As in virtually everything else, the world of “healthy foods” is never static. And controversies abound. What was healthy yesterday may not be so today, and something considered unhealthy today may not be so tomorrow. In this post we shall look at some foods you should avoid.
Some foods are bad for you. And some can be outright dangerous: a strong word, we know. But some foods can wreak havoc to your health and/or cause big problems to your health down the road.
10 Foods You Should Avoid (Not in Any Order)
Below are 10 foods you should avoid. In fact, stay away from these as much as possible even as some are quite tempting to eat.
1. Farmed Fish
Fish is healthy right? Not always. And we are not talking about wild-caught fish, even as it is linked to certain contaminants such as mercury, lead, PCBs, and dioxins. While these are bad, farmed fish such as “Atlantic salmon” and farmed tilapia are much worse. Of course, it depends on the farming methods used.
Besides potentially containing higher concentrations of known harmful compounds such as PCBs and dioxins, (non-organic) farmed-fish may also contain antibiotics. Farmed salmon are also feed with synthetic astaxanthin possibly made from petrochemicals, to give them a “natural” pink color.
Plus, non-organic farmed fish are routinely treated with pesticides and antibiotics that could end up in your system.
2. Butter-Flavored and Microwave Popcorn
Generally, popcorn is considered a good and healthy snack. It is when additives and modifications get involved popcorn is considered bad for you, or even dangerous. Diacetyl used in many fake butter flavorings for popcorn has been linked to what is known as “popcorn lung” in workers in factories that make it. Many substitutes used in place diacetyl are said to turn into diacetyl, so you’re back to square one. Microwavable popcorn?
Well, let’s just say that in order to make microwave popcorn microwavable, major modification has to be done, including use of chemicals. Some of these chemicals are not even listed on the label as they are “trade secrets”. You therefore can’t really tell if what you’re eating may be killing you slowly.
Many people like to eat butter-flavored microwave popcorn. Now, there’s a double-whammy of dietary disaster.
Long considered a healthier substitute for butter, margarine has since joined the bad boys in the ‘hood, so to speak. For one, dietary cholesterol is no longer considered as harmful as it once was. This negates one of the main reasons for using margarine in place of butter.
Secondly, margarine has been linked to accelerated skin aging, increased triglycerides, inflammation, and decreased brain function, among other scary stuff.
4. Fat Free and Low-Fat Foods
Fortunately, the low-fat and fat free diet fad appears to be dying out. Arguably, the biggest “victim” of this craze is dairy. Fat-free milk, cheeses, butter, and other dairy products have (erroneously) become almost synonymous with a healthy lifestyle.
Full fat dairy can make you feel fuller faster and longer. This may result in eating less, which in turn can lead to weight loss or healthy weight. Some studies show that consuming full-fat dairy may actually aid weight loss.
Additionally, many “fat-free” packaged food products are often loaded with sugar or other additives that may not be good for you.
5. Ramen Noodles
A favorite of students, at least in the US, as they are easy and quick to prepare. Kids, when exposed to these noodles also tend to love them. This, of course, is because they taste good. However, they are loaded with salt and offer little in nutritional value. That’s why they are on the list of foods you should avoid.
6. Fast Food Burgers
Because of their reputation as a fast-food staple, burgers have received lots of bad press. However, burgers are not the problem. In fact, burgers can be part a healthy and wholesome diet. The problem is the choice of burgers, or patties.
Fast food burgers could be made of meat from cows that are raised in confined environments. These cows may not be fed the right natural diet, and may also be pumped full of hormones and antibiotics.
Add to that the typical unhealthy white-bread bun, high-sodium ketchup, low-quality bacon, mayonnaise, and cheese, and it’s not hard to see why fast-food burgers are best avoided.
7. Flavored and Fruit on Bottom Yogurt
That flavored yogurt may be tasty, but also bad for you. It could be loaded with sugar or other sweeteners that are not healthy. Plus, in order to remove the tart flavor associated with yogurt, flavored varieties are usually heat-processed. This kills the important nutrients and active ingredients including probiotics. Fruit on bottom yogurt
Well, all you could be getting is fruit jam, which may not be good for your waistline or health in general. Moreover, the added fruit is usually processed, which means additional sugar, carbohydrates, and calories and possibly compromised nutritional value. And some brands have added sugar.
8. Some American Cheeses
Now, just to be clear, all cheese is processed food. It is man-made, through a process. Therefore, it is not about American cheese being “processed” that makes it unhealthy. In fact, there are certain processed foods that can be good for you.
We will not say that American cheese is not cheese, as some out there say. That would be like saying meatballs made from other meatballs are not meatballs. American cheese is cheese made from other cheeses.
However, depending on brand, you could be getting more than you bargained for in American cheese, some of which may not be good. Depending on brand, it may contain high amounts of milk fat (not necessarily a bad thing) and sodium. Plus, it may also contain emulsifiers, food coloring, and other additives.
This includes both diet and regular soda. Regular soda is loaded with sugar, which is linked to the obesity epidemic in America. It also contributes to teeth decay. Many people opt for diet soda as a healthier alternative. But this notion is erroneous.
In fact, some health experts say that diet soda may be worse than regular soda for your health. Studies have shown that artificial sugar substitutes can wreck to your health. They have been linked to digestive problems, mood changes, and even birth defects. Plus, like sugar, artificial sweeteners can cause damage to your teeth.
10. Processed Meats
In particular, you should steer clear of processed foods with nitrates and nitrites. Processed foods such as hot dogs, sausage, ham, salami, corned beef, bacon, and spam. may contain these chemical additives that have been linked to cancer. The chemicals and additives are added to enhance color and flavor, as well as to improve preservation.
Processed meats are also sodium typically high in unhealthy fats and sodium. Not surprisingly they have been linked to cardiovascular conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease.
Plus, there is the uncertainty about the meat’s origin, especially when it comes to things like corned beef and spam. Horror stories have been told, especially around the latter.