This list of ingredients are found in just about every item you could purchase in the supermarket. They are listed by these names and many alias names that we will discuss here in this blog. It would be good for you to familiarize yourself with them and look for them on the labels of foods you may already be buying. We will discuss what they are in, why they are bad and how you can avoid them!

1. Refined Vegetable Oil
These oils include soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, canola oil, and peanut oil. 
They are made by mechanical and chemical processes that extract the oil from the seed and nut. This process also uses solvents and high temps, the oils are often then deodorized and bleached before hitting the market. These oils are high in Omega 6 fatty acid which causes inflammation and counteracts the healthy Omega 3's in your diet. Can increase triglycerides and has shown to contribute to heart disease and cause some cancers.
Found in most processed foods such as crackers, cookies, granola bars, and most baked goods.

2. Aspartame 
One of the most widely used artificial sweeteners. It is found in diet and sugar free sodas and soft drinks. sugar free gum and breathe mints, yogurt, frozen desserts and Jell-O. 
Aspartame is an excitotoxin which is believed to be a carcinogenic which also produces neuro-toxic effects such as headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, and gastro-intestinal discomfort.
It is also known as, Equal, Natratase, AminoSweet, and Canderel. You should also avoid its' other versions Splenda (Sucralose) and Sweet "N" Low (Saccherine).

3. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
This is a highly refined sweetener made by separating the corn starch from the corn kernel. The starch is then converted into corn syrup. 
Practically all HFCS is made from GMO corn and it is the number one source of calories in the US diet. It has been shown to contribute to weight gain, obesity, and the development of Type II Diabetes.
HFCS is also key contributor to cardiovascular disease, arthritis, elevated levels of triglycerides, raised LDL (bad cholesterol) and insulin resistance. 
It also goes by the names corn sugar, glucose/fructose maize syrup, iso-glucose and fruit fructose. HFCS is found soda, salad dressing, breads, cereals, yogurt, soups, cold- cuts, jarred pasta sauce, ketchup and juice drinks. 

4. Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH)
This is a genetically engineered version of the natural human growth hormone produced by cows, it manufactured by Monsanto. It is used to increase milk production in dairy cows. 
Hi levels of rBGH has been implicated as major factors in the cause of breast, colon, and prostate cancers. It is also attributed to the early onset of puberty in girls. Many large corporations such as Dannon, General Mills, Starbucks and Walmart have begun to phase out products which contain rBGH and rBST. It is still in all dairy items that are not labeled "No rBGH or rBST"

5. Agave Nectar
This is a highly processed sweetener that is derived from the agave cactus plant. Agave contains the highest levels of fructose among all commercial sweeteners, even higher than HFCS. 
Fructose is proven to increase insulin resistance the pre-cursor to Type II Diabetes. Fructose consumption also leads to weight gain, obesity, elevated blood pressure, blood sugar and triglycerides. Agave is found in ice cream, energy bars, cereals, ketchup and jarred pasta sauces. It is also sold as a sweetener.

6. Artificial Food Coloring
Additives used to color foods much like dyes are used to color clothes.
Most of these colors are derived from petroleum. Many of these food dyes have been banned most other countries but not here in the US. Currently 9 dyes that are approved for use in the US are linked to the following health concerns;
  1. Known carcinogens linked to cancer
  2. Hyperactivity in children and adults
  3. Allergy-like reactions
  4. Decreased Attention Span in Children
  5. Adversely affect children already diagnosed with ADHD as well as children with no prior behavior issues
The EU has put labeling regulations in place warning consumers of these risks but the US has not done so.
They are found in beverages, candy, baked goods, cereal (particularly ones marketed to children), energy bars, bread, Macaroni & Cheese, deli meat, condiments, fast foods, ice cream, and commercial meats and fish to make them appear fresh.

7. BHA & BHT
These are preservatives used in most processed foods used to prevent oxidization and extend shelf life. These are oxidants that are known to be potentially carcinogenic. 
Found in cereals, sausage, hot dogs, meat patties, chewing gum, potato chips, beer, butter, vegetable oils, cosmetics and animal feed. Therefore in most all commercial meats.

8. Sodium Nitrite and Sodium Nitrate
Chemicals used to preserve meat.
The World Cancer Research Fund has revealed eating processed meat increase your risk for cancer by 20%.
These chemicals are found in; cured meats, sausage, bacon, ham, salami, hot dogs, canned meats, smoked salmon, and jerky.

9. Potassium Bromate
Is a form of bromide used to increase the volume of breads, rolls, and flours. 
It has been shown to cause cancer in animals and is banned in the EU, Canada and many other countries. The FDA in 1991 had asked bakers to voluntarily stop using potassium bromate. 
It is found in most commercial baked goods in the US, including Wonder Bread, Home Pride Bread, it is commonly found in flour, some toothpastes and mouthwash.

10. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
MSG is an amino acid used as a flavor enhancer. MSG is a known neuro-toxic chemical additive shown to damage nerve cells often times to the point of cell death. Regularly consuming MSG can destroy brain cells and lead to serious health problems including neurological disorders. Regular consumption of MSG has been shown to stimulate the appetite, cause weight gain and lead to obesity.
MSG is found in most processed foods such as; salad dressings, yogurt, canned meat, frozen foods, potato chips, canned soup, crackers, cookies and snack products.

These are some of the worst, unfortunately there are many others. Read your labels and be careful about what you are feeding your family. Avoiding processed foods will help you eliminate most of these harmful chemicals from your families’ diet!!

Peter Burke 3/19/15

Studies have shown the many benefits of physical activity on the body, but it also has many important benefits for your brain. As we age the brains cognitive function begins to degenerate especially after the age of 45. The brain tissue begins to thin and the brain itself begins to shrink. This type of degeneration can result in memory loss, hazy thought process and even worse leading to Alzheimer's and Dementia. 

Recent studies of adults between 40 and 55 years of age show that 30 minutes of exercise is not only good for below the neck it actually improves the brains cognitive function and in adults tested that workout 30 minutes or more daily have thicker healthier brain tissue and fuller healthier brains than their non-active counterparts.  Studies conducted at the University of Illinois found that regular physical activity can benefit the brains supply of white matter. This white matter helps keeps the different regions of grey matter in the cerebrum connected. Which basically means the brain has a greater capacity for memory, attention span and cognitive efficiency.

So a general rule of thumb is anything that is good for the heart is great for the brain!! A healthy diet, and regular aerobic and resistance training is equally important in children and adults!! Basically have fun, eat well, and exercise to stay physically and mentally fit!! 

Peter Burke 3/5/15