There is a pretty poignant saying that goes something like “You are what you eat” and it pretty much sums up the way we can affect our health by what we choose to consume on a day to day basis. This article takes a look at the way modern eating trends have brought about a big change in the physical appearance of a worryingly large slice of the population.
Modern life has thrown us a convenient style of eating that comes with a pretty big string attached. Its called fast food or junk food. And while this kind of food is certainly fast in that we can order it and be sitting down to eat it inside a few minutes, it loads up our bodies with more junk than we can handle. The “junk” is all the additives that are incorporated into this kind of food to make it look better, feel better and taste better (or at least that’s what we have been led to believe).
The main ingredients that are added to fast or processed foods that are causing all the problems are generally necessary for the food to be made more appealing to the unsuspecting diner in the way it looks when its on the plate (or on the advertising banners), its texture so that it feels good to eat it and its taste, which is artificially enhanced to make it more “tasty”. Here’s what they use to achieve what at first glance (and taste) is something highly desirable to eat:
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) E621
This flavor enhancer is used extensively in Eastern cooking as a direct replacement for salt. It indeed enhances the flavor of the food it is added to much more intensely than salt and is therefore a popular additive in just about everything you can buy in a packet or out of a can these days.
You might therefore think that this is a miracle additive that the food industry uses to make our food taste great and therefore must be safe to eat. Keep thinking that, because that’s what the industry wants you to think.
The reality is that Monosodium Glutamate has been identified as being responsible for the high level of deaths that occur in the Far East (especially Thailand) from stomach cancer. The author of this article watched his own father die of stomach cancer barely two years after marrying a Thai chef and eating a new diet comprised almost entirely of the food she cooked in her Thai restaurant in North London, England. Before that, he was a very physically fit and healthy man with very little stress in his life and was rarely if ever ill.
Still want to eat that stuff?
Well many people have grown wary of this ingredient, to such an extent that the food industry often disguises its presence in many foods as just “flavoring”, which it can legally do on food labels. Why would the industry do that if it could put its collective hand on its heart and say in all honesty that E621 is safe to eat? The truth is that it cannot. MSG is poison and it is killing people and making them sick and few even care because hardly anybody believes they are being duped. Just like smokers are duped into smoking tobacco believing that they won’t get cancer.
Saturated fats that fall into this category are generally those that have had hydrogen pumped through them to make them easy to add to food in order to bulk it out, improve the texture and enhance the flavor to some extent (especially when combined with MSG). Sometimes referred to as hydrogenated vegetable oil or partially hydrogenated fat, this stuff increases your body’s levels of bad LDL cholesterol and can lead to coronary disease.
Many food producers are moving away from using trans fats in their foods, although the movement is very slow and represents only a very small proportion of the huge industry to date. Trans fats are found mostly in processed foods that make up ready meals, frozen meals and most types of ready-to-eat foods as well as most of the fast food types such as hamburgers, hot dogs etc.
Oh boy, is this one very large and very complex can of worms. Most food you buy from the supermarket shelves will contain some kind of preservatives, which are there to make the food keep for longer. There are several of them and its a huge subject all on its own, that I’m going to tackle in a later article.
Suffice it to say that many of the preservatives used can lead to some form of illness such as asthma, eczema, psoriasis and other allergic type conditions, especially in children. One substance in particular that has been used for decades as a preservative, sodium metabisulphate, is linked with cancer.
Another huge subject for a future article, some artificial colors that were historically added to foods have since been withdrawn thanks to research uncovering their links with a whole host of nasty conditions and even cancer.
I will also cover this in a future article because its pretty big and another one of those areas that people don’t like to go. These substances pervade almost every popular food item that we like to eat or drink but don’t want to have the extra calories that refined sugar puts into them. So alternatives are used to make products, especially the so-called diet drinks and sugar free gums, available to everyone who doesn’t want to put on more weight.
Problem is, that people who drink a lot of diet soda are still gaining weight, as the obesity epidemic that is sweeping the nation is a testament to. Want to know why that is? Come back later and read the article that blows the lid off the artificial sweetener secrets that the industry does not want you to know about.
Most people stick their heads in the sand over many food ingredients because they are afraid of what they will find if they go digging too deeply. This author is NOT afraid of what the food industry is dishing out to unsuspecting consumers. Just watch this space and see what comes of it!