The Bad Business of Processed Foods

Workers in a Food Processing Plant

The creation, distribution, and selling of food is one of the world's largest businesses. Like all areas of business, the food industry is very competitive. This has led companies to find creative ways to increase the popularity and sales of their food while cutting corners in quality. Despite FDA guidelines, countless cheap fillers get jammed into processed foods and make it to grocery store shelves every year. Here are a few ingredients to look for, and avoid, the next time you're out shopping.

White Flour: Bleached, enriched white flour is one of the biggest problems in American foods today. During the refining process, the whole grain has its bran and germ stripped away, along with nearly all of the vitamins, minerals, and fiber. This is in an effort to extend shelf life and make profits. It is extremely easy to digest and sends insulin levels skyrocketing. Keep an eye out for whole grains such as whole-wheat bread, barley, oatmeal, and brown rice.

Palm Oil: Though many steps have been taken to remove trans-fats from foods, they can still sneak in via other forms or labels. Unlike corn or soybean oil, palm oil has to be blasted with hydrogen molecules to turn make it solid. This process also turns it into a trans-fat. Why do food producers do this? To keep food "fresh" longer and by "fresh" we mean giving it the ability to sit on a store shelf for years without rotting or going stale. Avoid palm oil like the plague.

BHA: Butylated Hydroxyanisole is a food preservative deemed "reasonably safe" by the FDA but is banned in other countries as a known carcinogen. While it does prevent food spoilage it also interrupts the endocrine system and can dramatically impact your hormone levels. It is found in hundreds of foods and can be cleverly disguised with other branded names. If you don't recognize an ingredient listed as a preservative, do a quick online search while you're in the grocery store. Chances are it is BHA.

It is sad that the food industry has put profits over nutrition and prey on those who don't have the best cooking skills. What may seem like a quick fix for dinner can actually be adding very harmful chemicals to your system. Definitely do your research and stick to whole, real foods whenever possible. To learn more about Real Food Choices for the Real You, visit the Metabolic Research Center nearest you.


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