Updated: 23 October 2017
When is the last time you ordered your favorite restaurant meal, big gulp – diet drink, breakfast sandwich, burger or pizza, etc.
Then felt like you wanted more and doubled down in one sitting. Then repeated the same food or drink habit a day later even though it made you feel ill the previous day.
If this sounds familiar there is a reason today’s foods make us feel bad, yet strangely wanting more. This has a lot to do with hyper palatable food chemicals.
Even when food appears to be the best organic quality – it is often tainted by the processed sauces, dips and broth that reap havoc on the way we feel, appear and behave.
Fortunately today’s parents are smart consumers and know a thing or two about unhealthy processed foods. However a majority of families don’t have a choice in purchasing quality foods for a variety of reasons. A major factor has to do more about cost than anything else.
Study leader Yolande Smit, from Stellenbosch University medical school’s nutrition division, said: “The effect of food cost on food choices and healthy eating cannot be overestimated. Less healthy, energy-dense food is more affordable, making it a more desirable purchasing option, especially among lower socioeconomic groups (Chambers 2017).” And the plethora of chemicals added to processed foods is proving to be unhealthy… “Some are worse than others (MirrorAthlete 2017).”
“More than 80,000 chemicals are registered for use in the U.S. in everyday items such as foods, personal care products, household cleaners and lawn-care products, according to the National Toxicology Program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.” ‘Can chemicals that are added to breakfast cereals and other everyday products make you obese? Growing evidence from animal experiments suggests the answer may be “yes.” But confirming these findings in humans has faced formidable obstacles – until now (Cedarssinai 2017).”
Consumer safety advocates and watchdogs, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Human Health Services (HHS) and a plethora of other Research and Development (R&D) labs and epidemiological data found within universities and other public health institutions publish reports relative to consumer food and product chemical effect on health. Showing an ever increasing connection to unhealthy weight gain, diabetes, circulatory, digestive, hormonal, metabolic, brain function and heart disease, to include cancerous tumors and potential to mutate DNA.
Pay attention to the following symptoms: When you feel bad, or note someone complains about bloat, flatulence, nausea, overly full, diarrhea, constipation, headache, sluggishness, sleepiness, dehydration, irritability, depression or skin rash after eating or drinking a product… suspect an unhealthy and highly concentrate chemical ingredient. But reactive brain and body symptoms are not just isolated to what we ingest. Household cleaners, lawn and garden spray, new furniture or car smell off-gassing… cosmetic, hygienic, or environmental air pollutants are also the cause of reactive immune, circulatory, respiratory and digestive symptoms – to name a few. “But let’s stay focused on processed foods and drink.”
Many convenience foods found in grocery stores and served in restaurants are chucked full of chemicals and often hard to identify unless you’ve developed a habit of reading labels, or doing your own consumer safety research on-line. Simply consider the chips, cookies, sauces, dips, dressings, energy drinks, coffee creamers-sweeteners, candy, snacks, deserts, canned foods and syrups, etc., loaded with artificial flavors, dyes, preservatives, additives.
My motto is, “if I can’t pronounce and/or understand what’s written on the label – its likely an unhealthy chemical.
“I’m mindful to avoid the worst ones. The ones I completely avoid if at all possible are MSG, HFCS, Aspartame, Trans Fats and preservatives for long self life. And when you over consume these ingredients – I assure you if not now… at some point there will be a negative impact on the way you feel and your health.
“There are signs and symptoms to pay attention to when the foods you eat are rejected by the body and make you feel bad. Mindfulness and management of this mater may serve as a preventative measure to avoid insidious disease during the aging process (MirrorAthlete 2017).”
There are now thousands of chemicals added to our foods that addict us to them and cause cravings that make us want more; make us fat and eventually harm health if habits don’t change.
For instance, MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) leaves a “powerful savory taste lingering in your mouth is an example of a tactic called “long hang-time flavor that’s used to lure snackers into going back for more. ‘And if you thought that Dorito breath was just a coincidental side effect of munching on the snack, think again.” And “Cheetos are doused with MSG, which has been shown to increase appetite and make foods taste even more delicious. Cheetos are one of the 8 Most Addictive Foods in the World” (The Editors 2016).
It’s not just MSG, but artificial sweeteners like Aspartame and HFCS in our juices, sodas, coffee creamers, candy, snacks, breakfast foods, dietary products and deserts making us obese and sick. “Despite its popularity in the market, what many do not know is that aspartame accounts for 75 percent of side effect complaints received by the Adverse Reaction Monitoring System (ARMS) of the US Food and Drug Administration (Geib 2012).”
It’s not just one food chemical causing a near childhood and adult obesity epidemic at alarming rates – but a combination of chemicals that affect food habits and behavior immediately.
“In the United States, 12.5 percent of children were obese, up from 5 percent in 1980. Combining children and adults, the United States had the dubious distinction of having the largest increase in percentile points of any country, a jump of 16 percentage points to 26.5 percent of the overall population (Richtel 2017).”
There are literally thousands of food chemicals untested by the FDA as safe for human consumption. How is this happening and who’s minding consumer health?
It’s a complicated matter… but here’s an important consumer safety awareness FACT to be aware of… “Industry can self-determine if its chemical food-additives are Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS), and therefore free from the usual regulatory requirements for food additives. If the industry makes a GRAS determination, it is not even required to notify FDA that it has put the new GRAS additive on the market. Allowing industry to determine the safety of the chemicals it creates is a textbook example of the fox guarding the chicken coop” (Sass 2013) .
Frozen, canned and baked foods in grocery stores are loaded with preservatives for long shelf life. Convenience foods are easy to identify because their concealed within eye-appealing packages that attract consumers to purchase them.
If you want to reduce your intake of processed foods, shop for more organic wholefoods and stay away from those fancy colorful cans and bags on shelves. You can’t go wrong consuming more organic high nutrient fruits, vegetables and farmed fresh poultry, fish and meat.
It seems shopping healthy these days requires consumer knowledge of how to identify bad foods and having the resources to purchase better quality products.
“When almost all organic foods came from farms, we where a far more healthy society.
‘Now, factory-made foods have made chemical additives a significant part of our diet. Most people may not be able to pronounce the names of many of these chemicals, but they still want to know what the chemicals do and which ones are safe and which are poorly tested or possibly dangerous.”
In general, it’s best to avoid the following ingredients.
Artificial sweeteners: Aspartame, Acesulfame K, Saccharin, Sucralose; Food dyes; Mycoprotein (Quorn-brand meat substitutes); Partially hydrogenated oils (trans fat). And don’t forget to cut back on sugar and salt, which cause more harm than all the other additives combined (CSPI 2017).
Luckily for health conscious consumers there are food labeling laws surfacing in many states and on a number of food products… and fast food chain and restaurant menus. “After years of falling sales, organic food is making a comeback. Supermarkets and food associations say that after a sustained decline, demand for organic fruit, vegetables and dairy produce is on the rise, as consumers become more willing to pay a premium for food produced to higher farming standards” (Doward 2014). And this is good news for low income families. The greater the demand for quality foods – equates to more competition and lowering of prices.
Whether or not the food industry is forced to change through legislative action, consumer safety advocacy influence, marketplace demand or epidemiological data on health, etc… one way or the other – quality of food supply in the marketplace appears to be changing in a positive direction.
It is and always has been the consumer who determines supply and demand within the marketplace. And consumers don’t require any politician, or government agency to force the hand of private industry to do the right thing. When consumers stop purchasing a product and demand something else the marketplace shift will fill the supply. “Competitors that don’t… go out of business.”
Start asking questions about the foods you consume, or do your own on-line research. Or simply become more familiar with chemical ingredients listed on grocery product labels and avoid the worst ones listed above.
With these consumer safety food and health tips in mind… you and your family can eat better, stay healthier, avoid unnecessary doctor visits and prescription medications and enjoy life to the fullest.
Good health to your and your family.
Cedarssinai. Study Shows How Food Preservatives May Disrupt Human Hormones and Promote Obesity. EurekAlert!, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 9 Aug. 2017.
Chambers, Dave. Costs Push Moms into Unhealthy Food Options. Bizcommunity.com – Daily Retail News, Bizcommunity, 16 Oct. 2017.
CSPI. Chemical Cuisine. Chemical Cuisine, Center for Science in the Public Interest, 2017.
Doward, Jamie. Organic Food Back in Vogue as Sales Increase. The Observer, Guardian News and Media, 8 Feb. 2014.
Geib, Aurora. Aspartame Withdrawal and Side Effects Explained – Here’s How to Protect Yourself. Natural News, Truth Publishing International, LTD, 2 Mar. 2012.
Richtel, Matt. More Than 10 Percent of World Population Is Obese, Study Finds. The New York Times, the New York Times, 12 June 2017.
Sass, Jennifer. Why Are Industrial Chemicals in Food Not Safety Tested? (Op-Ed). LiveScience, Purch, 16 Aug. 2013.
The Editors of Eat This, Not That! 75 Unhealthiest Foods on the Planet. Eat This Not That, Galvanized Media, 9 Oct. 2017.
Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2017 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing, www.mirrorathlete.org, Sign up for your free eNewsletter.