You may actually scream about ice cream when you hear what doctors have to say about it.
"The worst food for humans," states Dr. Hirt. "It is chock-full of chemicals, hormones, and pasteurized dairy. Pasteurization changes the proteins of milk. It has saturated fats and, worst of all, sugar in it." But, what about frozen yogurt?
Well, the ones on the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen list! Dr. Chandra suggests buying these organic to avoid pesticides. "Avoid anything with an ingredient you might see in chemical equations from your 10th grade chemistry class," he quips. "Let's say sodium benzoate + potassium bromate = food I-will-not-eat." You should only buy these fruits and vegetables organic.
We all know that these are some of the worst offenders, "because of the extremely high sugar content and acidity," says Dr. Chandra. "This is toxic to your teeth and leaches calcium from your bones in addition to contributing heavily to obesity because of the sugar content. No ifs, ands, or buts, just avoid them." And the other doctors couldn’t agree more.
"Soft drinks are liquid candy," confirms Dr. Tolcher. "Pick eating an apple over drinking apple juice; most of the juices say right there on the bottle 'contains no fruit!'" And as far as energy drinks go: "Too many stimulants," scorns Dr. Pacheco. "Some studies [show] that there is increased platelet aggregation along with heart problems. Caffeine is fine for bodies but excessive quantities are a problem."
"If it has a color with a number next to it, steer clear away," advises Dr. Chandra. "Compounds like yellow #5 (tartrazine), red #40, and blue. The #1 (brilliant blue) is derived from coal tars and they have all been shown to cause allergic reactions. Yellow #5 has been persuasively linked to cancer and ADHD.
Many artificial colors were banned in Europe after research showed ill effects and consumers protested. However, we still allow them in the U.S. Fruit Loops, Lucky Charms, and those weird blue Slurpees at 7-11 may taste good but they are almost the definition of toxic."
"These are among the worst processed foods because of the high fat and high sodium content but even more so the nitrates used as preservatives," shares Dr. Chandra. "These have been linked to stomach cancer among other illnesses." It is important to remember that this includes products like hot dogs, as Dr. Maroon pointed out earlier.
When it comes to chicken and fish, most people think they are safe by eating the leaner protein. But not reading labels can cost you down the line. "Birds in general get sick with common viruses that we can catch," says Dr. Hirt. "Plus, they are pumped with chemicals like arsenic and heavy toxins. People need to see how if you eat an unhealthy animal you end up unhealthy."
"This was invented to cut down on the cost," confirms Dr. Pacheco, who strongly advocates against the usage of this practically diabetes-inducing sweetener. "This sweetener bypasses the glucose regulatory pathway, leading fructose to be stored as fat more easily. High-fructose corn syrup is likely a big contributor to the obesity epidemic.
I read labels to rule this out as an ingredient before I buy something," Dr. Chandra discloses. Furthermore, he says artificial sweeteners like Splenda and Nutrasweet (aspartame) should also be avoided. "Aspartame because of its carcinogenicity in rats. Stevia may be safe, however."
"These are being eliminated in the U.S. but seeing 'partially hydrogenated' in the list of ingredients should warn you away," Dr. Chandra advises. "These are classic artery-cloggers and predispose to heart attacks and strokes, per the research evidence." But the truth is, this is the easiest one to avoid.
"They are completely banning these," says Dr. Tolcher, so avoiding them shouldn’t be a problem. But fat substitutes, specifically Olestra and Olean, are something to watch out for. "Usually used in fat-free chips, these have been linked to gastrointestinal problems as well as depletion of fat-soluble vitamins (leading to vitamin deficiencies...) and have been banned in Canada," says Dr. Chandra.
Specifically, this milk is extremely harmful because of the bacterial content it contains. Dr. Maroon even suggests just using organic milk, as the "antibiotics and hormones used in milk are concerns."
"Flour that is enriched, bleached, or bromated," Dr. Chandra specifies. "It is unnecessary to remove the nutrient-rich wheat germ and then replace some of nutrients piecemeal later (like thiamine). But this is done, I believe, to reduce the risk of rancidity and thus improve shelf life of breads and bread products... Best to eat fresh breads made from whole or sprouted grains."
Dr. Hirt believes that GMO standard wheat is particularly harmful. "If American’s gave up gluten and dairy, 75 percent of the world’s health problems would go away." Of course, this product, just like many others, is ok to consume in moderation. But be particularly cautious.
"'White' foods — potatoes, rice, flour, rice, pasta, bread, and table sugar — all have a very high glycemic index, which will rapidly raise blood sugar and quickly lead to urge to eat again," says Dr. Maroon.
Or really, processed foods altogether. Of course, doctors are just as guilty of eating these foods, but the ones that we spoke to generally try to avoid them.
"Think mac and cheese and Hamburger Helper," guides Dr. Chandra. "Generally, boxed foods should be eaten sparingly because they come loaded with preservatives to keep their shelf life long."
In fact, Dr. Hirt says that there is no excuse for these quick-fix meals. "Nobody has ever died, especially in America, from "Lucida Sans Unicode","sans-serif"">skipping a meal. If you are on the run, get some water and eat when you can get to decent food." Not that he is advocating skipping meals, but he is a proponent for skipping bad meals. "I’d rather be hungry than toxic."
When it comes to canned food and bottled water, it isn't just the food itself that concerns doctors. The BPA that could be in cans is what concerned them most, with Dr. Maroon even saying that he would only eat those foods if they are labeled BPA-free.