Nutrition labels are often difficult to navigate when deciding which foods to eat. Next time you scan through a food label, look out for these 10 ingredients.
1) Partially Hydrogenated Oils
Some foods may be labeled as having 0 grams trans fat, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are completely trans-fat-free. When partially hydrogenated oil is listed as an ingredient, that food may still have up to half a gram of trans fat per serving. Trans fat increases the amount of LDL or bad cholesterol while lowering the amount of HDL or good cholesterol in the body.
Ingredient found in: French fries, cake mixes, fried chicken, microwave popcorn
2) BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole)
BHA can often be found in foods that are able to maintain a long shelf life as the ingredient helps food taste better for a longer amount of time. Studies have shown that BHA can cause cancer in rats, mice and hamsters. Because the cancer occurred in the forestomach, which is an organ humans don’t have, the FDA has not yet banned BHA, according to a Men’s Health article.
Ingredient found in: Butter, cereals including Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles, potato chips
High-fructose corn syrup has been connected to several health issues including obesity, diabetes, hypertension and weight gain. Although high-fructose corn syrup and table sugar are similar in their chemical makeup, the human body handles both ingredients differently, a Mayo Clinic article said.
Ingredient found in: Soda, salad dressing, sauces, fruit-flavored drinks
4) Food Dyes/Food Colorings
Many processed foods rely on food dyes and colorings to mask their original bland color. Studies show that the artificial colorings can be linked to cancer and other serious diseases. Food dyes and colorings can be spotted on nutrition labels by the name of a color followed by a number.
Ingredient found in: Jell-O, candies including M&M’s and Skittles, soda, frosting, cereal
5) Sodium Nitrate and Sodium Nitrite