Food is a loaded topic for many of us. It may even be a topic that cannot be talked about in your home.

Foods that are thought of as virtuous seem to change from day to day. Decisions about food seem to get more complicated all the time.

It may be obvious to you that food items that grow on trees, bushes, and in the ground on organic farms are always good choices, but if you shop in any grocery store in America today, those kind of foods are few and far between compared to the processed, boxed, canned and bagged foods that fill 90% of the store shelves. If you feel overwhelmed by what kind of foods you should be eating, I can tell you that there are 5 major food categories you should never eat again, and by eliminating them, you will reduce from your kitchen most of the worst offenders at the grocery store. Does that sound helpful to you? Good! Let’s simplify your nutrition decisions.

junk foods#1 High Fructose Corn Syrup

HFCS has been shown to damage immune function, speed up the aging process, and contribute to weight gain above and beyond the way plain sugar damages your body. The folks who profit from the use of HFCS have invested a lot of money…multiple millions…to purchase advertising that leads consumers to believe that their product is no different than table sugar. Do not believe it! Found in everything from crackers to bread, chips, yogurt and sauces, I am amazed at how many product brands still contain HFCS. Please read your labels and do not buy packaged foods that contain it.

#2 Trans Fats

foodsFound in hydrogenated oil or partially hydrogenated oil, this widely known toxin is still found in cookies, cakes, frozen food, crackers and chips. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, trans fats cause about 50,000 premature heart attack deaths every year! Eating trans fats will also increase your risk for cancer, obesity, depression, asthma, and osteoporosis. It looks like the U.S. government is finally taking steps to eliminate the use of trans fats in our food supply, and I am happy to say that they must be labeled directly. When you read on the processed food package that a food item contains ‘no trans fats’ or is ‘trans fat free’, please be aware that many foods have always been trans-fat free: food companies are using this trickery to make you think that their particular food item is somehow healthy, and they use this Fake Claim to provide what is known as the ‘Halo Effect’, meaning that some consumers think any food labeled trans-fat free is a good item for them to eat. Please don’t be fooled by this and read your labels completely.

#3 MSG

Monosodium Glutamate is lurking around many a meal in America, not just at your favorite take-out Chinese food place! It’s usually disguised under other names like: yeast extract, aurolyzed yeast extract, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, carrageenan, sodium caseinate, and few other tricky ones like ‘natural flavoring’. Natural flavoring doesn’t always mean MSG, but is so often does, you need to be aware of this trick. It is very common to find MSG in soups, sauces, crackers and your favorite flavored chips. Studies show that mice injected with MSG increased their food intake by more than 40%.  MSG is a known obesogen (causes obesity) and studies have shown it to be a neurotoxin, or toxic to our nervous system.

Not only does hydrolyzed vegetable protein (one of the names MSG is disguised as) contain three very powerful brain cell toxins – glutamate, aspartate and cysteic acid – but it also contains several known carcinogens. Incredibly, the FDA does not regulate the amount of carcinogens allowed in hydrolyzed vegetable protein or the amount of hydrolyzed vegetable protein allowed to be added to food products. This substance poses an even greater danger than MSG itself. Russell Blaylock, MD. Excitotoxins, the Taste that Kills.

#4 Artificial Colorings and Flavors

foodsIn their 58-page report, Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks, the Center for science in the Public Interest (CSPI) revealed that nine of the food dyes currently approved for use in the U.S. are linked to health issues ranging from cancer and hyperactivity to allergy-like reactions – and these results were from studies conducted by the chemical industry itself. For instance, Red Dye #40, which is the most widely used food dye, may accelerate the appearance of immune system tumors, while also triggering hyperactivity in children. Blue Dye #2, used in candy, beverages, pet foods, and more, has been linked to brain tumors. Yellow Dye #5, used in baked goods, candy, cereal and more, may not only be contaminated with several cancer-causing chemicals, but it’s also linked to hyperactivity, hypersensitivity and other behavioral effects in children. These dyes are in products common in many households with children: Gatorade, soda, frozen treats, flavored chips, fruit snacks, brand name cereals, popular snack crackers, and many lunch items packaged for convenient use in a child’s sack lunch at school.

#5 Genetically Modified Organisms

GMOs are plants or animals that have had their DNA modified by science. In the U.S., the majority of the corn, wheat, soybean, cotton and canola crops grown are now genetically modified, and one or more of these food items can be found in nearly every processed food available today. GMOs have not been proven safe and some studies show GMOs to decrease immunity to diseases in plants as well as in humans. They may also cause resistance to antibiotics and could have a negative impact on genetic function. Plants that are genetically modified to be resistant to disease, pesticides, and insecticides could diminish the need to use these strong chemicals in the field. Conversely, the crop builds up resistance and therefore require even larger amounts of chemicals than before. For a current list of GMO foods, you can visit The Environmental Working Group (EWG) at http://www.ewg.org.

The five foods you should never eat are presented here as larger categories or types of foods. Why have I not named five specific foods like soybeans or Cheerios? Every person has a unique physical response to individual foods, and in fact, the food that makes me feel great might give you a stomach ache! I encourage you to have a conversation with your friends or family about foods that have well-documented disease-producing impacts on everybody. The more we talk about all of this, the easier it will be to make good decisions about our food. Coach Georgianne