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!