Love Your Popcorn? Here Are 9 Scary Food Ingredients You Consume
Hidden toxins in our food are omnipresent. And that’s super scary! It pays to be aware of them and consciously cut their consumption.
So next time you go grocery shopping keep this list handy and always read the label.
1. Trans Fats
Trans fats are found liberally in cookies, crackers, cake icing, potato, corn and tortilla chips, many types of packaged or microwave popcorn, doughnuts, baked goods, margarines, and other processed foods.
It is also found in - samosas, pakoras, kachoris, french fries, fried chicken, even in sweets like imaratis, jalebis, which are fried in partially hydrogetated oils.
What it does? Trans fats increase 'bad' LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, reduce 'good' HDL cholesterol (a double whammy for our heart) and may trigger cancer, diabetes, immune dysfunction, obesity and reproductive problems.
What to do? Go easy on fried foods and packaged foods.
2. Artificial Sweeteners
They are being added to multiple packaged foods in a bid to proclaim them low calorie and sugar free.
What it does? They have more side effects than can be listed in one short article. The artificial sweetener molecule is so crafty that it convinces the brain that it’s real sugar, so the body releases insulin to help metabolise the artificial sugar, which is a signal for the body to store fat.
What to do? Say a big no to them.
Also Read : To Drink or Not to Drink That Can of Coca-Cola
3. Potassium Bromate & Potassium Iodate
A study by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) found that a startling 84 percent of bread and bakery samples collected from all over Delhi contained residues of chemical food additives like potassium bromate, potassium iodate or both.
What it does? Bromate is a known possible carcinogen and iodate is known (potentially) to affect our thyroid function.
What to do? Go easy on not just bread but the ubiquitous pav, burger buns, pizza bread also.
This synthetic lemon yellow azo dye derived from coal tar (yes!) is found freely today in everything from sweets and orange drinks to cereals, chips, marmalades and more.
What it does? Thyroid cancer and clinical depression have been linked to tartrazine. It also promotes attention-deficit disorder in children.
What to do? Look at any dyed, bright coloured food as suspect and avoid it.
An extremely harmful chemical flavoring agent is present in most bagged popcorns (yes it is not butter which gives you that delicious flavor but this chemical).
What it does? It can cause Alzheimer’s, damage the lungs and increase the risk of tumors.
What to do? Say no to these packaged popcorns.
Also Read : The Science Of Why You Have Food Cravings
6. Harmful Metals
A study conducted by the Kolkata-based All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health (AIIH&PH) found 4 harmful metals - antimony, lead, chromium, cadmium and a compound DEHP (Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate) in the soft drinks packaged in PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles.
These apparently leech in from the PET bottles.
What it does? High lead exposure affects the brain and central nervous system, causing mental retardation and behavioural disorders. Cadmium attacks the kidney, skeletal system and the respiratory system and is a known carcinogen.
Chromium overdose has been associated with lung, nasal, and sinus cancer. Antimony may lead to problems with the lungs, heart, stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting and stomach ulcers and DEHP is associated with adverse effects on the liver, kidneys and the reproductive system.
What to do? We need to question our dependence on PET bottles for storing (and selling) everything. Time to find alternatives!
Also Read : Does Bottled Water Go Bad?
7. Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria
Eggs, meat and chicken that we are eating have less protein & nutrients and more antibiotics these days.
What it does? Antibiotic use in animals can over time promote the development of hard-to-treat antibiotic-resistant superbugs that make people sick. So we are slowly but steadily, thanks to our own follies, becoming an antibiotics resistant race.
What to do? Buy from small, organic farms that raise antibiotic-free animals.
8. Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)
This is a common additive in cereals, chewing gum, potato chips and vegetable oils.
What it does? Depletes the neurological system in our brain and may cause cancer.
What to do? Look out for it and steer clear.
9. High Fructose Corn Syrup
Often used in lieu of starch in multiple packaged foods.
What it does? It is connected to an increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and high triglyceride levels - all precursors to heart disease.
What to do? Look out for it on the labels and steer clear.
(The writer is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don't Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico) and Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa).)
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