Salvere Blog: Sometimes it’s the Little Things

by Salvere Health and Fitness

Ever read the ingredient list on the back of the food label and thought “what the heck is that”? Maybe you recognize the first several ingredients but then comes that list of Thiamine Mononitrate, Trisodium Phosphate, Carrageenan, Titanium Dioxide, Phenylalanine, etc. Forget identifying these things when simply pronouncing these words becomes a challenge. Many of these food additives help to preserve the food or make it look and taste more appealing.

When it comes to food additives, we need to pay a little more attention especially if you consume a diet high in processed or packaged foods. Many of these additives need more research but, regardless, the best research happens when we each pay more attention to how our own bodies respond. While these ingredients could be lengthy discussions by themselves, we wanted to at least define a few of them for you.  This blog is a little longer then our usual so bear with us!

Carrageenan: “a nondigestable polysaccharide extracted from red edible seaweed.” Makes sense now, huh? Okay, so you will see this in many of your non dairy milk alternatives such as almond and coconut milk. It acts as a thickener and stabilizer in foods. Now, carrageenan can be found in a food grade form and non food grade form. Some research shows it can cause inflammation and irritate individuals with GI issues such as IBS and Crohns.

Titanium dioxide: “the naturally occurring oxide of titanium.” Again, this sure clears things up! In food, this additive makes things look more white. Think skim milk and powdered sugar on donuts. You will also see this in cosmetics such as sunscreen and lotions. This too has been show to possibly irritate the GI tract and negatively impact individuals with IBS and  Crohns.

Chicory root: “a woody, perennial plant usually with bright blue flowers.” Pretty easy to understand this one. Both the root and flowers/petals can be consumed. Often you will see this ground and used as a coffee substitute. Additionally, you’ll see it in foods, possibly listed as chicory root fiber/inulin/extract, that promote fiber content such as the high fiber bars, cereals and breads. Some people do well with his particular ingredient and for others, it’s not really your friend!

Soy lecithin: “an oily substance extracted from soybeans chemically (using hexane) or mechanically, it is a byproduct of soybean oil production.” Check out the back of any processed food in your pantry and chances are pretty good you’ll find Soy Lecithin. Companies use this product as an emulsifier in foods such as chocolate and salad dressings. It keeps the oil and other stuff from separating. And it can be found quite cheap in the US as the government often subsidizes soy crops. Issues may arise in some people with soy allergies, although uncommon.

Sorbitol: “a sugar alcohol with a sweet tastes that the body metabolizes slowly.” You’ll see this in chewing gum and diet food products. It’s also used as a laxative. This again is one of those products that can cause bloating and other GI “disturbances. In cases of health issues such as IBS and Crohns this additive may cause irritation and flare ups.

Xanthan gum: “a substance produced by the fermentation of Xanthomonas Camestris.” Huh??  Its basically taking a substance that forms as a result of fermentation and processing it into a powder that works great to help those herbs stay suspended in your salad dressing and keeping your ice cream creamy! Some people do have allergies to Xanthan gum and it to can contribute to GI discomfort.

Guar gum: “the ground endosperm of guar beans.” Basically they take the guar seeds, remove the husks, mill them then screen them to leave a white powdery substance that is guar gum. Use guar gum as you would corn starch. Check you soup, salad dressing and condiment labels to find this ingredient. Guar gum is a soluble fiber so it will aid in digestion and elimination by helping to create bulk. It was once used as a weight loss pill.

by Lisa Martin, owner and personal trainer at Salvere Health and Fitness. If you’d like to contact Lisa, email her at Lisa@SalvereHealthAndFitness.com or call her at (410) 707-0055.

We welcome your thoughts and ideas!  Thank you for reading and taking the steps to become a healthier YOU.
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