One of the healthiest ways of losing weight through dieting is by ensuring that the food you eat is all natural, unprocessed and free from any artificial additives, salt or sugar. This may sound like a total no brainer to some battle hardened dieters, but to many it will come as something of an eyebrow raiser to say the least.
That’s because so many people have become so used to the processed, additive laden foods that litter the supermarket shelves these days, they have almost forgotten what a fresh vegetable even looks like, let alone how to cook one!
Okay, that may be a little extreme and I apologize for hurting anyone’s feelings (but not the supermarkets that ram this stuff literally down our throats) but you can see the irony in all this. When you next visit your local supermarket, just take a closer look at all the packaged foods that you can buy. Especially look at the stuff in the freezer section.
Just read the ingredients listed on that packaging and you may be in for a shock at what you see. This is even truer for what you don’t see, such as the disguised additives. These are the little E numbers that make up the list of ingredients that you probably have no idea what they are. Well, they are disguised as E numbers exactly so you won’t know what they are.
E is for Coded Additives
Sure, the manufacturers will have some stock excuse ready for why they use these little coded numbers, like it saves space on the packaging, or it makes it easier for them to identify what they are. Well what about the shopper, who hasn’t the slightest clue what, for example E621 stands for. Well, actually that one stands for probably the most controversial additive of them all and I am going to tell you what it is and what it does.
E621 is Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), which is commonly used as a flavour enhancer. It is heavily used in Far Eastern cuisine and regarded as most likely responsible for the high instance of stomach cancer in places like Thailand. Its increase in use by the food industry is also linked with the equivalent rise in asthma cases. It is often similarly disguised as “flavouring” making it hard to identify. It begs the question that if food manufacturers believed MSG to be so safe, why do they disguise it as merely flavouring, a word that is uncontroversial? I’ll leave it to your own judgment as to how you see it.
There are often lots of E numbers lurking in the list of ingredients for most processed foods and not all of them are completely benign. Many are colorants that can have adverse effects on children’s behaviour, especially with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and hyperactivity. Others are heavily suspected of causing breathing problems such as asthma or of aggravating such disorders. Others are for artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame or sorbitol, which have been linked with cancer and have also been shown to stimulate hunger, thereby causing more problems with obesity than they have been added to try and solve.
Salt and Sugar
Most processed foods also contain relatively high levels of added salt and sugar. These are both bad for dieters as too much salt raises blood pressure and can cause health problems such as strokes, while too much sugar it goes without saying, loads you up with more excess calories for your body to burn off.
This is just scratching the surface of why eating processed foods is bad for your diet and why they contribute to weight gain and obesity. There are more articles planned that will go into specifics and more detail on individual additives and problem foods to be avoided.
The bottom line with any healthy diet is to ensure you get plenty of fresh food including fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and fish, nuts and pulses as well as unsaturated fats and dietary fibre to balance everything out and promote health rather than retard it.