We all love to indulge in a guilty food pleasure once in a while. In all honesty, probably more than once in a while. But while some foods like a flourless chocolate cake are well worth the splurge, others are not. We’ve put together a list of nine foods to avoid that are scientifically proven to harm your health in unnecessary ways. A few surprised even us. Cutting these toxic offenders out of your dietary routine completely is a smart move. Luckily, they each have simple substitutions that are equally satisfying. With a few easy swaps, you won’t even miss them.
To make the elimination process even easier, we’ve also got a list of seven surprising foods a nutritionist says it’s okay to eat. It’s chock-full of very good news for foodies. Full-fat ice cream made the cut. By all means, indulge away.
As we’ve mentioned before, "fat is very likely the most understood of the macronutrients." Margarine, a lab-created vegetable oil–based butter substitute, used to be touted as healthier than butter since it lacked the animal fat associated with bad cholesterol. But lots of margarine products contain trans fat—the worst fat of them all.
2. Farm-Raised Fish
We love the nutritional benefits of fish, but unfortunately, farmed fish lack a significant amount of the nutritional benefits that we associate with wild catch. The difference in nutritional value is due to their food source. While wild fish consume their omega-3s from aquatic plants, farmed fish are fed a high-corn diet.
3. Deli Meat
This applies to processed meats in the United States more than anywhere else. In America, deli counter meats like ham, salami, hot dogs, and bacon aren’t just packed with artery-clogging fats. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, they can have up to 400% more sodium and 50% more preservatives than unprocessed red meats.