April Focus: Preservatives and Fake Flavors in Food!
Cheap Preservatives and Junk Sugar are everywhere. Don’t be fooled this April!
Just because it’s vegan, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. We’ve heard that plenty of times, but vegan or not, there’s plenty of danger lurking behind many of the wrappers, bags, and boxes we find in our shopping carts. Most of us at some point depend on processed foods for on the go nourishment to keep up with the pace of our world. Get to know these 4 preservatives and artificial sweeteners to start steering clear of this Spring!
1. “Natural Flavors.”
The quotes aren’t just there for sarcasm. “Natural” flavors are among the most deceptive ingredients found on the market. There are a few reasons why “natural” flavors are the sneakiest of the bad ingredients. The first is the name, which hints that this flavor is derived directly from nature, and technically this is true. When we think natural, however, we don’t think of a clear liquid chemical extraction removed from an ambiguous organic source. The jury is still out regarding the long term health impact of “natural” flavors, but what’s not unsettled is the shady nature of how these ingredients are found. In the most extreme circumstances, some berry flavors are drawn from castoreum, an ingredient found in a beaver’s anal gland.
Considering “natural” flavors can include up to 100 ingredients and may even include animal sources, staying away from these poorly named chemicals makes too much sense to us.
2. High Fructose Corn Syrup
One of the most commonly found and destructive sweeteners found in our food. It’s everywhere. Not only is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS for short) in a massive quantity of available shelf-stable foods, its impact is felt well beyond just our bodies. Fructose is a low quality, simple sugar that has a direct correlation to harmful weight gain and diabetes. It is one of the centerpiece ingredients behind the public health epidemics that plague the United States and plays a major part in the macroeconomics of our national farming industry. Much of our corn produced by mandate is converted into high fructose corn syrup, and many farmers are all but forced to plant for this purpose. Avoid at all costs!
3. Hydrogenated Oils
Food companies began using hydrogenated oils to cut costs and increase shelf life. Most of the time, we get what we pay for. If preservatives can keep a once organic product alive for years on end, just imagine what is happening to your digestive tract! Rarely if ever does a major food company cut costs while making a superior product. Hydrogenated oils are a byproduct of a process that adds hydrogen to liquid unsaturated fat in order to render it solid. During this process, trans fat is created. Trans fat is one of the most harmful food additives and the nastiest of preservatives. Trans fat clogs arteries, increase bad cholesterol and decrease the good. While fully hydrogenated oils are low in trans fats, they are high in saturated fat. Regardless, a chemically processed fat is rarely a good choice to include in your diet.
4. Artificial Sweeteners
A central part of Planet Protein’s mantra. Sometimes it’s more important to find out what’s not in your food than what’s actually in it. Sugars are at the center of much of the food deception in the United States, with many consumers not distinguishing between organic, clean sugars and the refined variety. Despite many of these same diners immediately knowing the difference between fats and other macros, sugars tend to be at the heart of most misinformation.
To compensate, many of these concerned eaters choose aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin rather than organic sugars or even stevia. These can often have an even worse impact on digestion, and at worst function as a laxative. Many people suffer from major stomach aches tied to these indigestible chemicals.
Where to turn?
If you’ve found ways to avoid these four ingredients (there are more, of course) then you’re off to a flying start! Sugar alcohols, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated oils in particular are among the worst ingredients you can find in your food. A big part of why Planet Protein was founded was to provide another vegan protein bar that satisfied your cravings without adding bad ingredients to your diet. Whether you shop with us or not, be safe at your grocery store and love your body!