The Healthiest Foods You Shouldn’t Be Eating

We know what you’re thinking. “What?! Avoid healthy foods?”

Yep, you heard us.

Now, of course, we don’t mean all healthy foods (as if we’d let you off the hook that easily). Instead, recent studies by food industry experts have targeted a few foods that, while they certainly have healthier reputations, are potentially hazardous because of the ways they are raised, grown and sold.

Below we’ve listed some of the worst offenders:

Frozen Dinners

Have you ever looked at the ingredients that appear on the back of your frozen dinner? Looks more like the components of a chemistry project than a nutritious meal. Add to that chemicals, additives, low fiber, and an extremely high sodium count.

Diet Soda

Research has now shown that diet soda can be detrimental not only to your waistline, but your overall health. It not only can actually encourage weight gain, but has been linked to various other conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Multigrain Bread

Whole wheat has more essential nutrients and more dietary fiber – unless your multigrain bread is made with whole grain.

Canned Tomatoes

Fredrick Vom Saal, PhD, an endocrinologist at the University of Missouri, explained that the linings of the tin cans used for canned tomatoes contain bisphenol-A, or BPA, a synthetic estrogen linked to ailments ranging from reproductive problems to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity – some of the very top health conditions plaguing black Americans.

“Unfortunately, acidity (a prominent characteristic of tomatoes) causes BPA to leach into your food,” says Vom Saal. “Studies show that the BPA in most people’s body exceeds the amount that suppresses sperm production or causes chromosomal damage to the eggs of animals. You can get 50 mcg of BPA per liter out of a tomato can, and that’s a level that is going to impact people, particularly the young. I won’t go near canned tomatoes.”

Reduced-Fat Peanut Butter

Reduced-fat peanut butter generally contains more sodium and sugar than regular peanut butter.

Corn-Fed Beef

According to Joel Salatin, co-owner of Polyface Farms and farming author, cattle evolved to eat grass, not grains. But farmers today feed their animals corn and soybeans, which fatten up the animals faster for slaughter. But more money for cattle farmers (and lower prices at the grocery store) means a lot less nutrition for us. A recent study conducted by the USDA and researchers from Clemson University found that compared with corn-fed beef, grass-fed beef is higher in beta-carotene, vitamin E, omega-3s, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), calcium, magnesium, and potassium. The study also found that grass-fed beef is lower in inflammatory omega-6s and lower in saturated fats that have been linked to heart disease. “We need to respect the fact that cows are herbivores, and that does not mean feeding them corn and chicken manure,” says Salatin.

Light Salad Dressing

Yes, lower calories is generally a good thing. However, many salad dressings contain addition additives, while lacking the surprising health benefits that some regular salad dressings have, such being a good source of healthy fats.

Microwave Popcorn

Chemicals, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), in the lining of any given microwave popcorn bag, have been connected to infertility in humans, according to a recent study from UCLA.

“In animal testing, the chemicals cause liver, testicular and pancreatic cancer,” said Olga Naidenko, PhD, a senior scientist for the Environmental Working Group Studies. “The microwaving process causes the chemicals to vaporize—and migrate into your popcorn. They stay in your body for years and accumulate there.”

Researchers are currently worried that the PFOA levels in humans could approach the amounts causing cancers in laboratory animals. DuPont and other manufacturers have promised to phase out PFOA by 2015 under a voluntary EPA plan, but millions of bags of popcorn will be sold between now and then.

Turkey Bacon

Say it ain’t so?! Yes, sad, but true. A lot of turkey bacon is extremely high in sodium and additives.

Nonorganic Potatoes

Try this experiment: Buy a conventional potato in a store, and try to get it to sprout.

It won’t,” says Jeffrey Moyer, chair of the National Organic Standards Board Moyer and farm director of the Rodale Institute. “I’ve talked with potato growers who say point-blank they would never eat the potatoes they sell. They actually have separate plots where they grow potatoes for themselves without all the chemicals.”

Unfortunately, root vegetables absorb herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides that wind up in soil. In the case of potatoes—the nation’s most popular vegetable—they’re treated with fungicides during the growing season, then sprayed with herbicides to kill off the fibrous vines before harvesting. After they’re dug up, the potatoes are treated yet again to prevent them from sprouting.

Farmed Salmon

When nature made salmon, she didn’t intend for them to be crammed into pens and fed soy, poultry litter, and…