How to Avoid Additives that Wreak Havoc in Your Body

3 Questions about additives in foods and how to avoid them.

Eva's interview with Peter for her 5th grade science project on additives in food.

Eva’s interview with Peter for her 5th grade science project on additives in food.

This past week one I was paid a visit by a young lady whose 5th grade science experiment was based on preservatives and additives in foods and what they do to our bodies.  She came in very prepared for her interview with me.   Confidently, she asked me question after question writing my responses word for word in her notebook.  In fact, she had good questions.  Her interview inspired me to write a bit on this topic, because her reaction (and her mother’s reaction) was of genuine shock when they heard what I had to say about preservatives. So he
Question 1:  What are preservatives and what do they do to the foods they’re in?
To understand how preservatives preserve food we must first have a basic understanding of what mold, a preservative’s mortal enemy, actually is.  Mold is a fungus.  It’s a micro-organism which travels in the form of spores through our atmosphere.  Mold decomposes dead organic plant material like wood, leaves, and plants. Mold needs a few things to grow.  A food source, oxygen, water, and a temperature somewhere between 40 and 100 degrees.
Preservatives like polysorbates, nitrites, and sulfites are used to combat mold by making the enzymes mold uses to break down food ineffective. Others come in contact with the mold and have an antimicrobial effect entering the cells of the fungus and wreaking havoc essentially killing it.
Question #2:  What do preservatives to our bodies?Remember, our gut has a variety of bacteria and enzymes in it to break down our food sources.  Foods with a whole lot of preservatives causes stress on our digestive track.  If the food is more difficult to break down and go through enzymatic processes then our absorption of the nutrients in the food is negatively affected.
This can also cause an imbalance in our gut flora resulting in the overgrowth of some bacteria in our gut which then can lead to many other illnesses over time.
Preservatives aren’t the only enemies lurking around in our foods.  Other additives like carrageenan and gums are used as thickening agents to make foods and drinks have a creamer texture making them more palatable. These additives can have highly allergenic reactions in our guts causing all kinds of stress and the stress hormone cascades that go along with it.
Our gut is referred to as the “second brain” quite often in the world of physiology.  It has the largest amount of neurons than any other system in our body, second only to the brain.  Our digestive track has a big job to do in breaking down foods and utilizing the nutrients from them. So think twice when putting something in it that may stress it out!
Question 3:  Then what are some good “on the go” options?
This was a tough question.  At first my answers were “fresh fruit, quality cheese, milk and coffee…”  These were not the answers she was looking for.  What she really wanted to know was where could she go to pick up healthy food on the go.  Unfortunately there aren’t a whole lot of places you can grab quick meals on the go because you don’t really know what they have in their foods or what oils their using to cook the food with, etc.  If you are planning on looking for a healthy restaurant of any kind to grab food on the go there’s something you have to keep in mind.  Depending on the restaurant, their objective is to serve thousands of customers per month, and therefor the have to stock a lot of food.  Business varies week to week, month to month, so in order to save money they use foods with the longest shelf life possible.  It only makes sense from a business standpoint, or at least a numbers standpoint, for restaurants to use foods with preservatives in them.  Keeping that in mind it’s hard to trust that you’re going to be able to buy truly healthy food on the go.  In my opinion you can count on the fact that any restaurant is going to sacrifice health for profit margin.
So what can you do?
1.  Keep it simple.
Fresh fruit, cheese, milk, orange juice, carrots, hard boiled or deviled eggs, maybe a little beef jerky from time to time.  These are the things you can grab on the go that are healthy.  The key is to make sure each time you eat you have sugar (carb), protein, and fat (primarily saturated).  Having all of these nutrients in the meal help to keep your metabolism running properly and your blood-sugar level.
2.  Prepare your meals.
Learning to cook a few basic things that you really like can help tremendously.  I feel like society has brain-washed us to believe we don’t have enough time in the week to take care of ourselves.  Cooking for ourselves is seemingly becoming a thing of the past.  Start by trying to few recipes that are quick, easy and something you’d be willing to pack.  You’ll be amazed at how much time you’ll save and work you’ll be able to get done the next day having all your food prepared!
3.  If you are out at a restaurant there are a few things you can do in order to try to get the healthiest meal preparation as possible.
     –  Ask them to cook your food with butter or coconut oil.  Butter is usually the easier request to fulfill.  If they are using vegetable oil or a spray oil ask them to wipe the grip before cooking your meat on it.  These kinds of oils wreak havoc in our body by damaging our immune system and coating our cells, making it difficult for them to respire.
     – Meat, fruit, veggies, starches like potatoes are ok.
     – Keep away from bread and pastas
     – Make sure the meal has all 3 kinds of nutrients in it; sugar, protein, fat.
If you want more information please visit our website www.fitlifefusion.com and contact us for a free consult.
About Peter

Peter Pinto is Co-Owner and Director of Training at the FitLife Fusion Training Facility (formerly The Fit Labs) and Sityodtong International Thai Boxing Camp in Las Vegas.
While his credentials are certainly impressive on paper, it’s his passion for helping athletes of all kinds move more efficiently, get stronger, faster, and watching them progress that really separates Peter from the pack. He exemplifies the modern athlete with diverse experience ranging from lacrosse and football to wrestling and kickboxing which informs his training of athletes from all disciplines and sports with clientele that ranges from UFC prize fighters and NFL players to fitness models, corporate executives, celebrities and anyone looking to maximize the athletic performance they get out of their own body.

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