium, magnesium
"Vitamin C and glucose use the same transporters to get into cells, so they compete with one another," Calton says. Our body wants to absorb a limited amount of fructose, adds Paul Jaminet, Ph.D., co-author of Perfect Health Diet, and "when we consume more than that, the intestine rejects it and feeds gut bacteria, leading to bacteria overgrowth." This extra bacteria tends to steal nutrients and damage intestinal cells, he says, inhibiting absorption of calcium and magnesium.
Increased Health Risks Due to Nutrient Depletion: Weaker immune system and bones, poorer night's sleep, compromised cellular and nerve function, chronic inflammation
2) *** DISTILLED WATER ***
Found in: Juices, Carbonated Beverages
Robs Your Body of: Electrolytes, Micronutrients
Distillation will remove impurities found in water but will also remove the naturally occurring minerals. The WHO and others studied the use of distilled water and found that because it is stripped of all minerals it can cause electrolyte imbalances in your body. Your body will leach electrolytes from your tissues in order to add them to the mineral free water you are drinking. This is necessary so that your body can function normally and eliminate waste. If the water redistribution process in your body is not functioning properly, you may experience fatigue, weakness, headache, muscle cramps and an abnormal heart rate. The acidic nature of distilled water is also a significant health concern as the pH is not found in nature.
Increased Health Risks Due to Nutrient Depletion: Long-term use can cause mineral loss if not replaced by other foods which may increase your risk for osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, hypothyroidism, hypertension, coronary artery disease and premature aging.
The average American consumed 131 calories of high-fructose corn syrup daily in 2011, the most recent year that the USDA has data for. "Biologically this sweetener has the same effects on your health as sugar, including the formation of sintestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)," Jaminet says. This is a common condition found in most people suffering from IBS, according to a 2010 report published the World Journal of Gastroenterol. Unlike sugar, however, HFCS doesn't trigger the "I'm full" hormone leptin in the brain, Calton adds, making it easier to overeat, which may lead to obesity.
Increased Health Risks Due to Nutrient Depletion: Impaired immune function, hair loss, lowered blood sugar regulation, elevated triglycerides, discomfort, bloating, diarrhea, obesity
4) *** SOY ***
Aliases: Dozen of aliases for soy are found in food products such as soy lecithin, asian cuisine flavoring, hydrolyzed plant protein, shoyu sauce, protein isolate, soybean oil, textured vegetable protein, vegetable broth, thickening agents and many others.
Found in: Hundreds of packaged foods, soy milk, meal replacements, nutrition supplements, sauces, baked goods, dressings, spices, soups, pastas.
Robs Your Body of: Iron, enzymes
Soy has become a major source of toxicity for human beings, especially in the last three decades. Not only is more than 99% of soy genetically modified, but sources labeled organic or non-GMO are often exposed to the same problems as conventional soy. If you consume processed foods, soy is almost impossible to avoid. With the exception of wheat, there are few foods that are causing as many health problems as soy in the food supply. Here are 12 reasons to avoid any kind of soy.
Increased Health Risks Due to Nutrient Depletion: Growth problems, cancer, infertility, thyroid hormone depletion, allergies, immunotoxicity.
5) *** ADDED PECTIN ***
Found in: Jams, jellies, fruit juices, milk drinks, canned frosting, yogurt
Robs Your Body of: Beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein
Pectin may look and behave like good-for-you fiber, but it's not always working in your favor. "While this glue-like food moves through you, things get stuck to it, including essential nutrients, which inevitably leave the body with it," Calton says. "You're simply not going to reap the full benefits of lycopene--or any of these antioxidants--if you're also consuming foods that contain added pectin." So keep eating your apples and other foods that contain natural pectin, but skip it when it shows up on the label.
Increased Health Risks Due to Nutrient Depletion: Eyesight conditions, decreased immune response, frequent viral infections
6) *** DISODIUM EDTA ***
Alias: Ethylenediaminetetraacetic Acid
Found in: Processed foods
Robs Your Body of: Vitamin C, magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc, potassium
Disodium EDTA excels at preserving the color and flavor of foods. "It grabs any free metals that would normally promote oxidation, therefore increasing shelf life," Jaminet says. That's also the reason prescribe it to people suffering from heavy metal poisoning: It clings to minerals in your digestive tract and pulls them out, leaving them to be disposed through your feces, Calton says. However, just as in relationships, clinginess is a bad thing for healthy people because when you eat foods with the preservative, it pulls out both bad and crucial minerals and disturbs gut bacteria.
Increased Health Risks Due to Nutrient Depletion: Digestive issues, weaker immune system, compromised cellular and nerve function, anemia, cramps, kidney damage
7) *** PHOSPHORIC ACID ***
Found in: Sodas, some flavored waters
Robs Your Body of: Calcium, magnesium
This chemical additive that's used to keep carbonated drinks from going flat packs a one-two punch for your bones. In addition to blocking the absorption of calcium and magnesium, it may also be dipping into your personal calcium supply in your bones. "Calcium and phosphorus like to be bonded," Jaminet explains, "so when you take in phosphorus without calcium, it'll take whatever calcium is currently in your body. Because calcium comes hand-in-hand with magnesium, when you lose one, you lose the other." A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that women who drank an average of five colas a week had lower bone mass density than non-cola drinkers, possibly due to lower phosphorus-to-calcium ratios.
Increased Health Risks Due to Nutrient Depletion: Poorer bone and teeth health, osteoporosis, cramping and spasms, increased food cravings
8) *** GUAR GUM ***
Found in: Beverages, soups, cottage cheese, some frozen desserts
Robs Your Body of: Beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein
"This fiber from guar beans, which functions as a thicker, feeds gut bacteria," Jaminet says. And, just as with sugar, this causes an overproduction of bacteria, which compete for key nutrients. In fact, eating guar gum may reduce absorption of carotenoids by 22 percent, according to research out of the Technical University of Munich.
Increased Health Risks Due to Nutrient Depletion: Eye diseases, such as macular degeneration
Found in: Potatoes, white rice, shrimp, wine, beer, some medications
Robs Your Body of: Thiamine (vitamin B1)
Used to keep foods and drinks from browning or losing color and banned in fresh fruits and vegetables, "synthetic sulfites destroy thiamine, which plays a crucial role in mental clarity and heart health," Calton says. Severe thiamine deficiency can lead to beriberi disease, a condition that's common among people who abuse alcohol but is rare in the general population. Sulfites may also potentially life-threatening food allergies in some people, especially asthmatics, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Increased Health Risks Due to Nutrient Depletion: Decreased energy levels, cataracts (Extreme conditions, such as beriberi disease, also increase the risk of complications involving the nervous system, brain, muscles, heart, and gastrointestinal system)
10) *** CANOLA OIL ***
Aliases: rapeseed oil, vegetable oil,
Found in: Hundreds of processed foods
Robs Your Body of: Vitamin E and other complementary antioxidants in foods
Genetically modified Canola was derived in the 70s from cross-breeding of multiple lines of the rape plant to produce a much lower percentage of erucic acid, a known food borne toxin. In 1995 Monsanto created a genetically modified version of canola oil. Today almost 100% of Canola is genetically engineered. Thus, Canola is GMO by design and non-gmo or organic canola is more of a misnomer. It's another industry tactic to make consumers believe something is organic in nature which has never been by origin. Almost all Canola is now modified to be resistant to Monsanto's herbicide Roundup. More than one study has now verified that there is a large-scale escape of a genetically modified Canola in the United States.
Increased Health Risks Due to Nutrient Depletion: Excess inflammation in the body which can cause anything from arthritis to more serious diseases such as Parkinson’s, bipolar moods, schizophrenia, and obsessive compulsive disorders. Consumption of canola oil consumption has been correlated with development of fibrotic lesions of the heart, CNS degenerative disorders, lung cancer, and prostate cancer, anemia, and constipation.