Whether you’re vegan, gluten-free, paleo, lactose-intolerant, vegetarian, anti-carb, a “foodie” or [insert the name of your chosen diet here], there are some foods all of us should cut our of diets — for both health and moral reasons. Rodale News recently interviewed several food industry insiders and discovered 14 edible culprits we should start avoiding like the plague. While some of them seem obvious (like McDonald’s anything), some are less suspect. Here are some of the foods you should stop eating … right now:
1. Non-Organic Strawberries
One industry insider mentioned that strawberry farmers have to wear protective suits while applying pesticides to their crops. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not ingest something that required a Breaking Bad getup to harvest. Forking over the extra couple bucks for organic berries doesn’t sound so bad now!
2. Canned Tomatoes
It turns out that the linings of tin cans contain bisphenol-A (or BPA), a “synthetic estrogen that has been linked to ailments ranging from reproductive problems to heart disease, diabetes and obesity.” Yikes. Luckily, the can is the culprit in this scenario, not the tomatoes, so opting for glass containers is the best way to go.
3. Industrially Produced Hamburgers
Considering most cattle are injected with growth hormones, stuffed with genetically modified corn, and raised in horrible conditions, it’s kind of weird that we still consider fast food burgers edible. Opting for grass-fed beef is a good idea when you’re craving cheeseburgers — don’t be afraid to go all Portlandia on your next waiter.
Like strawberries, corn is also a victim of the pesticide monster, but on a slightly different level. On top of being sprayed with chemicals, corn is also genetically engineered to produce its own pesticides … to kill bees. Kind of creepy, right? Unfortunately, it’s extremely difficult to avoid corn entirely, seeing as it’s a main ingredient in so many processed food products. Yet another reason why we should eat less high fructose corn syrup!
5. White chocolate
We’re all well aware that cacao is, in fact, good for us. Unfortunately, white chocolate is missing that key ingredient, leaving all the bad stuff and no good excuse to defend your dessert choice with. I’d stick to the dark stuff if I were you!
I know, how could something like sprouts possibly be bad for you?! Well, apparently sprouts have been the subject of so many food recalls now that they’re just not worth it anymore (unless you’re into E. coli or salmonella). An alternative to sprouts? Try shredded cabbage or carrots to get that crunchy texture on sandwiches and in salads.
7. Butter-flavored Microwave Popcorn
Just from the looks of it, you can tell that faux butter is definitely bad for you (it basically glows in the dark). One of the chemicals in that sweet, sweet yellow “butter,” diacetyl, is actually harmful to factory workers, and can lead to a disease called “popcorn lung.” The solution to this one is easy, and tastes way better: using real, melted butter.
8. Chain Restaurant Ice Cream Sundaes
They’re huge, they’re full of corn syrup (remember how we’re supposed to avoid corn?), cellulose gum, and vegetable shortening, and they’re just plain old fattening. Considering how much more easy (and fun) making sundaes at home is, fast food options don’t even seem worth it. Extra credit: Make your own ice cream!