Nutrition Tips

5 Ingredients to Avoid

MSG

One of the most common food additives, MSG is an amino acid used as a flavour-enhancer in processed foods. It's a neurotoxic chemical additive shown to harm nerve cells, destroy brain cells, and cause serious health problems. Regular consumption of MSG can increase appetite and contribute to weight gain and obesity.

Look at the Label
MSG may be listed under different names including: Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Hydrolyzed Plant Protein, Vegetable Protein Extract, Yeast Extract, Glutamate, Glutamic Acid, Sodium Caseinate, Textured Protein, Soy Protein Isolates, Barley Malt, Calcium Caseinate, and Malt Extract.

Common Culprits
MSG is included in processed foods like:
• salad dressings
• low-fat yogurt
• canned meats
• frozen entrees
• potato chips
• canned soups
• flavored crackers

Aspartame

One of the most widely-used artificial sweeteners, aspartame is a neurotoxic chemical additive like MSG. It is also believed to be a carcinogenic that produces neurotoxic effects such as headaches, dizziness, blurry vision, and gastrointestinal disturbances.

Aspartame by Another Name
Aspartame is also known as: NutraSweet, Equal, Canderel, Spoonful, Natrataste, AminoSweet, plus others.

Common Culprits
Over 6,000 products contain aspartame including:
• diet and sugar-free sodas and drinks
• sugar-free chewing gum
• yogurt
• breath mints
• instant breakfasts
• frozen desserts
• juice beverages
• gelatins

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

This is a highly-refined sweetener. It is created when corn starch is separated from the corn kernel, and the corn starch is converted into corn syrup through a process called acid hydrolysis. Nearly all HFCS is made from genetically-modified corn. It is the number one source of calories in the US diet, and has been shown to contribute to weight gain and the development of diabetes. HFCS is also a major contributor to cardiovascular disease, arthritis, insulin resistance, and high cholesterol.

Identify the ingredient
HFCS is also known as: corn sugar, glucose/fructose (syrup), high-fructose maize syrup inulin, iso-glucose, and fruit fructose.

Common Culprits
On average, Canadians consume 10½ teaspoons of HFCS per day! It is found in:
• soda
• salad dressings
• breads
• cereals
• yogurt
• soups
• lunch meats
• pizza sauce
• condiments

Artificial Colours

Artificial food dyes are derived from petroleum, and are added if your food isn't naturally colorful. Studies have confirmed that nine dyes currently approved for use in North America raise health concerns. The three most widely used dyes: Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, are contaminated with known carcinogens. Red 3 has been acknowledged for years by the Food and Drug Administration to be a carcinogen, yet it is still in the food supply. Food dyes are linked to health issues ranging from cancer and hyperactivity to allergy-like reactions.

Spot the Dyes
Food dyes are also known as: Caramel color, FD&C Blue #1, Brilliant Blue FCF, Bright blue, Blue # 2, Ingtotine, Royal Blue, Red Number 3, Erythrosine, FD&C Red No.40, Allura Red AC, Yellow 5 and 6, FD&C Green Number 3, Fast Green, and Sea Green to name a few.

Common Culprits
Artificial colours are found in:
• beverages
• candy
• baked goods
• cereal
• energy bars
• puddings
• jams
• bread
• macaroni and cheese
• deli meat
• frostings
• condiments
• fast food
• ice cream, sherbet, and sorbet
• meat and fish (to make them appear "fresher")

Sodium Nitrite and Sodium Nitrate

These two closely-related chemicals are used to preserve meat. When added to meat, the nitrates are readily converted to nitrosamines, which are associated with an increased risk of certain types of cancers. In a 2007 analysis, The World Cancer Research Fund revealed that eating 1.8 ounces of processed meat every day increases your cancer risk by 20%.

Common Culprits
Sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate are found in:
• cured meats
• bacon
• ham
• salami
• corned beef
• hot dogs
• pâté
• pickled pig's feet
• canned meat (e.g., Vienna sausages, deviled ham)
• smoked salmon
• dried fish
• jerky

Meal Planning

Planning meals is one of my top tips. This simple yet effective task can improve your health, decrease your stress, and save you money! Here are the benefits of meal planning:

Save Time

Spend only an hour each week to plan all your meals and snacks, have the recipes ready, and your grocery list organized. Plan easy meals on your busy days, and avoid the nightly "What's for dinner?" dilemma.

Save Money

Plan your meals to incorporate what's on sale that week (online/newspaper flyers), use coupons, and buy only what you need. Planning ahead also prevents extra trips to the grocery store.

Promote Healthy Eating

Take control of what you're eating by preparing your meals at home and eating out less. You'll be less inclined to reach for that quick fix meal (normally processed) if you have a plan.

Cut Back on Waste

Plan to have leftovers for one or two of your meals each week. This will help reduce your waste. Stick to your grocery list, so you'll only have the groceries that you need.

Improve Family Relationships

Get your family involved by incorporating their favourite meals, or having them help pick the recipes each week. Planning ahead also improves the likelihood of you eating together as a family more regularly.


Basic Food Rules

Eat

• Purchase as much certified organic as possible.
• Eat at least 4 servings of fresh vegetables and 2 servings of fresh fruit a day.
• Eat fruit and vegetables at separate times.
• Melons – eat them alone or leave them alone!

Drink

• Drink a minimum of 8 glasses of good quality water daily.
• Drink your liquids at least ½ hour before meals and ½ hour after meals (taking supplements after a meal is the one exception)!

Be Merry

• Don't skip meals.
• Avoid overeating. Push yourself away from the table when you still have room for a 'little more.
• Avoid fried foods, sugar, and refined carbohydrates.

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Don't eat anything your great-great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.

– Michael Pollen