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These Chemicals Found In Everyday Food Items Are Making You Fat And Unhealthy

Your food can contain a number of artificial chemicals which have a direct impact on body fat.

These Chemicals Found In Everyday Food Items Are Making You Fat And Unhealthy

Food companies make use of these additives in their food to enhance taste


  1. Food companies make use of these additives in their food to enhance taste
  2. MSG is added to food to improve taste and cut down production cost
  3. PFOA is a synthetic compound present in non-stick cooking pans

We know how food impacts our body but do we know how artificial additives in some foods affect our body weight and overall health? Processed foods contain several artificial chemicals which have a direct impact on the body fat. And it's not just processed foods; some seemingly healthy foods are also loaded with these chemicals. Food companies make use of these additives in their foods to enhance taste, increase shelf-life and cut down the cost of production.

These synthetic chemicals increase the body mass and are known as obesogens. From packaged water to yogurts, obesogens are present in many processed foods. So if you are on a fitness spree and are unable to lose weight despite working out for hours, you should know that it is due to these obesogens in your food.

Here is a list of 5 such chemicals which may be making you fat and unhealthy:

1. Monosodium glutamate (MSG)

MSG is added to food items to improve taste and cut down the cost of adding natural flavours. But this one is a harmful excitotoxin. As we belong to the 21st century and the market is flooded with processed and packaged foods we cannot avoid them in a long run. However, we can cut down on its intake to once a week. Since this particular ingredient is found in most of the processed foods and acts as an appetite stimulant, consumers should read labels carefully and make sure that their intake is not more than 1 gram in a week as the excitotoxin released may harm brain cells to a greater extent. As a nutritionist, I would suggest people to substitute it with herbs such as oregano, basil which have nutritional benefits too apart from seasonings.

2. Aspartame

To replace natural sugars, aspartame is used. So the products that claim that they contain less or zero sugar make use of aspartame to give the sweet taste. This chemical disturbs the stomach bacteria which triggers weight gain. Phenylalanine and aspartic acid, the two components of this chemical stimulate insulin and leptons. As a result, the body stores energy in the form of either glycogens or fat.
If given a chance this particular product should be erased from the market as it can be more harmful than white sugar. Loaded with artificial/synthetic substances it acts as a burden on the liver to eliminate its end products. There are various studies which have shown its side effects on the human body such as heart diseases, weight gain etc. Gestational diabetic mothers should especially avoid it for the side effects it has on the developing fetus. When one is craving for sweet, fruits are the best and healthiest option one can go for.

3. Bisphenol-A

BPA is found in canned or plastic containers of food. Now these foods are stored in the containers for a long period of time due to which the chemical slips into the food and eventually enters our body. This chemical fosters the growth of fat cells in our body. BPA escapes the body easily but over consumption of it can increase risk of low metabolism. BPA cannot be totally avoided but we can definitely switch over to other options such as making use of glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers particularly for hot food or liquids whenever it is possible. Since babies are most vulnerable to the side effects of bisphenol-A, one should make sure to use baby bottles that are BPA free. One should not microwave it or eliminate the use of canned products as much as possible to reduce its side effects on the body. 

4. Mercury

This one is usually found in farm fishes and high-fructose corn syrups. Mercury is a highly toxic chemical which if consumed regularly can lead to substantial weight gain over time. This happens due to the fact that mercury slows down metabolism significantly. As a result, you end up gaining weight. The highest concentration of mercury is found in sea fishes. When talking about its usage in other food products it can still be avoided as it affects brain health and functioning. One cannot avoid fish, however, can choose the ones which have low mercuric levels such as shrimp, salmon, tuna etc. For people who reside in areas where mercury poisoning is common and found in seafood, one should get mercury test done at regular intervals.

5. Perfluorooctanoic acid

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PFOA is a synthetic compound present in non-stick cooking pans. It is also found in microwavable popcorn. In today’s era, everybody focuses on their body image and consuming less oil for which non-stick pans are used and cannot be eliminated from the society. The chemical used for coating might have side effects but everything has benefits and disadvantages. I believe limited usage of this product will not do much harm to the body. Exposure can occur only if the pan is overheated or scratched. In fact exposure from carpets, upholstery and textiles or clothing carries a higher risk than non-stick cookware. So I am in favor of this product.

(Nmami Agarwal is Miss World Manushi Chhillar's Nutrionist)  

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.


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