About ninety percent of people grab processed food directly from stores. They are unaware of the ingredients that are used to alter the texture, flavor, color and preserve. Some of the ingredients are legally accepted as harmless while few additives used are proved to be unhealthy. Health problems like obesity, overeating, hypertensions, cancer etc can be prevented to some extent if the food is chosen correctly. How to choose the right food? It is important to know the harmful ingredients that are present in processed food. Here are few common ingredients that you may find in processed foods from the stores.
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS): It is used as an alternative for sugar. Its nutritive value is nil other than empty calories. This ingredient is found in canned soda drinks. The main side effects associated with HFCS are obesity and tooth decay.
Partially hydrogenated oils (Trans fat): Trans oil is found to be a risk to the heart, liver, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, etc. They are found in packed oils, ready to serve oily preparations.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG): Commonly known as Ajinomoto. This ingredient neither adds flavor nor preserves food, but increases food craving. It is found in canned chicken soups, gravies, soy sauce, flavored rice, etc. Though it is found to be harmless when consumed in lesser amounts, some people report of hunger pains, nausea, insomnia (sleeplessness), dizziness etc.
Caffeine: Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, chocolates etc. It is found to be associated with many health problems like insomnia, nerve twitch, interfere in calcium absorption, irritability, infertility and more.
Sodium: Common salt contains 40% of sodium. An adult needs 1200 to 1500 mg of sodium per day. It is necessary to check the amount of salt intake in our daily food. High amount of sodium triggers blood pressure leading to hypertension and heart diseases. It aggravates asthma, gastric cancer, kidney stones, liver cirrhosis, etc.
Food colorings: Food colors are used in candies, soft drinks, cookies, sweets etc to attract children. Some of these dyes are found to be cancerous.
Artificial sweeteners: Saccharin and other sweeteners used in chewing gums and other candies are found to cause abdominal pain, gastric trouble, malnutrition, diarrhea etc.
Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA): This is a chemical antioxidant used in chips and crisps are found cancerous and reports obesity problems in children and teens.