There are some scary hidden monsters- not in your kids' closets, or on the television but right in the foods we eat – what makes our food so sweet, flavorful, and tasty? These additives that make food cheaper, also a made in making us sicker, or less healthy. Today we will focus on two major monsters. Let's come together and get rid of these monsters for GOOD!

Sugar

While we all have an idea that sugar is not the best for you, many of us do not know how many items have sugar in them. To sum it up- pretty much EVERYTHING !! Sugar weakens the immune system, it takes oxygen away from the cells promoting disease and sickness, it aides in diabetes, and it causes a rapid rise and fall of energy that is not healthy for us just to name a few.

Fortunately there are some products that do not have sugar in them you just have to know how to look. Here's how- look on the back of any food package and there is a nutrition label. The label gives various percentages of different nutrients. Directly below that are the actual ingredients. Start paying attention to the first five ingredients- that is what is used most in the product. If you see sugar or one of its code names in that first five, the product has an abundance of added sugar. Below are some of the names that sugar has:

Brown rice syrup
Fructose
Sucrose
Corn syrup
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Cane Juice
Evaporated Cane Juice
Dehydrated Cane Juice
Malt Syrup
Glucose
Lactose
Sorbitol

These are just a few sugar code names, there are many more. So how do we avoid or take in less sugar?

Pay attention to the labels and try to by items that do not have added sugar- not sugar free- artificial sugar is worse.

Try to prepare foods at home or use your own sauces. 99.9% of the items you buy to eat out have sugar in them and a lot of it.

Eat more natural sugars and leave the sweet cravings to minimal times throughout the week. Maybe you treat yourself on the weekend to a dessert or something of that nature.

MSG

The second monster is MSG which stands for monosodium glutamate. It is used as a food additive in many food items. The inventor of MSG was Asian which is why it is associated with Asian foods but it is used in so many more items. It enhances flavor, makes salad taste fresher, meat taste more tender, and overall food taste delicious. MSG does this by “fooling” the tongue with an unknown taste that we like called umami. While we may see products that have MSG free on them unfortunately some may still have MSG in them.

Why is MSG so harmful? Let's take a look:

Once ateen, it over excites our cells causing them to damage or kill themselves. It triggers or adds to Alzheimer's, Lou Gehrig's, and Parkinson's disease just to name a few. Regular consumption of MSG can also lead to:

Obesity
Eye Damage
Headaches
Migraines
Fatigue and disorientation
Depression
Numbness
Burning sensations
Tingling
Facial pressure or tightness
Chest Pain
Difficulty Breathing
Drowsiness
Rapid Heartbeat

If you have experienced one or more of these symptoms they could very well come from the food that you consume with MSG. Now that people are aware of the harm that MSG may cause, companies have come up with other names-let's expose some of them:

Autolyzed yeast
Calcium Caseinate
Gelatin- which is also pork
Hydrolyzed Protein
Monosodium Glutamate
Yeast Extract
Natural Flavorings
Citric Acid
Maltodextrin
Corn Starch
Pectin
Some types of foods that have MSG:
Bouillon
Natural Chicken Flavoring
Flavors and Flavorings
Powdered Milk
Natural Beef and Pork Flavoring

What do I do?
The best way to avoid an abundance of sugar and MSG is by eating whole foods and plant based foods the majority of the time. If you are at a restaurant you can request that no MSG is added to your food but the only way that you will be certain is if you eat less processed foods, more plant based foods, and less eating out at restaurants.

Challenge: Work towards less processed foods and more whole foods one step at a time. Do not be overwhelmed, you can do this!