1. Refined sugars

Refined sugars are basically sugars that have undergone certain processing to achieve a certain texture and taste. When sugar is refined, fiber, vitamins and trace minerals from the sugar is removed leaving you with empty calories that cause sugar highs and crashes. Research also shows that cancer cells thrive on refined sugars.

You’d be surprised with where sugar hides and lurks in food. You might be avoiding refined sugar as a condiment but did you know that most processed food available in the supermarket have refined sugar? Even food that you order at the restaurant isn’t sans refined sugar. More often than not, the soy sauce, vinegar, tomato sauce being used has this nasty ingredient.

Even food products like probiotic drinks that are marketed as healthy have tons of refined sugar. One tiny bottle of the said probiotic drink has almost 4 teaspoons of sugar, and we all know that kids down that drink in one big gulp!

Examples of food with refined sugar: commercial bread/wheat bread, Sodas, powdered and other instant juices, ketchup, ready-to-eat spaghetti sauce, commercial kid’s vitamins, breakfast cereals

Swap it with these instead: Raw Honey, Muscovado sugar, Coco Sugar

  1. Sodium Nitrates

Sodium nitrate is a chemical preservative used widely in cured, frozen, and canned meats. Why is it bad? Sodium nitrate is said to damage blood vessels that lead to hardened and narrowed arteries. It also increases the risk of diabetes because it affects how your body processes sugar. It also a known neuro-disruptor and may cause symptoms of migraine, dizziness, etc.

Just as with refined sugar, there are some products marketed as healthy that contain sodium nitrates. For example, just because a hotdog is advertised as “chicken hotdog” or “tuna hotdog” there is still no escaping the effects of Sodium Nitrate when consumed. For luncheon meats, even if the can says “lite” or “light”, it only means it is a “lighter” formulation, usually in terms of sodium, than the original. However, it is sure to still contain sodium nitrate to preserve the meat.

Examples of food with Sodium Nitrate: Hotdogs, sausages, bacon, canned meat such as SPAM, Corned beef, etc.

Swap it with these instead: Fresh and home cooked meals, frozen uncured meats that do not use sodium nitrates.

  1. Hydrogenated Oils

As lifted from mayoclinic.com: “Trans fat is made by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil through a process called hydrogenation, which makes the oil less likely to spoil. Using trans fats in the manufacturing of foods helps foods stay fresh longer, have a longer shelf life and have a less greasy feel.” Trans fats basically lower your good cholesterol (HDL) and increase your bad cholesterol (LDL). When this happens, you can develop clogged arteries, which can lead to a heart attack or a stroke. Shortening and some margarine are also high in trans fats. It is also believed to wake up cancer cells.

Examples of food with Hydrogenated oils: Baked goods (bread, rolls, packaged cakes from the supermarket), crackers, frozen French fries.

Swap with these instead: choose good oils such as extra virgin olive oil, Virgin coconut oil. Or, when buying food items, do not buy ones that have the words “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredients list.