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What foods do Americans often forget when inventorying good food choices? You probably eat them every day, one little dollop after another … I’m referring to condiments.
Their effects seem negligible, so condiments are typically overlooked or brushed off as “harmless.” But they can turn an otherwise nutritious meal into a metabolic nightmare, having a cumulative biological effect. More negative health effects may occur at low doses, especially for hormone-disrupting chemicals.
Five common American condiments made the “worst of” list on OneResult:
Commercially prepared mayonnaise is primarily GMO soybean oil, one of the most harmful oils you can eat, found extensively in processed foods.
Whether partially hydrogenated, organic or made from newer soybean varieties modified to not require hydrogenation, these oils are highly processed and pave the way for a wide range of problems from obesity to diabetes; reproductive disorders to heart disease.
Besides trans fats created from hydrogenation, most US soybeans are genetically engineered (GE). As a result, they’re saturated with dangerous levels of the herbicide glyphosate, linked to numerous serious health problems.
Although you may not consider mayonnaise “sweet,” most commercial varieties contain liver-toxic high fructose corn syrup or other forms of fructose.
Consider making your own in a blender using olive oil, egg yolks, vinegar or lemon juice, mustard and a little sea salt. It’s actually good for you!
#2: Sour Cream
Sour cream can be a delicious and nutritious adjunct to your meal—or a toxic white glop, depending on what’s in it.
“Cultured Pasteurized Cream and Milk, Whey, Modified Corn Starch, Sodium Phosphate, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Calcium Sulfate, Cultured Dextrose, Locust Bean Gum, Potassium Sorbate (As Preservative)”
Non-organic dairy products often contain dangerous, genetically engineered bovine growth hormone—rBGH—the largest selling dairy animal drug in America. Interestingly, it’s banned in Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the entire European Union because of its risks to human health! IGF-1 in rBGH increases your risk for breast cancer by promoting conversion of normal breast tissue cells into cancerous ones.
Despite decades of evidence about the dangers of rBGH, the FDA ignores scientific evidence and maintains it’s safe for human consumption. Avoid rBGH by looking for products labeled “rBGH-free” or “No rBGH.”
Culturing your own sour cream using lacto-fermentation culture, starting with fresh, raw organic cream, is not difficult and offers natural probiotics critical for your immune system. To make homemade cultured sour cream, visit Cultures for Health.
#3: Ranch & Blue Cheese Dressing
Typical processed ranch and blue cheese dressings aren’t even real food. Your digestive tract may even react to it like a foreign invader. Consider Dean’s Ranch Dip:
“Soybean Pasteurized ‘blend‘ of skim milk, reduced minerals whey, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, salt, dehydrated onion, sour cream flavor (cream, nonfat milk, whey, whey protein concentrate, cultured nonfat buttermilk (skim milk, cultures), maltodextrin, salt, autolyzed yeast extract, natural flavors, monosodium glutamate, sodium citrate, sour cream cultures, lactic acid, food starch-modified, gelatin, dextrose, dehydrated garlic, vinegar powder (maltodextrin, corn starch-modified, white distilled vinegar), monosodium glutamate, citric acid, sodium hexametaphosphate, locust bean gum, lecithin, spices, potassium sorbate, guar gum, whey, whey protein concentrate, carrageenan, acetic acid, propylene glycol alginate, artificial colors (FD &C Yellow No. 5 (Tartrazine) and FD & C Yellow No. 6)”
As you can see, soybeans are at the forefront. Monosodium glutamate (MSG), one of the worst ever flavor enhancers, is listed TWICE. MSG hides under other names, like: flavorings, seasonings, soy protein, stocks and broths, malt extract, carrageenan, and corn starch.
MSG is an excitotoxin that overexcites your cells to the point of damage or death, potentially causing brain damage and triggering learning disabilities. Common adverse effects include obesity, eye damage, headaches, fatigue and disorientation, depression, rapid heartbeat, tingling and numbness.
Food dyes are another additive to avoid. Every year, food manufacturers pour 15 million pounds of artificial food dyes into US foods. A Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) report noted some commonly used food dyes may be linked to multiple cancers, hyperactivity and behavioral problems in children.
As of July 2010, most foods in the EU containing artificial food dyes come with warning labels. Britain has asked that food manufacturers to remove most artificial colors from foods. In the US, however, there are no such measures.
Steer clear by either finding organic alternatives or making your own. Once you’ve mastered mayo and sour cream, the sky’s the limit when it comes to healthful dressings, sauces and dips.
High fructose corn syrup is the biggest problem with commercially bottled ketchup. Most contain overcooked tomatoes, water, and usually some form of genetically engineered corn syrup. Many brands add flavor-boosting chemicals called “natural flavorings,” one being MSG.
Due to consumer concerns over the health problems of high fructose corn syrup, ConAgra, manufacturer of Hunt’s Ketchup, removed it from their ketchup in 2010. However, their reformulated product wasn’t a big hit, so they added it back in two years later!
Just one tablespoon of bottled ketchup typically contains four grams of sugar. Most people consume much more, quickly raising their daily sugar loads. It doesn’t take long to exceed the maximum daily fructose limit (25 grams or less).
Don’t assume that just because a commercial ketchup is organic, it’s low in sugar. Meijer Organics Ketchup has four grams of sugar per tablespoon, just like most non-organic brands. Steer clear by either finding organic alternatives or making your own.
Homemade ketchup is better in every respect. If you feel you cannot live without it, Annie’s Naturals organic brand has half the usual amount of sugar and no HFCS.
#5: Barbecue Sauce & Steak Sauce
Steak and barbeque sauces, too, may contain a mélange of unsavory ingredients. A1 Steak Sauce contains:
“Tomato puree (water, tomato paste), distilled vinegar, corn syrup, salt, raisin paste, crushed orange puree, spices and herbs, dried garlic and onion, caramel color, potassium sorbate, xanthan gum”
Even worse is Open Pit Original BBQ Sauce:
“High fructose corn syrup, water, distilled vinegar, tomato puree (water, tomato paste), salt, modified food starch, 2% or less of: soybean oil, hydrolyzed corn and soy protein, spice, onion powder, dehydrated garlic, artificial tomato flavor, natural and artificial flavor, Yellow No. 6 dye, Red No. 40, Blue No. 1, titanium dioxide, caramel color”
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, make your own sauces at home! Food Network has a recipe with applesauce, raisins and garlic. (Leave out the corn syrup.)