The 12 Most Dangerous Foods You're Buying


True fact: Some of the most popular foods are simply unhealthy and pose higher risks of illness. Also true? Many of those unhealthy foods are in your kitchen right now. (See also: 11 Food Additives You're Probably Eating Everyday)

Steer clear of these 12 dangerous foods you're buying.

1. 5-Hour Energy and Other Energy Drinks

Many studies have concluded that massive amounts of caffeine paired with other synthetic substances such as aspartame are to blame for the huge health risks associate with this afternoon booster, including high blood pressure, heart attack, seizure, and death.

2. Soda Pop

This big part of everyday consumption for many, especially children, is dangerous on many fronts. Soda not only erodes tooth enamel, but common soda pop ingredients can increase risk for diabetes, fatty liver, high blood pressure, cancer, nerve disorders, hormonal imbalances, and more.

3. Microwave Popcorn

That faux-buttery flavor of microwave popcorn is definitely fake, but that is not where all the health risks originate. It's the chemicals lining the microwaveable bag, such as POOA, that are cause for concern. Not only can these chemicals cause cancer in adults, but they can also make children's vaccines less effective.

4. Caffeine Pills

As with 5-Hour Energy, too much caffeine is not as unhealthy in the short term as it is in the long term. For example, consumption of too much caffeine in adolescents can lead to drug use later in life.

5. Margarine

The truth emerged only recently after years of buying margarine that it does not lower your cholesterol, nor is it healthier than natural butter. In fact, margarine dramatically increases LDL levels. Time to go back to using real butter, olive oil, or grapeseed oil.

6. Aspartame

The negative buzz on artificial sweeteners only seems to persist, especially in the case of aspartame. In addition to low-level side effects like headaches, long-term consumption of aspartame can possibly cause cancer in both adults and prenatal children.

7. Food Dyes

While laws now require most manufacturers to categorize dyed foods as "adulterated," and places like Trader Joe's have promised to only use natural coloring (i.e. beets and greens), dye is still a problem. Three regularly used dyes can cause cancer, and four others can cause serious allergic reactions.

8. Alfalfa Sprouts

Alfalfa and other types of sprouts can be very difficult to clean and are generally eaten raw. This can lead to contracting really bad bacteria such as salmonella, listeria, and E. coli. Children, elderly, and those with weak immune systems should avoid eating raw sprouts.

9. Cassava

The cassava root, also known as tapioca, is in a lot more foods than you may think. It can be dangerous if prepared incorrectly, activating its traces of deadly cyanide. Also? If you are allergic to latex, you may be allergic to cassava.

10. Hot Dogs

This is a tough one to hear, because America loves frankfurters. While processed meats are already risky, the additive sodium nitrate pushes hot dogs into cancer danger. In addition, hot dogs cause 17% of food-related asphyxiations among children under 10 years.

11. Raw Honey

Despite the benefits many raw food and homeopathic fans may tout, raw honey contains the legitimately harmful toxin grayanotoxin I, which can cause nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, and fainting.

12. Ground Turkey

Ground turkey, while a sound alternative to beef and pork, has its downside too. Turkey tends to be the poultry with the most bacteria –– including listeria, salmonella, and E. coli. The only way to combat gross bugs is to buy organic (to avoid antibiotic-resistant salmonella) and always cook turkey to 180°F (to kill off all bacteria).

Any other dangerous foods to watch for? Please warn us in comments!

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Additional photo credits: Dawn Ashley, Nick Harris, Ben Dalton, CIAT, pathwithpaws

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Guest's picture

Very poor article. Even the link from you provided on Aspartame disagrees with you:

"Many studies have looked for health effects in lab animals fed aspartame, often in doses higher than 4,000 mg/kg per day over their lifetimes. These studies have not found any health problems that are consistently linked with aspartame."

Amanda Meadows's picture

Hi there! Your quote effectively describes of one method of study. As you know, scientific experiments vary, and feeding lab animals pure aspartame does not recreate the same conditions of a human consuming a large Diet Coke with their burger in the wild. Habitual consumption of aspartame tends to go hand-in-hand with other consumption behaviors that are also considered unhealthy.

We don't know yet if aspartame is a confounder or a cause of the diabetes, cancer and other illnesses we're seeing in people who consume it. As always, science is never completed nor definitive, and there are many studies being conducted even now.

Thank you for reading!

Guest's picture

"Habitual consumption of aspartame tends to go hand-in-hand with other consumption behaviors that are also considered unhealthy."

Then it's those other behaviors that are unhealthy, not the aspartame... and the site says that BOTH types of studies (lab studies and long-term human studies) have failed to find a link between cancer and aspartame. For long-term studies of humans:

"In the largest study of this issue, researchers from the NCI looked at cancer rates in more than 500,000 older adults. The study found that, compared to people who did not drink aspartame-containing beverages, those who did drink them did not have an increased risk of lymphomas, leukemias, or brain tumors."

Guest's picture

The raw honey is dangerous only if it was heated above 36 degrees celsious. In USA it's usally heated over 62,5 which is the point where it becomes toxic. Unheated honey is super healthy and it is actualy the only healthy sugar.

Guest's picture
Denise Gold

A lot of eye openers here, though I already knew about the risks of energy drinks. A relative of mine died from a heart attack after drinking one. (I think it was Monster.)