What Makes a Food "Junk?" Here are 8 ingredients to avoid

farmers-market-gardening.jpg
 

Do you love the way your body looks?

(Let’s keep this superficial and ignore how you feel for right now.)

As a glamazon, I want you to roar a resounding YES!

But honestly? Most women answer no. It’s a tough subject. And a sad one.

If you long for a leaner line, you are far from alone. And you know what else you may share with the masses? A pernicious habit that could be holding you back.

I’m talking about junk food.

Junk food isn’t awful for you because of its calorie content—because you’re not concerned with calories, right? It has more serious repercussions such as messing with your digestion and your blood sugar and causing chronic inflammation. Because it’s usually high in sugar and/or starchy carbs, it also leads to cravings—usually for more junk food. Ugh. Talk about a vicious cycle.

Let’s keep this very simple. Junk food is not a benign treat. Actually, i’ts not a treat at all. It’s doing you NO favors.

The easiest way to avoid it is by not buying it in the first place. But that means you first need to know how to recognize it.

8 common ingredients to avoid

Really, there are too many to list. If you don’t recognize an ingredient as food, don’t eat it. But here are some of the heavy-hitters that you’ll see over and over again in overly processed, nutrient-deprived foods (aka junk).

Sugar in all of its forms Check out this PDF to see most of its aliases. Read this if you want to be horrified about how much of it you may be consuming

Artificial sweeteners They can raise your risk for diabetes even more than regular sugar can

“Vegetable” oils which are really industrial seed oils These are probably even worse for you than sugar, especially when it comes to causing inflammation. The main ones to look for are canola oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, soybean oil, safflower oils, sunflower oil, and grapeseed oil

Hydrogenated (or paritally-hydrogenated) oils Same effects as the industrial seed oils described above, but manufacturers love them because they’re cheap and keep your food fresh longer (think: Twinkies)

Artificial coloring These often have a # after them (such as Red #2). They’ve been shown to disrupt the immune system leading to gut and neurobehavioral disorders.While the jury’s still out about whether they cause cancer or not, foods that are healthy won’t add them.

Sodium benzoate This preservative is often added to acidic foods and sodas, but has been linked to cancer development and immune problems

Carrageenan This is used to stabilize and thicken certain processed foods, but unfortunately it’s also been linked to ulcers and certain cancers

Gums (guar, xanthan, etc.) These are generally used to thicken and stabilize foods as well, but can cause digestive upset in sensitive individuals. Do you want to take the risk?

If you don’t want to worry about remembering all of these, EAT REAL FOOD. (I think I’ve mentioned this before.)

As they say, You are what you eat. And you are NOT junk…