Food Additives in Energy Bars: Unnecessary and Unhealthy Ingredients to Avoid
The microbiome is a very delicate and extremely complex system made up of 100 trillion bacteria. One of the easiest ways to throw your microbiome out of whack and disturb your gut health is by consuming processed foods that contain food additives.
Harmful additives are found in many packaged foods and cause damage to gut health by throwing off the body's natural balance of good and bad bacteria. This dangerous imbalance can lead to intestinal inflammation and metabolic syndrome, resulting in an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
It may seem easy to pick up healthy, non-processed choices on your next trip down the snack aisle, but identifying food additives on ingredient labels can be tricky. Snack companies can be sneaky and often hide processed ingredients under names like "natural flavors".
Rowdy believes even packaged foods should help, not harm, your gut health. Let's take a look at the top food additives most commonly found in processed foods and how you can avoid them next time you’re shopping for quick and healthy additive-free energy bars and snacks for your on-the-go adventures.
Processed foods generally have lengthy shelf lives. How are they able to sit on a shelf for so long? Emulsifiers. The dietary additive is similar to the chemical compounds found in detergents and is used to bind ingredients together and prolong the shelf life of foods.
Emulsifiers thin the mucus lining in the gut, which usually acts as a barrier between the gut bacteria and the intestinal wall and protects us from inflammation and infection. A thinner mucus layer makes the body more susceptible to disease.
Now, don't be fooled, not all emulsifiers are damaging to the gut. Honey and mustard are natural emulsifiers and are not damaging to the mucus lining. Here is a list of the different types of bad emulsifiers and how to find them on food labels:
- Soy lecithin
- CSL Calcium Stearoyl Di Laciate
- PolyGlycerol Ester (PGE)
- Sorbitan Ester (SOE)
- PG Ester (PGME)
- Sugar Ester (SE)
- Monoglyceride (MG)
- Acetylated Monoglyceride (AMG)
- Lactylate Monoglyceride (LMG).
Aspartame, a neurotoxin and carcinogen, is a commonly found sweetener in "sugar-free" and "diet" foods and drinks. Sucralose, another artificial sweetener to look out for, can lead to carb cravings, which we all want to avoid, and can disrupt the body's natural sense to regulate blood sugar.
Natural can make anyone believe a food is healthy. Don't fall for it. Natural flavors aren't natural at all. These ingredients are extracted from hard-to-track natural sources, causing concern for people with allergies, and are then chemically altered before being added to your food. There's nothing natural about that.
Many processed foods contain sugar alcohols which are used to sweeten a snack without spiking blood sugar. These alcohols are tough for the body to digest and can cause intestinal bloating. This additive is also a major cause of diarrhea and gas, something no one wants to deal with.
It's common knowledge that your kids' favorite sour candy is filled with food dyes, but did you know they can also be found in juices, salad dressings and cereals?
Various food dyes were actually banned in Finland, Norway, Sweden and France because of the chromosomal damage, thyroid cancer and other issues they have been known to cause. Look out for Blue # 1, Blue #3 Red #40, Yellow #6 and Yellow Tartrazine on your food labels.
BHA and BHT are preservatives found in chewing gum, cereals and chips that help maintain the color and flavor of the food as well as keep it from going bad. The ingredients may be good for the packaged food companies, but they can disturb the function of the neurological system and are considered to be oxidants (as in, the opposite of antioxidants), a well-known cause of cancer.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Go ahead and walk down the snack aisle of any grocery store and pick up a bag of processed food off the shelf. Chances are, one of the listed ingredients is high fructose corn syrup. The additive is found in nearly every processed food and is a leading cause of increased bad cholesterol and the risk of diabetes.
How to Improve Gut Bacteria
Making consistent, healthy choices on a daily basis can help improve your overall gut health. Even when on the go, choosing less processed, additive-free, whole foods can make a notable difference.
We believe convenient snacks shouldn’t come with a catch. Rowdy Prebiotic Bars are not only completely additive-free energy bars, but can actually help promote good bacteria in the gut.