Some foods are so dangerous you're better off keeping them out of your kitchen cabinets. Seemingly "healthy" oils can send your body into an inflammatory state, while a refrigerator staple could be quietly annihilating your blood vessels.
Luckily, there are readily available safer alternatives to common foods that are quietly destroying your body.
Avoid these foods 100 percent of the time...
Processed Meats & Lunch Meats
Why avoid it? Preservatives like nitrites and sulfites have been linked to cancer. In fact, the American Institute of Cancer Research has determined that, like lead, there is no such thing as a safe exposure level to processed meat.
Better alternative: Naturopathic doctor Natasha Turner, 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 a natural food store. Better yet, cut back on lunch meat and look for unprocessed cuts of meat -- or go without meat -- for your sandwiches.
Why avoid it? Farmed salmon is generally raised overseas in filthy, overcrowded pens where workers use toxic pesticides, antibiotics, and disinfectants to stave off disease.
Better alternative: Get your omega-3s from wild-caught Alaskan salmon or smaller fish like sardines.
Why avoid it? Trans fatty acids found in hydrogenated oils, partially hydrogenated oils, shortenings, and margarine tend to increase your belly fat and risk of depression. Vegetable, soy, peanut, cottonseed, and palm oil also act as inflammatory fats, Dr. Turner says.
Better alternative: Choose healthy fats like coconut oil and olive oil. These help reduce pain and inflammation and help you burn off dangerous fat around your midsection.
Food & Drinks Hiding HFCS
Why avoid it? High-fructose corn syrup hides in all types of foods, even ones you'd never suspect like bread and ketchup. It's worth reading the ingredients list, though, because 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," Dr. Turner explains.
Better alternative: Start weaning yourself off of added sugars, and definitely make sure any type of sugar isn't listed in the first three ingredients on a food label.
Foods & Drinks Hiding Artificial Sweeteners
Why avoid it? Artificial sweeteners may not pack any calories in the packet, but studies have found they can increase insulin. "Even though they don't raise blood sugar, they stimulate your appetite hormone, telling your body to store energy in fat," Dr. Turner says.
Better alternative: If you must use a sweetener, she suggests a coconut sweetener or stevia.
For more healthy eating tips, read 14 Foods Your Doctors Eat.
More from MSN Healthy Living:
- 9 sneaky sources of GMOs
- 10 food trends to avoid
- 10 vitamin-packed foods you're not eating
- Bing: The healthiest foods on earth
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