• Laura Warren

Would you like some food with that?



Reading the ingredient list on your food label and actually knowing what they are, are two very different things.

Do you know what the ingredients BHT, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, blue 1, and phosphoric acid are?

This post was really devastating to put together - it really hit home just how far removed many of us are from a life of health if these products are on the shelf. We know they are only there because they are consistently brought.

Just so you know the answer to the question.... One's use is banned in restaurants. Another is mined from the earth. And the other two are made from petroleum.

As we come into Christmas and celebration season its time to enjoy the festivities and fun but also keep in mind what's actually going into you and your families bodies.

As I've quoted before 'Food can be the most powerful and safest form of medicine, or the slowest form of poison' Ann Wigmore.

I'm sure this post isn't going to make me to popular as the brands I've pulled from the supermarket shelf are household names now and many have heavy marketing campaigns behind them. Do they care about you and your happy vibrant life...hardly likely with what they are choosing to put into their food products.

Here's a handful of products chosen at random in the nutrition minefield aka the supermarket.

Heller’s Original Cocktail Sausages

Meat (66%) (chicken, pork, beef, lamb, venison), water, tapioca starch (preservative (223)), salt, toasted soy grits, mineral salts (451, 500), dextrose, hydrolysed vegetable protein (soy), soy protein, antioxidant (316), yeast extract, spice extract, natural smoke flavour [emulsifier (433), acidity regulator (260)], preservative (250), flavours, edible casing (beef) [colour (120, 172)]. Contains: soy & sulphite. May contain dairy.

When your eating a sausage or any 'meat' product and it only contains 66% meat you know your in for trouble. Cheap fillers, the perservative 250 is particularly problematic with concerns it reacts with the stomach acid to become carcinogenic (potentially cancer causing). It is sad that this 'Cheerio' sausages feature heavily on the menu at children's events - combined with a sugar laden, artificially coloured and flavoured tomato sauce you can't blame them for going a bit crazy.

Kelloggs Honey Smacks

Ingredients: Sugar, wheat, dextrose, honey, contains 2% or less of vegetable oil (hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated soybean), salt, caramel color, soy lecithin, BHT for freshness.

In other words contains 55.6 percent sugar by weight, trans-fats known cause multiple diseases, BHT is linked to cancer risk, asthma, and behavioral issues in children. Definitely not a good way to start the day!

Arnotts Biscuits Iced Animals

Wheat Flour, Sugar, Vegetable Oil, Golden Syrup, Egg, Salt, Raising Agent (E500), Emulsifier, E322, Soy, Gelatine, Flavouring, Food Acid, E330, Colours, E102, E110, E142, Milk Solids

So a each tiny biscuit contains a tsp of sugar, 3 of the artificial colours used are banned in other countries due to health risks

Bluebird Rashuns Corn Snacks Cheese & Bacon

Corn, Vegetable Oil, Skim Milk Powder (Milk), Tapioca Starch, Salt, Flavour Enhancer 621, Cheese Powder, Milk, Milk Powder, Milk, Mineral Salt, 508, Hydrolysed Vegetable Protein, Soy, Flavours, Sugar, Rice Bran, Yeast Extract, Food Acids, 270, 327, 330, Emulsifier, 471

Contains the typical trans-fats, cheap fillers chemicals you typically find in most chips. There's no bacon in here folks - just a chemical. 621 (Monosodium glutamate) - one of the cheapest way to get flavour out of nothing and cause a wide range of negative health effects

Skittles

Sugar, corn syrup, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, apple juice from concentrate, less than 2% - citric acid, dextrin, modified corn starch, natural and artificial flavors, coloring (includes yellow 6 lake, red 40 lake, yellow 5 lake, blue 2 lake, yellow 5, red 40, yellow 6, blue 1 lake, blue 1), ascorbic acid (vitamin c).

Oh the highlights of this one...where to begin. The majority of ingredients are problematic but I particularly want to point out

Hydrogenated palm kernel oil: (Trans fat) Polyunsaturated vegetable oil that has been partially converted to saturated oil in order to create a solid or semi-solid substance. Use is banned in restaurants across the USA. Linked to Alzheimer’s disease, colon cancer, coronary heart disease,

Artificial flavors: A synthetic mixture not found in nature, designed to mimic a natural flavor. May contain MSG. Over 1,700 artificial flavors are approved by the FDA.

Companies are not required to identify the various synthetic mixtures (1,700 to date) used in foods, requiring only that they be listed under the umbrella of the “artificial flavors” listing. Some individuals experience headaches, nausea, and drowsiness, among other symptoms. We are the guinea pigs in this experiment.

I'd say the ingredients list would look even more confusing if it showed: benzyl isobutyrate, ethyl acetate, ethyl methylphenylglycidate (petroleum derivative), methyl benzoate (petroleum derivative), or maybe some hydroxyphenyl-2-butanone with that?

The long list of colours in here may contain aluminum and have multiple health consequences like

known to cause allergic reactions and hyperactivity in children, linked with lung & kidney disorders, and reduced skeletal mineralization. Linked to thyroid tumors, chromosomal damage, asthma attacks, hives and hyperactivity.

Can you imagine what these ingredients are doing to your body? Actually don't imagine. Know! Educate yourself.

Yes, the food landscape is scarier than it used to be. But you're also more empowered to find out information than ever before so you can make educated decisions about what you put in your body. Good rules of thumb to follow are:

Check ingredient labels (and if you get bored while you're reading it probably don't buy it as it's a sign its highly processed)

Don't be sucked into thinking the celebrity endorsers or pretty packaging is a sign its good for you Whenever you can, pick real wholefood i.e. one ingredient wonders like egg, meat, carrots you know where I'm going with this.

Shop your local farmers' market, try not to eat things that contain ingredients you can't pronounce, and aim to eat seasonal produce that doesn't have to be preserved and grows close to home. As a bonus: All this stuff tastes a whole lot better and your supporting the right people too.

References:

Nissen Wendyl (2012) Supermarket Companion How to bring good food home. Bookbuilders, China

Gameau Damon (2014) That Sugar Book. Pan Macmillan Australia