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Minimizing the Additives in Your Diet

Years ago, I had a client who had a weight loss goal as well as a health goal. Before our session, she pulled me aside and presented two snack packs. One was a package of raw almonds the other was a package of Peanut M&Ms. “This is what you want me to eat (almonds), and this is what I want to eat (M&Ms). Both have the same number of calories. Why should I eat those (almonds)?”

At that point I took the package of almonds and slid the M&Ms across the table to her. “We will read the ingredients in each. I’ll go first: Almonds.” We did not waste time reading the M&M ingredients. She got the point.

In a world full of time saving conveniences, we often take for granted the importance of knowing what is in the food that we eat. We have all heard the phrase “Calories in, Calories out”. Unfortunately, it is not quite that easy. Consuming quality food void of toxic additives also plays into the equation. Whether you are interested in weight loss, performance or maintaining your health, omitting or minimizing additives is essential.

Side effects from additives such as preservatives, sweeteners, and artificial coloring range from asthma, nervous system damage and metabolic issues. Almost all are known carcinogens.

Some of the worst offenders are commonly used in foods that are eaten every day. For instance, Sodium Nitrate is found in many processed deli meats, bacon, and jerky as a preservative. Sodium Nitrate has long been thought to contribute to cancer, but according to experts at Mayo Clinic, Sodium Nitrate can also damage blood vessels leading to narrowing and hardening of the arteries and ultimately heart disease. A simple substitute for Sodium Nitrate would be to brine meat. Look for processed meats that say, “Nitrate Free”.

Other ingredients to look out for would be artificial coloring, artificial sweeteners, and added sugar. In addition to the most obvious, surprisingly, some pickle manufacturers use Yellow #5 which has been attributed depression, anxiety, and hyperactivity along with other mood disorders. It has also been thought to contribute to sleep issues, and thyroid tumors. A good alternative to Yellow #5 is Turmeric.

Some other additives that may surprise you:
TBHQ: Butane
Propylene Glycol: “Food Grade” Anti-freeze
Carmel Coloring: Ammonia!

While some people will have stronger reactions to these additives, minimizing exposure is important for everyone. Bottom line… read labels, know what you are putting into your body, and pay attention to how it affects your body. Find brands of your favorite foods that use natural ingredients instead of ingredients that are potentially toxic. In addition to testing for food sensitivities, the experts at Rejuv Medical can help you as you navigate your path to optimal health through healthy eating and exercise.

– Christine Brown, Medical Weight Loss Manager

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