Five Ingredients I Will Not Eat

by Matt on January 8, 2011

After writing about my food philosophy a few weeks ago, I have a feeling that most of you guys think that I am completely nuts. After this post, you are probably going to think I am even more nuts, but if I cared, I would not be writing this post ;)

I eat the way I do because I like the way it makes me feel both physically and mentally. After eating a meal with whole grains, vegetables, and grass fed meat, wild seafood, or organic poultry, I feel so much better than if I had eaten a greasy burger at McDonalds.

Nowadays, fast food and that other junk just makes me feel sick. Since I hate feeling sick (who does?), I just stay away from it. Easy solution right?

Why eat something that makes you feel terrible?

Like I have mentioned before, my food philosophy is based on eating whole, unprocessed foods.

Real butter?

Yes please.


No thanks.

Grass fed burgers (with plenty of cheese)?

Yes please.


Not in a million years.

I think you get the picture. I do not deprive myself of pizza, burgers, or sweets, but you will not catch me eating a fast food burger or a package of Oreos. I might be crazy, but this is just the way I live my life.

Over the years, I have come across some ingredients that just plain scare me.

Who the hell invents this stuff?

1. Partially Hydrogenated Oil (): Often found in frozen foods, baked goods, and other processed foods that liter the supermarket, trans fats are more harmful to your heart and blood vessels than saturated fats. Trans fat is produced by the partial hydrogenation of oils to make them more solid (when a liquid oil is converted to a solid = hydrogenation process).

If there is one ingredient that I will never again in my life consume, it is trans fat. Basically, this is the number one reason that I do not eat fast food.

Trans fats raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lower your good (HDL) cholesterol levels.  Not only does eating trans fats increases your risk of developing heart disease and stroke, but it also increases your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.

2. Artificial Sweeteners: Acesulfame-K, aspartame, and, sucralose, and saccharine are the most common culprits.

Some have been linked to cancer, headaches, dizziness, and hallucinations. Although some studies say they are safe, there are hundreds that say they are dangerous. They do not fit into my food philosophy of eat whole, non processed foods, so I avoid them at all costs.

3. Sodium Nitrate and Sodium Nitrite: Nitrites enhance the color and and the flavor in packaged and processed deli meats, but they also act as a preservative and have been linked to cancer.

The only deli meats that I buy are . You seriously cannot go wrong with that brand.

4. High-Fructose Corn Syrup: This one is a special case, but I choose not to eat it. In my opinion, I do not think that HFCS is dangerous itself, but it is really only found in processed junk food. Chips, cereal, cookies, ect…

If you avoid HFCS, you are going to avoid almost every processed food out there.

Isn’t that really sad (and scary at the same time)?

5. MSG (Monosodium Glutamate): MSG is not as common as it used to be, but a lot of Asian restaurants still use it quite commonly.

MSG is a flavor enhancer commonly added to Chinese food, canned vegetables, soups and processed deli meats.

Although the USDA recognizes MSG as “safe”, it has been linked to the following symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Flushing
  • Sweating
  • Facial pressure or tightness
  • Numbness, tingling or burning in face, neck and other areas
  • Rapid, fluttering heartbeats (heart palpitations)
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Weakness

Not only are all of these ingredients man made and completely processed, some of them have dangerous side effects.

Want to know the scary part?

They are staples in the diet of most people living in this country. There is no wonder that the healthcare industry is so profitable…

Are there any ingredients that you avoid like the plague?

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{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

January 8, 2011 at 8:09 AM

I’m the same way with avoiding anything processed. I used to use artificial sweetners but now I’m using sugar in the raw.

When I want to eat something, I first think “Does this fuel or fill my body?” If I don’t think it’s going to help me, then I won’t eat it. I’m definitely big into clean eating. :-)
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MattNo Gravatar January 8, 2011 at 9:52 AM

Love that philosophy :)


January 8, 2011 at 8:11 AM

I found your website through The Chic LIfe and I am SO glad I did. I am just learning how to change over what I eat.

It is SO weird that you mentioned McDonalds because my hubby boycotted Eat in Month last night and went and bought supper against my asking him not too. That is where he went. He got me a burger and I was not going to eat it, but did anyway and it was not long afterwards I felt HORRIBLE. I was like–I am NOT eating fast food ever again. Everytime I do I feel nauseous.

So–what do you use for sweetner then? Do you use regular sugar or something else?
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MattNo Gravatar January 8, 2011 at 9:54 AM

I use stevia in my coffee, but for everything else, I use maple syrup, honey, agave, or pure sugar. I would rather put real sugar than chemicals into my body ;)


KellyNo Gravatar January 8, 2011 at 8:13 AM

Such a good list. I avoid all of those as well except I use to eat a lot of articifal sugars…in the form of Splenda. Sweeten my oatmeal? Yes please. Coffe? Yes please. I finally realized I was eating way too much of it. So I did an experiment. I quit..cold turkey and started using Stevia only. Now mind you Stevia is not nearly as sweet as Splenda or other artifical sweeteners so it was a HUGE adjustment at first. But then I got use to it and started liking the less sweet taste. I did this for 6 weeks. Then I added Splenda back into my diet…the result…instant tummy bloat and tummy ache! It was my “ah-ha” moment…and now I am a Stevia girl and more often than not I don’t use anything.


Jamie in ArkansasNo Gravatar January 8, 2011 at 9:38 AM

Hi Kelly!!!!!!! :)
I miss you and your blog!!!!! So good to see your smiling face!
Hope you’re doing good!


MattNo Gravatar January 8, 2011 at 9:52 AM

What about my smiling face? LOL.


Jamie in ArkansasNo Gravatar January 8, 2011 at 1:25 PM

Ok! Ok! No hurt feelings here…yes, your smiling face makes my day too! LOL.


KellyNo Gravatar January 8, 2011 at 9:58 AM

Hi Jamie!!! Thanks for the kind words! I am still a blog reader! :)


MattNo Gravatar January 8, 2011 at 9:55 AM

I used to use about 50 packets of splenda per day. LOL. I cut it out, but once a few months ago, I had it in my coffee at a hotel… Yeah that was bad news. Bloated like a balloon all day. Now I am stevia all the way ;)


KellyNo Gravatar January 8, 2011 at 9:57 AM

See?! That stuff sucks! :)


January 8, 2011 at 8:23 AM

Great list!! Definitely agree.
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January 8, 2011 at 8:36 AM

I love this list and I couldn’t agree more. No matter what kind of diet we follow, these ingredients should not be a staple for any of us! :)
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Jamie in ArkansasNo Gravatar January 8, 2011 at 9:36 AM

I avoid all the same ones you do!! My family and friends think I’m weird, but like you, I don’t care. I know that poison is killing them. The other really scary thing are artificial colors and dyes. Again, if you eat REAL WHOLE foods, there IS NO stinkin’ label to read!!! This chick at work thinks she’s eating healthy when she pops a lean cuisine in the micro.Have you seen THAT ingredient list???? SCARY STUFF.


MattNo Gravatar January 8, 2011 at 9:56 AM

Amen. My friends and family think I am a complete nut case about what I eat, but it is my body and I am not loading it with chemicals.


Jamie in ArkansasNo Gravatar January 8, 2011 at 1:27 PM

Just keep doing what is right for you. Best. Choice. Ever.


January 8, 2011 at 10:48 AM

I like this post.

I avoid meat like the plague. :)


MattNo Gravatar January 8, 2011 at 12:36 PM

Meat is good ;)


AllisonNo Gravatar January 8, 2011 at 11:17 AM

I love your blog! I wish more people realized the value of good, natural food. It’s taken years to convince my mom that all of those ingredients are bad, but she’s starting to catch on. I use agave in everything except baked goods (working on that…). My friends think I’m crazy for not eating fast food. It hurts sometimes, but I know I’m doing what’s good for my body. I’m not a full time vegan or vegetarian but I enjoy eating some vegan and vegetarian meals each week and when I do eat meat, I try to make sure it’s organic and antibiotic-free.


MattNo Gravatar January 8, 2011 at 12:35 PM

Thanks! That really means a lot :)

I’m not a vegetarian (or vegan) either, but I do enjoy plenty of meatless meals throughout the week. I think grass fed beef keeps me eating meat ;)


January 8, 2011 at 12:57 PM

ugh i totally believe in the same thing – however being on a college dining plan i can’t really say that anymore. But when I do my own shopping i make sure the products never include those. I’m actually allergic to artificial sweetners – massive headaches/breakouts. its bad stuffs.
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BetsyNo Gravatar January 8, 2011 at 1:03 PM

you hit it right on the money!! these things are so bad for everyone. i don’t know why there are SO many processed foods out there. only makes people lazy and fat.
eating unprocessed foods and eating with organic and ingredients nature intended is expensive but is so worth it. we look and feel so much better


January 8, 2011 at 1:46 PM

I agree with this list but I dont know if I would say that I absolutely will NEVER eat any of them (Well, McDonalds I NEVER eat).

I avoid them and they are not in my normal diet, so if I eat something with MSG or artificial sweeteners of HFCS once in a blue moon, I know I’m going to be fine. But for the post part, as long as I have a choice and I’m aware of what is in the food, I won’t eat them.


January 8, 2011 at 1:52 PM

As one who adopted a clean eating lifestyle last year my list of foods to avoid like the plague looks just like yours. Eating well is running well! Funny how other look at me as the odd one when I choose health over disease.


MattNo Gravatar January 8, 2011 at 7:00 PM

Amen to that!


January 8, 2011 at 1:56 PM

GREAT list! Although i’ve never been too familiar with #3…

Last semester in my food science class we had to blindly taste random things and see if we could figure out what they were. Well one of them was MSG!! Ugh I was a little angry about that..haha.
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MattNo Gravatar January 8, 2011 at 6:59 PM

Do you eat lunch meat? If so, you might want to make sure your brand is free of nitrates and nitrites. I like Applegate Farms.


January 8, 2011 at 1:58 PM

I avoid all of those, but still drink Coke Zero and Fresca every once in awhile. I love them, so if I really really want one occasionally, I know my body can handle them. And even though I only try to put natural ingredients in my body, I know I eat HFCS or margarine or preservatives occasionally in cakes, cookies and the like. I’m trying to find my balance, and for me personally, worrying too much about ingredients isn’t healthy!
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MattNo Gravatar January 8, 2011 at 6:58 PM

Nothin wrong with that ;)

I read your blog and I actually think you eat healthier than me. Haha.


January 8, 2011 at 2:46 PM

I definitely, above all, stay away from trans fats. I bought organic PB from Costco and tried to encourage my family to eat it instead of the kind with partially hydrogenated oils but they don’t like it! I’ll show them this post :)
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MattNo Gravatar January 8, 2011 at 6:57 PM

Trans fats are completely disgusting.

They do make no stir natural brands of peanut butter though if you want to try giving your family that. My favorite one is Earth Balance. Good stuff and tastes just like Jif ;)


January 8, 2011 at 4:42 PM

Just found your blog, and I totally love it. We have very similar food philosophies, and your 10 Rules for Healthy Eating are awesome. I would have to add “Dairy free” to mine though. :)
Keep up the good work- looking forward to following!
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MattNo Gravatar January 8, 2011 at 6:54 PM


Are you a Vegan or lactose intolerant? Or some other reason for abstaining from dairy?


January 8, 2011 at 5:34 PM

No fast food whatsoever. Ew.
Great post, Matt!
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MattNo Gravatar January 8, 2011 at 6:53 PM



January 8, 2011 at 8:35 PM

I avoid everything on that list. I especially have a huge phobia of hydrogenated oils and artificial sweeteners! Actually artificial anything (color and flavor) scares me. I eat a vegan diet (except for honey which I believe has benefits) so obviously I avoid meat, dairy, and eggs as well.

Awesome post. :)
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January 8, 2011 at 9:21 PM

high fives on this post, matt! loved it. and random funny fact: my husband’s initials are MSG!
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MattNo Gravatar January 9, 2011 at 11:26 AM

Really? LOL I would give him so much crap for that…


January 8, 2011 at 9:51 PM

I think we have pretty similar preferences in terms of food. :)
I just try to avoid processed food as much as possible. It’s so much more fun to cook from scratch anyway (as you know)!
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MattNo Gravatar January 9, 2011 at 11:25 AM

Yep! Thanks Em!


January 8, 2011 at 11:02 PM

very cool post. I eat super healthy for the most part, but grab some McDs about twice a month bc it’s so cheap!


MattNo Gravatar January 9, 2011 at 11:24 AM

It’s actually more expensive than making your own burger. Just sayin ;)


January 9, 2011 at 1:10 AM

I was in West Virginia a few days ago… this stuff was everywhere… it was scary.

I won’t eat any of these either- more than I won’t eat them, like you, I just choose foods that these things don’t exist in. Keeping my ketchup though!
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MattNo Gravatar January 9, 2011 at 11:23 AM

You don’t buy ketchup without HFCS? I am not coming over for burgers. LOL.


January 9, 2011 at 6:49 AM

This is a great list. These are all ingredients that I try to avoid. I know there are times when I consume them, just not very often. I also know that I don’t feel my best after having something with some of these ingredients in it. Sadly, most of the American consumers are still unaware of these ingredients and their negative effects on health.
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MattNo Gravatar January 9, 2011 at 11:27 AM

That is because companies try to trick us into thinking their products are good for us. It is a sad place we live in…

Thanks for your input!


January 9, 2011 at 9:52 PM

yep your crazy! so am I! It’s pretty sad when people think your nuts because you choose not to eat at McDonalds.
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