The Hidden Ingredients in Modern Foods: The Dangers of Seed Oils, Artificial Sweeteners, and MSG
We know that there are foods that contain things that just aren’t good for us, but at what point do we need to start really paying attention to make sure we aren’t destroying the only body we probably will ever get in this life? Some would say: always, all the time! Which maybe should be the goal, but what i aim to do here is educate and propagate information that can help us with our discernment overall, because the reality is we won’t be perfect in this life. If we can increase our awareness, that is ultimately what i think gives us the best shot at optimizing our health!
Modern food is often filled with additives and ingredients that were not part of our ancestral diets. Many of these ingredients, such as seed oils, artificial sweeteners, and monosodium glutamate (MSG), have been linked to a range of health problems. In this article, we’ll explore the potential dangers of these ingredients, the reasons for their widespread use, and how much it takes to reach dangerous levels.
The Dangers of Seed Oils:
Seed oils, such as canola oil, soybean oil, and corn oil, are commonly used in processed foods and cooking. However, research suggests that these oils may be harmful to our health. One study published in the BMJ found that replacing saturated fats with seed oils did not reduce the risk of heart disease, and may even increase it. Additionally, seed oils have a high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, which has been linked to inflammation and other health problems.
According to Dr. Cate Shanahan, author of “Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food,” “The oils that people are using the most are the ones that are the most harmful: corn, soybean, and canola oil.” She suggests that these oils may contribute to chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
All seed oils have the potential to be harmful to humans, especially when consumed in excess. However, some seed oils may be more harmful than others due to their high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.
For example, soybean oil and corn oil are commonly used in processed foods and have a high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, which has been linked to inflammation and other health problems. A study published in the journal Nutrients found that consuming high amounts of soybean oil may increase the risk of obesity, insulin resistance, and fatty liver disease.
Canola oil, while lower in omega-6 fatty acids, may still be harmful in excess. A study published in the journal Diabetes found that consuming a diet high in canola oil may lead to worsened glycemic control and increased insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes.
The Dangers of Artificial Sweeteners:
Artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, saccharin, and Erythritol, are commonly used in diet products and sugar-free foods. While they may seem like a healthier alternative to sugar, research suggests that they may actually be harmful to our health.
One study published in the journal Nature found that artificial sweeteners may contribute to obesity and other health problems by altering the gut microbiome. Additionally, a review published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health found that artificial sweeteners may be linked to cancer.
According to Dr. Mark Hyman, author of “Food: What the Heck Should I Eat?,” “artificial sweeteners trick the body into thinking it’s consuming sugar, which can lead to insulin resistance and other metabolic problems.” He suggests that natural sweeteners, such as stevia and honey, may be healthier alternatives.
It’s difficult to say which artificial sweetener is the worst for humans, as different sweeteners have different potential health effects and may affect individuals differently. However, some studies have suggested that aspartame may be one of the more problematic artificial sweeteners.
For example, a review published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that aspartame may be linked to headaches and other neurological problems, as well as metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity. Additionally, some studies have suggested that aspartame may be linked to an increased risk of certain cancers, although this link is not well-established.
The Dangers of MSG:
We have all had MSG. MSG, a flavor enhancer, is commonly used in processed foods, from chips and soups to frozen dinners and fast food. While it has been deemed safe by the FDA, some research suggests that it may have negative health effects.
According to a review published in the Journal of Headache and Pain, “MSG has been implicated in a variety of symptoms, including headaches, flushing, sweating, palpitations, nausea, and vomiting.”
Additionally, a study published in the journal Obesity found that MSG may contribute to obesity and other health problems by altering the gut microbiome.
The exact mechanism behind why MSG may make people feel hungry is not fully understood, but there are a few theories.
One theory is that MSG may enhance the taste of food, making it more appealing and causing people to eat more. Additionally, some studies have suggested that MSG may stimulate the release of the hunger hormone ghrelin, which could increase appetite and lead to overeating.
Another theory is that MSG may disrupt the regulation of glucose in the body, which can affect hunger levels. A study published in the journal Obesity found that MSG may contribute to insulin resistance, which can lead to increased hunger and overeating.
While more research is needed to fully understand the potential dangers of MSG, it’s important to limit intake of processed foods and focus on whole foods that provide essential nutrients.
The Reasons for Widespread Use:
Seed oils, artificial sweeteners, and MSG are often used in modern foods because they are cheap and readily available. Additionally, they can increase the shelf life of processed foods and improve their taste. Makes sense, right? We can start to get a picture of how we ended up here at a baseline…in future articles we will go over deeper details behind the marketing tactics that got us here!
According to Dr. Cate Shanahan, “Seed oils are cheap, they’re shelf-stable, they have a neutral flavor, and they work well in processed foods. But we’ve reached a saturation point where we’re consuming them in amounts that are not good for us.”
Similarly, artificial sweeteners and MSG are used in many products because they can provide the taste and flavor of sugar and salt without the negative health effects. However, as we’ve seen, they may come with their own set of health problems. This has been a slow push to get us here over the last 50 years…and now we know exactly how unhealthy the procedures of some of these companies have been while this information has continued to come out for the last 25 years.
How Much is Too Much?
The amount of seed oils, artificial sweeteners, and MSG that is considered safe to consume varies depending on individual tolerance and intake levels. However, it’s important to limit intake of these ingredients and focus on whole foods that provide essential nutrients and healthy fats. Making this a habit and building on it can go a very long way.
According to Dr. Mark Hyman, “There’s no amount of seed oils, artificial sweeteners, or MSG that is good for you. If you can avoid them altogether, that’s the best thing you can do for your health.” Yikes! That’s a pretty direct thing to say and it’s clear scientists like Mark think these things are beyond unhealthy, it seems he is implying these things destroy our system and should absolutely be avoided.
Seed oils, artificial sweeteners, and MSG are commonly used in modern foods, but they may come with a range of health problems. While more research is needed to fully understand the potential dangers of these ingredients, it’s important to limit intake of processed foods and focus on whole foods that provide essential nutrients and healthy fats. By doing so, we can improve our overall health and reduce our risk of chronic diseases. Again the message I want to stress is overall awareness when making nutrition decisions…most of what we do is going to be a psychological response dictated by our hormones, but
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