Trying to figure out which foods and drinks are unhealthy can be overwhelming and exhausting. Information overload can make it difficult to understand what makes a specific treat good or bad for you. But certain ingredients can make any food unhealthy. They include sugar, too much sodium, trans fats, and some oils.
These ingredients are often hidden in plain sight — you just have to know how to read the labels and what the names of the ingredients mean. A single small change on nutrition labels could save thousands of lives.
To compile a list of foods and drinks most people mistakenly think are healthy, 24/7 Tempo consulted several nutritionists.
“When it comes to ingredients, my top two no-no’s are monosodium glutamate (MSG) and high-fructose corn syrup,” said Gabriela Rivera, a nutritionist practicing with clinical nutritionist Kay Spears in San Antonio, Texas. MSG is the sodium salt of glutamic acid. “Glutamic acid actually stimulates the brain,” she explained. “Therefore, some individuals might experience headaches or even muscle cramping” from consuming it.” As for high-fructose corn syrup, an artificial sweetener processed from corn syrup, she said. “It has been linked to obesity and can even cause insulin resistance when consumed in excess.”
Another big misconception about food is its purpose, Rivera said. “A lot of our clientele think that food needs to be enjoyable and taste good.” There is nothing wrong with that but food is actually fuel for our bodies. The types of foods we eat can change both our physical and mental health, she noted, quoting Hippocrates who said: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
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