The Dark Side of Natural Foods
Studies have shown that shoppers are willing to pay up to $0.10 extra for any food with a “natural” label on it but are these natural foods really worth your investment? Yes and no. Food companies know that all they have to do is slap that “all natural” sticker on their product and you’ll pay extra for it. They also know you won’t turn the product over to read the ingredient list. As a matter of fact, they’re counting on it!
The Confusing Definition of Natural Foods
The United States Department of agriculture has a very vague definition of the word natural. Their definition is “no artificial ingredients and is minimally processed,” and it’s highly misleading. A food product only has to contain one or two whole-food, minimally-processed ingredients to qualify as natural in the eyes of USDA. This means that synthetic chemical ingredients can be slipped right in there with them and you’re none the wiser.
Hidden Unnatural Ingredients in So-Called Natural Foods
Here at Health Scams Exposed, we spend a lot of time investigating so-called health claims, especially when those claims are blatant lies. Recently, we sent one of our reporters out to investigate local supermarkets.
She found several frozen food items claiming to be “all-natural with no preservatives” yet one of the first ingredients on the list was monosodium glutamate! She went into the cereal aisle to find some heart healthy cereal and the only ingredient that sounded natural was whole grain wheat. The rest was nothing but a paragraph-long list of chemicals!
Here is a list of a few of the health-harming ingredients lurking in the products food manufacturers claim are healthy for you:
Aspartame is a synthetic sweetener found in diet soda, candy, gum, cereal, and even yogurt. It is one of the most dangerous additives you can consume yet it’s often hidden in foods claiming to be natural. Aspartame is a neurotoxin, meaning it destroys your health brain cells and interferes with proper neurological function. Aspartame toxicity has 92 different symptoms associated with it, making it very difficult to pin down this additive as the source of any unusual symptoms you might be experiencing.
BHT (butylated hydroxyanisole) is a common preservative found in breakfast cereal. It is used as a yeast de-foaming agent and to prevent fats from becoming rancid. This increases the shelf life of your cereal but it may decrease yours. BHT is a known carcinogen.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
Some would argue that high fructose corn syrup is single-handedly responsible for the obesity epidemic. This synthetic sweetener can be found in everything from natural soda to cereal to gum. It interferes with normal metabolic and hormone function, leading to insulin spikes, weight gain, and increased fat storage. One of the most ironic facts about high fructose corn syrup is it’s one of the primary ingredients in diet food!
- Food Dyes
Red dye #40 and yellow dye #5 are found in dozens of processed foods and have been linked to serious disease. Both food dyes have been shown to have carcinogenic effects and have been linked to severe behavioral problems in children. Millions of people have low-grade food dye intolerance because it is a synthetic substance not recognized by the body. This intolerance can cause gastrointestinal disturbances, headaches, and unexplained rash.
- Polysorbate 60
This synthetic emulsifier is often found in cereals, Jell-O, cake mixes, and snack chips. It is a know carcinogen.
- Propylene Glycol Alginate
One of the most disturbing things about any ‘glycol’ derivative in your food is that it’s also used as anti-freeze. This additive has been linked to the development of cancer, neurological problems, allergies, immunotoxicity, developmental disorders, and infertility. There’s absolutely nothing natural about a preservative like this.
- Textured Soy Protein
Textured soy protein is one of the many hidden names for monosodium glutamate. MSG is a savory flavor-enhancer that causes you to become addicted to whatever you’re eating. This is because MSG mimics the taste of fatty meat, fooling your brain into thinking you’re getting the nutrients you needs. Once your body gets the message that you’ve eaten something but you’re not getting any real nutrition, it turns on those hunger pangs again and you reach for more food. This is a great way to get fat and starve to death at the same time.
- Enriched Flour
When you see the word “enriched”, you automatically think you’re getting something good. This is how food manufacturing companies continue to fool you. Enriched flour is no health food. It’s hybridized wheat flour ground down, bleached, and stripped of its natural nutrients. Once it gets into the bread, cracker or cookie you’re eating, it’s about as nutritionally-sound as a piece of wood. As a matter of fact, the piece of wood might actually be better for you!
Finding the Hidden Gems in Your Supermarket
Trying to eat healthy can be extremely frustrating. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there as everyone seems to be competing for your attention and your dollar. Believe it or not, finding healthy food in your supermarket is a lot easier than it looks.
First and foremost, read nutrition labels. Food manufacturers know that you will be drawn to certain colors and words on the front of the package but they don’t count on you to read the fine print. Read it. It could save your life. If you see an ingredient you don’t recognize or understand, write it down and look it up online or do it right there on your cell phone. It may take a couple of trips to the grocery store to familiarize yourself with the unhealthy ingredients you need to avoid but the health benefits are well worth it.
When it comes to choosing the healthiest foods in the supermarket, the reporters here at Health Scams Exposed have a few tricks. One, we start in the produce section first. We like to pick up as many organic fruits and vegetables as possible. Then we go for the nuts, the hummus, and the natural nut butters.
After that, we hit the meat section, loading up on grass-fed beef, organic poultry, and wild-caught fish. In the dairy section, things can get a little dicey. Even yogurt that claims to be natural often contains aspartame, food dyes, and high fructose corn syrup that have no place in a healthy diet. Avoid these. Opt for organic yogurt instead.
We hit the snack food aisle last and there’s a good reason for this. When you first get into the grocery store, you have a psychological need to fill up your cart. That sense of urgency can get you into trouble if you step into that snack food aisle first. This is why it’s a good idea to do this last. Think of it just the same as eating dinner before dessert. You want to fill up on wholesome nutrition before enjoying a treat.
Potato chips, candy, and other snacks don’t have to be bad for you but they can easily be if you don’t know what to look for. Sometimes, the regular snack food aisle just doesn’t have stuff that’s all that safe to eat. Even with the word “natural” on a bag or box, you still might be getting something unhealthy. Instead, hit the health food aisle.
This aisle often has organic, low-sodium, and gluten free items that are much better for your health. For example, a regular chocolate bar you can find at the checkout line is filled with unnecessary additives. An organic chocolate bar in the health food section of the store will have more real nutrition and fewer preservatives (if any).
To ensure we’re eating the healthiest foods possible, we like to follow the ‘5 ingredient rule’. We believe that any food product containing more than 5 ingredients is likely too unhealthy to consume very often.
The best way to avoid the dark side of natural foods is to consume as many earth-based foods as possible. This is your produce, beans, nuts, seeds, meat, poultry, fish, and eggs. These are the truly natural foods. Anything else is a gamble.
One of the most important services we provide here at Health Scams Exposed is to help you identify the “health impostors” on grocery store shelves.
And they’re everywhere…
I’m talking about products promoted as “fat free”… that are full of sugar and artificial ingredients. I’m talking about products that claim to be “natural”… while sporting a list of ingredients that you need a chemistry degree just to pronounce.
Or what about products that put the word “healthy” in the name… as if that alone will make their artificial, Franken-foods magically good for you?
If you want to get back to basics with your meals and learn how to really eat healthy, once and for all, I’d encourage you to check out Kelley Herring’s Your Plate, Your Fate.
Kelley and her husband Jon are great friends of ours and I’d love for you to meet them.
Publisher, Health Scams Exposed