Some foods are so common that it doesn’t seem like there’d be a problem if you ate them. Well, that’s where you’d be wrong. As it turns out, there are some really common foods that are unhealthy if not outright harmful for you to eat. Here are a few of them that might make you reconsider your diet.
Perrier Natural Sparkling Mineral Water
Est. Price: $2.19 per liter
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals, also known as PFAS chemicals, are a man-made material used in a lot of different things. Some of the things these are in include stain-resistant fabrics and food packaging. They’ve been around since the 1940s and have been linked to health issues like thyroid disruption, cancer, and low birth weight. Despite this, they aren’t regulated by the federal government. And the reason that this is important is because PFAS chemicals are sparkling mineral water brands, namely Perrier.
Manufacturer: Rosarita, Isadora, Old El Paso, and more
Est. Price: $1-$3 per can
Homemade beans can be very healthy, they have a lot of fiber and protein. However, the processed version isn’t quite as good for you. Processed, refried beans have high sodium content and a lot of saturated fat. That can lead to hypertension, obesity, high cholesterol, and other health detriments. Some tentative studies have even shown that a diet high in these ingredients can heighten your risk of developing cancer.
Manufacturer: Conagra, David’s, and more
Est. Price: $1-$3 per bag
Sunflower seeds are widely considered to be a healthy snack food. However, they’re still high in sodium and consuming too many can lead to a high caloric intake overall. Although, that’s not the only thing wrong with these seeds. According to Science Daily, researchers discovered that sunflower seeds were traceable as a source of “toxic mold” and were “contaminated” with mold-produced toxins. The toxins in particular are a potent liver carcinogen.
Manufacturer: Ocean Naturals, Safe Catch, Wild Planet, and more
Est. Price: $1.50 per can
Tuna is one of the favorite foods of nutritionalists for weight loss diets. It is high in protein and low in carbs. However, it’s worth noting that canned tuna, like a lot of saltwater fish, contains mercury. Even in small amounts, it is highly toxic and can lead to problems with your nervous, immune and digestive systems. A little tuna may be fine, but overeating it can definitely prove to be a problem.
Manufacturer: KFC, Zaxby’s, Bojangles, Raising Cane’s, and more
Est. Price: $14.99 per 8-piece (KFC)
The fact that this variety of chicken is fried in oil should already make it clear that it should be consumed in moderation. But in addition to the frying, this dish is also made with a lot of flour. It’s incredibly high in calories which can lead to issues with being overweight, developing or dealing with diabetes, and just heart disease. Grilling chicken is usually the healthier option.
Manufacturer: Mission Foods, Guerrero, Maseca, and more
Est. Price: $4-$6 per bag
Moderation is key when eating tortillas. Like all carb-based foods, it’s not good to eat them in high quantities. The flour used in tortillas is also often mass-produced, and are thusly filled with preservatives and additives. There’s also the fact that they have a lot of sodium in them.
Est. Price: $1.25 per cup
Dannon claims that their food will help children grow up healthy and strong, but that’s not quite the case. Their yogurt is mostly made up of sugar, fat, and artificial colorants. Excessive consumption can easily lead to health risks, like diabetes, metabolic and heart problems, and obesity. And then there’s the fact that the yogurt contains excess fat that is a carcinogen.
Manufacturer: KIND, Quaker, NutriGrain, and more
Est. Price: $3-$6 per box
Granola bars are another snack widely considered healthy, but they’re certainly not helping you stay in shape. Granola bars are high in refined sugars and rarely contain significant amounts of fruit. The fewer ingredients they have, the more likely they are to actually be healthy.
Artificially Flavored Creamer
Manufacturer: Nestle, Dean Foods, Danone SA, and more
Est. Price: $2-$4 per container
A lot of people need that kick of caffeine they get in the morning, but don’t like the bitterness that black coffee has. So, people use creamers to try to make it more palatable. A dash won’t help, but if you dilute your coffee from brown to a milky tan you’re going to have problems. Artificially flavored creamers have high sugar content, and have been linked to abdominal pain, food hypersensitivity, and other problems, depending on the flavoring of the company.
Manufacturer: Birds Eye, Green Giant, Market Pantry, and more
Est. Price: $1-$3 per bag
It’s never a bad idea to eat vegetables, more so which ones you might be eating. If you like frozen veggies, keep in mind that you’ll have to eat more of them to get the same benefits. While freezing can help retain some of the nutritional content in fruits and veggies, if they’re frozen for over a year, the nutrients begin to break down. Some vitamins and minerals are also lost during the blanching process in the first place. It’s actually when the greatest nutritional loss occurs.
Manufacturer: Driscolls, Naturipe, and more
Est. Price: $2.29 per pound
Strawberries are delicious, and a great addition to a healthy diet, at least on paper. While being cultivated, a strawberry can contain up to 20 different pesticides. It is essential to clean a strawberry well before eating it in order to avoid consuming those chemicals. Just running them through water may not be enough, so try getting a fruit spray.
Manufacturer: Conagra, Agrofusion, and more
Est. Price: $1.89 per pound
Tomatoes can contain a lot of pesticides as well, and their skin can be so thin that just washing and peeling may not be enough to get rid of them. If you have the option, always get organic tomatoes. Although, pesticides aren’t the only issue. They can be harmful to people that have problems with their digestive systems due to a high amount of organic acids. So it’s best to avoid tomatoes if you’re prone to heartburn.
Manufacturer: Land O’Lakes, Imperial, Fleischmann’s, Country Crock, and more
Est. Price: $2-$4 per case
Margarine was originally a cheaper substitute for traditional butter. It does only contain a trace amount of cow milk, and some brands have even eliminated animal-based ingredients altogether. Instead of the fat from cow’s milk, it’s made from vegetable oils. This causes a rather high amount of trans fats, which, as possibly expected by this point, can lead to diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
Manufacturer: Planters, Nut Harvest, Terrasoul Superfoods, etc.
Est. Price: $12.99 per pound
Raw cashews/tree nuts are usually sold roasted. That’s because when they’re raw they contain a toxic resin called urushiol. This can cause certain issues like urushiol dermatitis, which can cause symptoms like inflammation and suppuration. Overeating can also prove to be lethal. Fortunately, it’s only the raw cashews that you should be sure to avoid. All others should be safe to consume.
Manufacturer: Rudolph Foods, Utz, Benestar, and more
Est. Price: $4-$6 per bag
Pork rinds actually have no carbs, but they aren’t on par with spinach or broccoli as far as nutrition goes. They’re still high in saturated fat, sodium, and calories, so you definitely shouldn’t pig out on these. Eating too many can cause high blood pressure and weight gain. And that increases your risk of getting diabetes or heart disease. They may be high in protein, but pork rinds aren’t a healthy snack.
Manufacturer: Cracker Jack, Fisher’s, Pop Secret, and more
Est. Price: $3-$5 per bag
It shouldn’t be surprising that caramel popcorn is an unhealthy snack. Everything it’s comprised of, calories, sugars, fats, and sodium, are things that should already be consumed in moderation. Because of the high sugar content, the snack can actually prove to be very addictive. You may even end up overeating because your brain won’t be able to tell that you’re full.
Manufacturer: Lays, Tostitos, Utz, and more
Est. Price: $2-$5 per bag
A vast majority of potato chips have petroleum-based colorings, starched, preservatives, and saturated fat. Only o.11 pounds of potato chips provide 32% of the recommended daily amount of sodium. This entry may be fore potato chips, but French fries are also pretty high in sodium. They even contain monosodium glutamate, a compound that enhances flavor to make you want to eat more and more.
Est. Price: $3.64 per box
Kellogg’s is already known for its tasty and sugary breakfast serial, but Froot Loops may be the worst offenders. Despite claims of having a natural fruit flavor, fruit isn’t even one of the ingredients in Froot Loops. The high amount of sugar can even lead to children and adults developing obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Manufacturer: Nestle, TruMoo, Fairlife, and more
Est. Price: $3.69 per gallon
Chocolate milk is a favorite of both children and adults. It’s actually high in vitamin D and has protein, so it’s not all bad. Drinking a small amount every once in a while isn’t bad for you. Consuming a high amount though… well, this is a high-sugar beverage. You could increase your risk of weight gain and developing certain chronic diseases. Chocolate milk actually contains more sugar than a cup of soda.
Est. Price: $2.79
Takis are incredibly popular, but their nutritional value has something to be desired. They’re high in sodium, calories, saturated fat, and trans fat. This means they can contribute to high blood pressure and development of cardiovascular disease. Then there’s the red dye, which has been associated with the appearance of tumors.
Manufacturer: Mount Pleasant, Omaha Steaks, White Castle, and more
Est. Price: $5-$10 per bag
Pre-packaged burgers are usually cheaper. But that might have something to do with their questionable origin. The contents of many packages even state that they are only “meat” up to a certain percentage. What the rest is you’d have to look up yourself.
Manufacturer: Stores like Giant Eagle, Publix, Whole Foods, etc.
Est. Price: $3-$6 per container
Previous theories that watermelon could cause yellow fever or typhus have since been disporoven. Although, that doesn’t mean watermelons are 100% safe. Although, these issues mainly pop up when a watermelon is bought pre-cut at the supermarket. It could be contaminated with bacteria that end up causing salmonellosis. A breakout of salmonella illness in 2019 was actually attributed to pre-cut watermelons.
Manufacturer: Fresh Idaho, Lamb Weston, and more
Est. Price: $1.50-$2.50 per pound
As with some of the other fruits and vegetables on this list, potatoes are contaminated with pesticides. That’s why you have to wash them before you eat them. However, that’s not the only danger they pose. If you’ve had a potato long enough, you have have noticed that older potatoes start to turn green. That means that it has generated a high number of glycoalkaloids. These can cause moderate to severe food poisoning. So if a potato turns green (or just tastes bitter) it’s safer to just not eat it.
Manufacturer: Essentia, Flow, Bai, Core Hydration, and more
Est. Price: $1.99 per gallon
Natural alkaline water is formed when water passes over rocks. This gives it a higher pH than regular tap water. A lot of alkaline water brands claim to be better for your body than plain water. They even claim to help with conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. However, if you have any chronic diseases, or kidney or liver disease, you shouldn’t just drink this willy-nilly. Consult with your doctor first. Alkaline water can actually increase the sodium levels in your body.
Manufacturer: Jimmy Dean, Aidells, Hillshire Farm, and more
Est. Price: $3-$6 per 4- or 6-pack
Sausages can basically be cooked in any way and still taste good. Although, that doesn’t mean you’ll want to eat them if you want to feel good later. Their biggest issue is the high amount of saturated fat that they have. They all also have alarming amounts of sodium and nitrates, which are both carcinogenic. And, of course, if consumed in excess they can speed you along to developing obesity, as well as increasing your risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Manufacturer: Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Tim Horton’s, and more
Est. Price: $3-$5 per sandwich
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but perhaps consider eating something other than these breakfast sandwiches. They certainly look good, and their taste matches, but at least do yourself a favor and don’t eat one every day. They’re high in cholesterol and have 300 extra calories in comparison a home-made sandwich. Eating three breakfast sandwiches a week can gain you eight pounds to your weight in a year.
Commercial Salad Dressings
Manufacturer: Newman’s Own, Hidden Valley, Wishbone, Kraft, and more
Est. Price: $2-$4 per bottle
Vegetables are healthy, but can taste a little bland on their own. That’s where dressing comes in, but try to avoid commercial salad dressing if you can. Those ones are filled with vegetable oils, sugar, and trans fats. They also often have artificial chemicals. It’s just a series of unhealthy ingredients that take away from the benefits the salad provides.
American Cheese Slices
Manufacturer: Sandwich Mate, Kraft, Whitehall, and more
Est. Price: $3.99 per jar
Imitation cheese is often made without the same healthier ingredients that normal cheese has. They have unhealthy ingredients, such as vegetable oils, trans fats, flavorings, and preservatives. You can identify imitation cheese in comparison to real cheese by checking the price tag. Real cheese is often much more expensive, but it’ll be worth it for your health.
Est. Price: $0.88 per loaf
Cheap, white bread is commonly used for making practical lunches. It’s incredibly inexpensive and doesn’t exactly taste bad. But it’s actually addictive. That’s because of the sugar in the bread, which helps with the fermentation process. A lot of these cheaper bread brands also include a high amount of fat and salt that could have serious negative repercussions if eaten in excess. A lot of these loaves don’t even have a lot of fiber.
Manufacturer: Vita Coco, O.N.E., Zola, and more
Est. Price: $20 per 12-pack
Coconut water has plenty of electrolytes and no problem rehydrating the body. But be wary if you’re worried about your calorie count. Coconut water has 45 to 60 calories per eight-ounce serving. Flavored coconut water can also be high in sugar. Drinking it in especially large amounts can even bring up your potassium levels to dangerously high amounts. A more minor issue is that over-consumption can also upset your stomach. Plenty of reasons to not overindulge.
Manufacturer: JIFF, Skippy’s, 365, Market Pantry, and more
Est. Price: $2-$5 per jar
Peanut butter is high in calories and protein. It’s a common snack, being put on other foods in order to avoid loading up on carbs. The fat in peanut is mostly healthy, but there are peanuts that have some saturated fat. That can lead to to disease if consumed over a long period of time. Peanut butter is healthy, but only if consumed in moderation. So make sure not to overindulge.
Artificial Orange Juice
Est. Price: $3-$5 per liter
Artificial orange juice is as its name says, artificial. And those types of flavors are rarely better for you than the natural version. Artificial orange juice has a ton of sugar, coloring agents, artificial sweeteners, and no nutritional value. Orange juice, itself, is already super sugary, yet this is much worse. One child even drank too much orange juice and ended up turning yellow.
Manufacturer: Snapple, Arizona, Honest, Pure Leaf, Tazo, etc.
Est. Price: $3-$4 per container
Iced tea appears to be light, healthy, and naturally derived. In actuality, it’s closer to a soft drink in terms of nutrition than actual tea. Bottled iced tea contains 15 tablespoons of sugar. That much glucose added to your body can cause an insulin spike in your blood and increase your risk for diabetes.
Est. Price: $1.25 per pound
Onions aren’t half bad for you. They have sulfuric compounds and antioxidants that have been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, lower blood sugar levels, and increase bone health. But they aren’t good for everyone. They’re very acidic, which could be harmful to people with conditions like heartburn or gout. There are plenty of other chronic illnesses that make it unadvisable to consume onions.
Manufacturer: All Dean Foods, Danone, Lactaid, Hiland, Prairie Farms, etc.
Est. Price: $3.71 per gallon
Milk is high in protein and calcium, a general benefit to the body for bone health. However, its benefits are not 100%. Some of the hormones in milk have been associated with the development of breast and prostate cancer. Be careful what kind of milk you drink. Organic milk is the best possible option.
Manufacturer: Monster, Red Bull, and more
Est. Price: $2-$4 per can
Some people rely on energy drinks to get through the day. And that can cause a problem. They’re high in caffeine, taurine, and sugar. And all of these stimulants can lead to headaches, dizziness, and diarrhea. Consumtpion in excess can also caused alterations to the heart rate and blood pressure. Energy drinks can even worsen anxiety and there have been reported cases of addiction to energy drinks.
Manufacturer: Bare, Market Pantry, Rind, etc.
Est. Price: $5-$15 per bag
The nutrients in dried fruit are similar to those of fresh fruit. However, the dehydration process damages some of the nutritional benefits from eating fruit in the first place. Vitamin C in particular is sensitive to heat and oxidation and can be lost during dehydration. Their decreased weight can also make it easier to overeat on accident. They’re not all bad, just not as healthy. Even so, dried fruit can still be artificially sweetened, so make sure to check the label before eating.