25 Foods You Should Never Eat

  • DIET SODA

    What do cancer-causing artificial colors, flame retardants and fat-causing fake sugars all have in common? They’re ingredients in all your favorite diet fizzy drinks. Shove all that into a bottle laced with BPA, a chemical that’s been linked to obesity, and you’ve pretty much got the worst drink ever. Nearly all popular diet sodas contain aspartame, an artificial sweetener that raises glucose levels, overloading the liver and causing the excess to convert into fat. And that’s not all: The caramel coloring in brown beverages like Coca-Cola and Dr. Pepper has been proven to cause cancer in animals and is a possible carcinogen for humans.

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  • MICROWAVE POPCORN

    This movie concession is a horror show. Many major brands like Jolly Time and Jiffy Pop not only contain heart-harming trans fats but also line their bags with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), the same toxic stuff found in Teflon pots and pans. What’s more, butter-flavored favorites are almost always laced with diacetyl (DA), a chemical that has been found to break down the layer of cells that protects the brain. Instead, air-pop kernels or make your own microwave popcorn in a paper lunch bag.

  • FRUIT JUICE

    Most of the sweetness in juice comes from fructose, a type of sugar associated with the development of belly fat. Even 100 percent fruit juice packs up to 36 grams of sugar a cup — nearly as much as four Krispy Kreme glazed donuts! Stick with detox water: Good ol’ H20 infused with slices of lemon, orange or berries.

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  • JELLY AND JAM

    Further evidence that not everything made with fruit is healthy, these classic spreads are just pieces of fruit smothered in calorie-laden sugar and pectin, a natural fruit fiber that makes the spread sticky. Just as it causes jelly to stick to your fingers, pectin also sticks to health-boosting antioxidants like beta carotene, lycopene and lutein, carrying them out of your system before your body can benefit.

  • MUFFINS

    Your muffin top is aptly named: A typical blueberry muffin carries nearly 400 calories and a third of the day’s fat. Plus, many commercial muffins are also spiked with waist-widening soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup and trans fats, an ingredient that’s been shown to decrease brainpower. Skipping the pastry case at Starbucks is a no-brainer.

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  • BOTTLED SALAD DRESSING

    Sodium carboxymethyl cellulose, a common ingredient in bottled salad dressings, is used as a thickening agent. In high quantities, it can cause cancer. Make your own dressing at home from ingredients like olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, honey and mustard, all of which are much healthier for you and have demonstrated fat-burning abilities.

  • SUGARY CEREAL

    There’s no sugarcoating it: sugar wreaks havoc on the body. Consuming too much of the white stuff can lead to obesity, which often causes other health problems like diabetes and heart disease. And many cereals pack more sugar into one bowl than you’ll find in a Boston Kreme Donut! To make matters worse, many popular varieties like Frosted Flakes and Fruity Pebbles are also laced with Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) or BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole), ingredients that are banned in the UK, Australia and much of Europe because they’re thought to be carcinogenic.

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  • ATLANTIC SALMON

    Two words you should always avoid at the deli counter: Atlantic salmon. By definition, it is farm-raised and packed with inflammatory omega-6s. What’s worse, farmed salmon are usually dyed pink and have been found to be high in PCBs (cancer-causing industrial chemicals). Eat wild salmon instead. It’s high in omega-3 acids, which fight inflammation.

  • COFFEE CREAMER

    Coffee creamer and sunblock have an ingredient in common. Both contain titanium dioxide, an UV-light blocker that doubles as a whitening agent. Besides lurking in many conventional creamers, it’s also found in seemingly ‘healthy’ bottles like So Delicious’ coconut milk-based variety. The additive has been proven to cause liver and tissue damage in mice, and may also have health implications in humans, according to a recent review of the chemical. Coffee creamer is also typically packed with trans fats, often hiding under its lesser-known name: hydrogenated oil. Stick to 1% organic cow’s milk or unsweetened soy milk instead.

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  • SHORTENING

    Aptly named, baking additives like Crisco can abbreviate your life. Harmful trans fats abound in any food that lists shortening or partially hydrogenated oil as an ingredient. They’ll clog your arteries, cause obesity and increase your risk of metabolic syndrome.

  • PROCESSED MEAT

    Eating bacon, sausage and deli meat may be putting your life at risk. How? Many of these meats contain nitrates, a preservative that interferes with the body’s natural ability to process sugar, which increases the risk for diabetes. It can also up your odds of developing thyroid and colon cancer. Most processed meats are also loaded with sodium, a known contributor to hypertension that can make you bloat and set you up to develop heart disease.

  • SYRUP

    Famous syrup brands like Aunt Jemima and Mrs. Butterworth are made with two ingredients you should always avoid: health-harming, gut-expanding high fructose corn syrup and caramel coloring. Stick with 100% pure maple syrup in moderation.

  • TILAPIA

    Fish is usually a healthy choice, but not tilapia — it has more inflammatory potential than a burger, doughnuts or bacon. Why? It has a fraction of the healthy omega-3s of wild salmon and are sky-high in heart- and brain-harming omega-6 acids. Plus: They’re pumped full of hormones and may have been fed pig and chicken feces by farmers. Need more convincing?

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  • WHITE FLOUR

    White flour is bleached with chlorine dioxide, a chemical that's used in a variety of ways — including water treatment. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, it's been linked to cancer. Opt for whole-grain and whole-wheat flours and breads instead.

  • CHEF BOYARDEE RAVIOLI

    A sneaky ingredient in this canned pasta is glutamic acid, a compound of MSG hidden in a few ingredients such as yeast extract. What’s the problem? An FDA review concluded that glutamic acid can cause reactions including migraines, headache, nausea, changes in heart rate, and difficulty breathing.

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  • DORITOS

    When it comes to Doritos, you can’t eat just one. You should eat none. The chip was specially designed without a predominant flavor, which researchers say can spur overeating. Plus, the chips contain monosodium glutamate (MSG), an additive that’s been known to increase appetite.

  • CANNED SOUP

    Typically dubbed a healthy, soothing meal, soup truly is one of the least suspicious diet saboteurs of them all. What makes it so addicting? Besides being appealing because of its low cost, many popular brands add monosodium glutamate (MSG), a flavoring agent that increases appetite and causes migraines. While we weren’t too shocked to learn that all of Maruchan Ramen Noodles—a popular college staple—are laced with the ingredient, we were miffed to learn that some of Campbell’s condensed soups are loaded with it, too.

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  • FOODS COATED WITH ARTIFICIAL CHOCOLATE

    Polysorbate 60 is an emulsifier is widely used in the food industry. Made of corn, palm oil and petroleum, this gooey mix can’t spoil, and it often replaces dairy products — such as chocolate toppings — in baked goods. It's commonly contaminated with 1,4 dioxane, a chemical which has been shown to cause cancer in animals.

  • CHEETOS

    It’s not your imagination: This orange, puffy snack melts the second it hits your tongue —a phenomenon scientists have dubbed “vanishing caloric density.” And it’s definitely not an accidental quality of your chips, either. Food developers know that when foods melt quickly, it tricks the brain into thinking you're not eating as many calories. In turn, snackers wind up eating a much larger serving. Cheetos’ inclusion of appetite-boosting MSG won’t help your waistline either.

  • OREOS

    Oreos are stuffed with double trouble. Not only are they filled with palm oil, a fat that promotes fat-causing inflammation, they’re more addictive than both cocaine and morphine, according to a 2013 animal study. A separate study found that among all the foods out there, cookies were one of the most difficult to eat in moderation.

  • MAC AND CHEESE

    The neon color of most mac and cheese products on the market (created by Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 dyes) doesn’t exist in the natural world and shouldn’t be ingested. Why? According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, studies have linked artificial food coloring to allergies, ADHD, and cancer in animals. Many of these dyes are made from coal tar — just like the products used to seal-coat industrial floors and kill bugs in lice shampoo.

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  • HOT DOGS

    There are plenty of good reasons not to eat hot dogs — their high levels of sodium and cancer-causing preservative nitrates are just two — but if you really need another: The casing of many hot dogs is colored with a food dye called Orange B, which is toxic to the liver and bile duct in large doses.

  • FROZEN FISH AND FISH PRODUCTS

    Tert-Butylhydroquinone is an ingredient used in many food and non-food items, but the highest limit (1 gram/kg) is permitted in frozen fish and fish products. It’s a preservative that, in high doses, could cause stomach tumors. Go for fresh fish instead.

    LOSE UP TO 16 POUNDS IN 14 DAYS! FOR 150+ recipes that flatten your belly fast—made with the foods you love—buy the brand-new book from Abs Diet creator David Zinczenko that's already topping the Amazon charts: Zero Belly Cookbook!

  • BAKED GOODS

    Banned in Europe, Canada and China, potassium bromate is found in many wraps, rolls, bread crumbs and bagel chips made in the U.S. It's a food additive that makes things cook things faster. It's also been linked to kidney failure and cell deterioration. The next time you're at the supermarket, scan the ingredients list on your bakery items. If you see potassium bromate or bromated flour, put it back on the shelf.

  • CANDY

    You already knew all the artery-clogging fats and addicting sugars in candy weren’t doing you or your family any favors, but you likely didn’t realize that certain candies can actually make it more difficult for your little ones to concentrate. A few years ago, researchers discovered that the artificial colors, Yellow No. 5 and Yellow No. 6 (found in Butterfingers and M&Ms), promote Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) in children. In fact, Norway and Sweden have already banned the use of these artificial colors, and in the rest of the EU, foods containing these additives must be labeled with the phrase: “May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.”

     

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