There are various sources of hidden toxins that you may encounter in everyday life. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is not just about the foods you actively put into your body. It is important to be highly aware that toxins and pollutants could be lurking in places you least expect.
Found in diet sodas, gum, and many other “sugar-free” foods, artificial sweeteners can be incredibly damaging to your health. Sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose can contribute to headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, fatigue, and inflammation.
Aspartame is known to convert to formaldehyde – the same chemical used to preserve dead bodies – when consumed, and leads to further inflammation and acidosis within the body.
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Furthermore, these sweeteners, which are marketed as being ideal for people trying to lose weight, actually contribute to obesity.
A good alternative to these sweeteners is a natural stevia extract, such as Truvia.
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
Monosodium glutamate, also called MSG, is a flavor enhancer that is found in many forms and identified under many different names.
MSG is a salt chemical that can cause headaches, gastrointestinal distress, diarrhea and mood swings, and can even exacerbate asthma symptoms.
MSG and the aforementioned aspartame are known as excitotoxins. Put simply: they stimulate and overload certain centers of the brain, leading to the death of neurons.
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Refined, Hydrogenated, And Trans Fats
Soy, canola, and corn oils are the worst offenders in this category. You would also be wise to avoid safflower oil, and refined vegetable oils in general.
These oils contain a disproportionately high level of omega-6 fatty acids, which throws off the body’s ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 and can lead to widespread inflammation in the body.
Hydrogenation of a fat basically means that the chemical structure of the fat has been altered to bind a hydrogen atom to the carbon atom, which makes the fat solid at room temperature. It is no exaggeration to say that hydrogenated or trans fats are literally poisonous.
Trans fats replace the good saturated fats in our cell membranes, which can decrease HDL (good cholesterol) levels and increase blood lipid levels, increasing the risk of heart disease.
Instead of ingesting these toxic fats that are not fit for human consumption, opt for real butter from grass-fed cows, virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, and macadamia nut oil.
Unfortunately, artificial coloring in foods is incredibly prolific. You will find colors in products such as pastries, pickles, meats, fruits, sauces, baking mixes, gum, ready meals, and many more.
Opponents of the FDA-approved colors claim that additives such as tartrazine and sunset yellow are cancer-causing and can lead to ADHD in children. Erythrosine has also been linked to thyroid tumors in rats.
Instead of feeding candy and processed foods to young children, why not encourage them to try healthy snacks, such as fruit or carrot sticks? These healthier alternatives may not be as exciting as sweet, brightly colored treats, but reinforcing positive habits early on will make children more likely to opt for the healthy option as they grow up.
Genetically Modified Food
According to the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM), animal studies have linked GM food to several serious health ailments, including immune problems, infertility, accelerated aging, and dysfunctional insulin regulation.
Long-term studies have not been thoroughly conducted in humans to establish the safety or potential risks involved with genetically modified foods; however, the results from animal studies have been quite conclusive. These studies show many cases of increased allergies, infant fatality, and possible links to cancerous cell growth.
It is extremely important to remain mindful of the food choices you are making for yourself and your family.
The food industry means big money, and where big money is involved, there will always be special interest groups lobbying the government to secure patents and FDA-approval of their products. With this in mind, try to be more vigilant and don’t always believe what you see on food labels. By educating yourself on sound decisions at the supermarket or local market, you will become a lot more “streetwise” and, in turn, this will benefit you immeasurably.