Foods and food additives that are outlawed in many countries are legal and consumed daily in the United States. They can be disguised as simple words such as “yeast extract” or “natural flavors, ” but they are not all that innocent. Here are 6 "no no" ingredients to keep out of your diet.
1. Maltodextrin is a food additive that is commonly used as a thickener, filler, and preservative. It can cause spikes in your blood sugar levels, alter the bacteria in your gut, and is made from genetically modified (GMO) corn.
2. Yeast extract is monosodium glutamate (MSG) in disguise. It's added to food as a flavor enhancer and is notoriously known to be found in Chinese food, canned fruits and canned veggies. But, those aren't the only items they're found in today; we commonly see them in chips or snacks with a variety of flavors.
"...MSG overstimulates our nervous system, causing an inflammation response that gets more intense each time we ingest the additive until we begin to see outward symptoms..." which can include upset stomach, fatigue, numbness or tingling, and hives. -Real Food
3. High Fructose Corn Syrup is a chemical alternative to sucrose (table sugar) that is derived from corn and then chemically altered.
“High doses of free fructose have been proven to literally punch holes in the intestinal lining allowing nasty byproducts of toxic gut bacteria and partially digested food proteins to enter your bloodstream and trigger the inflammation that we know is at the root of obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, dementia, and accelerated aging. Naturally occurring fructose in fruit is part of a complex of nutrients and fiber that doesn’t exhibit the same biological effects as the free high fructose doses found in 'corn sugar'.” -DrHyman.com
4. Torula Yeast is a type of yeast that can be used as a substitute for MSG. It's a flavor enhancer that is a byproduct of the paper industry and is commonly used in pet foods. Similar to MSG it has side effects such as triggering allergic reactions, chest pains, and rapid heartbeat.
5. Potassium Bromate is banned for use in food in many countries, but the US allows it. It’s a flour improver that is typically used to quicken the rise of bread and strengthen the dough. Potassium bromate is considered a carcinogen (possibly cancer causing), and can disrupt the genetic material of cells.
6. Natural Flavors can be a label many companies use to mask food additives. Conversely, it can simply be a way companies protect their proprietary ingredients. If it’s a brand or company you know and trust, it's likely being used as the latter. Go with your gut on this one!
These ingredients can be deceiving, but being aware of what you're consuming will help you to live the best and healthiest life you can! These are only a select few ingredients to avoid. A good rule of thumb is: if it sounds like a chemical, you probably shouldn't consume it.