I was probably still a teenager when this show aired. I decided to believe him. Doubting him would have meant the world wasn’t as safe as I thought it was.
Actually, it’s much easier to trust than to harbor suspicion. Until the veil is torn from your eyes, you are free to believe that everything always works out. There is so much truth in the adage that “ignorance is bliss.”
When you believe all is well, it allows you to take the path of least resistance. You don’t have to worry about what your family is eating. That’s because people in positions of authority are protecting them.
Dangers in Eating Processed Foods
Questioning what’s in your food supply means you soon start to question a lot of other things. Then you learn you’re not the only one who’s very uncomfortable with what’s being sold in the grocery stores. Much of what’s sitting on the shelves is denatured and has little nutritional value. Many products also contain known or suspected carcinogens.
It soon becomes apparent that if you want to sidestep the current cancer epidemic, you need to start shopping and eating differently.
Buying Organic Food at Vitacost
Nowadays, I do a lot of my grocery shopping online. That’s because I feed my family organic food. Many of the items found at Vitacost are less expensive than what I find on the supermarket shelves locally. This huge discount health food store has more than 45,000 items, and offers easy ways to get free shipping. (I never pay for shipping at Vitacost.)
Which Food Additives are Bad for You?
Various additives are suspected of causing cancer. It’s difficult to narrow them down into a manageable list. So, in this article, I’m going to include only the major offenders.
Genetically modified foods, technically, are not considered additives. But they may be among the most dangerous foods we consume. There’s now growing outrage over the fact that GMOs are found in most of our processed foods sold in the United States.
Carcinogenic Foods We Eat Everyday
Unfortunately, there are no laws requiring such products to be labeled. So the general public is, for the most part, unaware of this issue. The mainstream media is largely silent on the potential dangers of GMOs, shown to cause mammary cancer in rats. An herbicide sprayed on GM crops has also been linked to an increased risk of lymphoma in humans.
It’s also believed these engineered crops can trigger allergies and asthma, as well as contribute to other health problems. It seems as if most people wouldn’t knowingly choose to eat an altered food product. In Europe, which has strict labeling laws, consumers have revolted. So grocery stores no longer sell foods with GMOs.
The problem of genetic modification is so widespread that nearly all of the soy grown in the United States comes from genetically modified plants. So I buy my GMO free soy sauce substitute at Vitacost.
Why Are Processed Foods So Bad for You?
The reason certain crops are genetically modified is highly unappetizing. They are engineered to have inborn resistance to an herbicide named Roundup, produced by Monsanto. This is why GM seeds are often called “Roundup Ready.”
It’s safe to assume that traces of one of the active ingredients in Roundup, a chemical called glyphosate, will be found in matured crop. Since many weeds are becoming resistant to this herbicide, there is also a trend of having to use larger amounts of glyphosate to obtain the same results.
Which Food Additives are Bad for You?
A growing number of medical practitioners are starting to agree that sodium nitrate, commonly added to processed meats to give them a “healthy” pink/reddish color, poses a health risk. Alternative medicine specialists have long warned against ingesting this additive. This is why health food stores typically sell processed meat without this chemical.
It’s believed that sodium nitrate, when it’s broken down in the stomach, forms toxic compounds called nitrosamines. One large study found that adults who ate the most processed meats had a 67 percent higher incidence of pancreatic cancer, compared to those whom at only a little.
There’s some dispute, however, as to whether it’s the fat in the meat or the nitrates themselves that are cause for concern. But the American Cancer Society does advise limiting your consumption of hot dogs and other processed meats.
Why Aspartame is Bad for You
Many diet and zero calorie foods contain aspartame, an additive that narrowly missed not being approved for use by the FDA. It has a spotty safety history, being implicated in a number of disorders. A medical study published in 1988, which appeared in the Journal of Applied Nutrition, noted that hundreds of people had complained of health problems after ingesting this artificial sweetener. These included headaches, dizziness, vision problems and depression.
Can Aspartame Cause Cancer in Humans?
On its website, the American Cancer Society notes that animal studies have shown an increased incidence of brain tumors, when aspartame was giving at high doses. At this time, however, the ACS does not recommend that humans avoid products made with this artificial sweetener.
One very large study published by a Boston-based research team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital showed more leukemia and lymphoma cases among men who drank diet soda every day. However, shorting after the study appeared in print, it was criticized for being premature, and the hospital media relations team issued an apology for releasing this data.
At our house, however, we’re playing it safe. Aspartame raises enough red flags. I’m not waiting for a definitive study. We’re using natural plant-based stevia instead. It took years, but I’ve finally been able to convince my husband to use this in his coffee, instead of his favorite artificial sweetener. This is something else I now order from Vitacost.
Does BHA Cause Cancer?
An ingredient called BHA is found on many food labels. This abbreviation is short for butylated hydroxyanisole, which is considered an anti-oxidant because it helps prevent food molecules from oxidation, thus extending their shelf life. This chemical is often added to crackers, cereals, breads and other processed processed items. It’s been in our food supply for decades.
There is growing concern, however, that BHA is also a carcinogen. This is partially based upon a study conducted by the National Toxicology Program, which is an arm of the Department of Health and Human Services. Published in 2011, the study concluded that BHA “is reasonable anticipated to be a human carcinogen.”
Does BHA Cause Cancer in Animals?
Exposure to this substance caused cancer in rats, mice and hamsters, according to the report. Also, young fish given BHA tended to develop liver cancer when they reached adulthood.
Vitamin E is a good alternative to BHA. This vitamin prevents food from spoiling too quickly, but doesn’t present the same health risks.
Do Hydrogenated Oils Cause Cancer?
Alternative health experts have been warning us for decades that hydrogenated oils are carcinogenic and, in general, very bad for our health. These are highly processed oils that have been cooked at high heats and then treated with a substance to make the naturally liquid oil solid, or semi-solid.
Unfortunately, this produces unnatural molecules that are not broken down by our bodies. What then happens is that these sticky oils can collect in the arteries and in the cells, causing cellular damage.
Health Risks of Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil
Because hydrogenated oils are so unhealthy, some food manufacturers and fast food restaurants have stopped using them. It is illegal to use these oils for human consumption in Denmark.
In the United States, you’ll find hydrogenated oils added to many processed foods, such as breads, frozen pizza, baked goods and cake mixes. Although these products are very tasty, they aren’t food for you.
The French government research agency known as INSERM followed the dietary habits of 25,000 women, and found that those who consumed hydrogenated oils, and had elevated levels of these oils in their blood, had double the expected rate of breast cancer.
How to Clean Up Your Diet
Learning to eat healthy means doing without processed food. I’ll admit this was a huge step. It meant giving up fast food and takeout dinners. However, now that I’m eating better, I have a lot more energy. So I’ll never return to my old ways of eating.
If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of cooking food from scratch, here’s a suggestion. One of the easiest ways to make the transition is to sign up for a low-cost meal planning service. (You could do this for a month or two, just to get some help.) This also makes shopping and meal prep so much easier. Your weekly grocery list is provided. You buy the items on the list and then follow the recipes that go with the plan. Shopping this way also reduces the amount of food you’ll waste. With a prepared list, you buy only what you need. Click on the image below to find out how Real Plans can help you get healthy.
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