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5 Types of Food You Should Stay Away From

Updated on August 15, 2011

Not everything that's edible is wholesome food. In fact, some things sold as food are actually damaging to the body. Other foods cause damage to the environment or to the people who grow them. Selecting food is not just a matter of personal taste. It is also matter of personal responsibility for your body, your society and your planet. Some foods should should be avoided entirely.

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Sodas

Stay way from sodas and other beverages sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup contains virtually no nutrition. Each can of soda contains roughly 155 calories. If you drink 400 cans of soda each year, a little more than one a day, you are consuming 62,000 calories a year in empty calories. That's enough to put nearly 18 pounds on you each year. Those 400 cans of soda contain approximately 83 cups of sugar. At 2-1/2 cups to a pound, that’s 37 pounds of sugar a year. That much sugar raises triglycerides and cholesterol levels in your blood. It contributes to insulin resistance, a condition that can lead to type II diabetes. And it is bad for your teeth.

Trans Fats

Stay away from trans fat. Trans fat is oil that has been processed using a process called hydrogenation to increase its shelf life. On labels, trans fat appears as "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil." It's found mostly in commercial baked goods. Trans fats raise the level of bad cholesterol in your blood. At the same time, they lower the level of good cholesterol. The raise the level of triglycerides and cause inflammation. These factors in combination make trans fat a contributor to atherosclerosis, heart disease, and stroke.

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Foods Grown with Pesticides

Conventionally grown produce tends to be tainted with pesticides. In a recent test of nonorganic produce, 63 percent of fruits and vegetables contain some pesticide residue. These pesticides have been linked to a variety of health problems including cancer, homone and nervous system disruption and birth defects. Yet levels of pesticides in your food are only one reason to go with organic produce rather than conventionally grown. Farmer health is another. In California, for example, farmers are now growing strawberries in fields saturated with methyl iodide. Methyl iodide is used as a fungicide. It is also used in laboratory contexts as a reliable way to give cancer to laboratory animals.

Factory Farmed Meats

Factory-farmed meat is meat from animals grown in large concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). CAFOs contain thousands of animals living in polluted conditions. Without prophylactic antibiotics, these animals would sicken and even die. In fact 70 percent of antibiotics produced in the United States are given to healthy animals in these large feeding operations. From this practice has arisen antibiotic-resistant bacteria, harmful "super bacteria" that cannot be killed by any currently manufactured antibiotics.

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Milk with rBGH

Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) is a hormone given to dairy cattle to make them produce more milk. It tends to cause udder infections called mastitis. Not only do cows with mastitis use large amounts of antibiotics, again leading to the growth of antibiotic resistant bacteria; they also tend to produce pus in their udders. When the cows are milked, the pus gets into the milk. The rBGH also finds its way into the milk. The effects of rBGH, a known endocrine disruptor, in humans is still unknown.

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