Nutritional Profiling: 6 Unhealthy Food Ingredients To Avoid

Certain ingredients deserve to be scrutinized more closely than others – and then sent packing, in most cases.

A quick calorie check as you browse the supermarket aisles works fine if you're trying to arrive at a specific body weight, but if you are trying to change your body composition or improve your health, you need to make sure your food is packed with nothing but nutrients. Calories matter, but beyond bodyweight control, the calories' source wins the nutrition race.

To ensure the security of your New Year's resolutions, the Department of Health Safekeeping and the Federal Bureau of Calorie Incineration have issued a "No Fly List" for food. Each of these evil ingredients can wreak havoc on your body and make your fitness goals extremely difficult to achieve. If you see any of these ingredients wandering freely in your grocery cart, alert the authorities immediately.

Note: Red is worst, followed by orange and yellow.

1 /
Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil
Health Threat:

Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil is your first clue that a food product will contain trans fats, which are a form of fat you want to steer the cart far away from. You most commonly find trans fats in snack and fast foods. They also show their ugly faces in fried food and baked goods.

There is absolutely no need for trans fats in the human diet. Even small intake on a regular basis can increase your risk of coronary heart disease.

Don't confuse trans fats with monounsaturated and unsaturated fat, however. They might look similar, but trans fats are the true dietary degenerates.

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Health Threat:

For those who don't know, glucose is just a fancy word for sugar. If maintaining stable energy is a priority, avoid consuming too much of the sweet stuff.

When your body ingests glucose, your pancreas begins releasing insulin to help manage the extra sugar in the blood. Your body quickly tries drawing this excess glucose into the cells for storage. In most cases, your fat cells will fill with extra cushion, especially if you're insulin resistant.

In turn, you will likely suffer from a sudden blood sugar crash, which will drive you to want - you guessed it - more sugary foods and drink.

This deadly cycle abuses the pancreas, often leading to diabetes.

3 /
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Health Threat:

This ingredient is potentially just as bad as glucose in terms of fat gain because fructose will move directly to the liver for processing, where it is quickly converted into triglycerides.

Glucose can be stored in muscle cells, but fructose can only be stored in the liver or in fat cells.

The liver's storage capacity is miniscule compared to that of the muscles (provided you've depleted your stores with exercise), so fructose can turn into fat much easier than glucose. High fructose corn syrup has often been stated to be one of the leading causes of obesity. It is a formidable enemy in your war for health and fitness.

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Health Threat:

It might sound innocuous, but don't be fooled. "Nectar" is a clever disguise for "sugar."

Nectar is a high-sugar liquid produced by fruits that raises your blood glucose levels, much the same way as regular sugar would. Nectar will only increase calorie count and make you feel hungry and tired.

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Health Threat:

This clever foe might look and sound like a great part of a healthy diet, but it's actually just a misleading term used by manufacturers to make food seem healthier than it really is. Often, 'fat-free' is just the equivalent for 'fat-removed, sugar-added,' so be careful you don't trade one evil for another.

Healthy foods tend to be naturally free of fats harmful to the body, so if you eat things like fresh fruit, vegetables, rice, barley, oatmeal and other whole grains, you don't need to worry about finding foods that are "fat free."

When a snack food is designed to be "fat-free," it often means something has been removed from the food. After a food has been changed like that, sugar is generally added to keep good flavor.

Be sure to read the ingredient label and find out just how much sugar is in that fat-free food you're so excited about.

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Health Threat:

Along with 'fat-free,' also be wary of 'fruit-flavored' items. Even foods that advertise they're made with 'real-fruit,' doesn't mean that there's much fruit in them.

Instead of fruit, you're left with a whole lot of sugar and some chemically-made fruit flavoring.

If you want something fruit-flavored, have the real deal, not some green-apple flavored gummy.

Security Check

Now that you have been properly warned of food troublemakers, you can start implementing some of these security measures into your diet. Don't endanger your health and fitness goals by mingling with these evil ingredients.


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