It is no accident that virtually every supermarket has the same layout. The perishables are always along the outside walls, and the nonperishables are found in the various aisles on the inside of the store. Freshness and expiration dates really matter to the grocery store, and a constant vigilance to those items ensures patrons that their safety is kept as a number-one concern.
The food that makes it to the inside of the store is a whole different story. In these processed foods, shelf life means everything. You should avoid the chemicals employed to extend shelf life at all costs. You can and should become a label reader to stay on the look out for these additives.
Here is a list of the ten most common food additives you should avoid:
Whether the packet is blue, pink, or yellow, you are exposing yourself to aspartame (NutraSweet), sodium saccharine (Sweet’N Low), or sucralose (Splenda). Rather than describing the ways these sugar substitutes can adversely affect you, I’ll give you an idea of what sugar substitutes you should consider that do not have the potential side effects of the previously mentioned three items.
Agave nectar — 0 calories
The nectar is a product of the agave cactus with a taste and texture similar to honey. Agave is sweeter than sugar, so proponents suggest that you can use less to achieve a similar sweetness. It contains more fructose than table sugar, which according to a recent study is more likely to reduce your metabolism and insulin sensitivity.
Stevia leaf extract (Truvia) — 20 calories
Derived from the Stevia plant and deemed to be the natural alternative to artificial sweeteners, refined Stevia products (Truvia) won approval by the FDA in 2008. It is sold in most grocery stores.
Sutalin — 12 calories
This was recently introduced by a company called Boresha, and is a natural sweetener derived from white grape juice powder, pear fruit juice powder, and monk fruit extract.
High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
Common Food Dyes
Artificial coloring found in soda, fruit juices, and salad dressings are known to cause behavioral problems in children, and lead to significant reduction in IQ. In animals, it has been linked to the development of cancer. The most offensive dyes are:
Blue dye #1 and Blue dye #2
Red dye #3 (banned in 1950 for use in foods and cosmetics but continued to be used until supplies ran out)
Sodium Nitrate/Sodium Nitrite
BHA and BHT
Shopping in the periphery of your supermarket will keep you clear of most but not all of these hazardous products. It is important to start reading labels to check that the food you are consuming is free of these dangerous additives. Focusing on buying and eating organic remains the goal; however you should also start trying to eliminate these additives from your diet today.