Some time ago, I came across a speech that David Heber, MD, PhD gave to a group of people interested in nutrition. Dr. Heber is the Director of the Center for Human Nutrition at UCLA. As some of you know, I went to school there, but most do not know that Dr. Heber was my fraternity brother. In this speech, he said that when asked which spices most Americans use with their foods, the overwhelming response was “ketchup or mustard.” Recently, another colleague of mine, Joseph Mercola, DO wrote about food ingredients we should avoid. My recent blog article on reading food labels “The Art and Science of Reading Food Labels” only covers the tip of the iceberg.
Commercially prepared mayonnaise is indeed loaded with fats. Most prepared mayos are primarily GMO (Genetically Modified) soybean oil. This is one of the most harmful oils you can eat and NOT the kind of fat that benefits you. It is also found extensively in processed foods.
This type of oil, whether partially hydrogenated (another name for Trans fat), organic, or made from newer soybean varieties modified in such a way as to not require hydrogenation. Because they are highly processed, this type of oil wreaks chaos in your body at the cellular level. This paves the way for problems ranging from obesity and diabetes to reproductive disorders and heart disease.
Furthermore, in addition to the trans fats created from hydrogenation, the majority of soybeans grown in the US are genetically engineered and, as a result, are saturated with dangerous levels of the herbicide glyphosate (RoundupTM), which has been linked to a growing list of serious health problems.
I know you probably don’t consider mayonnaise a sweet product, but most commercial varieties contain high fructose corn syrup or other forms of fructose (see Nutrition Facts Label), which adds to the toxic load on your liver. If you think you can’t live without your mayo, consider using an organic variety made with olive oil, or make your own mayo!
Most commercially prepared mayonnaise is made using soybean oil, which is one of the most harmful fats you can consume, regardless of whether it’s partially hydrogenated, organic, or made from newer soybean varieties modified in such a way as to not require hydrogenation. Soybean oil can pave the way for health problems ranging from obesity and heart disease to reproductive problems.
Sour cream is frequently made from milk and cream that contain the genetically engineered bovine growth hormone rBGH, the largest selling animal drug in America. RBGH is banned in the 27 countries of the European Union because of its dangers to human health. The growth factor in rBGH has also been shown in scientific studies to increase your risk for breast cancer.
Just as with mayonnaise, sour cream can be a delicious and nutritious adjunct to your meal or a toxic white glop—depending on what goes into it. If you make your own cultured soured cream from quality ingredients, it’s not going to do your body any harm and will even provide some excellent nutrition when consumed in moderation. Saturated fats and animal fats are NOT the bane of your existence, contrary to what you’ve heard, but must be used in moderation. So those little tubs you find at most grocery stores are not healthful, but unfortunately, those are what most Americans consume. As you can see, there are lots of fillers and preservatives and not much in the way of REAL food. Not only that, but non-organic dairy products often contain dangerous genetically engineered bovine growth hormone, or rBGH.
RBGH is the largest selling dairy animal drug in America. But it is banned in Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and in the 27 countries of the European Union because of its risks to human health. IGF-1 in rBGH increases your risk for breast cancer by promoting conversion of normal breast tissue cells into cancerous ones. Despite decades of evidence about the dangers of rBGH, the FDA still maintains it’s safe for human consumption and ignores scientific evidence to the contrary. The only way to avoid rBGH is to look for products labeled “rBGH-free” or “No rBGH.”
Ranch and Blue Cheese Dressing
Typically, commercial ranch and blue cheese dressings are chemical brews that according to Dr. Mercola, bear little resemblance to food, if you read the ingredient list. These dressings often contain soybean oil, artificial food dyes, and monosodium glutamate (MSG), a dangerous excitotoxin that can cause weight gain, depression, headaches, various degrees of brain damage and other problems. If you read the ingredient list, you typically see ingredients such as soybean Pasteurized “blend” of skim milk, reduced minerals whey, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, salt, dehydrated onion, sour cream flavor (cream, nonfat milk, whey, whey protein concentrate, cultured nonfat buttermilk (skim milk, cultures), maltodextrin (sugar!), salt, autolyzed yeast extract, natural flavors, monosodium glutamate, sodium citrate, sour cream cultures, lactic acid, food starch-modified, gelatin, dextrose, dehydrated garlic, vinegar powder (maltodextrin, corn starch-modified, white distilled vinegar), monosodium glutamate, citric acid, sodium hexametaphosphate, locust bean gum, lecithin, spices, potassium sorbate, guar gum, whey, whey protein concentrate, carrageenan, acetic acid, propylene glycol alginate, artificial colors (FD &C Yellow No. 5 (Tartrazine) and FD & C Yellow No. 6)
If you use commercially prepared ketchup on your food, you might as well be starting an IV of high fructose corn syrup, because that’s primarily what glugs out of the bottle. Most bottled ketchups consist basically of overcooked tomatoes, water, and a large bolus of sugar, usually as some form of genetically engineered corn syrup. Many brands also add “natural flavorings,” which are really flavor-boosting chemicals, one being MSG. Here is a fairly typical ingredient list, this one from Hunt’s Regular Ketchup: Tomato concentrate, high fructose corn syrup, distilled vinegar, corn syrup, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, natural flavors.
Due to growing consumer concerns over the health problems of high fructose corn syrup, ConAgra, manufacturer of Hunt’s Ketchup, removed it from their ketchup in 2010. However, their reformulated product was not a big hit, so they added it back in two years later.
One tablespoon of commercially prepared ketchup typically contains four grams of sugar which is the serving size. But many people consume much more than one tablespoon at a time, which quickly builds up your daily sugar load. Like ketchup, sugar (especially high fructose corn syrup) is added to nearly all processed foods, along with a lot of sodium and other flavor enhancers, and it doesn’t take too long to exceed your maximum daily fructose limit (25 grams or less).
Steak Sauce or Barbeque Sauce
Popular store-bought steak and barbeque sauces contain little real food and a lot of chemical fillers and preservatives, including potassium sorbate, caramel color (which often contains MSG), excess sodium, dyes, texture and flavor enhancers, and genetically engineered ingredients. They typically contain fructose, usually in the form of high fructose corn syrup or one of its equivalents. An example is A1 Steak Sauce which contains tomato puree (water, tomato paste), distilled vinegar, corn syrup (2 grams per tablespoon), salt, raisin paste, crushed orange puree, spices and herbs, dried garlic and onion, caramel color, potassium sorbate, and xanthan gum. Potassium sorbate, as a preservative, has also been shown to have adverse effects on your pet’s health. It’s best to stay away from it.