Diets in Review - Find the Right Diet for You

Do You Know What’s Really In Your Food?

By Descygna Webb

Last week there was a particularly interesting episode of the TV show The Doctors that I had a chance to view. They were discussing what’s really in the foods you’re eating. An in depth view of some of the common chemicals in foods was featured, and the results were both shocking and a bit disgusting.

The Doctors reviewed several different products that are commonly eaten by people and some products that are targeted at children. The show revealed that there are toxic ingredients lurking in many of the most common grocery items you may be purchasing each week. Everything from potato chips to donuts to produce is under attack in this show.

Chemicals

Propylene Glycol: The main purpose of this chemical is to absorb excess water and maintain a food’s moisture. This chemical is found in salad dressings, fast food tacos and baked goods. The shocking part is that it is also an ingredient in antifreeze, engine coolant and is used to de-ice airplanes.

Acrylamide: This is a chemical that causes cancer. It is found in potato chips and potatoes when fried or baked at a high temperature. This is the same chemical that is found in cigarettes. Scientists estimate that up to 30 percent of cancer cases come from dietary sources.

Artificial Food Dyes: As much as 15 million pounds of food dye is put into food that is marketed to children. Food dye is completely unnecessary and has been linked to behavioral problems like ADHD and allergies. Some of the dyes that should be avoided are red #40, red #3, yellow #5, yellow #6, blue #1.

Food Label Tips & Bacteria Hazards

First 5 Ingredients: On any nutrition label, the first five ingredients are the main components of the product. Any ingredient that ends in “ose” is some type of sugar, like fructose, and should be avoided. One unhealthy preservative to be aware of is monosodium glutamate or MSG. Although the word enriched sounds as if a product is healthier, it actually means that the product lost nutrients during processing and they have been artificially replaced.

Bacteria Growth: Anytime food is left sitting out, bacteria begins to grow. A general rule of thumb is to eat all food within two hours of prep. Anything left unrefrigerated for longer than that can be a breeding ground for bacteria that can harmful. Some of the major culprits include sushi, rotisserie chicken, anything made with mayonnaise and guacamole.

This episode of The Doctors was very educational and convinced me to go through my cupboard and throw some things out. Although I am not a potato chip eater, I was shocked to find out that chips can include the exact same ingredient as what’s in cigarettes. This show gives viewers a chance to see what they are really eating and encourages having more of an involved approach to food.

May 13th, 2011

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