Friday, March 19, 2010

Do those Twinkies hurt the earth?

We all know that some ingredients in our food are less than healthy. For example:

Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Oils create trans fats which increase LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood and decrease HDL (good) cholesterol. They have been linked to heart disease, strokes, and contribute to diabetes. A 2% increase in calories from trans fats can result in a 23% increase in the risk for heart disease.

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) has been linked to insulin and leptin resistance. Insulin resistance is when your body doesn’t use the sugars that you eat correctly. Leptin resistance is when your body no longer recognizes when it is full. HFCS has been linked to Diabetes and Obesity.

Inorganic phosphates, chemical additives designed to improve the texture of foods such as meats, cheeses, beverages and bakery goods, have been linked to lung cancer.

The list could go on and on! Artificial ingredients pose potential health risks. That, in itself, is enough to steer clear of them. But wait ... there's more ...

These ingredients, found in most processed foods, hurt the environment as well. Yes, processed foods require a lot of natural resources to make them attractive and convenient ... but the problem we're talking about today is the danger to the environment when these artificial ingredients end up in our landfills and leach into the soil and waterways. What happens when animals ingest these chemical additives?

Higher than normal levels of phosphates can make aquatic systems so productive that they choke themselves out. Hydrogenated & partially hydrogenated oils have been known to cause emphysema, respiratory distress, anemia, constipation, irritability, and blindness in animals. Mice who have ingested high fructose corn syrup have shown reproduction problems and heart disease.

The fact is that artificial ingredients hurt everything ... our health, the environment and everything that lives.

So ... today's tip is easy ... eat whole foods ... foods which are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed and refined as little as possible before being consumed. Eat fruits, vegetables and foods as close to their natural form as possible. Shop the perimeter of the supermarket rather than the center (most processed foods are located in the center of the store).

We no longer have the luxury of making our food choices based simply on our health ... we now must consider the environment and all living creatures when we decide between processed foods and whole foods.

As always ... I would love to hear from you!


  1. Excellent advice!

    It wasn't the greatest book ever, but _Twinkie, Deconstructed_ had a lot of eye opening info about where all the processed food ingredients come from.

    We've been without water for a week now, and I've had to go back into the center of the supermarket to buy "convenience" foods. Yuck. I can't wait to have water again...not only are whole foods healthier and better for the environment, they don't taste gross, flavorless, or salty like all the processed foods.

  2. That is so simple and im embarrassed that people dont think about it daily. We worry about our bodies but not animals. If these additives effect of in such a manner, its only logical that the same ailments would accure in the animal owrld also

  3. It seems the simplest foods, and whole foods, are the most nutritious. Not to mention they are also inexpensive compared to the prices of the processed items. I guess processed food expense is more than $$, when I read this post. They're costing us so much more!

  4. Yep, the perimeter is where we do most of our shopping at the supermarket--well, until the organic farmer's market opens up here in May.

  5. Sigh - it's an ongoing battle with the kids trying to explain it to them when their friends are all allowed to bring it to school. Lucky everyone likes my muffins!!

  6. This is great information; thanks for sharing! I will share this with my school's environmental club as one more reason to eat healthier! :)

  7. Yes, whole foods are not only better for the environment and health but they taste better and are more satisfying. I never feel satisfied from processed foods, in fact they set one up to want more. Whole foods make one feel whole!

  8. I cook most of my dinners, and since I was a child, I was told that AJINOMOTO or monosodium glutamate MSG is bad for you.

  9. Thanks for this post. This will be my second year of having a veggie garden and I just love it. We always used to eat the processed stuff without even thinking about. Then my dh's high blood pressure and cholesterol caused us to look at our food differently. We just feel so much better (mentally & physically) eating whole foods. Now if I could just get my kids to eat it!