Food Ingredients to Avoid…And Why You Want To

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Top Harmful Food Ingredients You Should Never Eat

Unfortunately, in our world today most foods and food products are highly processed, heavily refined, and are produced using chemicals, in each step of its production process, even including the packaging in which it comes. From the ground up much of our food is grown and manufactured with several unnatural chemicals, and sadly, due to cross contamination, even ones that aren’t directly produced with chemicals are often exposed and contaminated by them. 

Some of these chemicals remain in the food, as well as in our bodies and in the environment, in some cases for decades. And why does that matter? Well, this is a SHORT list of some of the adverse effects these chemicals and “food-like” ingredients can have on you: 

  • Cancer
  • Celiac
  • Fatigue
  • Diabetes
  • Food allergies
  • Heart disease
  • Liver disease
  • Autoimmunity
  • Kidney disease
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Systemic inflammation
  • Headaches + migraines
  • Nervous system damage
  • Slowed metabolism and fat gain
  • Depression and mental health issues
  • Cognitive function disruption + memory loss

We have allowed a system to be created that is full of highly processed, unhealthy and even toxic “food-like” items. And the sad part is, many of these highly processed products are often marketed as healthy, and in some cases as healthier than whole food counterpart, such as a refined and processed stevia extract product being better than an unrefined cane sugar. This is a massive mistake. 

Sadly, there are so many chemicals and food ingredients in our system today that are important to try to avoid that it’s hard to list and capture them all, especially because the list grows essentially on the daily. 

To help you navigate through it all, the list below indicates some of the most damaging food ingredients, which sadly are also quite prevalent, for you to start being aware of and work to avoid or decrease to improve your health, fitness, and LIFE!

So…before mindlessly grabbing an item, look first at the ingredient label and if you see any of the following ingredients, best to put it back. 

Top Food Ingredients to Avoid List

Items with * indicate ingredients also commonly found at “health food” stores.

  • Hydrogenated Oil (aka Trans Fat)
  • *ALL Refined Vegetable Oils / Seed Oils (even if organic, expeller pressed, etc.) Note: cold-pressed (aka unrefined) sunflower, safflower, or grapeseed oil is okay to consume, but is rarely used commercially in the unrefined form
    • Canola Oil
    • Cottonseed Oil
    • Soybean Oil
    • Corn Oil
    • Brominated Vegetable Oil
    • Safflower Oil (refined)
    • Sunflower Oil (refined)
    • Any refined yellow oil that’s liquid at room temp.
  • Sodium Nitrite/Nitrate (most commonly found in processed meats)
    • Or any added nitrites/nitrates
  • Artificial Dyes & Preservatives
    • Red #40, Yellow 5, Blue 1 or 2, etc.
    • Caramel Coloring/Caramel
    • BHA/BHT, Butylates
    • Sodium Benzoate (or any benzoates)
    • Sulfites (such as sulfur dioxide)
    • Sorbates (such as potassium sorbate or sodium sorbate)
    • Propionic Acid
    • Sodium Phosphate
    • TBHQ
  • Flavor Enhancers (Including MSG in ALL Forms)
    • *Yeast Extract
    • *Hydrolyzed Proteins
    • *Anything Autolyzed
    • Caesinates
    • Glutamic Acid/Glutamate
    • Calcium Glutamate
    • MSG (monosodium glutamate)
    • Textured Protein
    • *Soy Protein Isolate/Soy Protein Concentrate
    • Bouillon
    • *Malt Extract
  • Sugar Replacements
    • *Truvia
    • *Erythritol
    • *Xylitol
    • *Mannitol
    • *Maltitol
    • *Sorbitol
    • Saccharin
    • Cyclamate
    • Aspartame
    • Splenda
    • Sweet ‘N Low
    • Equal
    • Sucralose
    • Ace-K
    • Acefulme Potassium
    • NutraSweet
    • Neotame
  • Processed, Refined Sugar
    • (High Fructose) Corn Syrup
    • *Maltodextrin
    • *Agave/Agave Nectar
    • *Fructose
    • Crystalline Fructose
    • Evaporated Cane Juice
    • *Any juice or fruit concentrates
    • *Anything ending in –ose
  • Artificial Flavoring
  • *Natural Flavoring
    • Includes natural “X” flavor
    • Includes organic natural flavor (organic is slightly better than non-organic)

Other Food Chemicals and Additives

Though it’s a decent sized list, this is sadly by no means even close to all of the food chemicals and additives that proliferate our food system today. A good rule of thumb is if it’s not an ingredient you’d likely find at the grocery store as an ingredient or that you’d find in your cupboard, it’s best to avoid it. Here are some additional food ingredients that are best avoided:

  • *Carrageenan
  • *Citric Acid
  • *Food Starch/Modified Food Starch
  • *Any Protein “Isolates”
  • *Soy Lecithin
  • *Enriched Flours
  • *Gellan Gum, Locust Bean
  • *Gum, Guar Gum
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Titanium Dioxide
  • Azodicarbonamide
  • Mono or Di Glycerides
  • Propylparaben or Methylparaben
  • Propyl Gallate
  • Vanillin
  • Disodium Inosinate/Disodium Guanylate
  • rBGH
  • Polysorbates (i.e. polysorbate 60)
  • *Caranuba Wax
  • Calcium Peroxide
  • Calcium Proprionate
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