5 Unhealthy Ingredients You Need to Know About

Image of Dr. Oz's 5 bad ingredients with transfats. OWN

Dr. Oz is always on hand to give us invaluable advice for free, and has helped people change their eating, sleeping, and overall living habits. Eating healthy and clean has now become mainstream. As we continue to take charge of our own health, learning about food do’s and don’ts can be tricky. One of the things you can do is start reading labels, and Dr. Oz has outlined several ingredients to be on the lookout for. Let’s take a look at a few things on the “don’ts” list:

  1. Sugar

    Sugar cloaks herself with many aliases, including invert sugar, fructose, and corn syrup. Refined white sugar is a carb that is found in almost everything, and people use it at home for cooking, baking, and drinks. It commonly gets added to processed foods such as catsup, mustard, milk, baby food, and bread, adding extra calories to our diets. We know it affects the organs and teeth, therefore contributing to disease. Dr. Oz notes that eating sugar with a fat or fibrous food such as fruit can help delay it spreading through the system. Although still sweet, try other options like pure maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, or a piece of fruit for sweeteners at home.

  2. High Fructose Corn Syrup

    Oh, this high fructose corn syrup is the boogeyman of all the food monsters. Unless you are diligent about reading labels and what you eat, you’re eating or drinking this carb and probably don’t realize it. Juice boxes, fruit cups, desserts, breads, cereal, pasta sauce – you name it, it’s been thrown in the mix. Dr. Oz tells us that this “food” is blocking your ability to know that you’re full, causing you to consume extra calories, and possibly extra foods that aren’t good for you.

  3. Enriched Flour

    You see it on your grocery store shelves and you probably bake with it too. We eat it in pasta, baked goods, cereal, and other processed foods. Like white sugar, enriched white flour is white because it’s been stripped of its nutrients. When it becomes “enriched”, things like vitamins, sugar, bleach, or other additives are added back in. Check the label! The doc suggests buying whole grain flour and products instead, where fiber and nutrients are still present.

  4. Saturated Animal Fats

    Saturated fats that come from animals can cause health issues like high cholesterol and heart conditions. These can come in the form of fats like lard, tallow, butter, cheese, and milkfat. Dr. Oz recommends switching to healthier vegetable based alternatives that are liquid at room temperature like cold pressed coconut oil, sesame oil, or olive oil.

  5. Hydrogenated Oils a.k.a. Trans Fats

    Hydrogenated oils have had hydrogen added to extend its shelf life, usually for up to a year. Now just think, if you’re constantly eating something with hydrogenated oils or trans fats in it, what’s going on inside your body? You may have noticed a quiet shift among food manufacturers away from this ingredient. Check your food labels to see if they say “Free of Trans Fats” or go for something healthier.

Health food stores or the healthy sections of major grocery store chains have a lot of food options that don’t include any of these ingredients. People often go the convenient route, but cooking your own food from scratch can automatically eliminate some of the bad stuff. For some of us it can be a bear to keep up with what’s good for you versus what’s not, but it can be done! The good thing is there’s plenty of information out there to help us research what we eat. What about your eating habits? Do you consider yourself a pro at reading food labels? Tell us in the comments!