If you’re committed to clean eating, you probably have a good idea as to what foods you should be fuelling your body with. Ready to take it to the next level? Be on the lookout for ingredients that can undermine your healthy food choices. Hiding in all sorts of products (even those that present themselves as nutritious) – here are 4 ingredients to say no to, and where they can often be found:
- Added Sugars
From high calorie intake to chronic diseases to dental conditions, excess sugar consumption has been attributed to a range of health concerns. Unfortunately, products geared toward clean eating aren’t immune to having added sugars. Refined and chemically-produced sugars like high-fructose corn syrup (which may be called glucose-fructose in Canada) are often added to boost the flavour in low fat or gluten-free food products.
In addition to lurking with the usual suspects like candy, cereals and ice cream, watch out for added sugars in juices, yogurts, granola bars, sauces and condiments. Even dried, canned or frozen fruits and vegetables need to be looked at closely, as sugar may be added to these otherwise healthy foods.
Superfood to the Rescue! Unlike non-nutritive refined sugar, reaching for fruit’s naturally-derived sugar and sweetness can help curb sugar cravings and deliver health benefits like fibre, vitamins and minerals. Read more about Quitting Sugar.
The pros and cons of caffeine and its stimulant properties have long been debated. Often habit forming, caffeine has been shown to have side effects like headaches, irritability, insomnia and nervousness for some people. Many food products contain caffeine, as it’s not only found in obvious places like coffee and tea, but also a natural source found in (sorry to break it to you) chocolate, certain flavours like kola and guarana, and herbs such as yerba mate.
Pay attention to products where caffeine can sneak in such as meal replacement shakes, kombucha, granola bars, ice creams, cereals, cookies, acetaminophen and even decaffeinated coffee.
Coffee-like taste that’s 100% caffeine-free: Check out Dandy Blend’s gluten-free vegan products.
- Food Fillers
In Canada “filler” can mean milk, egg, yeast or any vegetable material that is edible. Food fillers such as cellulose, soy lecithin and xanthan gum (to name a few) are mixed in with products, usually either to bulk up the weight of the food or keep the price low.
Sometimes controversial, common food fillers may be made from genetically modified organisms, are thought to cause stomach upsets if over-consumed and may even be non-digestible for some people.
Be on the lookout for food fillers if you’re buying ground or processed meats, breads, dairy products, salad dressings and even spices.
Take a Closer Look! Products like veggie chips may seem to be a healthy snack because they appear to be made mostly from vegetables. The reality is that some may only have a “dusting” of vegetable powder.
Keeping it Clean Doesn’t Just Mean Food
- Artificial Additives: Sweeteners, Colours, Flavours and Preservatives
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) generally defines food additives as any substance which results in affecting the characteristics of a food. Artificial add-ons like sweeteners, colours and flavours are often used to enhance food taste or appearance, and of course preservatives serve to extend the shelf-life of foods.
Artificial sweeteners, colours and flavours have been linked to possible risks of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, allergic reactions and aggravated asthmatic symptoms, while preservatives have been associated with increased hyperactivity in children.
With hundreds of additives permitted by the CFIA, to cut down on consuming additives, steer clear of labels with mile-long ingredient lists. A good guideline to follow: If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it!
Looking for an Alternative to Artificial Sweeteners?
Lakanto Sugar Substitutes are made from 100% Natural and Vegan Ingredients.
Whether you’ve made the decision to “keep it clean” for nutrition or confidence, your body deserves nothing but the best!
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