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Sunday, 15 September 2019

50 Foods You Should Never Eat, According to Health Experts

Whole-wheat bread
The problem: Modern wheat is nothing like the grain your mother or grandmother consumed. Today, wheat barely resembles its original form, thanks to extensive genetic manipulations during the 1960s and 1970s to increase the grain's yields. "You cannot change the basic characteristics of a plant without changing its genetics, its biochemistry, and its effects on humans who consume it," says William Davis, MD, creator of Wheat Belly 10-Day Detox.
Davis makes the case that modern-day wheat is triggering all sorts of health problems, everything from digestive diseases like celiac and inflammatory bowel disease to acid reflux, obesity, asthma, and skin disorders.
The solution: Try eliminating wheat altogether from your diet for a few weeks to see if you note health improvements. But be prepared for the wheat withdrawal syndrome of nausea, headache, fatiguedepression, and a host of other strange side effects.

Non-dairy coffee creamer
The problem: The health benefits of coffee are pretty impressive, so don't go throwing them away by splashing nondairy creamer in your morning joe. Fake creamers are full of hard-to-pronounce ingredients, including liver-damaging high-fructose corn syrup, inflammatory hydrogenated oils, and artificial flavors, says Will Clover, PhD, author of Eat Chocolate, Lose Weight.
The solution: Drink your coffee black, or if you want to add cream, opt for organic from grass-fed cows or organic unsweetened coconut milk without the food additive carrageenan.

Grape jelly
The problem: Concord grapes are delicious (and are one of the few fruits native to North America), but the way most of us taste them is in the form of sugar-laden grape jelly. "Even though it's given away for free like ketchup in little plastic packets, it's basically a jelly-textured candy loaded with various forms of sugar, artificial colors, and flavors," says Ellen Gustafson, author of We the Eaters.
The solution: Gustafson suggests opting for real fruit, honey, or apple butter on your PB&J. If you do reach for jelly in the store, look for low-sugar, organic versions Organic bans the use of artificial colors and flavors and requires that the grapes be grown without the use of chemical pesticides.

Diet soda
The problem: Isaac Eliaz, MD, founder of Amitabha Medical Clinic and Healing Center, stays away from any diet soda and foods, sugar-free candies, and gum containing artificial sweeteners such as sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame K, and neotame. "The safety data on these sweeteners is shrouded in controversy and conflicts of interest with the manufacturers of these chemical compounds," Dr. Eliaz warns. "Independent research strongly suggests that when metabolized in the body, these sweeteners can cause health-related issues and problems related to metabolism and weight gain, neurological diseases, joint pain, digestive problems, headaches, depression, inflammatory bowel disease, chemical toxicity, and cancer, among others."
The solution: From its weight gain effects to the overload of artificial sweeteners, the disturbing side effects of soda are enough to break the fizzy habit. If you're craving a soda but want to avoid the shady sweeteners, enjoy seltzer or kombucha.

Canned tomatoes
The problem: The resin linings of tin cans contain bisphenol-A (BPA), a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to ailments ranging from reproductive problems to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Studies show that the BPA in most people's bodies exceeds the amount that suppresses sperm production or causes chromosomal damage to the eggs of animals. "You can get 50 micrograms of BPA per liter out of a tomato can, and that's a level that is going to impact people, particularly the young," says Frederick vom Saal, PhD, professor of biological sciences, University of Missouri at Columbia. "I won't go near canned tomatoes."
The solution: To avoid negative BPA health effects, choose tomatoes in glass bottles (which do not need resin linings).

Sprouts
The problem: Sprouts have been the source of so many major food recalls that they're really not worth the risk, says Douglas Powell, PhD, food safety consultant, barfblog.com. Be they bean or broccoli, alfalfa or pea, sprouts have been at the center of outbreaks of foodborne illness. Often, sprouts harbor salmonella, E. coli, or listeria; they're vulnerable to contamination because the seeds require moist, warm conditions in order to sprout—ideal conditions for bacteria to thrive and multiply in.
The solution: Get the crunch of sprouts—without the added bacteria—by shredding cabbage or carrots onto your sandwiches. If you really enjoy the flavor of sprouts, cook them first, but watch out for cross-contamination.

Chicken wings
The problem: A single chicken wing has 81 calories and five grams of fat. Given that most people don't eat just one, a lone feast of chicken wings could easily lead to 1,000 extra calories and 50 grams of fat—nearly two or three days' worth of artery-clogging fat! "Since 500 extra calories per day leads to two pounds per week, chicken wings are a recipe for weight gain," says Tasneem Bhatia, MD, author of What Doctors Eat.
The solution: If you like chicken, try baked or grilled versions to avoid a calorie overload. Since conventional chicken feed often contains antibiotics to stimulate faster growth, choose organic whenever you can.

Non-organic strawberries
The problem: Robert Kenner, director of Food Inc. says he wanted to film strawberry farmers applying pesticides to their fields. "The workers wear these suits to protect themselves from the dozens and dozens of known dangerous pesticides applied to strawberries," he says. "When I saw this, I thought to myself, 'If this is how berries are grown, I don't really want to eat them anymore.' I haven't been able to eat a nonorganic strawberry ever since."
The solution: Opt for organic strawberries. The Environmental Working Group, which analyzes US Department of Agriculture pesticide-residue data, has found 13 different pesticide residues on conventionally grown strawberries.

Butter-flavored popcorn
The problem: Diacetyl is used in a lot of fake butter flavorings, despite the fact that the chemical is so harmful to factory workers that it's known to cause an occupational disease called "popcorn lung," says Alexandra Scranton, director of science and research at Women’s Voices for the Earth.
After news of the chemical got out to the popcorn-eating public, companies started replacing diacetyl with another additive—which can actually turn into diacetyl under certain conditions, she adds. "It's a classic example of the need for better chemical regulation and improved transparency on the chemicals used in our food and other household products," she says.
The solution: Make your own popcorn using real butter. Pop it on the stovetop in a pot or go an easier homemade popcorn route: Put a small handful of kernels into a brown paper lunch bag and stick the bag in the microwave. The kernels will pop just like those fake-butter-flavored kernels in standard microwave popcorn bags.

Non-organic green beans
The problem: Green beans are consistently rated one of the riskiest picks in your produce aisle. In a Consumer Reports report, researchers found that green beans tainted with a chemical insecticide called acephate—and its breakdown product methamidophos—ranked No. 1 as a risk driver for chemical contamination.
The solution: Make sure you always opt for organic green beans. Better yet, plant your own. They're incredibly easy to grow, take up little room in the garden, and produce a bountiful harvest in less than two months.

Farmed salmon
The problem: "Fish is naturally low in saturated fat, and some types, like salmon, are also high in omega-3 fat, reducing the risk of stroke and heart attack and inflammation throughout the body. While Americans need to eat more seafood and less red meat, some fish such as farmed salmon are contaminated with carcinogenic chemicals such as PCBs [polychlorinated biphenyls], pesticides [such as dieldrin and toxaphene], and antibiotics, says Margaret I. Cuomo, MD, author of A World Without Cancer.
And unlike wild salmon, farmed salmon are fed a mixture of other fish ground into fishmeal and fish oil, and they concentrate more toxins in their fat tissue than do other fish, Dr. Cuomo notes.
The solution: "Fish is an important part of my family's diet, and I am very careful to choose wild salmon, rather than farmed salmon," Dr. Cuomo says.

Margarine
The problem: "If you could pick one type of fat that would destroy your performance, decrease your brain function, damage your health, and shorten your life, it would have to be margarine and other trans fats," says Dave Asprey, author of The Bulletproof Diet. "They lower your HDL cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease, increase your triglyceride levels, and damage your arteries and your heart." Not only that, but the inflammatory fats found in margarine impact brain function through inflammation.
The solution: Instead of margarine, Asprey recommends fats like ghee, avocado oil, coconut oil, and grass-fed butter.

Gummy vitamins
The problem: It's too good to be true. Each serving is about 15 calories a day. While two or three grams of sugar a daydoesn't seem like much, Mark Moyad, MD, MPH, author of The Supplement Handbook, points out that this translates to nearly six cups of sugar a year. Not to mention, gummies contain artificial food dyes and can contain a laundry list of other problematic ingredients: "Many contain gluten, and some also contain corn syrup, carmine, and pregelatinized cornstarch," he says.
The solution: "Always go to food for nutrition first," says Dr. Moyad. "Don't teach kids to rely on pills at such a young age." Liquid multivitamins can be a good alternative for kids (especially those who can't swallow pills).

Instant noodles
The problem: This college staple contains ingredients like MSG that can actually trigger not just excessive food cravings, but painful migraines, too.
The solution: To avoid one of the worst ingredients in the ramen packets, MSG (and all of the sneaky names for MSG)—and to inject some nutrition into your cup of noodle meal—stir up your own healthy noodle recipe.

Anything from McDonald's
The problem: McDonald’s isn't just about food, it's about food mentality, according to Joel Salatin, a sustainable farmer. "It represents the pinnacle of factory farming and industrial food," he says. "The economic model is utterly dependent on stockholders looking for dividends without regards to farm profitability or soil development."
Fast food typically is loaded with all sorts of the ingredients mentioned elsewhere in our list: genetically engineered corn, food dyes, artificial sweeteners, and other bad actors in the food supply.
The solution: Learn to cook! You might be surprised to find that paying extra up front for a pasture-raised chicken can be cheaper than buying prepared fast-food chicken.

Non-organic corn
The problem: Today's corn plants are more like little pesticide factories with roots. Most of the nation's corn supply is genetically engineered to either produce its own pesticide supply within the plant or withstand heavy sprayings of chemicals, which wind up inside of the food. That's problematic not just for bees, but for people, too. "I avoid corn because most is genetically modified, and on top of that, most of the seeds are treated with systemic pesticides that kill bees," says Maryam Henein and George Langworthy, directors of Vanishing of the Bees. "And let’s not be fooled; the sublethal effects of these pesticides also slowly impair our health."
The solution: From ketchup to salad dressing, and even bread, it’s hard to escape corn ingredients. "I always try to avoid foods containing high-fructose corn syrup," says Langworthy. "Not only is it unhealthy, but the pesticides used in the production of the corn is detrimental to honeybees and other pollinators." To avoid genetically engineered corn, choose USDA organic or non-GMO verified foods.

Artificial sweeteners
The problem: Ironically, there's a lot of evidence that suggests that using artificial sweeteners is just as bad for your waistline as using regular sugar. Maria Rodale, CEO of Rodale Inc. and author of Organic Manifesto says, "They're unnatural, nonorganic, taste horrible, and lead to all sorts of bad health consequences, false expectations, and short-term strategic thinking."
The solution: Refined white sugar isn't any healthier, but you can replace it with small amounts of nutritious sweeteners, including honey, blackstrap molasses, and maple syrup, all of which have high levels of vitamins and minerals, or make homemade healthy sweeteners that are far better for your health.

Processed honey
The problem: "Refined honey is among the most insidious sweeteners of all time," says Gerard E. Mullin, MD, author of The Gut Balance RevolutionThe pasteurization process eliminates the health properties of honey, essentially turning it into just another form of sugar. Some honey is even blended with high-fructose corn syrup, additives, and other flavorings.
The solution: In moderation, raw honey from your local farmers' market has the opposite effect on your health. "Good data show that a teaspoon or less per day of raw honey has positive effects on gut microbiome health," Dr. Mullin says. Raw honey may have an antimicrobial effect against harmful pathogens in your gut, including E. coli. "Honey also has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, immune-regulating, and antitumor properties," Dr. Mullin points out. It can also improve many aspects of your health, including allergies, bone health, diabetes, and wound healing.

Agave
The problem: Don't trust the health halo claims associated with the natural sweetener agave. While it is technically a low-glycemic food, it actually drives up blood fructose, which is way worse, Robert Lustig, MD, author of Fat Chance, explains.
"Fructose causes seven times more cell damage than glucose because it binds to cellular proteins seven times faster and releases 100 times the number of oxygen radicals [like hydrogen peroxide, which damages cells]," he notes. In addition, fructose is turned into fat in the liver, which contributes to the development of metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes. "Glycemic index is irrelevant; fructose damages your body unrelated to glycemic index. Agave nectar should have a skull and crossbones," Dr. Lustig says.
The solution: Retrain your tastebuds to not want excessively sweet foods. When you feel like reaching for something sweet, try one of low-sugar fruits.

Table salt
The problem: Table salt starts out as a healthy sea salt, but the extreme processing that happens next makes this one of the worst things you can put in your body. Manufacturers strip it of all its minerals and heat it to around 1,200ºF, completely changing its chemical structure.
The solution: For an all-natural, unprocessed way to add flavor to food, choose Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt. You'll get a heavy dose of health benefits, including bone support, improved cognitive function, and pH balancing.

Food dyes
The problem: Small studies link some food dyes to hyperactivity in children and cancer in animals, and that's one reason Michael F. Jacobson, PhD, executive director of Center for Science in the Public Interest, avoids them. Red #3 causes cancer in lab rats, and Yellow #5 and Yellow #6 may contain cancer-causing contaminants. Food dyes, often used together with artificial and natural flavorings, are used to make foods appear more healthful than they actually are.
The solution: Read labels every time you're considering buying a prepackaged food. Food dyes can crop up in some really unexpected places, even in healthy foods like cheese and yogurt. The good news? Some companies are starting to remove food dye from foods.

Charred meat
The problem: While everyone loves a good barbecue, grilling meats can produce carcinogens if you aren’t careful. The two most associated with charring are HCAs (heterocyclic amines) and PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons). HCAs form when meat is cooked at high temperatures; PAHs are created when the flames touch the meat or when fat drips into the flames and produces smoke, which then rises and coats the food, says Natasha Turner, ND, author of The Supercharged Hormone Diet.
The solution: To grill more healthfully, lower the heat on your gas grill or increase the distance between the fire and the meat if using a charcoal grill. Choose smaller cuts of meat, flip them often, and use a meat thermometer when cooking at lower temperatures so you can check to be sure the meat is fully cooked. Homemade grilling marinades, particularly ones containing rosemary, can reduce the risk of HCAs by up to 99 percent.

Non-organic potatoes
The problem: Insects love potatoes. To counter that, nonorganic farmers generally spray chemicals on potato plants several times a year in the field. "But if that's not enough, in many production systems, their vines are sprayed with an herbicide just prior to harvest so they can be more easily harvested," explains Mark Kastel, co-founder of Cornucopia Institute. After harvest and washings, potatoes are often sprayed with a mold and sprout inhibitor.
The solution: Buy organic potatoes, including antioxidant-rich blue potatoes, at your farmers' market. "They are cheap and have one of the lowest premiums you need to pay to eat organically," Kastel notes.

Breakfast cereals
The problem: Don't trust front-of-label packaging to figure out whether a cereal is truly healthy. "I've seen breakfast cereals with up to 10 different kinds of sugar!" says Anne Alexander, author of The Sugar Smart Diet. Not only is sugar toxic and a threat to healthy blood sugar levels, but it can also trigger overeating.
The solution: Always read the ingredients label and check for hidden sugars. Sugar lurks in dozens of different ingredient names, including sucrose, cane sugar, evaporated cane juice, agave, fruit juice concentrate, and high-fructose corn syrup, among others. "I try to aim for no more than five to six grams of sugar per serving and as much fiber as possible—I look for at least five grams of fiber per serving—in my cereal."

Bluefin tuna
The problem: Bluefin tuna is overfished and on the verge of collapse, thanks to the global appetite for this type of tuna, largely from sushi restaurants, says Philippe Cousteau, explorer and cofounder of EarthEcho.
The solution: You can still enjoy seafood, but look for sustainable options.

Undercooked meat
The problem: Your supermarket meat could be coated in superbugs. In the U.S., most industrially produced meat comes from farm animals fed antibiotics, which can promote the growth and spread of bacteria that are able to withstand the antibiotics we rely on to treat infections in people, says Keeve Nachman, PhD, MHS, director of Food Production and Public Health at Johns Hopkins' Center for a Livable Future. Government research has turned up bacteria on grocery store meat samples that are resistant to multiple important antibiotics.
The solution: "If I eat meat, I want to be sure it's cooked to a temperature that will inactivate or kill those bacteria," Nachman says. "I also am careful to clean meat preparation surfaces and utensils."

Fast food French fries
The problem: Heart disease has become the No. 1 killer in America. One main culprit, Jillian Michaels, fitness expert,
says: Trans fats, aka hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, vegetable oils that have been "reconfigured" to extend their shelf life (but that ultimately harm your cholesterol levels). "Although fast-food fries are a main culprit, I highly recommend reading your food labels and avoiding this toxic preservative wherever and whenever possible," she says.
The solution: Bake your fries at home using this simple recipe: Pre-heat your oven to 450°F. Cut a potato into wedges. (Soak potatoes to reduce harmful acrylamide levels.) Mix together one tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon onion powder. Coat the potato wedges with the oil/spice mixture and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes in preheated oven.

Packaged snacks
The problem: Chips, pretzels, and most packaged pastries are highly processed manufactured foods and are typically loaded with some combination of sugar, salt, and unhealthy oils, so they rank high on the glycemic index. "They contribute to blood sugar deregulation and systemic inflammation," says Andrew Weil, MD, founder of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine.
The solution: Choose high-protein snacks. They can be satisfying and delicious. "Consider seasonal fresh fruit alone or mixed with a dollop of organic plain Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of freshly ground flaxseed; a small handful of walnuts, cashews, or almonds; or a small piece of high-quality dark chocolate containing at least 70 percent cocoa," he recommends.

Shrimp
The problem: Shrimp is the most popular seafood in the American diet, and our taste for it has an astounding environmental impact and potentially threatens our health, too. Farmed shrimp generally comes from mangrove forests, which have been clear-cut and turned into filthy ponds doused with antibiotics to ward off disease. "If you want to be a responsible seafood eater, I'm sorry to say you have to give up shrimp," Andy Sharpless, CEO of Oceana and author of The Perfect Protein.
The solution: When it comes to the best seafood choices, Sharpless says you're better off eating wild or farmed shellfish like oysters, mussels, and clams, which are filter feeders and help clean the ocean as they grow. "Unlike farmed shrimp, these guys are an ally in keeping the oceans healthy," he explains.

Energy drinks
The problem: These drinks are typically sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, an ingredient linked to weight gain. "The high doses of caffeine can also disrupt sleep, an essential component for health and emotional well-being during the pubertal years," explain Louise Greenspan, MD, and Julianna Deardorff, PhD, authors of The New Puberty. Energy drinks often contain potentially carcinogenic additives, such as caramel coloring.
The solution: Water is best. If you're dealing with an energy slump, try working these foods that give you energy into the mix.

Fois gras
The problem: Foie gras, the unnaturally fatty liver of a duck or goose, is traditionally thought of as a luxury food item. But the bird lives a far from luxurious life. "The way foie gras is produced involves extreme animal cruelty," says Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States. The ducks are force-fed three times daily for weeks on end, causing their livers to swell more than 10 times their normal size, leading to diseased organs. "The feeding makes it difficult for the animals even to walk," Pacelle says. "That's too much cruelty for a mere table treat."
The solution: If you enjoy the texture of foie gras but not the animal cruelty, Pacelle recommends trying Faux Gras, a healthy lentil-walnut paté.

Inflammatory vegetable oils
The problem: Don't ruin your healthy salad by dumping inflammatory oils all over it. "Most salad dressings on the market today use canola or soybean oil—two major GMO-laden, pro-inflammatory no-nos," says Jayson Calton, PhD, and Mira Calton, CN, authors of The Micronutrient Miracle. Mira points out that even organic versions still contribute to the unhealthy, pro-inflammatory omega-6/omega-3 imbalance. "Due to the adverse processing methods for corn, soybean, canola, safflower, or cottonseed oils, you are essentially ingesting oxidized molecules that wreck immediate havoc on healthy cellular function," she says. "The bottom line is that these oils are not healthy and should be avoided at all costs."
The solution: Opt for extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil.Other safe oils include peanut, sesame, avocado, macadamia, flaxseed, and fish oils. Simply combine the oil of your choice with your favorite herbs, garlic, red wine vinegar, and voilà—homemade Italian dressing!

Egg whites
The problem: Egg yolks contain more than 80 percent of the overall vitamins, minerals, and healthy fatty acids found in an egg. Without the fat of the yolk, you can't absorb the protein in the egg white effectively, either, Jean Nick, senior information analyst at the Rodale Library, notes. Egg yolks are also a rich source of choline, which plays a major part in providing structural integrity and signaling roles for cell membranes.
The solution: Invest in high-quality eggs and feel good about eating the yolks and all. The 2015-2020 dietary guidelines note that dietary cholesterol isn't something you need to worry about anymore.

Pasta
The problem: Most people eat diets that contain an overabundance of refined carbohydrates, and one of the most common culprits is pasta. These refined carbs are essentially stripped of their nutritional value. "While blood sugar problems, like diabetes, are certainly a major concern with increased intakes of refined carbs, the real danger is the amount of inflammation that overconsumption of these 'foods' can cause," warns Jonathan Psenka, ND, author of Dr. Psenka's Seasonal Allergy Solution.

The solution: Invest in a spiralizer veggie slicer and start whipping up low-carb pasta alternatives. We promise you'll never look back!

Packaged gelatin desserts
The problem: Completely devoid of nutrients, this childhood favorite actually carries a warning label in Europe that reads, "May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children." This is largely because of a chemical called Red #40, an ingredient link to hyperactivity. "Most boxes contain more than 10 milligrams of artificial food dyes, artificial flavors, and a preservative called BHA, which has been deemed a 'reasonably anticipated human carcinogen' by the US Department of Health and Human Services' National Toxicology Program," Holly Phillips, MD, author of The Exhaustion Breakthrough, points out.
The solution: If you are really craving a bowl of the jiggly dessert, look for a more natural, plant-based version made of agar-agar.

Dutch chocolate
The problem: As high-cocoa chocolate becomes more recognized as a healthy food option, more people are choosing dark chocolate over milk. But some kinds of cocoa are dramatically better than others. In fact, analysis shows that when cocoa has been "Dutch processed" and/or "processed with alkali," it can lose 60 to 90 percent of its health-boosting antioxidants. Choosing brands without Dutch processing is key to making sure your chocolate is as healthy as it can be, says Will Clower, PhD, author of Eat Chocolate, Lose Weight.
The solution: When buying cocoa itself, look for natural and unsweetened. For dark chocolate bars, Dutch-processed versions will have to indicate that processing on the label, so be sure to avoid any that list it.

Non-organic apples
The problem: An apple is the quintessential health food. Too bad conventionally grown apples harbor some pretty damaging hitchhikers. "Conventional apples may contain as many as 47 different pesticide residues on just a single apple," says Talia Fuhrman, author of Love Your Body. "Some of these pesticides, such as thiabendazole and pyrimethanil, are known and/or probable carcinogens. Other pesticides commonly found on apples, such as carbendazim, are hormone disruptors."
The solution: Go organic. You shouldn't give up on apples altogether because, as Fuhrman points out, an apple a day can keep the oncologist away—research suggests daily apple consumption is linked to a lower risk of common cancers. Removing the peel of a nonorganic apple might mitigate your exposure to the pesticides it was sprayed with, but doing so means you're missing out on the best part of the apple: Its fiber-rich skin.

Fruit juice
The problem: Fruit is rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients, but fruit juice does not provide the same health benefits. "Even if you are label-conscious and purchase 100 percent real fruit juice or make your own fresh-squeezed juice at home, you need to beware of the high sugar content," Dawna Stone, author of The Healthy You Diet, warns.
A glass of fruit juice can have as much sugar as a can of soda, not to mention it's void of one of fruit's main health benefits—its high fiber content.
The solution: Opt for a splash of real fruit juice added to a glass of still or sparkling water. Or, combine whole fruit and ice in a blender for a refreshing and satisfying smoothie. Even better, opt for a green vegetable juice and add the juice of half a green apple. "I find just half of an apple or other fruit gives my nutrient-dense green juice just the right amount of sweetness," Stone says.

Store-bought smoothies
The problem: Popular packaged smoothies often contain 25+ grams of sugar in a tiny 8-ounce smoothie! That's more like drinking a soda in terms of sugar. "A great thing about blending from home is controlling what goes into blender," Jen Hansard and Jadah Sellner, authors of Simple Green Smoothies, say.
The solution: Take control of your smoothies. You can actually save money making smoothies at home.

Rice flour
The problem: Gluten-free ingredients aren't always better for you, and some can actually make you gain weight. Rice flour falls on this list, according to William Davis, MD, creator of Wheat Belly 10-Day Detox. "This ingredient is commonly used in gluten-free processed foods," he warns. "It is awful for health and will completely shut down any hope of weight loss, often resulting in outright, sometimes outrageous, weight gain and inflammation."
The solution: There are indeed some food producers that have developed gluten-free and grain-free products that don't use junky ingredients and don't raise blood sugar, but they remain in the minority. Better ingredients include coconut flour, almond meal, and chia seeds.

White chocolate
The problem: The right kind of chocolate serves not only as a sweet treat but as a brain-boosting superfood, too. The problem is, white chocolate's health profile is blank. "The data on the health benefits of cacao is pretty awesome," says Drew Ramsey, MD, coauthor of The Happiness Diet. "Much of this is due to a set of amazing phytonutrients that can increase blood flow to the brain, protect blood vessels, and boost mood and focus. White chocolate is missing all this goodness."
The solution: Indulging in a chocolate treat? Look for organic dark chocolate made with at least 70 percent cacao.

Cocktail mixers
The problem: Raising a glass should be fun. You shouldn't have to stress over obscene sugar levels, fake food dyes with carcinogenic contaminants, or sketchy preservatives created so that the majority of cocktail drink mixers can sit on store shelves for years.
The solution: If you're craving a tasty adult beverage, try the healthiest tequila cocktail ever rather than gamble with that neon-green goo on the grocery store shelf. Or order one of the low-calorie alcoholic drinks at the bar.

Factory-raised ground beef
The problem: Cattle raised in filthy conditions, pumped full of growth hormones, and fed diets composed mostly of genetically modified corn are three major reasons humane, grass-fed ground beef is a better alternative for your burger. But they aren't the only ones, says Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Also consider that while a steak or roast usually comes from a single animal, processors of ground beef combine meat from hundreds of animals. "This vastly increases the risk of contamination," he says.
The solution: "I love hamburgers, but only eat them when they're grass-fed and ground by a butcher," Pollan says.

Swordfish
The problem: One of Philip Landrigan, MD, professor of preventive medicine and pediatrics at Mount Sinai's No. 1 warnings to women who are pregnant or are looking to become pregnant? "Make avoiding mercury in fish a priority," he says. Swordfish is notoriously high in the heavy metal, a potent neurotoxin that can damage developing children and even trigger heart attacks in adults.
The solution: For a healthy omega-3 brain boost, look for fish that are low in contaminants and have stable populations, such as wild-caught Alaskan salmon, Atlantic mackerel, or pole- or troll-caught Pacific albacore tuna.

Fast food mash-ups
The Problem: Call them "mash-up" foods. Call them novelty items. Just call them gross. Two fast-food wrongs (a low-quality taco and junk food chips, for instance) do not make a right, both in terms of flavor and nutrition. Marketers dream up these concoctions as a horrifying way to grab your attention.
The Solution: Create your own food mash-ups instead. Take some celery, slather on some peanut butter, and top with crumbled cooked bacon. Then, give your creation a hyped-up name—just like food marketeters do! Behold, the "CrunchMaster Bacon PB Supreme"!

Condensed milk
The problem: Carrageenan, a go-to ingredient in condensed milk, is used primarily to improve "mouthfeel," but it could be the food additive triggering your digestive distress. In a statement to the National Organic Standards Board, Joanne Tobacman, MD, associate professor of medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago, explained that carrageenan itself and its breakdown product create dangerous inflammation. Inflammation fuels life-threatening diseases, including cancer.
The solution: Swap in regular milk for condensed milk, or try making your own homemade sweetened condensed milk. Watch out for carrageenan in other foods, too. It sometimes hides out in ice cream, chocolate milk, canned whipped cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, and low-fat deli meats.

Corn chips made in the U.S.
The problem: We know that chemicals routinely used in GMO crops like corn and soy can prove fatal for bees and butterflies, but science is starting to prove that they're doing a real number on humans, too. "When I am in the U.S., I do not eat corn chips because they are made from U.S. corn flour, which is mostly genetically engineered. Corn destined for corn flour is also usually sprayed with Roundup and usually contains neonicotinoids and fungicides," says Jonathan Latham, PhD, executive director of the Bioscience Resource Project. "It is a true chemical cocktail," he says.
The solution: Since all corn chips, even organic ones, are a highly processed food, opt for fresh fruit or nuts as a snack instead of chips.

A second glass of wine
The problem: A few glasses of wine can really help you unwind after a long workday. "Between my work schedule and the kids' activities, my days are nonstop. A couple of years ago, my wife and I noticed we weren't spending as much quality time together,"
Bill Phillips, former editor-in-chief of Men's Health and author of The Better Man Projectsays. "So we started a new tradition: After the kids went to bed, we'd uncork a nice cabernet and reconnect for an hour." Quickly, this became the highlight of their day. "But a month later, I noticed I'd gained a few pounds. It was the wine! The bottle is right there, open and beckoning. It's so easy to pour a second glass—even a third," Phillips says.
The solution: Phillips says these days, he stops at one. "I just really savor it. I take small sips, and I really pay attention to the flavors in my mouth," he says. "I'm enjoying the wine more, and I'm saving 150 unnecessary calories before bed."

Bacon
The problem: In 2015, the World Health Organization announced that regularly eating processed meats can cause cancer. The report went so far as to say that regularly eating bacon is on par with smoking and asbestos exposure in terms of cancer risk. Beyond that, eating meat is widely regarded as damaging the environment, compared with a plant-based diet.
The solution: John McDougall, MD, author of The Starch Solutionrecommends incorporating lots of beans, lentils, potatoes, and veggies into your diet instead of lots of meat, given the environmental and health benefits of being vegetarian.

Any food microwaved in plastic
The problem: The truth is, even if you source the healthiest foods in the world, you're tainting it if you're cooking it or heating it up in plastic containers in the microwave. Studies show a wide variety of plastic chemicals become unstable and transfer into food when heated. These plastic chemicals are linked to everything from cancer and developmental problems to infertility and weight gain.
The solution: Microwave in glass or lead-free ceramic containers to keep toxic chemicals from migrating into your food. Transfer veggies designed to be microwaved in plastic bags into a glass bowl and cover with a ceramic dish to steam.

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