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You might want to put your fork down.

In 2006 CBC News Canada ran a story about a woman who bought a seemingly harmless box of oatmeal only to discover a disturbing number of unexpected and very unwelcome guests inside. Bugs.

Can I get an ‘EW‘?

Despite how commonplace these kinds of stories might be, that’s not what this blog post is about.

This blog post is about all the ‘normal’ stuff you eat everyday without knowing.

My roommate watched That Sugar Film at the beginning of the year and immediately (and rashly in my opinion) decided to quit sugar for a month.

She kept going on and on about how much sugar there was in honey (16 g in a 21 g serving), muesli (9 g in a 55 g serving), curry sauce (10 g in a 140 g serving), and even yogurt (33 g in 8oz serving).

I heard what she was saying, but I wasn’t that shocked by it. Two years ago I might have been.

The unfortunate truth is, most of us have been misled to believe that there’s only a lot of sugar in sweet things. Candy, chocolate bars, ice-cream, cake – that’s where the sugar is right? WRONG.

A few fun (but mostly disturbing facts for you):
– A bar of Häagen Dazs coffee almond crunch ice-cream contains 20 g of sugar. A bottle of Dole 100% pineapple orange juice contains even more (23 g).
– A 12 fl oz can of coca cola contains more sugar than a recommended serving of Aunt Jemima’s syrup.
– A single serving of dorset cereals berries & cherries muesli contains 21 g of sugar, which is 85% of a woman’s daily recommended sugar intake.

Spooked yet?

It’s not just the levels of sugar that are shocking. It’s all the additives and preservatives too.

Check this list out: Enriched Corn Meal (Corn Meal, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, and Folic Acid), Vegetable Oil (Corn, Canola and/Or Sunflower Oil), Cheese Seasoning (Whey, Cheddar Cheese [Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes], Canola Oil, Maltodextrin [Made from Corn], Salt, Whey Protein Concentrate, Monosodium Glutamate, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Lactic Acid, Citric Acid, Artificial Color [Yellow 6]), and Salt. Contains Milk Ingredients.

Can you guess what the food is based on the ingredient list?

What about this one?

Enriched Bleached Flour [Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid], Water, Wheat Gluten, Cottonseed Fiber, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Wheat Protein Isolate, Corn Starch, Contains 2% Or Less of Each of The Following: Yeast, Salt, Vegetable Oil (Soybean And/Or Cottonseed Oils), Distilled Vinegar, Guar Gum, Dough Conditioners (May Contain One Or More of The Following: Mono And Diglycerides Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Calcium Peroxide, Ascorbic Acid, Azodicarbonamide, Enzymes), Calcium Propionate (Preservative), Yeast Nutrients 9monocalcium Phosphate, Calcium Sulfate, Ammonium Sulfate), Natural Flavor, Sucralose, Soy Lecithin, Soy Flour Contains Wheat And Soy.

The first ‘food’ was a pack of chips. The second was a loaf of bread.

Do you know what up to half of those ingredients are?

Where exactly does one go to get a hold of ‘natural flavor’ or ‘dough conditioners’?

We need to pay attention to what it is we’re putting into our bodies.

Here’s what you can do:
1. Choose foods with few ingredientslong ingredient lists are typically only found in processed foods, you want to buy and eat food that is as close to it’s natural state as possible (without tasting awful, obviously)

2. Avoid weird chemical ingredients – if whatever it is can only be created in a lab and not found out in the field, on a tree, or as a natural animal by-product, skip it.

3. Get your food from the farmer – farmer’s markets are the best place to go for whole food. Food from the farmer is more likely to resemble what it should be, and less likely to have been tampered with. It also means you can talk directly with the vendor to find out their process – you can’t do this at any other grocery store.

4. Try organic – Just because a food is organic doesn’t mean it’s good for you, but it does mean that it contains less off the stuff that is bad for you (chemical fertilisers, pesticides, artificial chemicals and any other genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

These are small things but they’ll make it easier for you to know what various foods contain, so that you can make more informed decisions about food as a result. You’ll be surprised what a difference it makes.

/Femi, The Girl Who Hates Working Out

RELATED: That’s NOT Healthy | What We Think Health Is vs What It Really Is

With Lifesum, tracking your healthy habits (and the not so healthy ones) becomes a breeze. We’ll help you pick the right food, and eat the right portion sizes, to reach your personal health goals.

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