Surprising Foods that Could be Ruining Your Fitness Plan

When you are totally obsessed with reaching a fitness goal, you tend to naturally gravitate to the mantra, “great bodies are made in the kitchen.”  Spending time calorie counting, planning and prepping your meals alongside your regular workout routine just comes with the territory. I’m guessing that if you are heading towards this path that you are also type of person who is “label-conscious,” analyzing all the ingredients and additives of your food. Although you may think you are doing a pretty good job of filtering your food choices, you could still be making some seriously unhealthy mistakes.

A lot of companies hide the unhealthy side of their foods, glossing over harmful ingredients and trying to pass their products off as health foods; or least foods that seem safe.  After all, these “healthy” products are safe… they don’t contain fat or sugar, do they?  Here’s some food for thought, as we rundown a list of five food offenders that you might not think are harmful… but might actually be wrecking your diet.

1. Diet Sodapop

When trying to eliminate soda from your health plan (as you should), you could very easily make the mistake of switching to it’s diet counterpart. After all, diet sodas have significantly fewer calories; with some people actually preferring the taste to their high calorie versions. This train of thought is misleading as it persuades you to believe that diet soda is, in fact, a healthy drink choice. But contrary to that belief, while diet soda recreates the original flavor without the use of sugar and syrup, the manufactures turn to artificial ingredients and chemicals instead.

Common popular chemicals used in these “diet” drinks include:

Aspartame – Indicated in the rise of the rate of brain tumors

Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO) – Can cause headaches and fatigue if consumed, in excess, over an extended period of time.

Aspartame and BVO are often hotly debated as to their negative effects, each with numerous conflicting (often negative) health studies. The question is, that if you can avoid these chemicals, why bother consuming products including them as ingredients at all? BVO is currently widely banned as a food additive in both Europe and Japan in general; while just being banned as a soft drink ingredient in India.   Considering the negativity surrounding products containing these chemicals, opt for a healthy alternative for your beverages and always check the product’s label!

2. Coffee Creamers

While many of us are zombies before we have our morning coffee, many of us cannot drink it at all without at least adding some cream and sweetener. While trying to be health conscious by avoiding adding heavy cream and processed sugar to our cup of Joe, we might make the simple mistake of reaching for a prepared creamer instead; especially at work.  The unfortunate fact is that this off-white powdered cream often contains a slew of unhealthy chemicals including: Titanium Dioxide, artificial sweeteners and numerous varieties of trans-fats.

For those who are unfamiliar with Titanium Dioxide here’s the general rundown:

  • Chemical that is found in paint, sunscreen and food coloring
  • Linked to lung cancer in rats.For the healthier choice, simply consider using an all natural creamer, low-fat milk and/or a natural sweetener.


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3. To-Go Iced Tea

Another popular alternative to both regular and diet soda is plain old iced tea. Any type of unsweetened iced tea is generally pretty healthy… that is, if you make it at home. Many fast food chains however, use a chemical known as E405 (Propylene glycol alginate). This chemical is used as a “thickener, stabilizer and emulsifier” in food products, but is also used in some questionable products.


– E405 (Propylene glycol alginate) – Used in production of non-toxic antifreeze and e-cigarettes.

– While not considered super dangerous, in large doses it could cause skin irritation, itchiness and the carry the possibility of cardiovascular and/or neurotoxilogical issues.

To bring the article back to tea, remember, the healthy rule of thumb is to steep your tea at home; black or green is preferable. At least then you can reap the benefits of all the antioxidants and metabolism boosters, without the potential neurotoxins. Feel good about your choice!


4. Microwave Popcorn

Popcorn, sans the salt and butter, is often a great low-cal choice of snacks among the health conscious set. But… if you opting for the microwaveable version, you could be in trouble.  This type of popcorn often contains a chemical called, “dacetyl,” or the dacetyl substitute, “2,3-pentanedione.”

Here’s what you need to know:

Dacetyl – The smell of “dacetyl” is specifically linked to a gross, and extremely dangerous, form of bronchitis, commonly known as, “Popcorn Lung.” The disease is named in honor of those unfortunate workers at popcorn factory were exposed to the chemical.

While, you would have to consume a lot of popcorn to acquire , “Popcorn Lung,” it should go without saying, it is something you should go without in your diet. Also, “2,3-pentanedione” performs essentially the same function as “dacetyl,” and should also be avoided. If you want to still enjoy your popcorn, without the chemicals, try “air-popping” some kernels or microwaving them in a regular ol’ brown paper bag.

It should be pretty obvious by now, that foods may not quite be what they seem. While unwanted calories from fats and sugars are still to be avoided, unnoticed chemicals from additives are definitely something to take extra care in looking out for.  Make the healthy choice to read labels and always look up ingredients that you are unfamiliar. But the best choice is to stick with foods that don’t have a huge list of ingredients in the first place.  Your fitness plan will  thank you.

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