We all have that one friend who is a chocoholic. You might even be that friend! Chocolate is a firm favorite as a snack. The problem with chocolate is that you can barely walk through any store without being confronted with it. It is used to market special occasions like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter, and Christmas. The chocolate industry generates billions of dollars each year. Chocolate is made from cocoa. 70% of the world’s cocoa comes from West Africa. The crop is also grown in other tropical regions near to the Equator around the globe.
There have been instances where high levels of heavy metals including cadmium and lead were registered in raw cocoa and processed chocolate. In large quantities, heavy metal consumption leads to heavy metal poisoning which can be fatal. Chocolate contains a lot of sugar. It includes a high number of calories. That’s why it tastes so great. Excessive consumption of sugar can lead to obesity. It is widely accepted that excessive ingestion of chocolate can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. Chocolate has also been documented as a common migraine trigger. The research indicates that the tyramine, histamine, and phenylalanine in chocolate are responsible.
Here’s another guilty pleasure most of us indulge in even though we shouldn’t. No fast food meal (aside from pizza, perhaps) is complete without French fries. Studies have found that French fries are more dangerous as part of your diet than other potato dishes. That leaves us with only one conclusion: it’s the ‘fry’ in French fries that is the problem. The problem with French fries is the trans-fats in the oil in which they are fried. Another factor that causes them to be unhealthy is the added salt. A lesser known issue with French fries is a chemical called acrylamide. This chemical appears in significant quantities in overcooked fried potatoes.
Animal studies have shown that there is a link between high levels of acrylamide and cancer. The odds of it posing a similar risk to humans is high. Experts suggest you get your potato fix from dishes other than French Fries. The fat from the oils using in making French fries contributes to weight gain. At fast food outlets, oil is used more than once. The chemical composition of oil changes each time it is heated. There are compounds released from this breakdown that can be hazardous to your health.
Bisphenol A is known as BPA. It is an industrial chemical utilized in the manufacture of some plastics. BPA has been around since the 1960s. One of the plastics that contain BPA is polycarbonate plastics. These plastics are used in food storage containers such as water bottles and sandwich containers. Epoxy resins also include BPA. These resins are used to coat the inside of food and beverage cans. BPA seeps into the food and beverages it touches. When we consume these products, we ingest BPA. At low levels, BPA does not pose a significant risk to humans. However, sustained exposure can have severe medical repercussions.
BPA disrupts the balance of hormones needed for the body to function correctly. There is ongoing research into a link between BPA exposure and hypertension. When it comes to avoiding BPA, you need to be conscious of the plastics you expose yourself to. One of the reasons many countries plan to ban single-use plastics is the risk of BPA exposure. Heating these plastics in a microwave or dishwasher presents even more danger. The BPA breaks down and finds its way into your food with greater ease. Experts also advise minimizing the amount of canned food and beverages you consume.
Popcorn is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. It’s what you do with the popcorn that makes it unhealthy. Popcorn is a rich source of antioxidants such as polyphenols which protect cells from harm. The healthiest way to cook popcorn is using an air popper in the microwave. Make sure you buy one made from high-quality plastic that doesn’t contain BPA. Popcorn cooked on the stove in a little oil is less healthy, but not dangerously so. You can prepare your popcorn healthily, but what do you do with it afterward? Do you drown it in salt and butter? If the answer is yes, you’re making a perfectly healthy snack unhealthy.
The real culprit is prepackaged microwave popcorn. The lining of the bag poses medical hazards to you. The lining is made of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). This substance is also used in non-stick cookware. When PFOA is exposed to heat, there is the potential to increase the risk of getting cancer or becoming infertile. One of the flavoring agents in microwave popcorn is called diacetyl. This chemical can increase the risk of bronchiolitis obliterans, a lung condition that causes breathing difficulties and scarring of the airways in the lungs.
Potatoes are a paradox. On the one hand, they are viewed as unhealthy as they are starchy. This makes them a high-glycemic food which poses a risk to blood sugar levels. Potatoes break down into quickly after ingestion. Sugar levels rise, and insulin is released to bring them back to equilibrium. As with any food that breaks down speedily, potatoes don’t do much to satisfy your hunger pangs. You’ll feel full for a while, but then your appetite returns. The quick breakdown also means that you’ll have a short boost of energy followed by a slump. During this slump, you’ll be tempted to look for more carbs to eat.
On the other, they are high in fiber which is essential for proper digestion. They are a good source of Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium. When it comes to potatoes, the problem is not the potato itself; it’s what you add to it. Deep-frying potatoes in oil adds a lot of fat to them. Mashing them and adding butter and cream to the mix does the same thing. Drowning them in condiments only adds extra sugar and preservatives to your meal. Keep potato portions small and limit what to add to them.
Keeping a frozen pizza in the freezer for an emergency is something most people would admit to. Frozen pizzas are ideal for a simple supper after a long day. When unexpected guests descend on your home for dinner, you can accommodate them with frozen pizza. If only they were as good for you as they are easy to prepare. Whether fresh or frozen, pizza isn’t exactly a healthy meal. A pizza contains high levels of sodium, fats, and refined carbs from the flour. Toppings like sausages and ham are processed meats which are bad for you. Too many slices of pizza and you’re on your way to issues with your weight, cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
Frozen pizza adds an extra hazard to the mix. There are many preservatives, colorants, and additives in frozen pizza. As with any artificial additions to food products, they are considerably less healthy than fresh products. You will find additional salt used as a preservative to lengthen the shelf life of the pizza. Elevated levels of salt can cause high blood pressure. Prolonged high blood pressure can lead to heart disease. Not all frozen pizzas contain dangerous levels of salt. Check the label before you buy the product.
From the time we’re very young, cow’s milk forms part of our daily food intake. It is rich in calcium which builds strong bones and teeth. Cow’s milk is the basis of all dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, and ice-cream. There are a few things to consider when it comes to cow’s milk. First, a cow’s milk needs to be pasteurized. Pasteurization involves the heating and cooling of the milk to eliminate bacteria. Milk contains saturated fats, unsaturated fats, and cholesterol. Full-cream milk contains more than low-fat or skimmed milk.
The mass-production of milk means that massive herds of cows are kept by farmers and milked each day. Cows are fed hormones to make them grow and reach maturity faster than they usually would meet the demands of the market. These growth hormones are in the milk that we drink. The presence of hormones in cow’s milk is disturbing as it has been linked to slightly higher risks of prostate and ovarian cancer according to some studies. Cows are also given antibiotics to prevent the spread of diseases such as foot and mouth disease and anthrax. The antibiotics are transferred to the milk. Pasteurization doesn’t entirely eliminate hormones and antibiotics from the milk we drink.
Energy drinks seem to be more popular than ever, despite incontrovertible proof that they are not good for you. We reach for energy drinks when we need a physical and mental boost. The main ingredient in nearly every energy drink on the market is caffeine. The caffeine is supposed to stimulate the brain to help with focus and concentration. It is also meant to give your body a rush of energy. Another key ingredient that makes most energy drinks effectively is sugar. Sugar makes up the bulk of the calories in energy drinks, aside from those that are sugar-free. Bear in mind that sugar-free means that there is a reasonable probability that artificial sugars have been added instead of refined sugar.
The effects of the caffeine and sugar combination in energy drinks may include increasing the heart rate and blood pressure. Many people have experienced palpitations after consuming three or more energy drinks in quick succession. The sugar in energy drinks can lead to a blood sugar spike upon ingestion. The body produces insulin to sort out glucose levels. When the pancreas is continuously on the defense, producing more and more insulin, diabetes is likely to follow.