Top 10 harmful foods.
April 21, 2013
Certain foods can induce a state of horror in nutritionists. Even
the mere thought of them coming within a whisker of your lips will
create panic, if not a stern "don't you know how bad that is for
While a nutritionist's reaction may seem extreme, the fact is that
these are not "real" foods. They have been subjected to excessive
modern processing and are full of man-made ingredients, rendering
them so unrecognisable from their original form that your body
simply doesn't know what to do with them. Regularly eating these
foods creates a toxic build-up that wreaks havoc on your health, as
an impressive body of scientific studies show.
Truth be told, there are foods that, for the sake of health and
longevity, we should not be eating at all, or, at the very least,
eating only rarely. As our consumption of these foods has increased
over the years, so have the incidences of obesity, diabetes and
heart disease, three of the most deadly diseases worldwide.
Three white devils
Among the nutrition-savvy, these are said to be the root of all evil
when it comes to health. While these foods may seem relatively
benign compared to the rest of the list, they are most dangerous
when eaten regularly - and for many people, that is the case. They
also play a large part in many heavily processed foods, meaning that
if you avoid these (and start checking ingredient lists), you will
quite naturally find yourself avoiding most dangerous foods. Your
health and waistline will thank you.
This is often listed as public enemy number one. It is a significant
cause of obesity and diabetes, according to the American Heart
Association. Sugar also puts stress on the pancreas, liver and
digestive system. The nervous system is said to be compromised by up
to 50 per cent every time you eat sugar.
This is bad news for your health because it makes you more
susceptible to colds, flu, depression, hormonal imbalance, stress
and weight gain. As recently as 2012, the American doctor Robert
Lustig called for laws that restrict sugar as if it were tobacco due
to its dangerous effect on our health.
It's important to remember, however, that not all sugar is equal.
Natural sugars in fruits and honey are fine when eaten in
It may seem relatively harmless but, inside your body, white flour
behaves in much the same way as white sugar, since that is what it
is quickly turned into during the digestive process. It puts huge
stress on the pancreas and disrupts insulin levels so much that the
body is sent into fat-storage mode.
Processing removes the most nutritious part of wheat, as well as
most of the fibre. It's the processing that's the problem, not the
grain, so again, avoid the white stuff.
This one is controversial. We are encouraged to drink milk for
stronger bones but, according to the nutritionist and author Patrick
Holford, we lose the ability to digest lactose, a major component of
milk, as we age. Disrupted digestion causes bloating, food
intolerances, makes our bodies more acidic and provokes an
Most disturbing is the way milk is treated with heat, hormones,
chemicals, preservatives and antibiotics. Make an easy (albeit more
expensive) switch to almond, coconut or rice milk for more
nutritious, easy-to-digest alternatives.
The fastest thing about fast food is the deterioration of your
health. It is full of at least two of the three white devils, not to
mention highly processed meat, sodium and of course saturated fats.
This is a deadly combination and one that will reduce your life
Remember the documentary Super Size Me? Eating fast food every day
for every meal is an extreme case, but, in less than a month, the
researcher's health deteriorated so rapidly that his doctors were
seriously concerned for his well-being.
The US Department of Health and Human Services reported that the
combination of poor diet and lack of physical activity causes
310,000 to 580,000 deaths every year. The types of foods that lead
to these deaths are high in saturated fat, sodium and sugar.
Deli meats are exceptionally high in nitrates and sodium, which are
incredibly harmful to our health. According to the American
Institute for Cancer Research, consumption of these meats is related
to an increased risk of colon cancer. Nitrates are converted into
nitrites once digested, which can form nitrosamine, a powerful
Doughnuts contain some of the unhealthiest ingredients around: white
sugar, white flour and trans-fat. This is a lethal combination, not
just for your waistline, but also for your heart health. Consumption
of trans-fat and sugar has been linked with a significantly higher
risk of heart disease and diabetes.
When foods are fried at high temperatures they can form acrylamide,
which is a known carcinogen. Dale Hattis, a research professor at
Clark University in Massachusetts, estimates that "acrylamide causes
several thousand cancers per year in America". Not only are crisps
high in fat, but they also are often coated with salt, making them
extremely high in sodium. This raises blood pressure and cholesterol
and, ultimately, increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.
A study published in Cancer Science in 2005 linked a high-salt diet
with increased gastric cancer.
Sodas (and diet sodas)
A big nutrition no-no, these drinks contain absolutely no nutrients
that feed your body. Worse, they fill your system with chemicals and
sugar that deplete your body of nutrients. A study published in
Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention stated that drinking
just two sodas per week can nearly double a person's risk of
Dr Joseph Mercola, an American doctor and a New York Times
bestselling author, says there are "10 teaspoons of sugar" in just
one can of soda and "30 to 55 mg of caffeine, artificial food
colours and sulphites".
Soda also creates acid in the body, which ultimately weakens bones
and depletes vital mineral stores. Studies have shown strong
associations between diet soda and obesity as well as diabetes. It
has been suggested that diet sodas trick the brain into thinking the
body is getting sugar, affecting metabolism and prompting cravings
for more sugar.
Margarine is processed fat, often containing very unhealthy
trans-fats, which your body cannot process. This raises your
cholesterol and damages the walls of blood vessels. Whenever we eat
foods that are not natural, they become a toxic burden on our
system, putting immense stress on the liver. According to the
Natural Health Hub, you are much better off avoiding the fake butter
margarines and enjoying a little of the real thing.
Canned foods are a stockpile of salt. Often considered a "healthy"
food choice, some cans of soup can contain as much as 890 milligrams
of sodium, which is nearly your full day's quota.
In excess, sodium causes the body to retain water, which puts
tremendous stress on the body, especially your heart, causing high
blood pressure and increased risk of heart attack.
According to the American Heart Association, 97 per cent of American
children consume too much sodium that can lead to organ damage.
That is not including the Bisphenol A (BPA) in most cans' plastic
linings. An industrial chemical, BPA can leach from the linings into
the food inside. Studies have shown BPA to act as an endocrine
disrupter that can mimic oestrogen and cause a variety of health
problems. In 2010, Canada became the first country to declare BPA a