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The 10 Absolute Worst Foods You Can Eat

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  • The 10 Absolute Worst Foods You Can Eat

    The 10 Absolute Worst Foods You Can Eat

    by Sue Gilbert, M.S., for iVillage

    Q: Dear Sue:

    Would you please send to me a list of the 10 absolute worst foods you can eat? Thanks,


    A: Dear Leslie:

    There are so many products that belong on the list that I couldn't limit it to 10, so rather than focus on individual brands I stuck to food categories. Foods and ingredients on this list don't need to be avoided entirely. Just be sure to eat them sparingly if you eat them at all.

    Hydrogenated fats

    These are mostly man-made fats that are used in bakery items and stick margarine. Studies show that it isn't so much how much fat there is in your diet that causes problems, as what kind of fat, and hydrogenated fats are the worst. Avoid buying cookies, crackers, baked goods or anything else that has hydrogenated oil on the ingredient list. Fortunately, the FDA now requires that food manufactures identify the amount of hydrogenated fats in their products—look for trans fats on the nutrition panel.


    Olestra is a fake fat, used to make non-fat potato chips and other snacks. You'd think, with all the bad rap fat has gotten, a non-fat fat would be great. But Olestra has been shown to bind with fat-soluble vitamins A, E, D and K and carotenoids—substances thought to keep the immune system healthy and prevent some cancers—and to eliminate them from your system. Proctor and Gamble, the company that produces olestra, has acknowledged the problem with vitamins A, E, D and K and is now fortifying it with them.

    Olestra has also caused digestive upset in some people, especially when they eat a lot of it. Often, it's not just fat in the potato chips that causes problems for people; it's the fact that they are displacing healthier foods, such as fruit, so Olestra can just perpetuate an unhealthy habit.


    Many foods, especially cured meats such as bacon and hot dogs, use nitrates to preserve color and maintain microbial safety. Nitrate is harmless, but it can convert to nitrite, which can form nitrosamines, a powerful cancer-causing chemical, in your body. Whenever possible, look for nitrate-free preserved meats. When you do eat foods containing nitrates, have a glass of orange juice at the same time (for instance, orange juice with your morning bacon). Vitamin C is known to inhibit the conversion to nitrosamines in your stomach.


    This one item has created more problems than all the rest put together. Of course, it is possible to consume alcohol wisely and safely and enjoy it immensely, such as a fine glass of wine with a delicious dinner. But even if you exercise caution in no other area of your diet, this is the area where you should.

    Raw oysters

    Raw oysters can carry deadly bacteria that can cause severe illness or death. Because it is strictly "buyer beware" when buying them, you take a big risk every time you do. To date, no government or independent body inspects seafood for safety or will guarantee its quality. Oysters are a nutritious food, and are great to include in your diet, but if you do, cook them first!

    Saturated animal fats

    That means fatty meats, especially beef and pork, or the skin on poultry. It also includes full-fat dairy products such as cheese, milk and cream. Fatty meat and dairy products do have some contributions to make to a diet, but none that can't be found elsewhere.


    Drinking soda is a poor way to get fluids. They are full of sugar or artificial sweeteners and often contain caffeine, artificial colors and flavors. Substitute homemade soda by mixing sparkling water with fresh, 100 percent juice.

    Low-acid home-canned foods

    Home canning can be dangerous for foods low in acid such as green beans, carrots or other garden vegetables. The potential of botulism is high because home canners often do not reach the temperatures and pressures necessary to kill the botulism spores that may contaminate the food. Low-acid home-canned foods are one of the main causes of food poisoning.

    High-fat snacks, chips

    Even if they are made with vegetable oil, they should be minimized. The balance of fat in our diets has shifted too far to the omega-6 variety, found in most processed vegetable oils. It is thought that too many of these fats may be leading to certain chronic diseases. Instead, focus on fruits and non-fat whole grains for snacking.

    Liquid meals

    They aren't inherently bad for you, but they do keep you from eating whole, natural foods that contain more nutrients and fiber and disease-fighting phytochemicals. They may be okay for people who are too sick to eat, but don't let them displace the real foods in your diet.

  • #2
    I'd like to add a couple of things i've seen elsewhere that corroborate some of this article:

    The Old Farmer's Almanac printed a longevity calculator a few years ago.... it listed factors in people's lifestyles they know affect your longevity positively or negatively. Surprisingly, for every soda you drink you can deduct 15 minutes from your life expectancy! Now... think how much soda you've had in your lifetime! Scary, hunh? This is life expectancy, however... which does not prove cause and effect, but may be a reflection of a soda-pop lifestyle.

    Also, recently, and i'm pretty sure i saw this in Women's World... i saw a little article about a strong connection they've found between potato chips and some cancer. I'll try to find the article again and i'll post it here.

    I'm disappointed though that they didn't include sugar and white flour on the list. Don't get me wrong, i LOVE sugar... unfortunately there is growing evidence that the amount of sugar we eat in a modern diet contributes strongly to our risk of cancer. And both sugar and white flour spike our glucose levels and increase our risk of diabetes, which is one of the leading causes of death.

    What do you think of the article above?


    • #3
      I'm just thankful I can still eat bacon, just so long as I drink orange juice with it!

      Just a point, in defence of seafood (which the article said is not inspected) - in Canada it is inspected regularly, the same as all products which are made available for sale for consumption. This includes shellfish (such as oysters), and regularly certain areas for shellfish harvesting are closed because of seasonal contamination.

      Thanks for posting the article - I know that much of what I eat is bad - I try to do so in moderation.


      • #4
        Yes, i'm not sure what they meant by that statement, "no government inspects seafood." We often get warnings as to the mercury levels of fish out of certain bodies of water, etc. And the warnings change... i wonder if they mean that seafood is not inspected as rigorously as meat and poultry, or perhaps the author was just simply wrong.

        I'm not sure i've met anyone who doesn't eat "wrong" foods to some degree. As the saying goes, "Everything kills you, so pick your poison."


        • #5
          I just thought I'd mention that I agree with a huge portion of this list. However when I comes to the liquid meals while I agree they are not really a great substitue and shouldn't really be used all the time I can say that almost every day I work I drink a protien drink of a meal sort of thing, or have something like one quick slimfast. I have over the years found that I really just can't stomache food for about the first 4 hours over being up. However if I don't have some souce of nutrion I can't really concentraite. So I've found that having one of those really gets me through the morning. It is at least some form of nutrion that wont make me feel sick, and then I just have a normal lunch and dinner.
          Humanity is my religion


          • #6
            Originally posted by HollyElise
            And the warnings change... i wonder if they mean that seafood is not inspected as rigorously as meat and poultry, or perhaps the author was just simply wrong.
            Although there is inspection and quality control on seafood it is not the same as it is for meat, poultry, swine, etc. The USDA is in control of inspections of slaughter houses, meat processing, lab testing, etc. of meat, poultry, and so on, but does not handle seafood. Seafood is primarily inspected by the FDA and I believe various states also participate, which might explain the variation in the labeling. Not positive about that, just a hunch based on what I know having worked for the USDA at one point.
            Intellectual freedom cannot exist without political freedom; political freedom cannot exist without economic freedom; a free mind and a free market are corollaries.- Ayn Rand


            • #7
              The Americans have mastered the art of unhealthy eating. They actually have 'game shows' where the participants have to eat as much as they can in a certain time. Three of them, it was either cubes of butter or fat they were devouring along with poached eggs - and LOTS of them


              • #8
                Wooops, i just realised that there may in fact be one or two Americans here reading this Maybe it's not a big deal over there but here you wouldn't see anything like that on the BBC. There would be too much outrage given the situation in Africa etc.


                • #9
                  Well America certainly has it's fair share of unhealthy eating- but ironically the top eater at the International Federation of Competitive Eating (hard to believe there is such a thing!) is from Japan.


                  Competitive butter eating- now there's a 'sport' cardiologists must love. Reading the stats on that website of how much food they eat is almost enough to make me not want to eat ever again!
                  Intellectual freedom cannot exist without political freedom; political freedom cannot exist without economic freedom; a free mind and a free market are corollaries.- Ayn Rand


                  • #10
                    How could i forget the Japs. Cow brains

                    Oddly enough you don't see any Japanese restaurants here only Chinese which i've never really been a great fan of. I moved from up north when i was 10 years old and that's when i met my best friend (who died last year). He was in the burn with his friend, they both had sticks with forks tied to the end of them and when i asked them what they were doing they said they were catching eels to sell to the chinese restaurant I've never had the pleasure of tasting jellied eels, i'm not unhappy to say


                    • #11
                      I can't say I would ever eat a cow brain, much less eat so many as to win a food eating contest!

                      We have quite a few Japanese restaurants where I live and I do enjoy some of the meals, especially watching the preparation which in certain restaurants is quite dramatic and is essentially part of the meal itself. But all I can say about jellied eel is- yuck!
                      Intellectual freedom cannot exist without political freedom; political freedom cannot exist without economic freedom; a free mind and a free market are corollaries.- Ayn Rand


                      • #12
                        I like the look of sushi--so colorful...but can't abide the seaweed.


                        • #13
                          There are quite a few Japanese restaurants in Edinburgh, one on West Richmond Street and a few others I've seen, but as I don't like sushi or other Japanese foods, I've never eaten in any of them.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by lilygreen
                            I like the look of sushi--so colorful...but can't abide the seaweed.
                            TRY nigiri then.


                            • #15
                              japanese invented high fructose corn syrup
                              its death

                              is it in soda etc in the uk?

                              i dont beleive a few good beers are that bad for you
                              i am not the band the daily flash and have no connection to them.i just like the music