The Hidden Dangers In Your Food
An ice-cold glass of OJ in the morning is a healthy way to start the day, right? Maybe not, according to research that suggests that just one glass of orange juice a day could significantly increase your risk of developing diabetes.
Fruit juices may be regarded by some as a great-tasting way to give your body an instant shot of vitamin-C, but it is thought that the drinks may cause dangerous spikes in blood sugar levels and raise diabetes risk by up to a quarter.
This isnít the only hidden danger lurking in our daily diet, as we found out.
Britons consume more than two billion litres of fruit juice every year; thatís 36 litres each. And we all enjoy fruit juice under the impression that, as one of our Ďfive-a-dayí, itís doing us a world of good. But the journal Diabetes Care found, after monitoring the eating habits of more than 70,000 nurses of an 18-year period, a glass of orange juice a day raised the risk of developing type-2 diabetes by 24%. Eating whole pieces of fruit, however, can reduce the risk by as much as 18%.
Think because youíre buying organic your food is chemical free? Think again. Under Soil Association regulations, a select number of sprays are still permitted to be used, and thousands of tons of organic vegetables sold in this country every year are produced using toxic pesticides, despite shoppers paying extra for natural produce. For example, figures show that a third of UK organic potato farmers last year sprayed their crops with fungicides made with copper, a heavy metal that can cause liver disease.
Many popular brands of breakfast cereal contain high levels of unpleasant secret ingredients such as saturated fat, salt and sugar. A Which? survey in 2006 found that tucking into a bowl of cereal in the morning could mean breakfasting on as much sugar and salt as you would find in a packet of crisps or bar of chocolate.
Which? looked at 275 cereals from a range of food manufacturers and found that even so-called Ďhealthyí brands often contained high levels of these unwanted substances. More than 75% of cereals had high levels of sugar, 20% high levels of salt and 7% high levels of saturated fat. Standards have since improved slightly since, but always check the label before you buy.
Fish should forever play a part in your healthy, balanced diet, but be wary of certain types of fish which contain high levels of mercury. Tuna, swordfish and marlin are the main types to look out for, and experts recommend that people eat no more than one portion of any of these fish a week.
Pregnant women or women who are trying to become pregnant should be particularly careful due to the potential risks to the childís nervous system. But while pregnant women should avoid these types of fish, most of us donít eat enough of it, so try and make sure you eat two portions of fish a week, one of which should be oily fish.
Think you are avoiding monosodium glutamate, or MSG as it is popularly known, by shunning cheap Chinese food? Not a chance. MSG can be found in a list of foods as long as your arm and is hard to spot because it is often given a different name.
MSG is a widely used flavour enhancer which is thought to work as a stimulant, but has also been linked to damage to brain cells, eye problems, headaches, fatigue and depression. The simple way to avoid it is always read labels and try to eat as much fresh produce as possible.
Diet Coca Cola may be low in fat and sugar, but that doesnít mean itís good for you. It might be the fourth most consumed fizzy drink in the world, but it also (according to the US Food and Drug Association) contains a number of dodgy ingredients such as the infamous sweetener aspartame, which has been linked with headaches, mood swings, nausea, memory loss, blurred vision and fatigue. Best to steer well clear, then.
In moderation (2-3 times a week), soy can be part of a healthy balanced diet. But eating too much of it has been linked with thyroid problems, ****** cancer, dementia and kidney stones, among other things.
Soy is the subject of numerous studies every year, so this one will run and run and the jury is still well and truly out on its side effects. Trying to keep up with the latest news is near impossible, so Ė as with many foods Ė just make sure that you donít overindulge.
Meat has an unfair reputation as an unhealthy food Ė the real bad boy is processed meat such as hot dogs, hamburgers, sausages and cured meats like salami. These contain nitrites, which react with the body in a way that raises the risk of cancer considerably, according to a study carried out by the World Cancer Research Fund.
For example, it was found that participants in the research who ate the most processed meats had a 67% increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer than those with the lowest intake. Itís almost enough to make you go vegetarian. Almost.