5 Foods You Should Never Ever Eat

Steer clear of these nutrition no-no's.

November 7, 2016
ketchup and french fries
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Some foods are so harmful that you're better off keeping them out of your kitchen altogether. Seemingly "healthy" oils can send your body into an inflammatory state, while a refrigerator staple could be quietly targeting your blood vessels. Here are the foods you definitely need to be avoiding, along with safer alternatives. 

Related: 8 Things Food-Safety Experts Never Eat

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lunch meat
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Processed Lunch Meats

Preservatives like nitrites and sulfites have been linked to cancer. In fact, the American Institute of Cancer Research has determined that there is no such thing as a safe exposure level with processed meats. Naturopathic doctor Natasha Turner, ND, author of The Carb Sensitivity Program, recommends looking for options that are nitrite- and sulfite-free. You can sometimes find lunch meat without these harmful preservatives at a local deli or butcher shop, or at a natural foods store. Better yet, cut back on lunch meat and look for unprocessed cuts of meat—or go without meat—when you do buy for your sandwiches.

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Farmed Salmon

Farmed salmon is generally raised overseas in filthy, overcrowded pens where workers use toxic pesticides, antibiotics, and disinfectants to stave off disease. Instead, get your omega-3s from wild-caught Alaskan salmon or smaller fish like sardines.

Related: The 4 Worst Seafood Choices You Can Make

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Inflammatory Fats

Trans-fatty acids found in hydrogenated oils, partially hydrogenated oils, shortenings, and margarines tend to increase your belly fat and raise your risk of depression. Vegetable, soy, peanut, cottonseed, and palm oil also act as inflammatory fats, Turner says. Choose healthy fats like coconut oil and olive oil (just check out these 4 things you need to know before you buy coconut oil). These help reduce pain and inflammation and help you burn off dangerous fat around your midsection.

ketchup and french fries
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High-Fructose Corn Syrup

High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) hides in all types of foods, even ones you'd never suspect, like bread and ketchup. Scientists have linked the ingredient to insulin secretion, belly fat, and appetite simulation. "With high-fructose corn syrup, your body doesn't really get the signal that you've eaten, so you have more cravings later on," Turner explains. Start weaning yourself off of added sugars, and definitely make sure the first three ingredients on a food label aren't some type of sugar.

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Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners might not pack any calories into those little packets, but studies have found they can still increase insulin. Also, "even though they don't raise blood sugar, they stimulate your appetite hormone, telling your body to store energy in fat," Turner says. If you must use a sweetener, she suggests a coconut sweetener or stevia.