We all like to indulge from time to time in guilty culinary pleasure. In all honesty, probably more than once from time to time. But if some foods – like a chocolate cake without flour – are well worth the madness, others not. We have listed 10 scientifically proven foods to affect your health. Make your crazy foods count, but please avoid those bad guys.
According to the World Health Organization, the consumption of processed meat can cause bowel cancer in humans, while red meat is a probable cause of the disease. The group has classified processed meats such as hot dogs and ham in its Group 1 list, which already includes tobacco, asbestos and diesel fumes, for which there is “sufficient evidence” of links to the Cancer. Beef, lamb and pork have been classified as “probable” carcinogens in the Group 2A list, which also contains glyphosate, the active ingredient in many herbicides.
Soda, diet or otherwise, is a bad idea. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, people who regularly consume sweetened beverages (that is, one to two cans a day or more) are 26% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than people who do not consume soda Another shocking statistic from Harvard is that a 22-year study of 80 women showed that those who drink a can of soda a day have a 75% higher risk of gout than women who rarely drink sweet drinks.
Diet soft drinks may have a better reputation than regular drinks, but they are still far from ideal. In fact, drinking diet sodas, which often have a sweeter taste than sugar because of its chemical makeup, can increase your sugar tolerance, making it almost impossible to enjoy the natural sweetness of something like a banana or a peach. In any case, diet and regular soft drinks have been linked to obesity, kidney damage and some cancers. If you want to drink something carbonated, opt for a sparkling mineral water with a squeeze of lemon or lime.
As mentioned earlier, “fat is most likely the best known macronutrient.” Margarine, a plant-based vegetable oil butter substitute, was considered healthier than butter because it did not contain cholesterol. But many margarine products contain trans fat, the worst of all.
Like saturated fats, trans fats increase cholesterol levels in the blood and the risk of heart disease. But that’s not all. Trans fats lower your HDL, or “good” cholesterol level. The general rule for margarine is: The stronger the margarine, the more trans fat it contains. We recommend that you completely remove the margarine and opt for real butter when this ingredient is essential.
We love the nutritional benefits of fish, but unfortunately farmed fish lacks a significant part of the nutritional benefits we associate with harvesting. The difference in nutritional value is due to their food source. While wild fish consume their omega-3s from aquatic plants, farmed fish are fed a diet rich in corn. Thus, farmed fish accumulate unhealthy levels of fatty acids (as evidenced by the thick layer of fat in a salmon fillet).
In addition, antibiotics are often administered to farmed fish, which can result in humans who consume an antibiotic-resistant disease. Then there are the ethical issues to be considered in terms of farm fishing. Farmed fish are subject to the usual stress of hyper confinement and are usually killed slowly and painfully.
This applies to processed meats in the United States more than anywhere else. In America, deli counter meats like ham, salami, hot dogs, and bacon aren’t just packed with artery-clogging fats. According to the US National Library of Medicine, they can have up to 400% more sodium and 50% more preservatives than unprocessed red meats. Environmental Working Group shares even more terrifying findings: Some deli meats contain nitrites and nitrates to enhance the color and flavor of the meat, and these chemical additives have been linked to various cancers. Alternatively, go for a fresh cut of New York steak, or if you’re craving that salty taste of cured meat, opt for lox.
A recent scientific study published by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for a Sustainable Future found that poultry on industrial farms are “regularly fed caffeine, Tylenol and Benadryl active ingredients, banned antibiotics, and even ‘arsenic”. Made from feathers, from China, revealed traces of an antidepressant, the active ingredient of Prozac. Opt for poultry and organic eggs to eliminate the risk of ingesting these hidden and potentially harmful chemicals.
New York-based dietician and Real Food author Beth Warren told Cosmopolitan: “Realism is that American cheese is not a cheese at all. It is a cheese-like food factory made from a blend of milk fat, solids, whey protein, emulsifiers and food coloring. Does it sound like a healthy mix of natural foods to ingest in your body? No, this is not the case. We suggest removing the orange block of mysterious stuff from your diet and opt for a healthier cheese option, such as pecorino romano, ricotta or aged cheddar. Unlike American cheese, aged cheddar offers a more natural combination of ingredients and, according to Jim White, R.D., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, it contains relatively low levels of lactose.
Melissa Rifkin, a registered dietitian at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, warns against microwave popcorn. “It’s not healthy eating out of a bag anymore,” Rifkin says. According to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, microwave popcorn bags are often lined with a chemical called perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, which has been shown to affect fertility, cancer risk, and kidney function in animal and some human studies. To be safe, make your own popcorn using a popcorn machine or just a pot at home.
According to Forbes, a Grande Mocha Frappuccino made from whole milk contains 19 grams of fat and 480 calories. In comparison, according to Livestrong, a large fast food burger containing all condiments has 438 calories. So, why waste a quarter of the daily calories suggested in a sweet drink with no nutritional value? We invite you to choose a product that has at least one nutritional benefit, such as a hamburger, or to give up your Starbucks Frap in favor of an almond milk iced coffee.
White bread is made from refined grains, meaning that it is made of a substance that has been stripped of most of its nutritional value (i.e., the elements that contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals). White bread is also low in zinc, vitamin E, and magnesium. While lacking tremendously in nutritional value, white bread also has a high glycemic index, meaning it has a very quick and punishing effect on our blood sugar and insulin levels. According to Livestrong, a diet rich in white bread and other foods with a high glycemic index cause weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Opt for whole grain alternatives. Harvard School of Public Health states that whole grains contain bran and fiber, “which slow the breakdown of starch into glucose—thus maintaining a steady blood sugar rather than causing sharp spikes.”