Common ingredients to avoid
How often do you read labels on the food you buy? If you are like most people, you spent very little time deciphering the information on food labels. However, it is an important step in making informed choices at the grocery store. Most packaged food and beverages have a nutritional facts label. Read these labels to avoid the following:
Hydrogenated oils. This ingredient is commonly used to take the place of butter in baked items, crackers, cookies, frozen waffles, peanut butter, prepared frozen foods, soups, salad dressing and more. Hydrogenated oils, often labeled as trans fats, are added to increase shelf life and have been linked to heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and auto immune disease. As an alternative look for similar products labeled “non-hydrogenated” or that use sunflower, canola or palm oils.
High fructose corn syrup. Carbonated soda, energy drinks and many fruit juices use this common sweetener. Although high fructose corn syrup is similar to table sugar, there is much debate as to whether the body processes it the same way. This product has been linked to weight gain and obesity; increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes; hypertension and elevated cholesterol levels. Instead, look for products that use natural alternatives such as honey, turbinado, black molasses, stevia or xylitol.
Sodium nitrate. Sodium nitrate, also called sodium nitrite, is a common coloring, flavoring and preserving agent used to process meat products such as cold cuts, hot dogs, ham and bacon. This chemical compound gives meat a “healthy” pink appearance and has been linked to colon, pancreatic and other cancers. Reduce your consumption or avoid meats with this ingredient and instead focus on products marked “no sodium nitrates.”
Understanding the contents of the food you are eating will help you identify the healthiest options for you and your family.
Miesha Wilson is the owner and master trainer at Nu Life Fitness Camp, a lifestyle based weight management and group fitness facility that specializes in providing high impact training in a supportive environment for reasonable prices. Wilson is certified in the state of Ohio for personal training and group fitness by the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America and as a nutrition advisor by American Fitness Training of Athletics. She is also holds a BBA from Tiffin University and a MBA from Indiana Wesleyan. For more information on Nu Life Fitness Camp visit www.nulifefitnesscamp.com or call (216) 391-4442.