5 Unsafe food ingredients to avoid

By: Health Local Staff Jun 19, 2013
Unsafe Ingredients

Nutrition experts suggest you stay away from the following foods.

All foods are not safe to eat, no matter what the label reads or the marketing presents. Nutrition experts have released new material showcasing the food ingredients that should be avoided at all costs.

Get your pencil and paper in hand and head to the pantry. This is a list you won’t want to miss. Top 5 foods that are unsafe to eat.

1. Potassium Benzoate

What? That’s not a food – or is it? Potassium benzoate may not be a stand-alone dish but it can be found in nearly every diet soda you crack open. Both sodium and potassium benzoate are added to diet drinks, fruit drinks, and a variety of colas. The ingredient shows up in olives, jams, pickles and reduced-fat salad dressings. 

What’s the problem? When combined with vitamin C, benzene can form. Benzene is a carcinogen that can be cancer causing. The funny thing is that benzene has been linked to weight gain and the onset of diabetes. If you’re a diet soda junkie trying to lose weight, you may be doing more harm than good. 

2. Corn

There’s no reason to panic. You can still have your fresh corn on the cob all summer long. We are unveiling modified cornstarch, corn oil and dextrose, which are high in omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6s have been shown to increase the risk of inflammation in the body, as well as cancer and heart disease. The body requires a certain amount of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, but when too much is consumed – you can expect weight gain, high blood pressure and other health problems. Cut back on foods containing these harmful fatty acids by saying No to margarine, vegetable oil and soy.

3. Soy

Soy has been mass marketed as a nutritional protein that is cholesterol free and low in fat. It has been recognized as a lean alternative to meat. New research denies all of these claims and reveals that high consumption of soy oil, soy protein and soy isolate may impair fertility in women, cause decreased sex drive and promote puberty early in young girls. Soy is in nearly all foods on the grocery store shelves. Cutting back is not easy, but if you are willing to go with a vegan diet you can assure yourself very little consumption of soy. If not, stick to consuming organic soy and limit servings to a couple times a week.

4. Nitrites and Sodium Nitrate

Nitrites are a preservative added to highly processed meats. Think hot dogs, bacon and most deli meats. These cancer-causing ingredients have been linked to increased risks of leukemia development in young children. Studies show that even eating organic hot dogs and bacon present a risk of consuming nitrates. It is best to avoid hot dogs altogether and limit bacon consumption to once a week at the most. 

5. Monosodium Glutamate or MSG

Found in many Chinese foods and restaurants, MSG is a flavour enhancer that has been deemed safe if eaten in small quantities. In the nutritional and healthy living community; however, MSG is frowned upon. It is a controversial ingredient that has been shown to cause allergic reactions, prompt migraines and increase appetite, even in small doses. Food labels should inform the consumer if MSG is present and experts warn against consumption of this flavour enhancer.

The Health Local Staff is a team of writers and experts dedicated to bringing you the latest health, nutrition and lifestyle information at www.healthlocal.ca.