While I do make exceptions on some foods and ingredients either to treat myself or due to a lack of options (like at a social gathering), there are some things that I try to stay away from as much as humanly possible.
Of course there will be times that one of these items will get consumed by accident, but if I make it a point to not eat them regularly, then I hope they won't do too much damage.
Here are the two of the ingredients I would put on my "naughty list":
What are they: Also known as food coloring or color additives, it is the dye that is added to your food to give it color. Artificial colors are added to everything from wine to candy to baking mixes for the purpose of making food more appealing. Believe it or not, there are even artificial colors in things like vitamins, toothpaste, and cough syrup.
Why are they bad: In the beginning of the 20th century, doctors began to find that some artificial dyes were dangerous or making people sick. So while many were completely banned (Orange #1, Red #2, Yellows #1, #2, #3 and #4), many still remained. Today there are still seven used in our products and Yellow #5 is still being tested for links to ADHD and behavioral problems in children. Other studies have linked artificial colors to cancer and allergies. The problem is that many companies rely on those dyes to make their foods more "fun", but other manufacturers are listening and are starting to make and label their food with "no artificial colors".
What are they: Many people turn to sugar substitutes in order to avoid the calories of sugar. Now there are many sugar substitutes that are natural, like Stevia. But I'm speaking about the chemically made, artificial sweeteners, such as Splenda, Equal and Sweet'n Low. Artificial sweeteners are "anywhere from 30 to 8,000 times sweeter than sugar".
Why are they bad: Artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, sucralose (which sounds a lot like sucrose, which is real sugar) and saccharin have been associated with cancer. Yes, there are lots of opinions and tons of controversy. The bottom line is that these sweeteners are chemically made and there isn't enough research to show that they absolutely don't cause cancer. And the FDA has declared many of them safe "in moderate amounts", which I don't know about you, but that's not good enough for me. So, it's just best to stay away.
Want more? Stay tuned next week where I will discuss two more naughty list items – artificial flavors and hydrogenated fats.
Would you add anything? I'd love to hear what's on your naughty list.