15 Processed Foods That Are Not Healthy Options

According Heart & Stroke, «People in Canada consume almost 50% of their daily calories from ultra-processed foods, according to recent research commissioned by » Heart & Stroke. Ideally, we’d shop the farmers market every day for fresh, local foods, and make all of our goodies from scratch. In reality, we live far from our food sources, have to buy foods we can store on the shelf, and barely have time to eat dinner, much less prepare it.

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What is processed foods? «When ingredients such as oil, sugar or salt are added to foods and they are packaged, the result is processed foods. Examples are simple bread, cheese, tofu, and canned tuna or beans. These foods have been altered, but not in a way that’s detrimental to health. They are convenient and help you build nutritious meals. See? Not everything in a package is bad for you!»

Eating a healthy well-balanced diet is key to feeling and looking your best. But unfortunately, in this day and age, the food industry is making it hard to determine what is healthy and what is not. Therefore, being aware and critical of what you decide to put in your body is important. Here are 15 processed foods that are not healthy options.

15. Chips

Speaking of hydrogenated oils, potato chips, although widely popular, is quite the problematic food. Filled with artificial colours, flavours and preservatives, it also contains acrylamide, a chemical known to cause cancer, which is a byproduct of the high temperature at which chips are fried.

14. Processed Meat

Yes, that includes bacon. Sausages, deli meats, beef jerky, ham and any other cured and smoked meat also make the list. The addition and formation of chemicals and preservatives when processing these products make them highly carcinogenic. The World Health Organization has affirmed that consuming these meat products raises the risk of developing colon cancer.

13. Microwave Popcorn

The chemicals contained in the lining of microwavable popcorn bags are to blame here. So you can still enjoy your favourite movie night snack. Simply pop it on the stove or treat yourself to a fun popcorn machine.

12. Canned Tomatoes

Canned food in general should be consumed sparingly, as the lining contains Bisphenol A, better known as BPA, a harmful chemical. That being said, the acidity in canned tomatoes promotes the leaching of said substance, making it a product to avoid particularly.

11. Soda

Filled with refined sugar and devoided of nutritional value, soda is a well-known unhealthy beverage. But soda should be avoided for other reasons as well. It contains high amounts of phosphates, artificial flavourings, artificial colouring and artificial sweeteners. These chemicals could cause cancer and other diseases.

10. White Flour

By now, we are all well aware that refined white flour is unhealthy. But the problem does not just lie in the lack of nutrients. The process to whiten flour results in the formation of toxic substances which, together with its high glycemic index, promotes diabetes and cancer growth.

9. Farmed Fish

This lean source of protein is often considered one of the best.  And it still is, as long as you are careful about its provenance. Wild fish is the way to go. Its farmed counterpart is fed an unfit diet and are a source of many carcinogenic substances such as antibiotics, pesticides and many other chemicals.

8. Hydrogenated Oils

These highly processed oils have had their unsaturated and trans fats transformed into saturated ones. It makes for creamier products that last longer, but also very unhealthy and potentially dangerous ones. Try to avoid items that contain them, such as processed peanut butter, baked goods, margarine, etc.

7. Pesticides

Try being organic produce as much as possible. And when you can’t, don’t forget to wash your fruits and vegetables. Pesticides are a terrible problem in the food industry. Such toxic substances are linked to many types of cancers including leukemia and other childhood cancers.

6. Artificial Sweeteners

Thought artificial sweeteners were the answer to cutting sugar? Think again, substances such as aspartame are actually not proven to assist weight loss and actually increases risks of developing cancer.

5. Alcohol

Once digested, alcohol transforms into acetaldehyde, a toxic chemical. Said substance can not only damage DNA, but prevents the cells from recovering from it. You can still enjoy the occasional drink, but avoid overdrinking on a regular basis.

4. Refined Sugar

Sugar feeds cancer. Although our body, and mostly our brain, runs on glucose, low quality refined sugar is not the kind of fuel your body needs and can only cause harm such as weaken the immune system and promote cancer growth.

3. Pickled and Salt-Cured Foods

We recommend doing your own pickling at home in order to control the amount of salt and skip nitrates and nitrites. The substances can damage the cell, and very high-salt products can promote certain types of cancer.

2. GMOs

It has been proven that this method used to enhance produces to better fit human needs and desires disrupts hormones and causes cancer as well as liver and kidney damage.

1. Meat Raised with Hormones and Antibiotics

Hormones and antibiotics should not be in your food. In addition to causing drug resistance, it can have a terrible effect on one’s health on many levels and are proven to be carcinogenic.