You may hear the word “natural” and think that it must be healthy, after-all, it is “natural”. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Some ingredients are added to processed foods as well as vitamins and minerals as binders, colours, excipients, fillers, flavors and sweeteners. Sometimes these natural ingredients can cause problems in the long run and may even lead to emergency situations for some people.
Recently Yahoo! published a list of the worst natural ingredients that has created a lot of buzz. Let’s take a closer look at some of the worst natural ingredients that they mentioned.
Carrageenan is derived from various red algae and seaweeds and is typically used for treatment of coughs, bronchitis, tuberculosis and intestinal problems although further research is warranted to determine if it is an effective treatment for these conditions. Carrageenan is also used as a binder, thickening agent or as a stabilizer in medications, foods and toothpaste. It is also found in some weight loss products. According to Yahoo!, carrageenan has been linked to inflammation which can lead to chronic diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and arteriosclerosis. These diseases can all lead to visits to the emergency department if the condition flares up.
Palm oil is a saturated fat and is found in many processed foods. Pal oil has become a substitute for partially hydrogenated oils (trans-fat oil); however, research has found that it may pose many of the same risk factors of trans-fat oil. Palm oil can raise LDL cholesterol levels which can lead to heart disease. Heart disease can lead to emergency conditions such as heart attack and stroke.
While the name makes it sound like juice, evaporated cane juice are actually dried crystals that remain after raw sugar cane has been boiled. Further processing of these crystals removes most of the vitamins and minerals that existed in the raw cane sugar. It is important to remember that evaporated cane juice is a sugar and doesn’t provide good nutritional value. Diets that are high in sugar can lead to obesity which can increase the risk of diabetes, cancer and/or heart disease. All of these conditions can lead to emergency situations that increase your risk of mortality.
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High Fructose Corn Syrup
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is commonly used in sodas and fruit drinks. Over the years, the use of HFCS in various products has increased. Obesity levels in North America have also increased in recent years. While a direct correlation between HFCS and obesity has not been established, HFCS is another fancy name for sugar so high consumption may lead to obesity. Avoiding products that contain this sweetener is advisable as diets high in sugar increase your risk of diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
If you want to avoid the development of chronic diseases and potential visits to your local emergency department you may way to steer clear of the above mentioned natural ingredients that are commonly added to various products. To protect yourself from emergency situations associated with chronic conditions, eating a balanced diet consisting of fruits and veggies and lean meats while avoiding processed foods is a great first step. The next step is learning how to read food and product labels correctly. If you’re unsure of the ingredients, do your research before purchasing the product.
If you’re purchasing vitamins and minerals be sure to buy from a reputable company that stands behind their products. Reading the labels to check for dangerous ingredients before you buy vitamins and minerals is also important to protect your health. Just because the active ingredient in the supplement is natural, it doesn’t mean that dangerous additives haven’t been added to the supplement. Do your research before investing in supplements and speak to a nutritionist or dietician if you’re overwhelmed with all of the choices available.