Certain foods have no place in your pantry or your refrigerator. The best way to avoid ever indulging in them is not purchasing them at all. While some may even seem healthy, if you look closely you’ll understand why they’re far from safe. As you prep for this week’s grocery trip, make sure you leave these items off the list:
1. Conventional Meat, Eggs, and Dairy
This is one of those no-brainers when it comes to choosing organic. Unless you’re buying locally and you’re completely sure that the farmer doesn’t use hormones or antibiotics, stick to organic.
Conventional livestock is often raised using hormones and antibiotics in order to hasten the growing process and get animals fatter quicker and to the market sooner. The sub-therapeutic use of antibiotics is still rampant in the animal husbandry industry in the U.S., meaning that animals are fed a steady diet antibiotics in their daily feed whether they are sick or not. In all, around 80 percent of all antibiotics sold today in America are fed to livestock. This overuse of antibiotics has led to antibiotic resistance. Each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 2 million people become infected with antibiotic resistant infections and 23,000 people die from those infections. The bottom line is that the overuse of antibiotics today is rendering what used to be life saving drugs, ineffective against deadly infections.
Margarine is so 1985. It was all the rage a few decades ago because people thought that saturated animal fats would cause early death. And while the jury is still out on saturated fats, we know that trans fats, found in foods like margarine, are awful for your health. Trans fats clog your arteries by increasing LDL or bad cholesterol and lowering HDL or good cholesterol. Margarine is manmade junk food that’s more of an industrial experiment than real food. And lets not forget it’s high in sodium.
While they may be yummy, it’s no secret that donuts aren’t exactly healthy. Like many other highly processed baked goods, as well as the cholesterol double whammy listed above, donuts contain trans fats. Remember trans fats are that partially hydrogenated concoction that will cause you to keel over into your coffee. Donuts also contain tons of sugar, artificial colors and flavors, and virtually no nutrients. That means you over indulge on that Boston cream or powdered beauty and in an hour you’ll be hungry again.
4. Processed Meats
While we discussed the problems with conventional meats above, it’s worth mentioning processed meats separately because they’re so bad. Processed meats like hot dogs, salami, and bacon contain nitrites and nitrates, a preservative that gives them their bright pink hue. They make the meat more appetizing but they’re a doozy for your health. These chemical additives have been linked to cancer. One study even found that eating a hot dog a day can increase your risk of colorectal cancer by 21 percent, shockingly – more than smoking cigarettes.
5. Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners are a frightening invention that’s used in everything from diet soda to sugar-free candies, but they’re terrible for your health. Aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose are just a few of the offenders with brand names like NutraSweet, Sweet’N Low, and Splenda. The jury is still out as to whether artificial sweeteners are linked to cancer, but they have showed signs of increasing your risk of metabolic syndrome. According to Harvard Health, regular consumption of diet drinks is linked to a 36 percent greater risk of metabolic syndrome and a 67 percent increased risk for type 2 diabetes.
6. Microwave Popcorn
Most microwave popcorn is not only made from genetically modified corn, which is usually grown with healthy dose of pesticides like glyphosate (which was declared by the World Health Organization as ‘probably carcinogenic‘ to humans), and it’s also made with a host of nasty additives. And that fake butter flavor, it comes from diacetyl, which has been linked to lung disease. Popcorn is also loaded with artificial flavors and colors, not to mention inordinate amounts of salt and zero nutritional value. If you want to eat popcorn, buy the organic variety, pop it yourself, toss it with some olive or coconut oil, add a few pinches of sea salt and you’ve created a delicious snack (I even sprinkle some nutritional or brewer’s yeast over my popcorn for added umami flavor).