Published By: Rinks

5 ingredients in food labels that you need to watch out for other than trans-fat and added sugar

Let us learn about some hidden ingredients in food labels that we need to watch out for to maintain a healthier diet.

When it comes to maintaining a healthy diet, it’s essential to scrutinise food labels beyond the usual suspects. Many other ingredients, often hidden or listed under unfamiliar names, can have adverse effects on your health. Here are some of those ingredients to watch out for to make more informed and healthier choices. Read on!

High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

High-fructose corn syrup is a common sweetener found in many processed foods and beverages, from sodas to salad dressings. While it’s similar to table sugar, HFCS has been linked to several health issues. The body metabolises fructose differently than glucose, which can lead to increased fat production in the liver and contribute to metabolic disorders. To reduce your intake, avoid products with HFCS listed among the first few ingredients and opt for natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup when possible.

Sodium Nitrate and Nitrite

Sodium nitrate and nitrite are preservatives commonly used in processed foods to extend shelf life and enhance colour. While they help prevent bacterial growth, these compounds can form nitrosamines in the body. Look for nitrate-free or nitrite-free labels, or choose fresh, unprocessed food to minimise your exposure.

Artificial Food Colourings

Artificial food colourings, such as Red 40, Yellow 5, and Blue 1, are synthetic dyes used to enhance the appearance of foods and beverages. These additives have been associated with various health concerns. Some studies suggest a link between artificial colourings and behavioural issues. To avoid these additives, check food labels for any mention of synthetic dyes and choose products with natural colourings derived from fruits and vegetables.

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

Monosodium glutamate is a flavour enhancer commonly found in processed foods, soups, snacks, and restaurant meals. While the FDA considers MSG to be generally recognized as safe (GRAS), some people may experience adverse reactions. Look for labels that state "no MSG" or "MSG-free," and be cautious of ingredients like hydrolysed vegetable protein and autolyzed yeast extract, which can contain naturally occurring MSG.

Partially Hydrogenated Oils

Though the FDA has taken steps to phase out partially hydrogenated oils, the primary source of artificial trans fats, they can still be found in some processed foods. These oils are used to increase shelf life and improve texture but are harmful to heart health. Even if a product claims to have "0 grams of trans fat," it can still contain up to 0.5 grams per serving. To avoid trans fats, check the ingredient list for partially hydrogenated oils and steer clear of those products.

Reading food labels carefully is crucial for making healthier dietary choices. While trans-fat and added sugar are well-known culprits, other ingredients can also negatively impact your health. By being vigilant and opting for products free of these harmful additives, you can better manage your diet and protect your overall well-being.