Donít Foods: Experts Weigh In on the Foods to Avoid

As many lists as there are concerning foods to seek out for their nutritional excellence or cancer fighting compounds, there exist countless other lists of foods to avoid at all costs. There are the obvious ones, like shelf-stable, highly processed, beef jerky and caffeinated booze, and then there are the ones that tend to trip up the most conscientious consumers, like grapes, wheat flour, and tofu. Add on top of this a fair amount of controversy, as well as disparity, between experts and consumer advocates and you have a great deal of consumer confusion. That said, there are a few notable foods (both processed and not) that more than a handful of influential experts agree are verboten.

A site, not so subtly, called recently published a selection of foods, as dictated by ďfood expertsĒ to be the foods to steer clear of at all costs, and they are:

1) Genetically Modified Foods: As Jeffrey Smith, author of Seeds of Deception and founder of Institute for Responsible Technology tells it, GMO foods are all around bad for the environment, as well as those who choose to eat them. Smith claims that scientific studies have shown the RoundUp Ready genes in GMO foods to transfer to our intestinal flora and the pesticide producing genes, called Bt-toxins, to be present in both unborn fetuses and their mothers. In short, they pollute nearly everything they come in contact with. Common GMO foods are corn, soybeans, sugar beets, potatoes, alfalfa, canola, potato, papaya, rice, honey, squash, rapeseed, tomatoes, sweet corn, tobacco, peas, and there are more making their way. The alternative is to buy organic and/or local products that you can be sure are not impacted by genetic modification.

2) Canned Tomatoes: While there is nothing inherently wrong with canned tomatoes themselves, it is the lining of the cans that severely compromises the safety and integrity of the product. The resin linings of tin cans contain bisphenol-A, a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to ailments ranging from reproductive problems to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, and the acidity of the tomatoes causes the BPA to leach out of the lining into your food. Either buy fresh tomatoes or go for glass bottled, or jarred, tomato products.

3) Corn-Fed Beef: As sustainable food hero Joel Salatin, co-owner of Polyface Farms and author of half a dozen books on sustainable farming, states, cows evolved to eat grass, not grains. A recent comprehensive 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; lower in inflammatory omega-6s; and lower in saturated fats that have been linked to heart disease. So read the labels and be sure to purchase only grass-fed beef.

4) Microwave Popcorn: Simply because it is gross, and also because the lining of the microwavable bags contain perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) which, when microwaved, causes the chemicals to vaporize and make their way into the popcorn. These PFOAs are linked to cancer, as well as infertility. Instead buy regular (non-GMO) popcorn and pop it up in a skillet Ė just as easy without the chemicals.

5) Conventional Apples: Because apple trees are individually grafted (not grown from seed) from other apple trees, they do not develop a natural resistance to pests and disease. Therefore, in order to maintain the integrity of the fruit, they are mercilessly sprayed with all sorts of pesticides, which impact the farm workers who pick them, as well as the consumers who eat them. Avoid conventional apples and all of the pesticides that come with them, and opt for organic, or no-spray, apples.

And there are countless other food items to avoid (including milk with growth hormones and many farm-raised fish and shrimp), and everyone has their own opinion on the items to avoid at all costs. I would add items containing high fructose corn syrup to this list. Are there items you feel everyone should know to avoid? If so, what might they be and why?


Katharine C.
Katharine C.5 years ago

@Anne G. that's my question too - are the tetrapaks of passata ok to use? I must avoid ingesting any synthetic or physiological oestrogen due to having oestrogen receptive ovarian cancer.

Sarah Metcalf
Sarah M6 years ago


Anne G.
Anne G6 years ago

Thank goodness for tomatoes in "Tetra Pak", or is there something wrong with that? It would be wonderful to be able to avoid all the bad things out there, but it isn't all that realistic, but it is good to know what is going on to help with the decisions.

Danuta Watola
Danuta W6 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Eternal Gardener
Eternal G6 years ago

Not the foods themselves but the unnatural preserving methods.

Annemarie W.
Annemarie L6 years ago

Wow great article. check out for your non-GMO shopping guide. This should help cut out a lot of bad stuff for everyone!

Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson6 years ago


–ģ–Ľ–ł –.

Did you know? Microwave popcorn gives off a toxic, lung-damaging gas when cooked

Learn more:

Maria Cristina A.
Maria Cristina A6 years ago

Thanks, unfortunately there are still a lot of product's packaging we can't check...