You’re scrounging through your fridge for something to eat when you realize there isn’t anything worth devouring. Your search for food takes you to your pantry where you think some promising ingredients might reside. Yet, did you know these non-perishable items may can contain deadly additives such as hidden sodium, preservatives and carcinogenic elements? Keep reading to discover the five most harmful ingredients hiding in your pantry.
1. Canned foods
Canned foods are notorious for outrageous amounts of sodium and preservatives. If possible, always strive to eat fresh products instead of canned goods. Canned goods offer little to no nutritional value.
They are also typically imported, which doesn’t guarantee a traceable product source, and can also contain aluminum leaks. When canned goods are contaminated by aluminum leaks, the aluminum accumulates in the body and can cause memory problems such as Alzheimer’s.
A study conducted by researchers at Stanford University and John Hopkins University confirmed that eating canned food increases exposure to a chemical linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other health effects. A study published in Environmental Research sheds light on the amount of exposure to BPA that canned goods can cause, due to the compound used to create the resins that coat the inside of food cans and jar lids.
The amount of BPA contamination can vary depending on the type of food, but the risk of BPA contamination skyrockets when any canned food is eaten. Tests of canned foods, like soups, juice, tuna and green beans, revealed that almost all of the 19 name brand foods that were tested contained some BPA, according to Consumer Reports.
2. White rice
More than 3.5 billion people depend on rice for more than 20 percent of their daily calories, according the International Rice Research Institute. Yet one study found that eating white rice raised the risk for type 2 diabetes among participants, whereas eating brown rice reduced the risk of diabetes. The study observed 200,000 people for up to 22 years. The people who ate at least five weekly servings of white rice had a 17 percent higher risk of diabetes than those who ate less than one serving per month. Overall, substituting brown rice for white rice may lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Eating brown rice provides beneficial effects for those who are at risk of type 2 diabetes due to the high contents of multiple nutrients, including fiber, vitamins and minerals. These crucial nutritional elements are usually lost during refining and milling processes in the creation of white rice.
Rice, in general, has higher levels of inorganic arsenic than other foods because as rice plants grow, the plant and grain tend to absorb arsenic more readily than other food crops. Not only can white rice increase health risks, it is harder on the environment than brown rice, due to the extra energy it takes to produce it.
3. Microwave popcorn
A good move night just doesn’t seem complete without the old faithful microwavable popcorn. The problem with microwave popcorn doesn’t reside in the popcorn itself, but in the packaging it comes in. Microwavable popcorn bags are lined with PFOA, which is the same toxin that is used to line Teflon pots. The toxins seep from the bag into the popcorn each time you pop a bag into the microwave — yikes!
4. Soy sauce
What’s Chinese food without soy sauce? This condiment goes hand in hand with Asian cuisine, but failing to let go of this tangy sauce can put your health in serious danger. For example, Chinese authorities found evidence that around 50 factories allegedly used harmful ingredients to manufacture fake brand name seasoning and sauces last year.
Excess sodium from soy sauce can lead to high blood pressure and an increased risk for many ailments including stroke, heart failure and kidney stones. High intake of sodium is also associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, according to this study.
5. Enriched white flour
White flour is anything but natural. In order to create bread using white flour, wheat must go through heavy processing that removes outer layers of the seed’s bran. This heavy processing can add many unwanted preservatives.
Once the bran is stripped of the outer layers, the flour goes through a bleaching process. To preserve the flour, chlorine dioxide is added. To further whiten the flour, chalk is used in some cases. Eating chalk doesn’t sound healthy at all, does it? While regular whole grains contain a ton of healthy vitamins, fiber and nutritional benefits, white flour offers little to no nutritional benefits.
White flour is full of cancer-causing toxins. The body responds to white flour the same way it responds to sugar, stressing out your gut in the digestion process. Plus, white flour spikes blood sugar levels since it is high on the glycemic index, which can result in type 2 diabetes over time.
Which harmful products in your pantry have you replaced with healthier alternatives? Leave your comments below!