5 Ingredients to Avoid in Food & Products

5 Ingredients to Avoid in Food & Products

food label

Do you ever wonder what those lengthy words found on ingredient labels mean? 

You know, the ones towards the end of list, so stuffed with consonants that you can hardly pronounce them?  We've broken down a few of those ingredients for you, what they mean, and why it's in your best interest to avoid them.


1. Acesulfame-K a.k.a. ASPARTAME

This artificial sweetener is found in Sweet N Lo, Splenta, Nutra Sweet, and other "diet" and "sugar free" foods.  It is known to slow the metabolism and cause headaches and rashes.  

Tip: If your sweet tooth is really tingling, stick to foods sweetened with REAL sugar such as cane sugar. And remember, moderation is key! 


2. High Fructose Corn Syrup

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is another artificial sweetener derived from corn starch, known to congest the liver and disrupt hormones, creating skin disorders.

In the 1970s, the FDA officially deemed HFCS as "safe" and companies began substituting this cheaper sugar alternative; it was at this point in history where American obesity rates began to skyrocket.  Coincidence? I think not.

Tip: Shop at stores who completely avoid HFCS, such as Trader Joe's.


3. Monosodium Glutamate a.k.a. MSG

MSG is used to enhance flavors in restaurant foods, chips and salty convenient foods. This is a known carcinogen and contributes to skin cancer among other cancers, and is the main culprit of the itching, tongue swelling, uncomfortable feeling known as "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome".

Tip: Avoid those sticky, saucy dishes found at Americanized Asian restaurants.  Instead, challenge yourself to "takeout at home" with this great guide from Epicurious!


4. Bisphenol-A a.k.a. BPA

Ever wonder what "BPA Free" actually means?  It means that the labeled product is free of this chemical identified as a potent endocrine disruptor.  Endocrine disruptors such as BPA are often found in plastics and are known to produce developmental, neurological and immune defects.

Tip: Ditch the single use plastics! Carry a reusable water bottle (we love Hydro flask!), replace your plastic to-go containers with up-cycled glass jars, and ask for "no straw, please!"  If you can't live without your straw - we totally feel you - pick up a beautiful handmade straw from Simply Straws.


5. Perfluorooctanoic Acid a.k.a. PFOA

PFOA is used in the liner of microwave popcorn bags, which will leech into the popcorn when heated.  PFOAs have been linked to infertility and other hormonal imbalances that contribute to skin disorders.

Tip: Pop your own popcorn!  It's cheaper, more exciting, and just as easy :)


Bottom line:

Eat. Fresh. FOOD!  Avoid "food-like products" aka "Frankenfoods" and unhealthy preservatives by shopping the perimeter of the grocery store and at your local markets.