Food is important for you because you need energy and nutrients to keep your body running smoothly. While food is important, there are ingredients that can be harmful to your health. These ingredients include trans fats, sugar, and artificial sweeteners.
Of the types of fat, trans fats are the worst for your health. These fats increase your LDL cholesterol and lower HDL cholesterol. Trans fats are also linked to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and strokes and cause inflammation in the body which can also lead to disease. Watch out for ingredients that say “hydrogenated” and be aware that even if a label says zero grams of trans fats, if there is less than .5 grams per serving the label can say zero, which can lead to significant trans fat if you eat more than one serving.
While sugar is technically found in many foods, it is the added and refined sugars you want to watch out for. What we think of sugar is typically the white, refined table sugar and that is what can be harmful to your health. Sugar is all carbohydrate and doesn’t include any fiber. This means that when you eat sugar it causes blood sugar spikes and crashes. This can increase inflammation and lead to weight gain or even diabetes. It can also cause dental issues, so after consuming sugar you should brush your teeth. If you can’t brush your teeth after eating sugar foods, you should at least rinse your mouth.
While it can be tempting to reach for products that say “sugar free,” this can often mean they have another harmful ingredient in them instead which is artificial sweeteners. While these are a zero-calorie option, they can have a similar response in your body to regular sugar. Even though these sweeteners are not absorbed in the stomach they can still affect your gut microbiome which can lead to metabolic issues. They are also linked to cancer. You should look for naturally sweetened items first, or even better foods like fruits that have natural sugar and fiber.
When trying to make healthy food choices, don’t go by fear of harmful ingredients but add more natural foods and ingredients. Instead of reaching for processed and packaged foods, look for foods that are as close to nature as possible. This will help you avoid harmful ingredients while also including helpful nutrients.
Check out this article on how to make big changes to your diet to improve your health!