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Combatting Processed Packaged Convenience Food

March 11, 2013

Food Stamps FoodPoor Diet

Processed, packaged and convenience foods are low in nutrients and fibre and often have high levels of additives, preservatives, dyes, sugar, trans fatty acids, artificial sweeteners and other ingredients, which are considered to be harmful and have been linked with various symptoms and conditions, including Leaky Gut Syndrome.

MSG (Monosodium Glutonate)

Monosodium Glutonate is classed as a flavour enhancer by the FDA and is used in many foods. It is often used in processed foods as it stimulates our taste buds to enhance flavour and to curb unpleasant flavours. MSG is a toxic substance and some people react at very low doses, even less than one gram. The most common reactions were headache, dizziness, diarhhoea, nausea and stomach cramps. Many people had emotional reactions ranging from depression to insomnia.

Hydrogenated fats (Trans-fatty Acids)

Most packaged and convenience foods contain trans-fatty acids such as: cereals, bread, biscuits, chips, crisps, pizzas, ice cream, cakes, ready meals, crackers, snack foods, salad dressing. They are used to solidify vegetable oils and fats.

Hydrogenated oils are cheaper, extend shelf life and can improve flavour. Hydrogenated oil is made by heating liquid vegetable oils in the presence of hydrogen, aided by a metal catalyst. This process can leave residue of nickel, aluminium or platinum in the product. This causes damage to our cells. Also, altering the molecular structure of the polyunsaturated fats in this way creates compounds that are unrecognisable by the human body, which it cannot then assimilate.

The trans-fats weaken the function of cell membranes, which can allow toxic chemicals to more viably enter the cells in our bodies. Trans-fats also increase levels of LDL or “bad” cholesterol in the blood and decrease levels of HDL “good” cholesterol. Based on the available metabolic studies, Harvard University Researchers estimated in a 1994 report that approximately 30,000 premature coronary heart disease deaths annually could be attributable to consumption of trans- fatty acids.


Sugar is a pure carbohydrate used historically as a sweetener. The negative effects of consuming vast quantities of sugar especially refined sugar are well documented. Below are a list of just a few of the dangers associated with sugar consumption, there are many many more that have been documented:

  • Sugar is quickly converted to fat (triglycerides) in the blood, which can increase the risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
  • Sugar can suppress the immune system making you more vulnerable to infectious diseases, as sugar prevents your white blood cells from destroying bacteria. It has been shown that consuming 100g of simple sugars can decrease the activity of white blood cells for at least five hours.
  • Sugar can adversely affect the function of your adrenal glands causing hypoglycaemia, adrenal stress, diabetes and other conditions.
  • Sugar can cause food allergies.
  • Sugar can cause premature aging.
  • Sugar can have a detrimental effect on the gastrointestinal tract including: an acidic digestive tract, heightened risk of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, heartburn, an acidic digestive tract, malabsorption in patients with functional bowel disease.
  • Sugar is addictive and can cause over consumption of foods due to the lack of fibre and vital vitamins and minerals present in sugar. It has empty calories!
  • Sugar promotes the urinary output of vital vitamins and minerals. According to a study by L. K. Massey calcium loss through the urine doubles when a soft drink containing sugar is consumed. Cola drinks containing both caffeine and sugar caused the greatest calcium and bone loss in the subjects tested.


The body needs a certain amount of sodium to function effectively. However many people ingest too much salt due to the large quantities contained in processed, packaged and convenience foods. It is said by the FSA that 75% of salt intake comes from processed foods with at least 26 million people in the UK eating more than the recommended daily limit of 6g of salt.

If salt levels are too high the body retains too much water. The kidneys remove excess salt and water from the blood, excreted as urine, but if your kidneys are not functioning at optimum levels fluid accumulates in your blood. Your heart has to work harder and your blood pressure can be elevated due to the force exerted on the walls of the blood vessels. The food standards agency says that over consuming salt can triple your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Aspartame (E951)

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener commonly known as Nutrasweet® or Canderel®, which is used in many food products and soft drinks. Aspartame is made up of 50 % phenylalanine, 40% aspartic acid and 10% methanol. These ingredients are said to be harmless and phenylalanine and aspartic acide are amino acids found in proteins.

[In] isolation they enter the central nervous system in high concentrations acting as excitotoxins in the brain, potentially causing cell death. Some of the breakdown products of these substances are also considered to be carcinogenic.

Michael Schachter M.D says that 80-85% of all complaints received by the FDA in the US are due to aspartame. The most common symptoms believed to be linked to aspartame include: headaches, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, hyperactivity, severe depression, aggression, phobias, blurred vision, blindness, hearing impairment, palpitations, diarrhoea, itching, hives.

Aspartame has also been linked to brain tumours, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and birth defects along with many other conditions.


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