Watch Out For These Ingredients!

When it comes to food ingredients, it’s difficult to simply divide them all into “good” or “bad” categories. That said, there are some ingredients that are definitely worse for you than others. 

Use this guide to learn which ingredients are the ones I consider to be the “worst offenders.” 




High fructose corn syrup is a blend of both glucose and fructose. This is a cheaper way to sweeten processed foods because it has a slightly sweeter taste than a similar dose of sucrose (table sugar). The fructose content can vary between 42-55% in liquid solutions with some more forms of HFCS that have been found in hard candies being up to 90% fructose. Fructose (a carb) is broken down in the liver to create fat. This process is called lipogenesis. When you consume high levels of HFCS and give the liver enough fructose,  tiny fat droplets begin to accumulate in liver cells which builds up and is called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. (Note: Don’t you dare think about eliminating fruit! Fruit is good for you and is a minor source of fructose for most people. The big sources are refined sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.)

The Intent that I hate (A.K.A. The Biggest Crime): trying to make fireworks go off in your brain by making something highly palatable in a way that is never possible to achieve or find in nature (think cave man days). I point this out because our brains are not equipped to handle making a sound decision when it’s being highjacked.


2. Monosodium Glutamic Acid (MSG) 


Monosodium glutamate is a processed “flavor enhancer.” While glutamates are present in some natural foods, such as meat, tomatoes, and mushrooms, the ones used by our processed-foods industry go through a chemical process in which glutamic acid is isolated, and then, bound to a sodium molecule and purified into a white powder that is added to foods as a flavor enhancer. Look up a list of sneaky names for MSG.

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The Intent that I hate: trying to make fireworks go off in your brain again by making something extremely palatable. We are hard wired to hunt for that “umami” meaty flavor because we needed meat to survive and companies love manipulating that instinctual drive to hunt for that.




Besides the environmental concerns with how palm oil  is being sourced, when regular fat like palm fruit oil is blasted with hydrogen it into a semi-solid which transforms into a trans fat. THIS is what keeps those processed foods good to go on those supermarket shelves for years. 

FUN FACT:  Trans fat raises your “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and lowers your “good” HDL.




These are also trans fats that often fly under the radar on the nutrition labels with those FDA loopholes remember products can’t contain more than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving but they get around this by writing 0 and choosing a small serving size. I’m sure potentially clogging your arteries isn’t something your into but when you have 2-3 of these small servings throughout your day regularly it adds up!

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How do you extend shelf life? Strip a beautiful whole grain of all its nutrients and then add synthetic ones back in. In this process both the bran and germ are removed which, in return, eliminates all the fiber, vitamins, and minerals. This makes white flour very easy to digest. Foods that digest easily send your blood sugar and insulin sky high, which can result in health issues on it own.

Why I limit: When trying to maintain a caloric deficit, I’m more interested in controlling hunger levels. You will be hungry soon after enjoying a food with enriched or non whole grain flour because you are cutting out all the slow digesting fiber that was stripped away. Fun Fact: this is why you have probably heard “brown bread is better than white bread when dieting” being repeated for years.




This is where I really like to implement the “dose matters” rule where you really need to evaluate your “return on your investment” here. If having 1-2 servings of these keep you eating clean the rest of the day DO IT.  Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal), saccharin (Sweet’N Low, SugarTwin), and sucralose (Splenda) are a couple to name a few.

Some studies say that artificial sweeteners can trick the brain into forgetting that sweetness means extra calories, which in return can make people overeat sweets. I personally stick to Stevia drops and dont freak out if there is a little sucralose lets say in a BCAA (branch chain amino acid) supplement that helps me finish a whole gallon of water daily. In that case my #ReturnOnInvestment evaluation shows its well worth it for me.



BHA or butylated hydroxyanisole is a synthetic antioxidant that is used to prevent fats in foods from going rancid and as a defoaming agent for yeast.

BHT or butylated hydroxytoluene also stabilizes fats and is used to retain food smell, color and flavor.




These are salts which serve as preservatives that are found in many processed meats items. They also are known to provide that red or pink color processed meats often have.

The Intent that I hate: Make foods look fresher and more appealing than they actually are so you the consumer buy and eat them.

8. blue, green, red, and yellow


The artificial colors blue 1 and 2, green 3, red 3, and yellow 6 have been linked to many health risks.  These artificial colors are usually made from a good dose of chemicals derived from petroleum (a liquid mixture of hydrocarbons that is present in certain rock strata and can be extracted and refined to produce fuels including gasoline, kerosene, and diesel oil).

The Intent that I hate: Make foods look more fun and appealing so it looks more exciting and palatable (mind trick that kids usually fall for).

Out of these two bowls which one would you think a child would be more attracted to?

(Left: natural, Right: artificial colors)

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