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Consumer’s health at risk thanks to our current food system

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The health of every member in our society is suffering due to poor regulation of our food supply. The entities that currently operate in conduction to ensure a standard of quality have been failing to make the necessary changes to protect our nation’s health. Until action is made by the FDA and USDA, consumers must be responsible to stay updated on latest health update, and be cautious of the products they are ingesting. Unfortunately, this is an extra step that some people are not able to make due to financial or other constraints. Why are there states such as New York, the only ones to have a ban trans-fat? Shouldn’t our whole country deserve to be protected from such deadly ingredients?

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As a nutritional counselor, one observes first-hand how difficult it is for people stop and read every ingredient in the foods they eat, in addition to balancing all of life’s demands. The simplest way to avoid such toxins is to eliminate food products that contain too many scientific names that one cannot understand. Even with such advice, patients are usually frustrated because they feel it’s too much work to eat healthy, and considering their limitations, they have a point. It can be exhausting to double check the ingredients list for anything lurking such as high fructose corn syrup, msg, partially hydrogenated oil, parabens, aspartame... The list grows as more research is conducted to provide the latest news with warnings about the next toxic agent.

The cost of clean food is burdened on the consumer which is unfair to the financially strained individuals, especially those who are not considered “poor enough” to apply for federal aid. Not only are the economically disadvantaged at higher risk for chronic diseases, their poor diet also pushes them to their doom. However, their future does have a glimpse of hope if they choose to change their lifestyle by eating healthier foods. Now their grocery list includes items such as organic Greek yogurt and free range organic beef, resulting in an increase in overall food costs. Financial burden is one of the many excuses that people use to avoid eating healthy food. But what one must realize is that one’s health should be of highest importance, since we only have one body.

Being a nutritionist, one sees how specific policies directly impact the health of those in our community. We need reform in our current food supply so that healthier, organic food is readily available to the public in all social classes. Until this is put in action, here is a simple list of some ingredients found in our foods that have been culprits in our nation’s health crisis by wreaking havoc in our metabolism. Please try to avoid food products containing these items, or minimize your consumption. It’s best to follow a diet that is rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, lean protein, and whole grains. One general recommendation is to simply follow a diet with less processed foods, to decrease one’s exposure to hazardous chemicals.

Courtesy of Organic Consumers http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_705.cfm
Here are the top three most dangerous ingredients in our foods:

1) Sodium nitrate –increases risk of heart disease and causes cancer, it is found in processed meats like hot dogs, bacon, sausage. Used to make meats appear red (a color fixer chemical).

2) Partially Hydrogenated oils “trans- fat” – linked to increase risk of heart disease, nutritional deficiencies, general deterioration of cellular health, and much more. Found in cookies, crackers, margarine and many "manufactured" foods. Added to foods since it extends shelf life, also termed "plastic fat."

3) Excitotoxins – such as aspartame and monosodium glutamate. These neurotoxic chemical additives directly harm nerve cells in the hypothalamus, by making them spontaneously fire and die. They're found in diet soda, gum, canned soup, salad dressing, breakfast sausage and even many manufactured vegetarian foods. They're used to add flavor to over-processed food items.

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