Have you ever really looked at the ingredients and the nutritional information for so-called “diet foods”? Well until recently I know I never really did. I would look at calories and fat content and that was about it. What I failed to realize is the sodium, cholesterol and trans fat content in these foods. I also never really checked out the ingredients either but after doing some research I was completely appalled. What I found is that this “diet food” should never really be in our diets.
The maximum intake of sodium that any one person should consume in a day is approximately 2300mg, give or take some milligrams due to sex, age etc. But 2300 is a good number to stay under. I was a fan of the Weight Watcher’s frozen meals and all I thought about was the Point content as I was following their program. My favorite was the Turkey Medallion dinner with rice as a side. What I didn’t know is one meal has 548 mg of sodium which is almost 25% of what I should have for the whole day. The optimum number for cholesterol is approximately 300 and this meal has 56g yikes!! Optimal carbs are approximately 150 a day and this meal contains 38.
The thing that troubles me the most is that nowhere on the Weight Watchers site can you find a list of ingredients for any of their foods! I tried with several other brands of foods and some had the list and some did not. What I came to realize after looking at box after box of their meals is that each one contains anywhere from 30-60 ingredients and about 80% of those are additives and preservatives that you should not be putting in your body for optimum health. Most of their additives and preservatives are not healthy and are made to make the product have a longer shelf life and are not geared toward a healthy product. Do we really need products that can sit in our pantries for 2 years? Is it not possible to have healthier options that maybe only last a week a or so since most of us shop on a weekly basis anyway? When I was consuming these products I began to realize that the “meats” they use are in my opinion, of the lowest possible quality and after many times of biting into a grisly piece of chicken or biting into their burgers and seeing white pieces, this realization finally hit home. How can a company that preaches healthy eating put out a product such as this? My conclusion is that the all-mighty dollar is their first concern, not your health or weight loss.
I included a nutritional label and ingredient list from a Smart Ones Mini Pepperoni pizza meal. The list of ingredients is staggering. Notice the ingredient list contains hydrogenated soy bean oil which is discussed below. Another wonderful ingredient is ammonium Sulfate which is an inorganic salt with commercial uses such as in fertilizer.This is a GRAS ( generally recognized as safe) by the FDA and is used as an acidity regulator in wheat. This compound is banned in fertilizer use in Middle East Countries as they can be made into explosives. Now consumed in small amounts they say this chemical is not harmful but it’s in A LOT of processed foods and bread products and can you imagine how much of it a normal person consumes in a day? Month? Year?
When Weight Watcher’s rolled out their newest point system a couple of years ago everyone was excited that most vegetables and fruits were now 0 points. After talking to a dietician I realized just what a horrible thing this is. Fruits contain sugar which breaks down in the body and is used as a primary source for energy and makes it possible for certain cells to function. Sugar in foods such as fruits and beans breaks down slower and takes your body longer to break them down. The process starts in your mouth as your saliva starts breaking down the sugar as soon as you start chewing. Then on to your stomach and so forth. After sugar gets absorbed into your bloodstream the sugar is delivered to the cells and the process continues. When you have consumed sugar, the pancreas secretes insulin and it absorbs glucose, too much sugar and it gets stored in the fat cells. Now this is just a general overview as I am so not a biologist or chemist. But I am sure you get the picture: too much sugar is bad for you. By telling people that fruit is a FREE food, people will inadvertently consume more sugar than they are aware of. Also different fruits contain different calorie content. Say you eat a cup of strawberries and it contains 53 calories but 1 cup of grapes contains 110 calories. That’s a big difference. Say you have already consumed your points for the day but you really want a snack and decide to have a cup of grapes because according to WW they are 0 points so what’s the harm right? Well you just put yourself 110 calories over what you already ate for the day , you have added almost 30 carbs ( which breaks down into sugar) and you have added an extra 25 grams of sugar. when the optimal amount for weight loss is 45 grams for the entire day!!! If you do this the 3 times a day that the “free fruit” is allowed you have added a whole lot of sugar and carbs to your diet. We all know that fruit is good for you but it should be managed wisely and in my opinion WW is not doing that. It’s a real eye-opener isn’t it? When the dietitian I saw laid this out for me I was really surprised.
Reduced Fat Graham Crackers: and any reduced fat snack
I know for many years this was the snack of choice for me when on a diet. They are low in everything and make a great, filling snack. That is until I looked, really looked at the ingredients. One of them is Partially Hydrogenated soy bean Oil. This is reported to be one of the most harmful ingredients in any processed product. It is second only to high fructose corn syrup as being the culprits that cause chronic health problems. If you research the statistics on health decline, obesity and rise in chronic diseases, the numbers correlate with the beginning of the use of High fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated soybean oils which started basically in the 1970’s when processed foods were really coming into the market in droves. The two items can virtually be found in almost every processed “food” product. The real problem with both of these is that they are genetically engineered. And we all know that GMO’s are huge in the news today and there is even legislation in Washington to try to stop the use of GMO’s. Hydrogenating soy beans makes for a longer shelf life for a product which means more money for the company making them. For an example: Raw butter is going to go rancid far faster than margarine. Hydrogenated oil is made by forcing hydrogen gas into the oil at high pressure and alters the chemical composition of essential fatty acids.such as reducing or removing linolenic acid, a highly reactive triunsaturated fatty acid, transforming it into the far less reactive linoleic acid, thereby greatly preventing oxidative rancidity when used in cooking. The process also makes the oil more stable and raises its melting point, which allows it to be used in various types of food processing that uses high temperatures. In the late 1990’s, researchers began realizing this chemical alteration might actually have adverse health effects. Since then, scientists have verified this to the point of no dispute. Americans consume more than 28 billion pounds of edible oils annually, and soybean oil accounts for about 65 percent of it These are completely unnatural fats and are man-made and can cause a myriad of health problems and diseases which include:
- bone degeneration
- auto-immune diseases
- heart disease
and many, many more.
Now I chose the graham crackers as an example because they are widely used when we are dieting. They have low calories, carbs, sugars etc and to a dieter seem to be the perfect snack. When you lift the veil and take a closer look you will see just how wrong we are in this thinking. i have issues with all products that call themselves reduced fat or low-fat because in reality you may be giving up all those calories and such but it’s what you are gaining that should be a worry!
There are so many products on the market these days that are produced to “make your life easier”. Processed boxed and frozen foods are everywhere and with the busy lives that everyone leads, it is easy to grab one of these products and throw together a quick meal. We have done this for so long and acted on auto pilot that we forget to check into just what we are eating. There is a price for those easy, quick meals. To keep them fresh and allow them to have shelf dates that range from 6 months to 2 years or more, they have to add these chemicals and there is no way to dispute that they are just not healthy. Natural Society is a web site that offers articles on how to eat healthier and how to avoid all of these GMO’s in our food. All of the information is free of charge. They have reported on the top 10 worst GMO foods:
- Corn: Over half of US farms are growing genetically modified corn. has been tied to health issues such as obesity and organ disruption
- Soy: Genetically Modified In 2006 alone there was 96.7 million pounds of Glyphosate sprayed on soy bean crops.Glyphosate has been in numerous scientific studies and has estrogenic properties and drives breast cancer proliferation in the parts per trillion range. This finding might help explain why rats fed Monsanto’s maize developed massive breast tumors in the first-ever lifetime feeding study published last year. Other recently published studies demonstrate glyphosate’s toxicity to cell lines, aquatic life, food animals, and humans. Look it up and you get over 1,000,000 results.
- Sugar: Monsanto ( a leading producer of GMO products) Monsanto has even had USDA and court-related issues with the planting of it’s sugar beets, being ordered to remove seeds from the soil due to illegal approval. Monsanto controls 75% of sugar beet production.
- Aspartame: A toxic additive used in numerous food products and is created with genetically modified bacteria.
- Papayas: You may be shocked at this one! Mostly grown in Hawaii, they have been genetically modified since 1999 and cannot be sold to European countries but are certainly allowed in the US.
- Canola: One of the most chemically altered foods. Obtained from rapeseed through a series of chemical reactions
- Dairy: dairy products may contain growth hormones, since as many as one-fifth of all dairy cows in America are pumped with these hormones. In fact, Monasnto’s health-hazardous rBGH has been banned in 27 countries, but is still in most US cows. If you must drink milk, buy organic.
- Zucchini and Yellow Squash: Closely related they are modified to resist viruses. The dangers of some of these foods are well-known. The Bt toxin being used in GMO corn, for example, was recently detected in the blood of pregnant women and their babies. But perhaps more frightening are the risks that are still unknown. Even while these foods should be on your GMO foods list so that they are avoided, you can buy 100% organic to be safest.
- Cotton: Found in cotton oil, cotton originating in India and China in particular has serious risks
This list can be found on Natural Society’s Website,
Now there are some people out there who say what’s the big deal? We eat this stuff everyday and there is chemicals in everything we eat, drink and even breathe. They will say that posts like mine are just sensational claims that are meant as scare tactics or meant just to get you reading the posts. There are people out there that will say even if you buy “organic’ or “natural foods” you still get dirt, bacteria and even insect and animal excrements on your healthier food. I look at it this way. Organic food or natural foods do have these problems but I can wash my items and remove most of the problem. I can heat items and kill bacteria and I am pretty sure that no one has ever died from eating a little dirt here and there. 🙂 My problem is with the way our food industry is allowed to operate and how a Government agency like the FDA can, in good conscience, allow some of these practices to continue. The statistics on the cancer rate worldwide, but especially in the US have been steadily on the rise in the last 30-40 years which correlates with the growing use of these harmful chemicals and practices. I have heard it said many times in the last few years that cancer is the new heart attack. I am 44 years old and when I was a child/teen I can remember every time there was a death in the family or a friend’s family it was heart related. Now I hardly ever hear of heart attacks, it always seems to cancer. I bet most of you can say the same. Doesn’t that strike you as odd? With all of the chemicals, hormones etc. in our food it really shouldn’t be that surprising, should it?
My wish in all of this is that more people will get angry and get involved and become proactive. What will happen to our children in the future with all of this genetically altered, hormone riddled, chemical laced, food products that are consumed. It is my hope that everyone who reads this will contact their State Representative and tell them that you want them to take a stand on this issue. You can go HERE<<<<<<<<<< and find your representative and send them an email. Send one daily or weekly and maybe if we flood their emails they may open their eyes!
Change can start with a small ripple and become a tidal wave if we refuse to allow our Government to continue these practices. Nothing will ever change if we continue to turn a blind eye.
It is also my sincere wish that more people will start to grow their own food. Now I know many people do not live in places where it is possible to have a massive garden but again, change can start with a small step. don’t have a yard? Plant a few vegetables in a window box or in small planters in your house. It is so satisfying to grow and consume your own, home-grown foods. Years ago I started with a tiny little garden in a house I rented and my kids helped with the gardening and they are memories that none of us will ever forget. Today, many years later, I have several raised bed gardens and I plant everything from green beans, to tomatoes, peppers, onions and so much more. This year I will be canning my garden gifts too! I plan on canning pasta sauces, salsa, green beans, cucumbers and more. I know that not everyone likes to garden but it does ensure that you get the freshest, chemical-free foods that you can.
My plan for this year is to even make my own frozen meals. I want to make dinners and freeze them in containers, mark them and then when we need a quick meal or even a snack, I know exactly what we are eating. I know it sounds like a lot of work and it is a lot, but for me, I have decided it’s well worth the work for me and my family.
I invite you all to leave comments and let me know what you think of all of these chemicals that are allowed in our foods, what you think of diet foods, your opinions on home gardening or even canning your own foods. Let me know if you already do these things or maybe even tips for the rest of us to make things easier. I would even appreciate recipes for canning!
Other harmful additives
MSG; monosodium glutamate a flavor additive and a neurotoxin. it is known to cause migraines. and has been linked to obesity.
Tartrazine a synthetic yellow dye is actual derived from coal-tar waste. it is present in foods that have a yellow or green color and this includes popsicles, ice creams, jello, sports drinks, sodas like Mt Dew and many, many more. It causes more allergic reactions than any other dye.
Benzoic acid: used as food preservative it is also used in industrial purposes as a plasticizer for oil drilling and is combustible.
Disclaimer: This post is not meant in any way to persuade anyone to change their diet nor is it meant to diagnose any health conditions. I am not a medical professional nor a scientist and the post is my opinion and facts from difference sources that I believe to be reputable. I believe everyone should be proactive with their health and do research and consult a doctor before starting any diet or eliminating items or adding items to your diet. These days with all of the things that are being added to our food and a government that is allowing it, I feel we need to be careful of what we consume. These chemicals and additives have been deemed “safe” by the FDA and other government sources. I, personally, do not believe anything that is told by us by our government. The FDA in the past has deemed products safe that later are pulled from the shelves or banned from use only after untold numbers of people got sick or died. Everyone is free to come to their own conclusions and make their own choices. I simply post these items for informational purposes.