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Tips for healthier grocery shopping - Part 1

Tips for healthier grocery shopping - Part 1

It can be tricky trying to work out which products to buy at the supermarket. We all know we should eat less processed foods and more fresh foods. A times, however, you need or want to buy packaged foods. Over the years, I've come up with a list of ingredients that I absolutely, no matter what, won't buy. I call them the 'Code Red Ingredients'.

Code Red Ingredients

  1. High fructose corn syrup
  2. Trans fats/hydrogenated fats
  3. Food dyes - ingredient numbers 100-199
  4. Sodium Benzoate
  5. Aspartame

Here's what they are, and here's why I won't buy them.

High fructose corn syrup - this is a sweetener that research shows contributes to diabetes and obesity. Sugar is bad enough, but there's no place in our diets for this cheap, fattening stuff!

Trans fats - found in hydrogenated oils. Trans fats are unsaturated fats, but they behave similarly in the body to saturated fats. Hydrogenated oils are a source of trans fats - avoid wherever possible.

Food dyes (these are listed as numbers 100-199 on ingredients listings). Combining food dyes and sodium benzoate has been shown to increase hyperactivity in children.

Sodium Benzoate - (listed as chemical 211 on ingredients lists). A preservative which is widely used as it is good at killing bacteria, yeast and fungi. There are concerns that when combined with ascorbic acid, or vitamin c, that it forms benzene, which is carcinogenic. Found most often in soft drinks, fruit juice and other products with a high acid content, like salad dressings. Coca-Cola pulled sodium benzoate from soft drinks in the UK, but as far as I can tell, not in Australia. I could be wrong on this (as I don't drink Coke), but it's certainly one to avoid.

Aspartame - NutraSweet. There are so many reasons not to eat or drink aspartame, but here's one that's easy to grasp. Aspartame contains methanol, which the body breaks down into formic acid and formaldehyde. Yep, formaldehyde is the stuff that's pumped into bodies during the embalming process. Not so good.

So there you are - pop this five onto your phone, and the next time you shop, you'll have them right there so you'll know to avoid them.

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