Hidden Killer Ingredients In Your "Healthy" Food

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The saying “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” isn’t always true. The truth is that your food is so contaminated with hidden ingredients that it can set you up for exhausting chronic illness, cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes… the list is endless.

If it doesn’t kill you, it sure will make you weak, sick, slow and miserable.

I know, because I was there.

Before I shifted my diet completely overnight, I was doomed by the doctors to live the rest of my life on the couch and in bed. A wheelchair was in my near future. That’s in how much pain and how exhausted I was. You can read all about my story here if you want.

But today I want to focus on making you aware of the hidden dangers in your food: the ingredients that you’re trying to ban by making healthier choices but bump into again without knowing.

The signals are showing up in how you feel and look like;

✗ You may have been trying to lose weight but can’t get it off, or gained weight rapidly despite of eating well

✗ You are trying to catch up with sleep but wake up as tired as when you went to sleep

✗ You are exercising to get mental clarity but your brain is foggy as can be

✗ You’ve banned alcohol but you’re drowsy and have headaches worthy calling a hangover

✗ You have been replacing meat by vegan options but your stomach is still acting up with acid reflux

Stop blaming yourself or your “lack of will power.” Instead let’s have a look at what your food is hiding from you.



First you need to understand that the food industry recently discovered a new money well: health. More specifically: the vegan movement is taking over the world.

Yay to that! But wait…

As happy as I am with the positive evolution towards more conscious eating, as concerned I am when I see how junk food is being taken over by what I call “healthy junk.”

The industry has shifted its attention to an inspiring trend but with the same old mindset: making as much money as possible at the lowest cost possible.

That means they’re pouring “natural” additives and tastemakers into our food, masking them with names they don’t need to explain and labeling them as “vegan” or “plant based.” And guess what. It sells BIG time!

What’s most upsetting about that… YOU pay the price twice:

  1. first at the counter and

  2. with your health later.

As soon as something is being labeled as healthy, most of our suspicion fades. We want to trust that package with the promise so badly that we lose our common sense for what’s real, true and genuine.

A very essential principle for you to understand is: as soon as a food has been heated and canned, pasteurized, bottled or packaged, “improved” with chemicals to give it a longer shelve life and the flavour you’re hooked on, is beautified with refined and bleached ingredients, or in short: altered in any way, we’re talking about processed food.

Sadly, that’s the food 60% of the Americans consume daily.

In 2013, 80% of packaged foods in America were containing chemicals that were illegal and banned in other countries.

YOU can do better, because you are here. Learn what is making you feel so exhausted, what sizes you up year after year, what inflames your joints and what is killing you slowly.

I know that the truth is shocking because what you were taught to eat and consider to be “normal” is actually a threat to your wellbeing. Even the core essential products you were raised on: milk, cheese, your daily bread, yogurt, meat, chicken and fish need a critical eye and mind.


⤠ Educate yourself about what the industry is feeding you, why you keep craving foods you don’t want to eat anymore, turning you into their junkie who wants (and needs) more of the same.

⤠ Learn the different names of how the industry labels ingredients to keep the truth from you

⤠ Read every label with that knowledge and make genuine choices that support your life and ambitions


I would like to share my personal experience, because that’s how my investigation and this article started.

When I moved to New York from Belgium 6 months ago, I was delighted by all the healthy options I found in this city. And during the first months of my stay I was calming down from a very stressful time to make the big leap, honeymooning with my love, relaxing.

We investigated plant based restaurants, grabbed salads for lunch at the Diggin’s and Sweet Greens that popped up everywhere, made our own salads at Wholefoods when we were in a hurry on the go and didn’t feel like making and taking our own dishes. Why wouldn’t we? It’s all healthy and plant based and available! :-)

Nevertheless I started gaining weight very quickly.

First I thought: “Ok, that’s what happens when you aren’t running around from morning till night to get the deadline of a BIG move, fixing and staging the whole house to sell it, ticking hundreds of to-do’s on your endless list, plus taking care of everyone while moving and shaking your business.”

It was nothing alarming, as I was at the lowest end of my BMI and I could use a few extra pounds, but after a while, when I felt recovered and re-charged, I started wondering why I couldn’t get those few too many pounds to my taste, back off with my plant foods.

The only thing that had changed was, that we were eating out more often, taking things easy while enjoying our new life together. And of course, I understood that my body had to adjust to a different continent, new foods.

Heck, even my hair and skin had to get used to the New York water :-)

My curiosity took me on a new quest: I started reading all the labels of “healthy,” “vegan” and “plant based” foods wherever I came, the ingredients in the lovely looking and tasting salads at Wholefoods. And what I discovered was that we’re being fooled by the industry. Again.

I must say that I was in shock, because what when you can’t even trust the health food industry that everyone is so happy about?

I mean: by 2010 a whopping 1,525 million people had already hopped on the vegan wagon with the understanding they are making healthier choices.

But… are they?

By the way: I went on my yearly spring detox and lost the size that made me feel uncomfortable in my clothes in 2 weeks, feeling free from the burden of the hidden ingredients and their effects on me.

Now let’s move on to what my findings are.

The 1 ingredient I found in EVERY salad and dish I considered as healthy and didn’t give a second thought, was one that made all my alarm bells go off. It was Canola oil. So let’s start there.


Originally coming from rapeseeds, over 90% of canola oil is now genetically modified, highly processed, bleached, refined and deodorized to turn the omega 3’s that may cause rancid reaction, into the more stable trans fatty acids. The 4,6 % of trans fats don’t have to be labeled and are unknown by you, the consumer.

Some of the health issues that canola oil can cause:

✗ promotes inflammation

✗ increases the risk of heart disease because of calcification and high intake of trans fats

✗ promotes rapid weight gain

✗ triggers brain issues, memory-loss and Alzheimers

✗ GMO-related issues: kidney disease, allergies, toxicity, immune-suppression, loss of nutrients, cancer

The FDA allows smaller amounts (under 0,5% per serving= 1 TBSP/14 grams of oil) of trans fats in vegetable oils without mentioning them on the label.

So to make sure you’re safe you need to read the small print that states “Zero grams trans-fat per serving.”

Look for high-quality, more expensive oils such as an excellent cold pressed virgin olive oil or raw coconut oil.

To demonstrate what I mean, here are some of the “healthy” salads that all contained canola oil (I circled them for you) and are serious food for thought. As you can tell by the pretty empty containers in the pictures, people love them… happy as they are to scoop up a healthy salad they don’t have to spend time on.


Made of the starch of (GMO) corn, this syrup has to add more volume to food, soften textures, prevent that sugars crystallize and give that sweet touch most people are addicted to.

Researchers have found that its chemical structure encourages overeating, upsetting the metabolism and of course you know the result of that: more belly fat.

So I was really bummed to see Corn syrup in prepared salads that looked like they only have 3 ingredients: green beans, tomatoes and bell peppers. We all just want more taste to nature’s simple ingredients, and so, your supermarket will add what it takes to perk up that salad so that you will scoop up generously.

Since the name “high fructose corn syrup” has been under fire lately, I see more and more how it is being labeled as the short “corn syrup.” Somehow it has a softer sound to it, but it’s still exactly the same harmful sweetener.

Very disturbing is that you will find this highly processed and blood sugar damaging sweetener in healthy snacks, energy bars, in dressings and sauces, even in meat products.

Be aware of how it’s being covered with other inventive and misleading names such as:

⤞ D-glucose

⤞ Dextrose: the name given to glucose, derived from corn

⤞ Corn sugar: applies to both high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and glucose/dextrose

⤞ Fructose: principal fruit in sugar but extracted from all fiber and nutrients it’s harmful for your health

⤞ Corn sweetener

⤞Corn syrup solids

Aside from the harmful GMO effects (most corn is genetically modified), peaking your blood sugar levels with this sugar sets you up for diabetes and obesity.

But here’s more about corn syrup that is being taken as safe enough to add to what you consider as good for you.

✗ High fructose corn syrup affects memory and slows down cognitive (learning) processes

✗ It adds up empty unsuspected calories that cause rapid weight gain

✗ Drives body-wide inflammation (and an inflamed body triggers chronic disease and cancer)

✗ Peaks your insulin levels into insulin resistance, causing diabetes type 2

✗ It’s fuelling tumors, cancer cells

✗ Increases high blood pressure, increases the risk for heart disease



We love sugar. It’s our drug. It brings that soothing rush over our brain, the exact same rush as cocaine. Which is why it’s so difficult to ban all sugar in your life: it’s a socially accepted addiction, openly promoted and present in every packaged food you buy.

Even when you understand that you can no longer be controlled by your sweet cravings, your brain will look for a way to get that same experience by looking for healthy alternatives.

The health industry understands that it has to follow that need within the plant based movement and is coming up with some smart ideas to get around the bad effects and reputation.

“Natural” sugars could bring a satisfying solution as they still contain calories and nutrients.

Brown sugar, cane sugar, xylitol, brown rice sugar, maple syrup, honey and yes, agave: they all sound pretty ok.

But they have all been processed in one way or another (just have a look at the white Xylitol). Most of them have been heated, are being extracted from all fiber, were bleached, thickened, thinned out with low cost sugars (your supermarket honey isn’t honey most of the times), you name it.

But it’s not just about the fact if you are using a supposedly healthy alternative or not:


It’s about the reaction of the body to ALL sweetness. As soon as the body picks up a sense of sweet, the pancreas will react by producing more insulin to balance the blood sugar levels.

So, even with the “natural” sweeteners that are now easy to find in every store around the corner, you are not safe, your brain is not letting go, you haven’t gone through the withdrawal that comes with banning sugar from your life.

It’s a mentality and mindset shift to ban sugar.

“What about Stevia?” you may think.

Only when you put a Stevia plant on your window sill, pick the leaves as you go and use them as you use herbs.

Take this general rule: everything that is green in its natural state has to be green in a powdered form.

Usually Stevia comes as snow white powder. That means it has been processed, heated, bleached to make it more attractive to the consumer.

A sugar in its true natural state is the best way to consume sugar: eat or use a whole fruit (fresh or dried): its fiber has the function to level out the peak of the sugar intake.

Dates or figs are a much better option to add to your desserts. You can blend them with some water and lemon juice if you want them as a syrup or just throw them in your blender as they are.

Banana, an apple, a peach, some raisins… those are the real natural sweeteners that give you a chance to keep your blood sugar levels balanced.


Still in the sweet department, but the bitter truth must be told: you’re not helping yourself by leaving out sugar and replacing them by artificial sweeteners. Here’s why:

You are still addicted to the taste (and thought) of sweet.

Even artificial sweeteners encourage your taste buds to keep looking for something sweeter. And that’s what you get: they have an intensity that’s 200 to 13.000 times sweeter than regular sugar.

Uncontrollable cravings are now a fact and your draining reality.

When your taste buds are being over stimulated on a daily basis, it’s normal that you find all truly healthy foods plain, unattractive and dull.

Tasteful fruit and vegetables have no flavour at all in your opinion and you turn away from them, looking for the processed foods that meet your numbed sense of taste and for carbohydrates that feed into your sugar cravings.

Saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame, neotame, sucralose: they are added to most processed foods, beverages in the softdrink industry but also in what is sold under a “healthy” label.

Here’s a line up…

Chewing gum, breath mints, beverages, alcoholic beverages, dairy products, salad dressings, desserts, candies, gelatine, preserves, baked goods, toothpastes, mouthwashes, yogurts, vitamins, children’s vitamins, pharmaceuticals, breakfast cereals, snack foods, soups and tabletop sweeteners…

No wonder it’s hard to avoid them and break with the cycle of addiction.

Further more, artificial sweeteners are hard to detect for the consumer as most of the above processed products are labeled as “sugar-free.”

But every sugar-free food is hiding a silent artificial sweetener to meet your need and maintain it, so you will want more.

On a longer term, this trend will leave you deprived from real nutrients and cause you to gain weight.

But it doesn’t stop there. The zero calorie substitutes cause a real risk for your health: scientists believe that there is a relationship between sweeteners and certain cancers, chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, autism and systemic lupus.  

⤞ Stop throwing those aspartames in your coffee, avoid processed foods and yes, go through the withdrawal that every addiction takes to get to the other side of misery. You are worth it! ⤝


To make a long story short: ban ALL foods that hide “isolates.” Carrageenan is just one of them. But I’m mentioning it as one of the most used examples, also in healthy and vegan products.

An isolate is an ingredient extracted from a whole food.

As a whole food it has many benefits, but as soon as it stands alone it loses all its nutritional value and it behaves as a toxin that is very harmful for your health.

As an isolate, carrageenan becomes a strong promoter for cancer, weakens the immune system and is linked to digestive disease, ulcers and chronic disease such as diabetes.

You may already know that carrageenan is a thickening agent, preservative and emulsifier for many processed foods and creamy drinks, extracted from Irish moss, a nutritious sea weed. That’s why you will see it labeled as a “natural” ingredient (you’re getting the picture now).

You will find it in yogurt, meat products, dairy products (cheeses, Cottage cheese, ricotta cheese,…), soy drinks, ice creams, prepared puddings, chocolates, dips, spreads, powdered milk, coffee creamers (Half & Half), toothpaste, beer, pet foods, but also …

in your “healthy” organic almond and coconut milk (although there is a change in the make in that area), certain vegan cheeses, in your beloved protein powder and supplements, in prepared foods that have to make you lose weight but do the opposite. The list is endless and worry-some. Read your labels!

If you are concerned about finding organic products that don’t contain carrageenan, visit the Cornucopia Institute. I don’t usually link through, but they have an impressive list that will help you with your shopping.

⤞ The message of this paragraph is: ban all foods that contain isolated ingredients, especially carrageenan.

Instead, you can easily make your own thickener from real Irish moss and enjoy all of its amazing benefits.

That’s one of the many things that I teach my busy clients, so if you want to learn how to take full control in your kitchen to master your body and life, book a breakthrough call with me so we can talk about what’s on your mind and see how I can help.

5. SOY

We had a very unpleasant experience as a family with soy and it was then, when I discovered that what was assumed as a truly healthy alternative for cows milk when it popped up in the eighties, was actually the opposite.

It started when I had to find a substitute for my 6-month old son, who turned out to be extremely allergic to all dairy when I started transferring from breast feeding to the suggested powder milk for babies.

He started crying and hardly stopped. He always had several infections going and coughed as if he was smoking a package a day. Oh, if I had only known what I know now! We shifted to the new -then only- alternative that paediatricians recommended: soy milk.

I made his milk bottles with soy, later made dressings, sauces, desserts with soy. I made his yogurt with it, learned how to make ice cream that he could eat, cookies, you name it.

Even though he had such a sweet character and heart, he grew into a boy who had multiple anger outbreaks a day, in the end aggressive without any explainable reason. We could see how much he suffered and in a moment of rest he would say: “I can’t help it. I just can’t control it.”

No matter how many doctors and therapists we asked for advice, no matter what we tried, how we adjusted the rest of his diet (he also had a spastic colon and was on the couch with heavy migraines most of the time), there was no relief.

Until one day I came home from work (he was then 14) and he told me all excited and upset at the same time, how he had watched a documentary on television (this is pre-internet era): a study had found how soy was related to behavioural problems in children. “I threw everything out!” he said triumphing.

We didn’t hesitate one moment and left out all soy from that moment on. His behavioural issues disappeared in the next month and we couldn’t be happier to see him turn into the sweet boy we knew, he was. With the help of a (finally) excellent homeopathic doctor, we were able to heal the allergies, his colon and the disabling migraines.

When soy became a real rage and trusted source for all kinds of children products, we often vented our concerns at our table.

Because what we had found in the meantime is, that soy contains 80 times more the mineral manganese than in breast milk!

Consumed in healthy ranges, it enables cells to obtain energy.

⤞ In high doses, it can produce “Manganism,” a syndrome that can trigger spasmodic, often violent behaviour. Combined with the proven link to decreased dopamine production, I could finally understand how trapped my son had felt all these years (He is now a happy man with a lovely family).

Studies are still bending over the link of soy with ADHD but they do confirm that behavioural problems can result from manganese exposure.

As with all “new” foods that enter and conquer the market, it takes years -if not a few decades- to discover their healing, but also their harmful side effects. That’s what happened with soy products, too. One by one, the hidden dangers of non-fermented soy come to the surface.

✗ The most common known one is that most soy is genetically modified, a danger to your overall health

✗ Soy is loaded with phytoestrogens that can block the estrogen hormone

✗ Its goitrogens can mess up your thyroid function by depressing it

✗ Soy is linked to increased risk for breast cancer, brain damage…

✗ as well as to infant “abnormalities”

⤞ If you want to consume soy, only buy certified organic, GMO-free products!

⤞Only use fermented soy products: they provide you with the anti-ageing Vitamin K2 (promotes heart health and redirects calcium to your bones)

⤞ Use the healthy, fermented soy products moderately (nato, nato miso, miso, tempeh)


⤞ Always realize that, when a product is genuine, truly healthy, raw, organic, they WILL brag about it on their packaging and labels. If not, they will try to cover up, be vague in their descriptions.

⤞ Always look for the certified organic, non-GMO label and clear mentions in pronounceable (read: edible) words.

⤞ Be alarmed every time you see the term “natural.” It may have started as a natural ingredient but has been highly processed until it becomes toxic.

When you get confused, keep a few common sense rules in the back of your mind.

  1. Nature designed all its foods for you to be consumed without any process

  2. A “natural” ingredient is only natural when it still has its natural colour (and ideally, shape)

  3. Never consume “isolates:” they are extracted from natural ingredients and now carcinogenic

I hope this article was helpful, eye-opening to you or at least: raising your awareness. There are many more hidden ingredients in your supposedly healthy food, but when you keep your eyes open for these 5, you will already make a big difference to yourself and your loved ones!

If you want to know what is the most under estimated and missed toxic place in your kitchen, I’m happy to give you a tour in your fridge door in this video.

Let me wrap this up with a thought. Keep the industry out of your kitchen and bring your kitchen back to where you can cultivate your and your family’s health: in the heart of your own home.

Want help with replacing the killer ingredients with kickass alternatives? I offer virtual and live VIP days so you can get the full inside scoop of how to detox your kitchen and set it up for a fresh start in 1 day!

Click here and schedule a quick call so you can fill me in on what you want to change. We’ll take it from there.

Talk soon!

Marie-Claire Hermans