Baby boomers stay healthy because we are the first generation to come through life aware of the differences between good foods and bad ones. Which is why we think this piece (with its uniquely British spelling) from The Telegraph in London is worth looking at. Ross Edgley is a sports scientist and former Olympic conditioning coach. And he writes about “Four poisonous foods every man should avoid.” Unfortunately, he says, canned baked beans are one of them!
No, this article isn’t a health warning about those poisonous mushrooms living under that rock at the bottom of your garden. Nor is it about those Man vs Food challenges that come complete with a waiver form. Instead, the foods you’ll find on this list are much harder to identify — in fact, some are in disguise and near impossible to spot to the untrained eye. From that seemingly harmless can of tinned fruit in your cupboard, to artificially mass-made sugar — each one is guilty of declaring nutritional warfare on your body’s insides.
But never fear: salvation is at hand. By naming and shaming the worst culprits in the food industry, this article will serve as your nutritional redemption. Specifically saving you from a life of sexual dysfunction and “man boobs”, but more generally equipping you with the knowledge needed to combat a whole list of diseases that currently plague modern man.
1. Tinned Foods
Everyone has that one can of tinned fruit that’s been at the bottom of the cupboard for as long as they can remember. It’s been there so long it’s practically part of the family. Well do yourself a favour and quickly disown that particular family member via the bin.
This is because — according to research published in the Journal of Food Additives and Contaminants — the resin lining of tin cans has been found to contain bisphenol-A, also more commonly known as BPA. This is an industrial chemical that made the headlines when it was linked to everything from heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
It gets even worse for younger men – who may hitherto relied on a diet heavy in tinned food like soup and chopped tomatoes. Research published in the Journal of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology found that BPA could suppress sperm production and negatively affect the male reproductive system as a whole. Bad news for any man wanting to enter fatherhood later down the line.
Now it must be noted there are studies that state the BPA content of canned foods is minimal and won’t have an impact on your health. But my advice is simple: why take the risk? Eat your fruit,vegetables and pulses how Mother Nature intended — can free!
2. Artificial Sugars
High fructose corn syrup is one of the most consumed carbohydrate sources in the world. That’s because – whether you know it or not – this sweet assassin of the nutritional world has been added to most of your favourite foods, from types of baked beans to apparently healthy cereals like certain brands of muesli. HFCS is the “super addictive sweetener” in nearly all soft drinks.
But don’t be romanced by its sweet allure. According to research, this artificially made sugar has been linked to everything from diabetes and obesity to the inhibition of leptin, the hormone responsible for telling your brain that you’re full. Ever wonder why you could eat a whole box of cookies and never feel satisfied?
So why are companies putting it in your food? One word: ‘profit’. It’s chemically very similar to table sugar, only a lot cheaper to make. Food companies can call on corn syrup to keep costs down and push profits up. The only problem is this is all at the expense of your health.
The solution? If any food contains the words “high fructose corn syrup”, throw it straight in the bin.
3. ‘Healthy’ Milk Alternatives
While it’s true that lactose intolerances are no fun, we’ve probably endured more dairy scaremongering than is our due. Soy producing companies have lead the charge to convince us that their product offers a healthier alternative to milk, which is supposed to laden our stomachs with the difficult to digest lactose compound.
Lactose intolerances are more commonthan we realise – but that’s not the say soy is an angelic substitute. Soy milk is widely known to be a ‘feminising agent’ due to its content of plant compounds called phytoestrogens. Research published by the Society of Endocrinology has linked these compounds to increased levels of oestrogen — the female hormone — in men. So unless droopy breast tissue and sexual dysfunction are on your list of goals at the gym, avoid it completely and either stick with milk or try almond milk instead.
4. Artificial flavourings
This final entry is the master of deception. You’ve probably heard about the debate that rages around MSG, a common ‘flavour enhancer’ in many processed foods – but did you know that it has many other names than just monosodium glutamate? Sodium caseinate, autolyzed vegetable protein, autolyzed yeast, hydrolysed vegetable protein,yeast extract and even citric acid are all surreptitious sources of MSG. Some of those may sound quite pleasant, but they still contain the same threat to your health.
Many experts claim that MSG — in any form and by any name — is a neurotoxin that damages nerve cells by overexciting them to the point of cell death. In a study conducted at Washington University School of Medicine, it was found that MSG was linked to everything from brain lesions to obesity and general biological disarray.
Basically, our bodies have no clue how to deal with the chemical onslaught MSG creates – so you’d be advised to learn the many names MSG masquerades under, and try to eradicate them from your cupboards.
Healthy eating is always difficult, especially in today’s fast-paced and information-heavy world. But an easy rule of thumb is that the more processed, manipulated and modified the food in your hand, the worse it will be for you. That’s not to say grab a knife and fork and head for the nearest vegetable patch – just try to remember that there’s no such thing as a canned-fruit tree or an MSG lactating cow.