Do you live to eat, or eat to live? Either way, you may want to avoid or at least cut down on your consumption of these common foods, since they could possible steal years off your life. Hopefully, your favorite foods didn't make the cut!
Sorry, java addicts, that daily cup of joe could be causing you some damage. Caffeine, the magical drug that makes coffee so amazing, and so addictive, is fine in small amounts, but too much caffeine in your diet can lead to anxiety, insomnia, heartburn, and can raise blood pressure. For people with type-2 diabetes, it can even interfere with insulin management, which can lead to some very serious health issues. Too much caffeine in your system can dramatically increase your heart rate, which can sometimes result in death. Before you freak out, know that this is only true for excessive amounts. In fact, it can actually be incredibly beneficial for memory and focus. As long as you keep your daily coffee intake lower than about 40mg (four cups) per day, you can reap the benefits without the risks.
Say it ain’t so! Bacon, sausage, salami, hot dogs, and canned meats contain additives like sodium nitrates that are used to make the meats look fresh and appealing, but these ingredients can increase your risk of bowel cancer. Now, the occasional BLT won’t doom you to cancer, but moderation is key. Eating 50 milligrams of processed meat a day (roughly the of equivalent of two slices of bacon) can increase your risk of cancer by 18%, according to a study done by the World Health Organization.
The key thing to remember here is that age is the biggest factor for whether or not you ought to give these protein-packed shakes up. If you’re over 50, you might want to consider switching to something other than a super protein-rich diet. A low carbohydrate, high protein diet may aid in losing weight if you’re younger, but at about middle age all it does shorten your life. It increases your chances of developing cancer, diabetes, and other diseases that ultimately limit your life capacity according to a University of Southern California study.
Just when you thought burnt toast couldn’t do more to ruin your morning! The UK’s Food Standard Agency reported that a chemical called “acrylamide” is released when starchy foods, like bread or potatoes, are burned. That chemical has been linked with an increased risk of cancer. The UK FSA advises people to make sure their toast reaches a nice, golden brown color to reduce their chance of the risk.
Microwave dinners might be the height of convenience, but they don’t really add any nutritional value to your daily diet. These quick and easy meals are chock full of saturated fats, salt, sugar, and additives. None of these things have a great effect on your health. Too much can lead to obesity, which has all sorts of ill effects on a persons health, including: raised blood pressure, diabetes, gout, heart disease, and strokes. The good news is many frozen dinner manufacturers are switching over to healthier options. If you’re buying a microwave dinner, just make sure to check out the ingredient on the nutritional label. The closer to the top the ingredient is, the more it’s represented in the dish. A healthy meal will have lean protein, less than 600-700 milligrams of sodium, vegetables, and whole grains near the top. So if you see a lot food starch up there, that meal may not be as healthy as you’d think.
No, not bread! Sad to say it’s true, but before you quickly jump to a no-carb diet, just know this isn’t about all baked goods on the market, just those that contain something called potassium bromate. The Environmental Working Group completed a study that found about 86 brands of baked goods use a form of brominated flour, which can cause nervous-system disorders and is thought to be a carcinogen. Several countries, including the UK, Canada, Brazil, and the European Union have all banned this product. It’s still legal in the US, though the FDA has warned manufacturers of the ill-effects of this additive. If you’re worried about it showing up uninvited on your menu, just be sure to double check the ingredients list.
Potato chips too? Unfortunately, potato chips are high in sodium, trans fats, artificial flavors/colors, and tons of preservatives. In addition, in order to make everyone’s favorite snack, these starchy slices of goodness need to be fried, which is also quite bad for your health. All these factors come together to not only increase your risk of gaining weight, but can even potentially causing cancer. The frying process put together with the other unhealthy ingredients causes the chemical acrylamide, a known carcinogen, to rear it’s ugly head. One way to avoid the risks, while still satisfying your craving for chips, is to switch to the baked variety or tortilla chips.
Microwave popcorn is an old favorite, but it’s been proven that this delicious snack contains quite a few carcinogens. Many microwave bags contain a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which studies have found significantly increase a person’s risk of kidney, bladder, liver, pancreas, and testicular cancer. If that wasn’t bad enough, there’s also something called “popcorn lung.” Workers in popcorn factories came down with this disease from diacetyl, a synthetic butter flavoring, which has caused breathing problems.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you had to know that this was coming. Donuts, those delicious rings of fried, sugary bread aren’t healthy. Duh. It’s not just the usual cast of bad guys (sugar, hydrogenated oils, white enriched flour) that make donuts so bad for you, but how they’re made. During the deep frying process, all those unhealthy ingredients release a cancer-causing chemical.
Just in time to potentially ruin your summer, it might be time for you to cut back on barbecue, particularly if you’re a woman. A US study has found evidence that women who often consume smoked, barbecued, or grilled meats face an increased risk of breast cancer and even death thanks to a carcinogen called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). And this isn’t a little risk either, as the study said there was a 23% increase in death caused by breast cancer. Smoked meat, by far, carries the greatest risk for health risks, as the PAH levels in meat rise even higher if it is smoked. Including poultry and fish into your diet can help your chances, as does cutting back on the BBQ.
It’s not so much the pretzel itself that you need to keep an eye out for, but the salt that sits on top. More than six grams of sodium a day can affect your blood pressure negatively. Truly extreme cases can cause heart disease and even heart failure if left unattended. Other foods, like store-bought pasta sauce, instant noodles and soups and mixed nuts also contain high salt contents. So if you choose to buy these products, just make sure you try to find the ones advertised as lightly salted or unsalted.
Although fish, particularly Omega-3 rich fish like salmon, are usually good for you, fish raised in crowded, large-scale fish farms are often vulnerable to diseases that can be passed on to you. In order to get their fish disease free, the farms usually treat their fish with antibiotics and harmful pesticides. These chemicals are heavily associated with cancer and other health issues. Amazingly enough, about 60% of salmon eaten in the US is farm raised, so to skip the risk, try to find a brand that uses only wild-caught salmon.
Almost all canned foods are lined with a chemical called bisphenol-A, otherwise known as BPA. That chemical is known to cause several ill effects on your health, including increasing your risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, infertility, early puberty, metabolic disorders, and even type-2 diabetes. The reason canned tomatoes run an even higher risk of exposing you to BPA is due to the acidic nature of tomatoes themselves. The acid can cause leakage of the chemical from the can’s lining into the fruit itself.
We can’t believe it’s not butter…that’s more unhealthy. Margarine was pushed as a healthy alternative to butter, but because of the high levels of industrially-produced trans fats. Those trans fats can actually raise your death rate by 34%. Trans fats can cause heart disease and inflammation.
You might think something labeled “diet” would be good for you, but it’s just not true. Somehow, diet soda is actually worse than regular soda. Drinking just one diet soda a day, according to a University of Minnesota study, can increase your risk of diabetes by a whopping 36%. The amount of artificial sweeteners could be the reason behind the increase in risk. There’s also the matter of the high level of caffeine, too much of which can cause anxiety, heart palpitations, and insomnia.