A Chips Ahoy cookie here, a Coke with lunch. There's nothing wrong with a little moderation. The thing is, though, these snacks contain some harmful ingredients that when consumed on a daily basis can really affect your mood and your health. Check the labels and be on the lookout for these ingredients because they are in everything.
- Hydrogenated oil (often labeled as trans fat): It's made through a process that turns free-flowing oil into a lard-like solid at room temperature. The food industry uses it because it's inexpensive and increases shelf life of products, so companies can increase their profits. Eating this trans fat increases the bad cholesterol (LDL) in your body and is bad for your heart.
- Enriched flour: All the grain’s nutrients are destroyed in the refining process. Companies add a little bit of the lost nutrients back and label it “enriched” so it seems nutritious. Fewer nutrients mean you'll be feeling hungry soon after, so choose foods made with whole grains instead.
- High-fructose corn syrup: Your body processes this differently than good old-fashioned cane sugar. It contains more fructose than sugar and converts to fat more easily, which can cause weight gain.
- Refined sugar: When you put sugar into your system, you experience a sugar high that rapidly raises your blood-sugar levels. So two hours later, you crash, feeling tired and empty. Sugar that is naturally combined with fat or fiber sources, like in fresh fruits, will absorb into your body much slower, helping you avoid the roller-coaster sugar ride.
- Saturated fats: These are found mostly in animal products such as butter, cream, hot dogs, beef, and skin from chicken. They increase your cholesterol levels and clog your precious arteries, which causes cardiovascular disease.
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