8 Toxic Foods That You Should Stop Consuming Immediately

1. Butter flavored microwave popcorn

The chemical diacetyl, used for adding the fake butter flavor to microwave popcorn has been found to cause a life-threatening and irreversible lung disease known as “popcorn lung” in workers who inhaled the substance.[1][2]

In response to the “popcorn lung” studies, manufacturers have started replacing diacetyl with another toxic chemical called 2,3-pentanedione (PD). A laboratory study has shown that PD damages the airway epithelium much the same as diacetyl. This damage is believed to be the underlying cause of “popcorn lung”.[3]

There has also been a suggested link between diacetyl and Alzheimer’s disease. Diacetyl also easily penetrates the blood-brain barrier, a layer of cells which keeps harmful substances from entering the brain but allows helpful substances to cross.[4]

What to do: Ditch the butter flavored microwave popcorn completely as these toxic chemicals are not required to be disclosed so reading the label is no guarantee of knowing which brands contain them. Pour organic melted butter (in moderation) over your popcorn for an authentic and non-toxic flavoring.

2. Soda

Studies have shown that sugar sweetened drinks can increase the risk of high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and gout.[5] A typical 20-ounce soda contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar and 240 calories or more. Not only is the sugar content of sodas harmful, but the caramel coloring used in many sodas has been associated with a 58% increased risk of cancer.[6]

What can you do? You can replace sodas with 100% pure fruit juice, but dilute it with 80% filtered water to reduce sugar and calorie intake. There are healthier soda alternatives such as Reed’s Extra Ginger Brews, which contain more ginger and are sweetened with stevia and honey. Oogavè is another brand and they have an organic cola alternative.

3. Diet soda

Diet soda has been proven to increase the risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome, which is a group of risk factors that increases the risk of heart disease and other health issues. Drinking diet soda has been associated with a 67% greater risk of type 2 diabetes and a 34% increased risk of metabolic syndrome.[7]

Artificially sweetened drinks have also been associated with a 30% higher risk of depression.[8]

Aspartame, a commonly used sugar substitute in diet sodas, has been associated with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and leukemia in men.[9]

Contrary to the intended objective of diet sodas, artificially sweetened beverages consumption has actually been associated with long-term weight gain.[10]

What to do: Avoid all artificially sweetened drinks. The organic Steaz Sparkling Green Tea zero calorie soda alternative is sweetened with stevia and erythritol, a natural sugar alcohol.

4. Commercially produced hamburgers

Lab tests conducted by Consumer Reports have found that almost all ground beef consumed in the US contains fecal bacteria at levels high enough to cause illness. Ground beef can come from the meat of multiple animals so bacteria can be easily spread from a single contaminated cow.

A study has also shown that the meat content in some fast food hamburgers is as little as 2%. The content of meat in found in hamburgers was between 2.1% and 14.8%, an average of 12.1%. About 50% of the weight consists of water. Cartilage, bone and plant material were found in some hamburgers.[11]

What to do: Choose grass-fed organic beef. When it was tested, grass-fed organic beef was far less likely to have any of the bacteria. Support fast food chains that use grass-fed beef, such as California-based Carl’s Jr. and Farm Burger.

5. Processed meats

Processed meats such as salami, ham, bacon and hot dogs are full of unhealthy fats and also contain chemical compounds that are harmful to health. A processed meat is any kind of white or red meat that has been smoked, salted, fermented, cured, or processed in any way to improve preservation or enhance flavor. Most processed meats contain nitrites and nitrates, chemical additives used for preserving that have been associated with various cancers.[12] [13][14][15]Processed meat has been classified as a carcinogen by The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).[16]

What to do: Buy grass-fed organic beef roasts, or pasture-raised turkey and cook it and slice it yourself. TenderGrass Farms makes nitrate free, traditionally-crafted prosciutto from pasture-raised pork. The bologna form Wellness Meats Made is made from grass-fed beef and is free of nitrates, nitrites, preservatives, MSG, gluten and dairy.

6. Margarine

Margarine is high in trans fat, which has been associated with greater risk of death and coronary heart disease. Industrial trans fat consumption is associated with a 34% increase in mortality, a 28% increased risk of mortality from coronary heart disease mortality, and a 21% increase in the risk of coronary heart disease.[17]

What to do: Choose butter over margarine, but in moderation. Better still, substitute margarine with olive oil.

7. Canned tomatoes

Many tin cans used for food are lined with the industrial chemical, Bisphenol A (BPA), a synthetic estrogen that has been associated with a variety of health issues, such as infertility, early puberty, breast cancer, obesity and diabetes.[18] Small amounts of BPA leech into most canned foods, but higher levels of this chemical are released into acidic canned foods like tomatoes.

What to do: Choose tomatoes packaged in glass bottles, or brands which are using BPA free cans such as Trader Joe’s.

8. Conventionally grown strawberries

Strawberries are at the top of the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen 2016 list, conventionally grown vegetables and fruits found having the highest amounts of pesticide residue. Pesticide residue was detected in 98% of strawberry samples; 10 or more pesticide residues were found in 40% of them. As many as 17 different pesticide residues were found in some samples.

What to do: Choose organic strawberries which are pesticide free.
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Image Source: Healthy Child