We all have our guilty pleasures regarding food, whether it is sweets, snacks, or a certain beverage. While this is totally okay, making a habit out of eating these foods is usually a bad idea. Why? A lot of the most common foods that society consumes on a daily basis contain ingredients that can lead to long-term health problems. Additionally, a lot of them contain ingredients that will trick our brain into thinking that we need more of it, like an addiction. And so becomes the cycle of eating and craving and eating and craving. How can this be fixed? Take a look at this list and figure out what you can swap out in your diet—once you know it is harming you, wouldn’t you want to know how to fix it? Here are 5 food substances that can do you harm and what you can do about it.
Macaroni and Cheese
The problem with this comfort food lies in the coloring agents yellow 5 and yellow 6—both banned ingredients. Most store-bought mac and cheese meals are a neon orange color, a result of these dyes. The dyes are made from coal tar—a substance that is also used to coat and seal industrial flooring, and kill bugs in lice shampoo. These artificial colors have been linked to ADHD, allergies, and even cancer in animals.
When you need your mac and cheese, opt for an organic brand that does not have any artificial colors, no hormone-treated dairy, and no ingredients that are genetically modified. You can even look for one that is wheat or gluten free—this can save you from insulin spikes that can lead you to consume an extra 400 calories per day.
Fat-Free chips are not the answer for cutting calories, as they contain the ingredient called Olestra, or Olean. While this ingredient does make a lighter chip, it creates a real problem for those who ingest it—increased time in the restroom. These so-called fat free snacks can also actually make you fat—those who consume them may tend to eat more overall and gain more weight.
Alternatively, you can opt to snack on organic chips that have been cooked in coconut oil. They will not contain harmful pesticides or GMO vegetable oils that contain omega-6 fatty acids that lead to inflammation.
The coloring agents blue 1 and blue 2 are prominent in sports drinks and offer contribution to cognitive functioning impairment in kids that are hyperactive—leading them to perform poorly on test that work to measure the ability to recall images.
Sports drinks are usually the go-to drink to recover after a night of drinking, but beware that this beverage doesn’t do anything that lemon water can’t do. The lemon added into the water will help to detox the body from the previous night’s intake. Also, opt for water when working out in short spurts. When working out for longer, it would be wise to replace regular water for coconut water—the new preferred performance drink. It is a great natural source of electrolytes like magnesium and potassium without all of the added dyes and sugars.
Flatbread and Wraps
Brominated flower, or Potassium bromate, is a key ingredient in flatbread and wraps to bulk them up and speed up the time that it takes to manufacture them—ultimately cutting costs for the manufacturers. This ingredient has been linked to nervous system and kidney disorders, as well as gastrointestinal discomfort.
Swap these for organic lettuce leaves. They are just as convenient as a normal wrap without all of the added ingredients and are actually healthy.
Say hello to arsenic—this enters the body in an interesting way. Arsenic is often times found in chicken feed. This ingredient makes the chicken grow to be larger and pinker, making it more appealing to the consumer. Additionally, scientists have found a wide range of antibiotics in chicken—used to fight infections in the bird and boost their growth. When human consume this, even indirectly, it can lead to infections that are antibiotic-resistant.
When you can, opt for organic, pasture raised poultry that steers clear of GMOs. These chickens are usually fed a more traditional and appropriate diet that will save you from ingesting all types of antibiotics and arsenic.