Are you risking your health with the foods on your shopping list? It’s surprising to learn which foods we enjoy often should be left off that list for good.
Here’s a list of nine grocery items you may never want to buy again because of the possible health risks. Are you shocked to learn how many of them are your go-to favorites?
9. White Rice
White rice is a highly processed grain. Much of its nutrient content is stripped away when it is milled. Though many manufacturers fortify their white rice (add nutrients back in), the end product isn’t usually as nutrient-dense as alternatives like brown rice.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, brown rice is a healthier choice than white rice because it has more fiber, manganese, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, and vitamins B1 and B6, though they also warn that brown rice contains more arsenic. It’s not enough to cause harm to most people, but pregnant women should check with a doctor or nutritionist for advice about healthy brown rice intake.
8. Lunch Meat
In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified processed meats as “carcinogenic to humans.” Sorry, lunch meat lovers – your favorite bologna sandwich could be a health risk. Why? WHO states “The IARC Working Group concluded that eating processed meat causes colorectal cancer. An association with stomach cancer was also seen, but the evidence is not conclusive.”
Processed meats, according to WHO, are those that have been “transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking” and other processing methods for flavoring and preservation. These include American favorites like hot dogs, bacon, and beef jerky.
Eating fish and seafood is usually considered a healthy way to live because these animals give your body essential omega-3 fatty acids and are great sources of important minerals like selenium. However, some fish – like swordfish – are consuming too much mercury in their diet. That means harmful levels of mercury could be passed on to you when you eat it.
Industrial pollution produces excess mercury that settles into oceans, rivers, and streams. Swordfish absorb more mercury because they prey on smaller fish that also absorb mercury. If you love swordfish, it’s best to eat it rarely or have some safer salmon instead.
6. Sugary Drinks
Not only are sugary drinks bad for weight management they could take a toll on your heart health too. According to the American Cancer Association (ACA), drinking 12 ounces of soda, sugary juice, and sports drinks more than once a day “may lower ‘good’ cholesterol and increase triglycerides, fat in the blood that can lead to heart disease.”
Regularly having sugary drinks is also linked to tooth decay and blood sugar dysfunction that could result in developing type 2 diabetes.
5. Energy Drinks
Protect your heart and nervous system from stress overload by not buying energy drinks anymore, or by only having them occasionally. Energy drinks can lead to heart palpitations that could result in serious heart trouble. They can also cause anxiety and insomnia when you need rest the most.
Did you know that sleep deprivation can be linked to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia? Doctors and researchers are spreading the word that consistently getting 7-8 hours of deep restorative sleep can do a world of good toward protecting the health of the brain as we age.
4. Ice Cream
A 2012 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition determined that frequently eating ice cream can cause a “reduction in reward-region responsivity in humans” similar to that of people with drug addiction. In other words, to achieve the same level of enjoyment from eating ice cream you’ll need to eat more and more of it over time.
For a healthier alternative, make some “nice cream” instead. Add frozen banana to a food processor or blender. Blend it into smooth ice cream consistency and serve immediately.
3. Multigrain Bread
Multigrain bread seems like a healthy food from the title, but the word “multigrain” could be hiding a secret. Unless you read the package label carefully, you probably don’t know how overly processed those grains could be.
Some brands are healthier than others, but your best bet is to opt for a bread labeled as “whole grain” instead. Whole grains go through less processing, which keeps a higher percentage of their nutrient content intact due to eating every part of the grain. You can still enjoy multigrain bread, but you’ll get more health benefits if those grains are 100% whole.
2. Microwave Popcorn
Is microwave popcorn bad for your health? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warns that the chemical diacetyl used to give it a buttery flavor could cause lung damage. The CDC cites studies that show “vapors from heated butter flavorings can cause damage to airways in animals.”
Diacetyl has also been linked to “protein damage in airway epithelium” (skin cells) which causes more concern for lung health. Though the CDC states some studies are inconclusive, “current evidence points to diacetyl as one agent that can cause flavorings-related lung disease.”
1. Canned Soup
Canned soup is loaded with sodium (a mineral found in salt), making it another food you may want to avoid. Too much sodium in the bloodstream can cause high blood pressure. Chronic high blood pressure could lead to heart disease or stroke.
Humans need sodium to survive, but most don’t need very much. Plus, a healthy body requires a balance between sodium and potassium. An ideal ratio of sodium to potassium intake would be 1:3, or three times as much potassium as sodium.
Consider opting for low-sodium canned soup instead. Even better, make your own soup at home.