The vast majority of processed foods are not particularly wholesome. They tend to be low in nutrients and high in starch, sugar, salt, and bad fats. They also contain a wide range of potentially harmful chemical additives. Some supermarket products are especially unhealthy. Here are 10 foods you should never eat or feed your family.
#1. Canned pasta products
Canned spaghetti or ravioli may make a convenient meal, but not a very healthy one. The pasta tends to be pure starch, made from refined flour. The third ingredient, after pasta and tomato puree, is often high fructose corn syrup. Even the cans themselves present a health hazard.
They are lined with bisphenol-A (BPA). This synthetic estrogen has been linked to reproductive problems, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. The acidity of the tomato sauce can cause BPA to leach out of the can lining and into your lunch.
#2. Microwave popcorn
Chemicals in the lining of microwave popcorn bags break down during cooking and infuse the popcorn with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). This compound has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals. Another chemical, diacetyl, is used to give popcorn a buttery flavor.
When frequently inhaled, diacetyl causes an obstructive lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans. In addition, many brands of microwave popcorn contain artery-clogging trans fats.
#3. Strawberry or chocolate syrup
There’s nothing healthy about processed flavored syrups that can be mixed into milk or used to top ice cream. The main ingredient in a popular brand of strawberry and chocolate syrup is high fructose corn syrup, a sweetener that has been linked to obesity and metabolic syndrome.
The strawberry flavor also contains sodium benzoate, which may damage mitochondrial DNA, and the artificial color red 40 has been shown to cause cancer in mice. So, unsurprisingly, it contains no strawberries.
#4. White bread
White bread is just starch with minimal nutritional value. The bran and the germ of the wheat have been removed in the flour refining process and all the fiber, B vitamins, vitamin E, and minerals. A popular brand of white bread is made with 29 ingredients, the third of which is ‘high fructose corn syrup or sugar.’
Among the long list of preservatives, emulsifiers and flavorings are a synthetic chemical called azodicarbonamide. This bleaching agent is banned in the EU and Australia because it can cause asthma attacks and allergic reactions.
#5. Chicken nuggets
Chicken nuggets are generally served as the protein portion of a meal but are mainly made up of fat and carbohydrate. A popular fast-food version is only 45% chicken. A six-nugget serving contains 13 grams of fat, 18 grams of carbohydrate, and just 13 grams of protein.
The crispy coating is made up of non-nutritious refined wheat and cornflour. Cheap supermarket brands of nuggets may be made with chicken meat mechanically reclaimed from the carcass, including skin, connective tissue, and blood vessels.
#6. Individually wrapped snack cakes
Those sweet and spongy processed cakes with a creamy filling combine three unhealthy ingredients with several mysterious chemical additives. The snack cakes are refined wheat flour, high fructose corn syrup, and partially hydrogenated vegetable shortening (a source of dangerous trans fats).
Look further down the label for questionable substances such as polyoxyethylene sorbitan monostearate and sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate.
#7. Fruit roll-ups
These pectin-based snacks wrapped around a piece of cellophane are deceptively named. The only source of fruit in all the different flavors is concentrated pears. Various fruits are stimulated through the addition of artificial colors and natural and artificial flavors.
Instead of healthy fruit, these snacks are largely made up of a dangerous combination of high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil. Fruit roll-ups are also a common cause of tooth decay since their chewy texture makes all that sugar stick to teeth.
#8. Condensed soup
Canned condensed soups may seem like a healthy, low-calorie choice, but they serve up incredibly large amounts of salt. The RDA for sodium is 1.5 grams. One serving of a popular brand of chicken noodle soup contains 890 mg of sodium.
If you finish off a whole 10.75-ounce can (as hungry adults are apt to do), you’ll consume 1.78 grams of sodium, exceeding the daily recommendation. Too much salt in the diet can lead to high blood pressure and increase your heart attack or stroke risk.
#9. Stick margarine
Margarine is made by hydrogenating liquid vegetable oil to turn it into solid, spreadable fat. This industrial process generates trans fatty acids.
Trans fat is now considered to be the worst type of dietary fat. It has been shown to raise LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol and lower HDL ‘good cholesterol, increasing heart disease and stroke risk. Some butter-flavored spreads are free of trans-fats, but most stick margarine recommended for baking is still made from hydrogenated vegetable oil.
#10. Fat-free potato chips
It sounds too good to be true, potato chips with no fat and half the calories. Well, it is true, but there are side effects. ‘Light’ or ‘fat-free’ potato and corn chips are made with olestra. This fat substitute bonds with the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K and removes them from the body.
It also depletes the body of carotenoids, a class of antioxidants that can help prevent cancer and heart disease. If that weren’t bad enough, olestra has a laxative effect that can cause diarrhea and anal leakage.
Also Read: 8 Breakfast Foods You Should Never Eat