With so many foods on supermarket shelves vying for culinary attention, it can be difficult to tell what is and isn’t a healthy purchase. With that in mind, here are eight foods you should cut down on or cut out of your diet now according to experts.
The lining of food tins may contain bisphenol A (BPA) in small quantities, a widely used substance in consumer goods. While the European Food Standards Agency (EFSA) has stated this low-level is safe, research continues and its use in baby bottles is already banned.
Farmed salmon has an increased rate of lice compared to wild salmon, and the industry has a history of using antibiotics to prevent illness rather than treat it. These substances, which may not be safe for human consumption, are then passed on to consumers. Wild salmon is generally recognised to be a healthier option, but there are now certification programmes governing farmed salmon such as the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC).
While the term ‘processed’ can refer to many food-stuffs, including pasteurised milk, the addition of salt and other preservatives to meat can have a serious impact on health. The Department of Health recommends having no more than 70g of processed meat a day, or the equivalent of two or three rashers of bacon for example.
Fizzy, sugary drinks like cola and lemonade have a higher calorie count by virtue of containing more sugar, which comes with a variety of health implications like weight gain and tooth decay. With consumption at a sustained and high level further complications can occur, such as late onset diabetes.
Microwave popcorn may contain any number of substances which can impact your health, including high levels of salt or sugar. However, it can also contain E310, or propyl gallate, a compound which has been linked with cancer since 1993 and also acts as an estrogen blocker.
Crisps, or indeed any starchy food cooked at a high temperature, naturally contain acrylamide as a by-product of their preparation. A 2002 study in Sweden linked the substance with cancer and it is recommended to be kept at a minimal level, however, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has said there are no definitive conclusions about the health risks when present in food.
Smoked foods, such as meats and cheeses, absorb contaminants during the smoking process, with one study linking the frequency of consuming smoked meat with intestinal cancer. However the study population was small and the smoking process used introduced eight times the average level of contaminants found in other smoking processes.
The NHS has stated that, while it provides much needed protein and minerals, high consumption of red meat has been linked with colon cancer. The Department of Health, like with processed meat, recommends no more than 70g a day.