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Ingredients To Avoid In Packaged Foods

ingredients to avoid in packaged or processed foods

Ingredients To Avoid In Packaged Foods

Ingredients to avoid in packaged foods

What ingredients to avoid – the biggest question we get! You should become a label reader. That is the most important thing. Especially if you’re shopping with anything that comes in a box or a bag, make sure that you are looking at it and you are figuring out. “Okay, is this actually healthy for me? Is it going to serve my body in a good way or is this marketing on the front of the package all hype?” That’s the biggest issue.

As we kind of go through stores, you’ll see that on the front of the package it seems amazing. It has all the things. It has gluten-free, vegan, no sugar, zero calories, etc. From a consumer standpoint, you look at it and be like, “This looks awesome,” but unfortunately marketing is so good at what they do and that you have to make sure that you’re actually turning the package around, taking a look at it and saying, “Let me read.”

Before I discuss some of the top common ones that I like to avoid, we have rebranded to Nuvitru!

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My first one is the oils – the type of oils that are used in foods. Why this is important is because fatty acids play a huge role in our health, especially our cell membrane. Our cell membrane is made up of fats, phospholipids to be exact. When we consume not so great oils, this can make ourselves a little bit more unstable. It causes inflammation. It can increase risk for heart issues, heart disease. You name it. It is just chaos in the body.

Any really industrialized oils is what I like to avoid in packaged foods – canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil*, but I’m going to put a little star next to sunflower oil because there is high oleic sunflower oil and that actually has more omega-9 and better overall ratios. It’s actually not bad. You’ll see it a lot in like Tessemae’s salad dressing.

The thing is a lot of these high industrialized oils are really processed and they have a higher ratio of omega-6 to omega-3. Now, don’t get me wrong. We need omega-3. We need to omega-6. We need omega-9. We need the omegas, I know, but it’s all about the balance. These are very unbalanced.

I like to avoid those and really stick with things that are like avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil, and just real fats, like grass-fed butter if you’re okay with dairy. Oils are a big thing. Anything that says partially hydrogenated means that actually it’s like a trans fat and trans fats are notorious for being known to increase heart disease, inflammation, the whole shebang.

Ingredients To Avoid : Artificial Sweetener

I recommend my clients to avoid is artificial sweeteners too! This comes in a lot of different names.

  • Aspartame
  • Sucralose
  • Saccharin
  • Acesulfame Potassium

While people think, yay, less sugar, which yay, that’s a good thing, but too, studies are showing how artificial sweeteners affect our gut and our microbiome. No, thanks. A lot of the times too if you’re struggling with food cravings can actually cause food cravings.

Ingredients to Avoid: Preservatives, Artificial Flavors/Colors, etc.

Other things that I like to avoid is your basic preservatives, artificial flavors, and artificial colors. Again, it’s just really processed. It’s coming from a lab and that usually hints that this isn’t actually food and most likely this food is not going to serve your body in the way that you want it to. A lot of people when I talk to them… It’s not technically clients. It’s just people that who want to argue and they want to say like, “Oh, it’s just a little bit. Oh, it’s here and there.”

But the issue is that no matter what, we’re exposed. We’re overexposed and we’re overburdened with a lot of toxins that we can’t control. We can’t control when we walk outside and we breathe in polluted air. We can’t control things that are stressors that may come our way, situations. There are things that we can’t control and that’s okay. We can’t control everything, but what we can control is what we put in our mouth.

To avoid things artificial, yeah, that’s up there. That’s high on my list. No, I’m not going to be the stickler, and no, I don’t recommend you being the stickler if you’re out at a birthday party or wedding saying, “I won’t eat that cupcake because that has red food coloring.” Okay, that’s a special event, but what you’re bringing into your home, what you’re feeding your kids every day, that’s what you need to focus on. Hint, just stick to real wholesome foods. You can’t go wrong with that.

In addition to artificial colorings and flavors and all that, I mentioned preservatives and there’s a ton out there. If by chance you ever like pick up something and you just don’t even know what it is, you can always google the ingredient while you’re in the store. Some of the most famous ones you might see is sodium benzoate, BHA, BHT, nitrates, and nitrites.

Usually, preservatives are some of the last ingredients on the ingredient label because there’s not a lot in it that’s used, but at the same time it adds up. It totally adds up. Make sure that you google it if you have no idea what it is. Just a little note, if you see an ingredient list and it’s longer than a paragraph, you probably would want to put it down. Most likely it’s very processed and you just need to put it away.

Ingredients To Avoid: Caramel Coloring

Another ingredient that I’m not a fan of is caramel coloring. Anytime you got to add again extra coloring, it’s usually just more processed than it needs to be, but caramel coloring, it’s actually processed with ammonia. It’s to give the caramel color, but the bad thing is is that animal studies show that it can be carcinogenic, possibly carcinogenic to humans.

Ingredients to Avoid: Wheat

Something that I like to steer clear of for honestly not just my family, but for my clients, is a lot of wheat because wheat is so processed. I’m actually going to go into this in another nutrition series videos, but just to talk more about the proteins in wheat, and it’s not just about it being gluten-free, but most of the time when wheat is added into products, they’re pretty processed. Anytime I see wheat, I usually steer clear of because of wheat’s effect to the GI.

No, that doesn’t mean just for celiac, that doesn’t mean just for people that are sensitive to gluten. That means for every single person. Stay tuned for more of that on wheat and gluten and if you should avoid it and why.

P.S. This doesn’t mean you have to give up bread – you can easily make some at home!

I may have thrown a lot at you. Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe it’s stuff you know, but I just want to let you guys know that when we work with clients, this is something that we love to take seriously. We love to walk you through the store. We like to focus on the foods and items that you can buy because that’s what’s important. Let’s not focus on what we can’t buy. Hint, I swear we walked through the store and 80% of the store is junk and we bypass it. People start to realize, “Wow, there’s a lot of food-like items here at the grocery store.”

We love to walk you through this. If you’re in Austin, that’s where we’re at right now. If you’re looking for someone to hold your hand throughout it all, we’re your gals.  We do see clients all over the US, but we can’t physically walk you through a store, but we can at least guide you and prep you and help you to figure out what to look for.

Even though we may not be physically with you walking through it, a lot of our clients have the availability to text us through the app that we use and ask questions and show us a product saying, “Hey, I found this Mayo. Is this okay?” we give them feedback of, “It’s great. Yes, good job. No, it’s not great because of blah. Look for this.”

If you’re looking for that type of accountability and support, we are your girls because we’re here to cut through the BS. We just want to show you, provide that support, provide that accountability so you can be confident by the time you’re done working with us that you know exactly what to do. Request your free appointment now!

Avatar for Lahana Vigliano
Lahana Vigliano

Lahana Vigliano is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist and CEO of Nuvitru Wellness. She has her Bachelor's Degree in Nutrition Science and Masters Degree in Nutrition Science and Functional Medicine. She is currently pursuing her doctorate degree in Clinical Nutrition. Lahana and her team help support women who struggle with weight loss, hormonal imbalances, digestive issues, chronic fatigue, and many other lingering issues that leaves women not feeling their best. She uses food as medicine, as well as herbs and supplements when needed, to support her clients. She looks at the whole body holistically making sure women are understanding how nutrition, sleep, stress, and their environment impact their health. Connect with her on Facebook + Instagram (@nuvitruwellness).