One of the most important things you can do to make healthier food choices is to begin reading the labels on EVERYTHING you buy (and if you’re like me, you’d better take your reading glasses or a magnifying glass along, because the print on most containers is TINY)! Believe me, it’s a real eye-opener! You will probably be shocked to see some of the unhealthy things that are added to some foods. Sugar, for example, is added to just about everything that’s processed. Here are some things you want to avoid; if you see them on the label, drop it and run!
Sugar comes in many different forms and under many different names. Anything with “malt”, “sugar” or “syrup” in the name should be avoided. Some of the less obvious names for it are things like dextrose, fructose, lactose, honey, agave nectar, maltose, molasses, sorghum, maltodextrin, sorbitol, cane juice, sucrose, glucose, dextran, mannitol, treacle, diastase, muscovado, panocha, galactose, maltotroise, malt and starch. Some people will tell you that “natural” sugars like honey, agave, or the sugars found in fruits are ok. The bottom line is that they will still be burned as sugar by your body, so you’ll want to avoid them, especially while you’re trying to shift into fat burning mode (at the start of your keto journey, you really should avoid them altogether for a while).
Corn and Soy Products
Pick up a package of any processed food, and you are almost guaranteed to see at least one of these ingredients on the list. The large majority of both corn and soy produced in the U.S. today are genetically modified (you’ll see these referred to as GMO, GM or GE), something you want to avoid at all costs (I’ll share more on that in another article). Corn is high in carbs, and so is not a good choice for a keto diet anyway. People usually refer to it as a vegetable, but in fact it is a grain.
Soy has been incorrectly promoted as being healthy (by the soy industry, of course), but this is not the case at all. Not only is 99% of it genetically modified, but it is very high in pesticide contamination. Soy is also a common allergen. Most soy ingredients that are added to foods have been highly processed, which adds additional toxins to the final product. The various components of soy beans can do things such as block the absorption of essential minerals by your body, and have been linked to problems such as suppressed thyroid function, kidney stones and even breast cancer. Soy has also been touted as a “cure” for hot flashes, but this claim has been disproven.
If you ARE going to consume any soy products, I highly recommend choosing ONLY organic, fermented varieties, and even then using them sparingly. There are only four: natto, soy sauce, tempeh and miso.
Like corn and soy products, vegetable oils such as canola, soybean, corn and sunflower oils are used in nearly every processed food out there. They are detrimental to your health for more than one reason, but one of the biggies is that they are loaded with Omega-6 fatty acids. These have been linked to a host of chronic diseases and are best avoided as much as possible. They also become even more toxic when heated. Omega-3 fatty acids, on the other hand, are good for you, so you’ll want to be sure to include good sources for it in your diet. I’ll have more on that coming soon.
Artificial sweeteners unfortunately become very widespread these days in both food and beverage products. Every one of them is made from toxic chemicals that have numerous detrimental effects on your health and increase your risk of developing chronic diseases. These are marketed under brand names such as Equal, NutraSweet, Sweet n’ Low, Sugar Twin, and Splenda. Natural sweeteners such as Stevia and Monk Fruit sweeteners are a much better choice, though you should still read the label to make sure there are no unwanted ingredients added to them. Xylitol, a sugar alcohol, is also ok in moderation. Be careful though – it is HIGHLY toxic to dogs! You can read more on the topic of artificial sweeteners here.
Choosing your foods wisely is one of the fundamental keys to being healthy at any age. Just by avoiding toxic, unhealthy ingredients such as these, you will go a long way toward improving your health and quality of life. The more whole, unprocessed foods you choose, the better. This is so important, especially as we get older, when the consequences of years of poor dietary choices are likely catching up with us. Love yourself enough to choose healthy eating and you WILL start to notice changes for the better. I really want that for you in your life – you are so worth it!