When working with clients I am often asked, “can I still have chips or ice cream on occasion?” and “What about cookies?”
Well, it’s not the chips, the ice cream, or the cookies, it’s what’s in the chips, the ice cream, and the cookies that matters. You have to look at what these ingredients are and what impact they have on the body. Look at the ingredients and become familiar with ingredients, not just on the packaging of processed foods you are drawn to eating but have an understanding of the major no-nos.
There are good-quality substitutes. There are substitutes for chips and there are substitute chips for chips. It’s a matter of cleaning up your eating habits, getting your body working for you, and then looking at what substituting you can enjoy on occasion.
Here are my top ingredients to avoid.
1. Partially hydrogenated oil (PHO)- This is a solid form of vegetable oil that has undergone hydrogenation.
This process adds hydrogen molecules to the liquid vegetable oil and transforms it into a solid at room temperature. During this process, trans fat forms. Trans fat is the worst type of fat to consume because it lowers your body's "good" cholesterol and raises the “bad” cholesterol and just makes you fat, bad for your liver too.
Foods that contain this oil are:
Bakery or processed foods made with margarine or vegetable shortening
Non-dairy coffee creamers
Potato and corn chips
2. Vegetable Oils- Canola, Soy, Safflower, Sunflower, Corn, and Cottonseed oil
These oils are linked to high amounts of inflammation and insulin resistance.
A healthier option would include monounsaturated fats like:
Extra virgin olive oil
Further limit unhealthy fats in your diet by:
Broiling and baking your foods instead of frying them.
Limiting the consumption of packaged and processed foods.
3. Artificial Sweeteners- Sucralose, Aspartame, Ace-K
200-500 times sweeter than sugar. These can contribute to bloating and gut issues like disrupting the microbiome. In some cases, artificial sweeteners can impact cognitive health and raise blood sugar. These are your “sugar free products or skinny lattes”, or anything else labeled sugar free.
4. High Fructose Corn Syrup- A cheaper form of sugar.
The problem with high-fructose corn syrup is that it bypasses key metabolic pathways when it’s metabolized. Instead of taking the usual pathway route, it hits the liver directly where it’s converted to fat without reaching the brain to activate satiety signals. Therefore, you don’t get the same satiety from eating that product. Plus, when fat is stored in the liver, it can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a growing epidemic in Western countries. High-fructose corn syrup is also strongly linked with weight gain. Unfortunately, table sugar is not much better. It is 50% Glucose and 50% Fructose, making table sugar a source of fructose. Avoid it.
5. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)- a food additive and has no health or nutrient benefits.
MSG is a slow poison that hides behind various names such as, natural flavoring, autolyzed yeast extract, disodium inosinate, caseinate, textured protein and many more. Labeling standards don’t require MSG to be identified on labeling, this additive may not be noticed in small occasional doses but has a terrible accumulative effect causing migraines, seizures, obesity, ALS Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other neurological damage and disorders.
6. Artificial colors. Unfortunately, food colorings still on the market are linked to cancer.
Removing this from your diet is easy.
Blue 1 and 2- linked to cancer in mice
Red 3- linked to thyroid cancer and hyperactivity
Green- linked to bladder cancer
Yellow 5- linked to kidney and adrenal tumors
7. Food Additives- The term ‘Food additives’ is a general description of many ingredients.
These are chemical ingredients added to food to enhance its flavor and extend its shelf life. There are different types of food additives such as flavors and sweeteners, antioxidants, preservatives, food colors, fat emulsifiers, and anti-staling agents and bleaches.
Examples are Soy Lecithin, polysorbate 80, corn (ok if it's non-GMO), sodium chloride, propyl gallate, Sodium Benzoate, sodium nitrate, and nitrates, BHT, and BHA. These additives extend shelf life and make foods tastier than otherwise would be. They are as nutritious as a Styrofoam cup. Your body doesn’t know what to do with any of it, even the Styrofoam.
Some people avoid processed foods due to the artificial colorings, flavorings, chemicals, bad oils, and the preservatives they contain along with any other ingredients that they are simply not familiar with. For most of these additives and ingredients, there’s no hard evidence that they’re harmful, although sodium nitrates, used as preservatives in processed meats, are linked with cancer in animal studies, stomach cancer specifically. In addition to toxic fillers and ingredients, processed foods often contain excessive amounts of sodium and lack beneficial elements, like fiber, minerals, and vitamins. So, it’s best to shop the perimeter of the supermarket and avoid the foods packaged in brightly colored wrappers with yummy-looking pictures, that contain ingredients you don’t recognize or can't pronounce. There are plenty of whole foods out there to satisfy your appetite. But if you just must have your favorite chips or a chocolate chip cookie, there are alternatives that are suitable for substituting. Do your research and for more information or to learn what ingredients to be on the lookout for at the supermarket, call me.
My clients don’t feel great by accident!
Your Healthy Concepts
Cami Grasher Board Certified Nutritional Consultant
Board Certified Natural Health Practitioner