3 artificial-sounding ingredients that are actually healthy

As you've read in several of my past newsletters, you want to be on the lookout for hidden ingredients in your foods such as MSG or trans fats that can be causing weight gain or other health problems.

However, I've noticed that sometimes people think that just because a label contains an odd-sounding ingredient, that it must be harmful.  This is NOT always the case.  Check out these examples of artificial-sounding ingredients that are actually natural, and even healthful...

3 Odd-Sounding ingredients that are actually okay:

1.  Xanthan Gum -- Despite the artificial-sounding name, this is actually naturally produced from fermentation of a type of bacterium called Xanthomonas campestris, and acts as a type of soluble fiber in our digestion.  Xanthan gum is used as a type of thickener or gel agent in various types of foods and is basically harmless, while adding just a slight fiber boost to certain foods.

According to my friend and colleague Kelley Herring, author of the amazing Guilt-Free Desserts, "xanthan gum and guar gum also add soluble fiber which helps balance blood sugar and lower bad cholesterol".

2.  Alginate -- This is another artificial-sounding ingredient you'll sometimes see on labels that's actually natural and even healthful.  It's derived naturally from seaweed and serves as a thickener in certain types of foods.  Alginate has been linked to improving cholesterol levels and possibly even helping to control appetite.  This is yet another odd-sounding ingredient not to worry about.

3.  Canthaxanthin -- you might have already heard of the health benefits of astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant in krill oil that protects your skin along with other health benefits.  Well, Canthaxanthin is similar in that it has antioxidant benefits similar to other carotenoids.

Canthaxanthin is simply just a natural coloring added to certain types of foods, despite the artificial-sounding odd name.  Again, nothing to worry about with this additive either.

On the other hand, there are PLENTY of additives that might actually sound natural, but are actually potentially carcinogenic and harmful to your body...

My colleague, and fellow nutrition investigator, Nick, shows you some sneaky and harmful ingredients to watch out for in this article:

Beware of these 4 sneaky ingredients making you fat (and possibly causing cancer or other health problems)

Shop smart for you and your family and be a label-reader!

Mike Geary
Certified Nutrition Specialist
Certified Personal Trainer