Right from the dark ages, what human beings eat has undergone a tremendous transformation. In today’s digital age, a majority of food habits have changed for the worse. The modern diet is one of the prominent risk factors for several conditions like obesity, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, cardiac and neurological diseases.
This is largely due to an insane intake of unhealthy foods that are processed and nutritionally unbalanced. Here are 6 ingredients that are hiding in most staple foods of the modern diet which you should consciously avoid.
1. All Forms Of Soy
Soybeans or edamame got introduced into the Asian diet a few thousand years ago following the discovery of fermentation. Scientific researchers have proven that its consumption can be disastrous to human beings:
- Promotes mineral deficiencies: Unfermented soybeans contain large amount phytates that inhibit the absorption of minerals like zinc, copper, iron, magnesium, and calcium from the gastrointestinal tract. This can eventually lead to digestive troubles, osteoporosis, reproductive problems, and malnutrition.
- Causes dangerous blood clot formation: Soybeans contain haemagglutinin, a substance that promotes red blood cells to aggregate and form clots in blood vessels which could lead to thrombosis or even a cardiac arrest.
- Contains known goitrogens: Genistein, an isoflavone found in soybeans, is known to be a goiter-causing agent that blocks thyroid hormone production.
- Commonly available in GM form: Moreover, over 99% of soy available today is genetically modified (GM) which makes it an added reason to avoid soy from your diet.1
2. Table Salt
Table salt is the unhealthiest form of salt you can consume in your diet. It’s chemically processed and bleached to appear pristine white and is literally stripped bare of all the nutrients that sea salt crystals originally have. Studies have found that regular intake of table salt can lead to the following health hazards:2
- Excess sodium intake and cardiovascular disease: Too much sodium intake via table salt increases blood volume and pressure, thereby leading to stroke, heart disease, and heart failure.
- Promotes osteoporosis: Especially among post-menopausal women who don’t restrict their salt intake, calcium is depleted from bones and lost via urine. This puts them at higher risk of osteoporosis.
- Makes you more prone to stomach cancer: Salt is an irritant to the gut lining as well as promotes the growth of H.pylori bacteria which is one of the causes of stomach cancer.
- Increases the rate of kidney stone formation: High salt intake and hypertension can lead to calcium buildup in the kidneys that leads to kidney stone disease.
- Plays a major role in food addiction and obesity: Salty foods make you feel hungrier. This is why people find it hard to escape the vicious cycle of food cravings, overeating, and weight gain.
3. Genetically Modified (GM) Foods
GM foods have encroached into every aisle of an average grocery store. Although unknown to many, the ill effects of their consumptions on human health are far-reaching. The greatest tragedy of following a diet with GMO (genetically modified organisms) is that you are largely left in the dark of what you are eating.
The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) has urged all doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets for patients. This is due to several scientific studies that cited organ damage, infertility, gastrointestinal and immune system disorders following the long-term intake of a GMO diet.34
4. Refined Sugars
Consumption of refined sugars can affect your health at multiple levels. It’s found in all kinds of syrups, white flour, sweets and store-bought fruit juices. It can increase the risk of dental cavities, non-fatty liver, obesity, diabetes, dementia and heart disease.5
5. Food Additives
Processed foods are filled with colorants, preservatives, and stabilizers that are meant to keep them fresh for a long time. Below are the commonly used additives and their effects on your health:6
- Artificial food colors: Allergies, asthma, hyperactivity.
- Nitrites, nitrates, and sulfites: Increases the risk of allergies and cancer.
- Artificial sweeteners: Obesity, dental cavities, diabetes, high cholesterol levels and candidiasis, behavioral problems, hyperactivity, allergies.
- MSG (monosodium glutamate): allergies, headaches, dizziness, chest pains, depression and mood swings.
- Preservatives (BHA, BHT, EDTA): allergies, hyperactivity, toxicity to brain and liver.
6. Trans Fats
While natural trans fats are not bad for health, artificial trans fats that are made by chemically processing vegetable oils can cause cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and many chronic degenerative conditions. They are usually found in junk foods and those that are labeled as containing “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” fats or oils.7
Stick to a diet that’s balanced with lots of real and unprocessed foods. Purchase packaged foods sparingly and equip yourself with enough awareness to know how to make your diet healthier.
|↑1||BARRET, J. “The Science of Soy: What Do We Really Know?[en línea].” Environmental Health Perspectives< https://www. ncbi. nlm. nih. gov/pmc/articles/PMC1480510/>[consulta: 07-01-2017] (2006).|
|↑2||Health Risks and Disease Related to Salt and Sodium. Harvard TH Chan|
|↑3||Dona, Artemis, and Ioannis S. Arvanitoyannis. “Health risks of genetically modified foods.” Critical reviews in food science and nutrition 49, no. 2 (2009): 164-175.|
|↑4||Smith, Jeffrey M., and Michael Hogue. “American Academy of Environmental Medicine Calls for Immediate Moratorium on All Genetically Modified Foods.” Last modified May 19 (2009).|
|↑5||Bray, George A., Samara Joy Nielsen, and Barry M. Popkin. “Consumption of high-fructose corn syrup in beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 79, no. 4 (2004): 537-543.|
|↑6||Food additives. Better Health Channel|
|↑7||Kavanagh, Kylie, Kate L. Jones, Janet Sawyer, Kathryn Kelley, J. Jeffrey Carr, Janice D. Wagner, and Lawrence L. Rudel. “Trans fat diet induces abdominal obesity and changes in insulin sensitivity in monkeys.” Obesity 15, no. 7 (2007): 1675-1684.|