10 Everyday Foods That Are Slowly Killing You
When it comes to the foods you shouldn’t be eating, it would be simple for me to point to the obvious. Bacon, for example, regardless of its deliciousness…well, on EVERYTHING, will eventually double your risk of stroke if you eat a lot of it every day. And food experts warn that convenience, deep-fried foods are no better. Donuts, French fries, and chicken wings not only threaten your waistline; the deep-frying process actually leaves food infused with toxic chemicals that put you at risk of chronic inflammatory conditions and certain types of cancer.
Most of us know that we should eat better. But if you think you’re eating healthy yet the following ten foods make up majority of your diet—think again! So as much as I hate to be the bearer of bad news, it’s prime time you discovered the hidden dangers of these popular North American foods…
1. Canned Tomato Sauce
You might not associate canned tomatoes and tomato sauces with high fructose corn syrup when you’re making spaghetti and meatballs. However, when it comes to hidden sources of sugar, your favorite canned tomato sauce is likely one of the sweetest culprits, secretly contributing to increased rates of obesity, diabetes, coronary artery disease, and dental decay.
To top your pasta with a healthier sauce, check labels for a low sugar, low sodium tomato sauce or make your own using fresh tomatoes and herbs. You can also find cans of pureed tomatoes with no added sugars or salt to mix with a bit of extra virgin olive oil, fresh spices, or chopped onions and garlic for added flavor. Remember, it’s always best to add your own spices so you know what’s going into your food.
The sugary soda bomb is not your friend. It’s not kind to your waistline. It’s not gentle on your teeth. And it can wreak chaos on your skin, your hormones, your anxiety levels, and your blood glucose. Each fizzy can you guzzle down is null and void of nutritional benefits, unless you consider about 10 teaspoons of refined sugar in your best interest.
Soft drinks also contain hearty doses of artificial food dyes and preservatives like BVO (brominated vegetable oil). So do yourself a favor the next time you’re thirsty for a satisfying fizz, pour a tall glass of sparkling water and add a splash of lemon, lime, or 100-percent fruit juice.
3. Deli Meats
Nitrates may sound like a ticking time bomb, which isn’t far from the truth when you consider the levels of sodium, preservatives, and additives that lend deli meats—like ham, salami, and bologna—their rosy shade. Adults who regularly partake risk increased rates of heart disease, and cancer. While studies show that meat lunching kids are prone to learning issues and behavioral conditions.
If you need meat for sandwiches, buy deli meats straight from your local butcher and have them sliced to order. They might no last as long as packaged meats, but they’ll contain far fewer harmful preservatives. You can also buy a flat of chicken breasts and slice them into thin strips for sandwiches and stir fries, as you need them, throughout the week.
4. Artificial Sweeteners
You might have made the swap from refined white sugar to an artificial sweetener—like acesulfame potassium, aspartame, neotame, saccharin, or sucralose—because artificial sweeteners contain fewer calories. However, just because the FDA labels them safe for human consumption, doesn’t mean you necessarily should.
Numerous studies have linked low- and zero-calorie foods and beverages to heightened risk of metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, weight gain, and cardiovascular disease. In fact, many food scientists consider aspartame “the most dangerous substance on the planet.” If you need a touch of sweetness, use natural agave syrup, honey, or real maple syrup sparingly.
You’ve heard the warnings when it comes to trans fats (or saturated hydrogenated oils). Sure, they’re plant-based oils, but they’re still so highly processed that nutritionists give foods, like margarine, a big thumbs down. Why? Because trans fats increase the risk of bad cholesterol, heart disease, and stroke.
So skip the sandwich spread or use mashed avocado or extra virgin olive oil for a healthier spread or bread dipper. I like to drizzle toasted pita bread with a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. You can also add a few teaspoons of your favourite heart-healthy oil, spices, and balsamic vinegar on a plate for dipping bread, crackers, and other crudités.
6. Bottled Salad Dressings
The worst thing you can do to sabotage a fresh, nutritious, crisp salad is by drowning it in bottled salad dressing! Even the fat-free or reduced fat dressings are packed with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial colors (i.e., like caramel coloring). Essentially, you might as well pour diet soda over your mixed greens.
For a healthier salad topper mix a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar with a few teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil for a healthy salad containing good fats. Depending on the type of salad that you’re eating, using a home made tomato or fruit salsa, homemade guacamole or hummus, or even marinading your meat beforehand, may offer enough flavor that you don’t require salad dressing at all.
7. Whole Dairy
Aside from the fact that whole-milk dairy products contain far too many saturated (or bad) fats, they’re also jam-packed with another ingredient that will put you off your cereal—bovine growth hormone (BGH). This synthetic hormone is engineered in a lab to boost the milk production of cows.
Unfortunately, nutritionists say BGH is passed along to humans in milk in the form of childhood obesity, as well as certain cancers, chronic migraines, and rheumatoid arthritis. However, you can opt for organic cow’s, goat’s, or sheep’s milk that come minus the added hormones. Animal milk alternatives, such as almond, soy, and rice milk are also options.
8. Hot Dogs
By hot dogs I’m really referring to any smoked, cured, or salted meat that contains chemical preservatives. However, hot dogs carried the brunt of food criticism thanks to medical and media reports. For instance, findings from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine claimed that processed “hot dogs should carry cigarette-style warning labels!”
It turns out America’s favorite ballpark treat is so full of sodium, chemicals, and toxins that regular weekly consumption can increase your risk of colorectal cancer by about 21-percent. Luckily, chemical free hot dogs and sausages are yours for the taking at organic butchers and often straight from the farm.
9. Potato Chips
Medical scientists estimate that potato chips, as well as French fries (they are no better for you), and other deep fried goodies (i.e., chicken fingers and wings) are responsible for a few thousand cancers each year in North America. So the next time you slip into a drive thru for some crispy-greasy satisfaction, consider the danger to your colon, breasts, bladder, prostate, and rectum. Heightened risk of these conditions comes from acrylamide, a carcinogen created during the deep fried cooking process.
So rather than buying your chips pre-bagged, opt for baking them at home on your own. Slice white and red potatoes, sweet potatoes, leeks, carrots, beets, and parsnips. Brush with a little bit of olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt (and dill or garlic if you desire), and bake in the oven until crispy. You can looked for baked chips in store as well.
10. Refined White Carbohydrates
White breads, white rice, white pasta, pre-packaged chips and crackers, cookies, cakes, breakfast cereals, and pretty much every single snack food on the market all have one thing in common—enriched wheat flour! That’s why I’m always going on about the type of carbohydrates (complex carbs vs. starchy carbs) that largely make up your diet, and how they determine the way you metabolize food and your level of energy.
Not only are refined grains stripped of most nutrients; they also digest quickly into simple sugars, causing blood-sugar levels to spike and come quickly crashing down in a wave of irritability and mid-day snack attacks. Ultimately, a starchy addition is linked to weight gain, inflammatory conditions (i.e., arthritis), type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure.
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