Five ingredients to avoid at all costs

Poison – that’s how nutritionists view certain ingredients in packaged foods, substances so toxic to the human body you should put the package back and flee the premises.

High fructose corn syrup, trans fat, artificial dyes and coloring, monosodium glutamate. The first is found in everything from pretzels to sports drinks to cereals. But no matter how common high fructose corn syrup has become, nutritionists contend it’s a dietary evil capable of spiking your blood sugar, making you gain weight and turning something relatively healthful such as juice into a junk food.

Now that the highly publicized scandal over trans fat or partially hydrogenated fat, has died down, the ingredient has started sneaking back into foods like power bars and microwave popcorn. It’s a double whammy for cholesterol – raising the bad (LDL) type and lowering the good (HDL).

You wouldn’t know it, but many packaged foods have colors and dyes added to them to make them look more like the real deal. Nutritionists caution against any product that contains them, saying they’re nothing but chemicals and harmful ones, to boot.

Some additives like MSG and BHT don’t even fall into the category of food, and food experts say to avoid them like the plague.

“BHT is a human carcinogen,” said Jennifer Letellier, a local naturopath. “They put it in petroleum products.”

So while you’re searching the labels for sugar, salt and fat, add these five nutritional disasters to your list.