When trying to eat healthy, there are some obvious no-nos we avoid. Categories like junk food, fast food, and candy are no-brainers to steer clear of, but even when we cut them out from our diets, harmful ingredients can still enter our bodies through foods we don't necessarily consider unhealthy.
Eat This, Not That rounded up a list of the 50 unhealthiest foods, and a good number of them are surprising. You'll be surprised by just how many of the foods we consume daily make the list for reasons much more serious than extra sugars and carbohydrates. Some of our everyday foods are loaded with harmful ingredients, chemicals, and additives. Here are five of the most surprising unhealthy foods that made the list.
Coffee creamer: The product you use every morning is actually scary stuff. Coffee creamer contains titanium dioxide, the same ultraviolet radiation blocker that's in sunscreen. Studies surrounding the additive prove it causes liver and tissue damage in mice and has negative health implications for humans. Furthermore, most grocery store creamers are also packed with trans fats associated with diminished memory in adults under 45.
Fruit juice: While many of us were raised on it and still see it as a relatively natural option when it comes to beverages in a market saturated with sodas and energy drinks, it turns out that fruit juice should actually be avoided. Even 100% natural fruit juice contains up to 36 grams of sugar per cup (equal to four Krispy Kreme doughnuts, to put things in perspective). To make matters worse, fruit juice contains fructose, which is associated with the development of visceral adipose tissue, or belly fat.
Microwave popcorn: Though popcorn is often touted as a "healthy" snack option, microwave popcorn is best avoided. Many of the go-to brands for the microwave variety use heart-harming trans fats and diacetyl (DA), a chemical that breaks down the cells that protect our brains. Furthermore, the bags are often lined with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), the same toxic material found in Teflon. So stick to air-pop kernels the next time you curl up for a movie night.
Salad dressing: While salads are a popular "healthy" meal option, what's lurking in the dressing may negate it all. The thickening agent sodium carboxymethyl cellulose used in salad dressings can cause cancer. Next time, top off your salad with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, or lemon juice to avoid this dangerous chemical.
Restaurant desserts: We're not surprised this one made the list, but we are surprised as to why. It's not just the sugar, calories, and fat in outrageously proportioned restaurant desserts that make them dangerous—but also their sodium. Yes, restaurant desserts with calorie counts up in the thousands also boast alarming amounts of sodium, which increases blood pressure as well as your risk of stroke, heart failure, and kidney disease.
Surprised by these findings? Tell us what harmful foods you've cut out from your diet for improved health.