Top 5 Thursday: Top Five Ingredients To Avoid On Labels

Today is the final day to go after the Matcha giveaway, If you haven’t entered make sure to check it out.

It’s also going to be an extremely busy day since I am trying to get everything on my to do list completed before I leave for Savannah with my mom. We’re planning a bed and breakfast get away just to unwind and unplug for the weekend. Can’t wait. Poor Dan will be all by his lonesome but luckily he’s already planned out a full weekend (part of which includes farmer’s market shopping by himself…. first time ever).

Speaking of food, I am a big advocate for eating all natural, whole foods. Hints why we shop at the market each week. There are so many perks to eating this way and while at times it might be easier to simply open a boxed dinner and pop it into the microwave, you’ll do your body so much good by spending a few extra minutes putting something wholesome together.

That leads me to this week’s Top Ten Thursday. I asked my friends what they wanted to me write about and unanimously they asked for a list of the worst ingredients found on labels. I haven’t actually done that topic before so I instantly agreed!

Once I started doing my research however, I decided to cut this post into 2 parts. Because it can seen a bit overwhelming with all the nicknames that these foods have. So the other 5 will be posted next week.

That way you only have to concentrate this week on these, are they in your diet? Do you know how to avoid them? That’s the challenge.

Then next week the others will be added to the list. Makes it easy to learn!

Thanks Kristy, Michelle, Suzanne and Cassie for the inspiration this morning! 🙂

Top 5 Ingredients To Avoid When Shopping

If you don’t read labels when shopping, I am giving you the challenge to do it this week. You might be surprised to see some foods you thought were healthy, aren’t so great and maybe foods you thought you should be staying away from are actually not so bad after all!

If they have any of these ingredients listed, just put it back on the shelf and search for a natural alternative (which 9 out of 10 times there is):

Monosodium Glutamate (aka MSG):

MSG is a excitotoxin, which is just a fancy word for saying it affects your nerve system. It “over excites” nerve cells sometimes even to the point where they die and go to a better place. Too much MSG can lead to neurological disorders from too many brain cells being killed off.

Because most people are aware MSG is a bad ingredient, don’t expect it to be clearly listed. It also goes by the names of: Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein; Hydrolyzed Plan Protein; Vegetable Protein Extract; Yeast Extract; Glutamate; Glutamic Acid; Sodium Caseinate; Textured Protein; Soy Protein Isolates; Barley Malt; Calcium Caseinate and Malt Extract. All of which sounds decent, if not down right healthy… right? Wrong.


Gosh, I hate artificial sweeteners. Did you know America is one of the few countries that allows artificial sweeteners to be used? That should be an instant red light. It is similar to MSG in that it’s an excitotoxin but research believes it might also be a carcinogen and produces side affects like headaches, bloat, gas, and dizziness. Fun.

It’s found in over 6,000 products including diet and sugar-free drinks, snacks, gum, frozen foods, and so much more.

Other nicknames to look out for: NutraSweet, Equal; Spoonful, Natrataste, and AminoSweet

High Fructose Corn Syrup:

Of course HFCS would be listed. You’re not surprised right? Again, America is one of the only countries to NOT BAN high fructose corn syrup! That’s because all the other countries know how crappy it is for us and require their foods to be made of all natural sugar.

Did you know that if you go to Europe, Cokes don’t taste like our cokes? And neither do their candy bars… because they are actually made with sugar. Why do we use it? Because it’s extremely cheap. Sucks, doesn’t it?

It’s made from genetically modified corn and is the #1 source of calories in the US diet! Crazy. HFCS is associated to weight gain and diabetes. Avoid it please.

It has also been linked to cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and increased cholesterol.

Other names they use to sneak it into your cart: corn sugar, fructose sugar, high fructose maize (oh I see, saying corn in Spanish is so smart), and fruit fructose.

Sodium Nitrite/Nitrate:


Both of these are used for meat preservation. When these are consumed they are carcinogens. In fact, the World Cancer Research Fun found that eating 1.8 oz of processed meats per day, increases cancer risk by 20%.

You’ll find them in hot dogs, salami, bacon, cured meats, corned beef, lunch meats, jerky, and smoked salmon.

Dan eats Boar’s Head lunch meat which is preservative free.

Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH):


What about that sounds appealing from the get go? This hormone is produced by none other than Monsanto and it’s a genetically engineered growth hormone for cows. It’s used to make cows pump out more milk (read why I don’t drink milk here).

The sad part is that it’s not required by the FDA to be placed on the label. But rBGH has been linked to increased breast, colon and prostate cancers.

It’s also been linked to have an affect on increased rates of puberty in young girls.

Make sure to stick with milk and dairy products (yogurt, cheese, etc) that clearly states “NO rBGH or rBST”.

So there you have it. Take a look at the foods in your pantry and freezer. Do they have any of these ingredients? I am not saying to toss them out (I am not wasteful) but perhaps the next time you go shopping search for other healthier alternatives.

  • Are there any ingredients that you avoid at all cost currently? 
  • Have you ever had a soft drink in another country? Which is better US or Other?



Pin It on Pinterest

Share This