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Dangerous Chemicals in Fast Food

10aakkBy: Nadia Haris

With your busy lifestyle and constant demands on your time, it may seem easy to pull into your local fast food restaurant for a quick meal on-the-go. However, fast foods are rich in fat and sodium that can lead to health problems. The University of Maryland Medical Center warns that they also contain high amounts of chemicals that add flavor, color and texture and help to keep them fresh longer. The chemicals are added when these foods are processed, packaged and prepared. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that although food additives are considered safe in minimal amounts, eating too much fast food and other foods that contain these chemicals can lead to harmful effects.

Trans Fats

You may have noticed that fries from fast food chains are typically crisp and have a characteristic taste and texture. This is because they are usually fried in trans fats, which are also used in commercially prepared doughnuts, cookies, chicken nuggets, pizza and other foods. Trans fat is also called partially hydrogenated oil because it is produced by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil, which gives it a longer shelf-life, according to MayoClinic.com. Fast food restaurants use trans fats because they keep foods fresh longer and give them a less greasy feel. However, the American Heart Association warns that trans fats can lead to diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. 

Nitrite Salts

Fast foods keep their fresh taste, smell and color longer because they contain added chemicals, such as nitrite salts, that help to preserve them. Nitrite salts are used in processed meat, bacon, corned beef, smoked fish, ham and sausages. Although this chemical and other preservatives help to prevent bacterial contamination such as botulism, they can also cause harmful effects. Research published in the “International Journal of Cancer” reports that people who eat processed meats and other foods with these preservative are more likely to develop stomach cancers. The American Cancer Society warns that eating food preservatives can also increase your risk of cancers in the digestive tract.

Saccharin

Fast foods are typically super-sized with your choice of a large sugary soft drink. These beverages as well as many fruit juices, jellies, donuts, canned fruits and other foods contain an artificial sweetener called saccharin. The Center for Science in the Public Interest reviewed animal studies that showed that consuming saccharin may increase the risk of cancers of the bladder, ovaries, uterus, blood vessels and skin. Although this study was carried out on animals, saccharin may have similar harmful effects on people.

Butter Flavor

Most fast food restaurants and movie theaters have a familiar aroma of butter. This is usually due to a buttered-flavored chemical called diacetyl, which is also found in microwave popcorn, margarine, snack foods, baked goods and candies, giving them an appetizing smell and buttery taste. However, The American Chemical Society reports that diacetyl may be associated with harmful effects on the lungs and changes in the brain that can increase your risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

Food Coloring

The brightly colored pies, candies, ice cream, sundae syrup, soft drinks, cheeses, sandwich meats and sausages sold at many fast food outlets contain chemical food dyes and coloring agents. These chemicals give them long-lasting color that makes these foods appear more appealing and appetizing. A review of studies published in the “International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health” reports that many of these chemicals are byproducts of coal tar and other chemicals that can increase the risk of certain cancers.

 

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The Ingredient in Your Drink that Could Be Making You Overeat

yuckySODAby Lexi Petronis,

We know that sugary beverages pack a lot of calories into their sweet little containers (they’ve taken a lot of heat in the obesity debate). But now the results of a new study are showing that they may also trick our brains into thinking that we’re hungry!

Actually, it’s the fructose in sugar-sweetened drinks that researchers say affect the brain region that regulates appetite. The researchers–who point out that the study does not show that fructose causes obesity–say that participants who drank a cherry-flavored drink with fructose in it experienced a spike in their hypothalamus. The participants who drank the same beverage made with glucose didn’t have the spike.

The conclusion: high-fructose corn syrup and other forms of fructose might actually help lead us to overeat more than glucose does. (Plain table sugar contains both glucose and fructose.) Which means, say the experts, that it’s generally a good idea to cook your own food at home and limit processed foods and drinks that have fructose or high-fructose corn syrup. It doesn’t mean you can’t ever have them–just keep how often (and how much) you have them in check!

Do you try to avoid fructose? What about sugary drinks in general?

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10 Ways to Save Money on Groceries and Food

1. We won’t ask you to set aside your Saturday nights for coupon clipping, but most major supermarket chains will list their weekly sales online, so log on before you do your food shopping. Tweak your menu and shopping list according to what’s on sale, or compare the sales at a few different stores, if you have more than one nearby to choose from. 

2. Ordering takeout? If you’re ordering from a major chain like Domino’s, look up promo and coupon codes. Sites like RetailMeNot.com even sort coupon codes by their success rate, as reported by customers on the site.  

3. Replace meat with an extra serving of greens to save some green – go vegetarian for a few meals every week. Stock up on your favorite veggies, and experiment with different recipes and seasonings. 

4. A slow cooker can be the most useful kitchen tool for those short on money and time. Throw in ingredients in the morning, and by the time you come home for dinner, you’ll have meal ready to eat plus extra portions to freeze for days you don’t feel like cooking and can’t afford to eat out. 

5. Trim your waistline while you pad your wallet – order an appetizer as your main course when you go out to eat. The portion will still likely be more than enough to satisfy, and once you get in the habit, the calories and cash you’ll save will really add up. 

6. For meals you have every day, like your breakfast yogurt and granola or favorite sandwich for lunch, don’t buy prepackaged meals. Make it yourself. Nutrition expert and Registered Dietitian Sharon Richter suggests making sure you buy foods that are in season – they’re less expensive and taste better. 

7. Sign up for your grocery store’s savings card. In some stores, discount prices and sales are only offered to cardholders, so don’t lose out – sign up for a savings card and you could be saving a lot of money each time you shop. 

8. Buy in bulk – but choose carefully so you don’t up throwing away money. Sales are a great time to stock up on basics like pasta and cereal, but rein in the impulse to buy ten cartons of yogurt just because they’re buy-one-get-one-free. 

9. Save cash and change up your routine by going out for lunch instead of dinner once in a while. Lunch special prices are cheaper than dinner prices, so meet up with your guy for a midday catch-up, or call your friends for a late lunch on the weekend instead of meeting for dinner. 

10. If you make frequent small trips to the store to stock up on things like bread and break in between your bigger shopping days, resist the urge to buy more than you can chew by substituting a basket for a grocery cart. You’ll be forced to pick and choose what you really need and put down impulse buys. 

 

 

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Food Investigations – Pharmaburger

“Pharmaburger” reveals a dangerous agenda to turn fast food restaurants into pharmacies by handing out prescription medications for free at fast food restaurants. Created by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger.

 

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The Ten Worst Foods To Eat

Quite simply, you really are what you eat, but the standard American diet leaves plenty of nutrients lacking … and gives you an excess of unhealthy fats, sodium, preservatives and chemical additives.

Every day, 7 percent of the U.S. population visits a McDonald’s, and 20-25 percent eat fast food of some kind, says Steven Gortmaker, professor of society, human development, and health at the Harvard School of Public Health in Harvard Magazine. As for children, 30 percent between the ages of 4 and 19 eat fast food on any given day.

When Morgan Spurlock, the mastermind behind the film Super Size Me, ate only McDonald’s for 30 days straight, his body fell apart and he gained 25 pounds!

“My body just basically falls apart over the course of this diet,” Spurlock told Newsweek. “I start to get tired, I start to get headaches; my liver basically starts to fill up with fat because there’s so much fat and sugar in this food. My blood sugar skyrockets, my cholesterol goes up off the charts, my blood pressure becomes completely unmanageable. The doctors were like, ‘You have to stop.’”

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Americans get processed food not only from fast-food restaurants but also from their neighborhood grocery stores. As it stands, about 90 percent of the money that Americans spend on food is used to buy — that’s right — processed foods.

So you have a choice to make when you eat. You can eat foods that will nourish your body, give you energy, and keep you healthy, or you can choose those that may lead to chronic disease, fatigue and weight gain.

Eating healthy will become obvious if you truly listen to your body. One hour after eating how do you feel? Time it and ask yourself. Do you feel better with more energy or worse one hour after eating or drinking something? If worse, then stop ingesting what makes you feel bad instead of what will make you feel better or even great!

Life’s too short to not feel the best you can and help your body be the healthiest and strongest it can be.

Here we’ve detailed the 10 worst food choices in American’s diets so that this can help you make the best food choices for your health.

  1. Pork Scratchings Heavy and hard, we are talking fatty pig skin deep fried and then doused in salt. Also, if you are lucky you might even get one sporting a few hairs; pig hair is usually removed by quickly burning the skin before it is cut into pieces and cooked in the hot fat. Plus they are not great for your teeth either; we couldn’t get the stats on how many dental injuries have been inflicted by eating these suckers but we are guessing it’s pretty high.
  2. Fried Desserts Fried desserts feature high up on the list of worst foods to eat as essentially you are dipping something in batter that is already high in sugar and fat, and then deep frying it. And don’t be fooled by pineapple and banana fritters either, they are no better because they are fruit, the layer of batter and the fact they are swimming in sugary syrup make them no go dishes too.
  3. Cheesy Nacho Chips, Chips or fries could feature as a bad food on their own, but, as you know we are all about moderation here at and seriously cutting chips from your life totally would be a hard move.  But taking a plate of chips and layering them in cheese, well, that takes them up a notch in the bad food stakes. Cheese typically contains over 10 times as much saturated fat as fish and white meat and coupled with deep fried carbs, a serving of cheesy chips are a big bad no no.
  4. Pop and Soda Drinks – yeah they’re bad, mainly because they pack massive amounts of calories even in  small quantities, so you are adding to your daily calorie quota and getting little nutritional value in return.  Studies have also linked fizzy drink consumption to osteoporosis, tooth decay and heart disease. And diet drinks are not recommended either, granted they are lower in calories but as they contribute to dental erosion (the bubbles in the drink are acidic) they are a no go as well.
  5. Hydrogenated fats – These are mostly man-made fats that are used in bakery items and stick margarine. Studies show that it isn’t so much how much fat there is in your diet that causes problems, as what kind of fat, and hydrogenated fats are the worst. Avoid buying cookies, crackers, baked goods or anything else that has hydrogenated oil on the ingredient list. Fortunately, the FDA now requires that food manufactures identify the amount of hydrogenated fats in their products—look for trans fats on the nutrition panel.
  6. Liquid Meals Okay, they aren’t inherently bad for you, but liquid meals or meal-replacement drinks do keep you from eating proper food. You need to make sure you eat eating whole, natural foods to ensure you gain all your nutrients. Meal replacements maybe okay for people who are too ill to eat, but don’t let them replace the real foods in your diet.
     
  7.  Processed Meats These are also sometimes referred to as ‘mystery meats’ because it’s ambiguous as to what some of them actually contain. But you can be assured that if it comes from a can and is kind of unrecognisable – it’s not going to be great for your body. Try to steer clear of sausages and salamis too, these food stuffs are generally all the unwanted bits churned up with fat and salt, we are talking heads, knees and toes (plus a few other less-desirable bits).
  8. Chicken Nuggets First off, chicken nuggets that are not made from fillets are the real bad guys. Again it’s similar to the sausages situation, all the leftover carcass bits mixed up with sawdust-type stuff to bulk out the meat so manufacturers can crank out more portions.  But it’s when these little nuggets are deep fried that really boosts their ‘worst-food’ status and it’s all to do with the size. Smaller fried items, i.e. nuggets absorb more fat that larger pieces of fried goods, so a portion of nuggets will pack way more fat that a single larger fried piece. So if you want fried chicken – go for a big breast.
  9. Doughnuts If there is one food that epitomises the 21st century junk food it’s the doughnut. Coated, filled, glazed, sugared, jam crammed or plain old ring they are not great for your body.  And it’s not only the refined flour, refined sugar and then the frying in the refined oil that makes them bad for you. Doughnuts will upset blood-sugar balance, and give a quick high followed by a crash and burn low, then you guessed it,  you’re hungry again and reaching for another one – that’s why they generally come in bags of 10.
  10. Canned Soups Now, soups don’t seem to be one of the bad boys and in comparison to some of the above, and they probably can sit quite comfy in the middle of the bad-food scale, but it’s their salt-packing stealth that gets them into this list. Soups mainly sport a healthy identity; wholesome, warming and good for you. The reality is many canned varieties are super-high in salt, so if you must have soup, avoid the canned ones or make your own.  

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