30 Foods We Have Banned

My recent blog posts about food—and a recent Bon Appetit article on Snacks You Thought Were Healthy But Aren’t got me started on a list of all the foods we used to eat with gusto but don’t consume any more.

Coffee good or bad for youThe science of food changes over time, of course, as does our understanding of it. This can be confusing. What was deadly yesterday may be promoted as essential to good health tomorrow. Some experts can, at the same time, take diametrically opposed positions. For example, is caffeine good or bad for you? This scientific confusion has been going on for a while: Woody Allen used it for laughs way back in 1973 with his movie Sleeper. In it, two doctors talk about what constitutes health food in the future.  The conversation is both funny and prescient.

Our recent trip to New York also caused us to confront some foods that we used to love but don’t even consider these days because they contain ingredients, like sodium nitrite, that contribute to cancer. While sodium nitrite makes meat look and taste yummy, what it does to your insides isn’t as pretty.

I know a lot of folks don’t read labels, trusting that food and substances included in it must be good for you if the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved them. I’m not that trusting. The FDA is a government agency and thus as subject to pressure and politics as any other agency. Take their approval of Aspartame, for example.

Banned Food

So here’s where we stand now on foods we have banned from the table. The list, in alphabetical order is, unfortunately, long. Have  We’re all responsible for our own decisions and our own bodies. My goal is simple: When my grandmother was 87 she told me that she wished she was a spring chicken of 65 again. I want to be able to say the same thing to my granddaughters when I’m 95. Getting old is not for sissies and we need all the smarts we can muster to get through it strong, upright, and in one piece.

Some of these foods will be obvious. Who doesn’t like potato chips? Who doesn’t know they’re bad for you? No one, right? Others, like tofu, are not so clear. Tofu is the go-to protein for many vegetarians, yet it’s highly processed, full of fat and salt, and has serious thyroid issues. Go figure.

I remember many of these foods fondly—they tasted so great. Despite that, we have banned them from our table.

30 Foods We Have Banned from Our Table
Food Stuff Why Replaced
With
Bacon Sodium nitrite, fat Inflammation, migraine, colon cancer Uncured turkey bacon
Baloney Sodium nitrite, fat Inflammation, migraine, colon cancer Fresh sliced turkey
Bagels High glycemic index Weight gain Eggs
Campbell Soups  Hydrolized vegetable protein, autolyzed yeast extract, MSG Inflammation, migraine Annie’s soup
Commercial Salad Dressings: Sugar, MSG, autolyzed yeast extract, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, high-fructose corn syrup Inflammation, sugar spikes Newman’s Own
Corn Flakes  Sugar, simple carbohydrates, high glycemic index Sugar spikes, empty calories Cheerios
Corn Oil Oxidized oils Olive oil, coconut oil
Corned Beef Sodium nitrite (except for gray corned beef) Inflammation, migraine, colon cancer Gray corned beef
Crisco Partially hydrogenated oil, trans fat Inflammation Butter
Deviled Ham Saturated fat, sodium nitrite Inflammation, migraine, weight gain Nothing
Diet Soda Aspartame, high glycemic index Inflammation, sugar spikes, weight gain Nothing
Doughnuts Partially hydrogenated oil, transfat, sugar, high glycemic index Inflammation Nothing
Fig Newtons High fructose corn syrup, high glycemic index, partially hydrogenated oil Sugar spikes, weight gain Trader Joe’s Triple Gingersnaps
Fish Sticks Partially hydrogenated oil Inflammation Fresh fish
Frosted Flakes High fructose corn syrup, simple carbohydrates Sugar spikes, weight gain Cheerios
Oreos High fructose corn syrup, simple carbohydrates, palm oil, high glycemic index Sugar spikes, weight gain  Trader Joe’s
Pastrami Sodium Nitrite Inflammation, migraine, colon cancer Nothing
Potato Chips  Fat, salt, empty calories Fat, empty calories Nothing
Pretzels Carbohydrates, salt, empty calories, high glycemic index Weight gain 18 nuts
Progresso Soups Hydrolized vegetable protein, autolyzed yeast extract, MSG Inflammation, migraines Annie’s Soups
Rice and Bean Mixes Hydrolized vegetable protein, autolyzed yeast extract, MSG Inflammation, migraines  Homemade
Salami Saturated fat, sodium nitrite Inflammation, migraine, heart disease, colon cancer  Nothing
Tilapia Fish farms feed them on human and chicken feces Fecal contamination, salmonella Other fresh fish
Tofu Fat, salt, thyroid problems  Thyroid imbalance Nothing
Velveeta Cheese Saturated fat, calories Heart disease, weight gain Part-skim mozzarella
Vienna Fingers High-fructose corn syrup, sugar, palm oil, partially hydrogenated oil, artificial flavor, high glycemic index Sugar spikes, inflammation Trader Joe’s Cinnamon Grahams
White Bread Simple carbohydrates, high glycemic index Sugar spikes, weight gain Whole-grain bread
Whole Milk (2%, 1%)  Saturated fat  Saturated fat Skim milk
White Pasta Simple carbohydrates, high glycemic index Sugar spikes, weight gain Whole grain pasta, quinoa
White Rice Simple carbohydrates, high glycemic index  Sugar spikes, weight gain Brown rice, couscous

The Dirty Dozen

Reading labels, supermarket, processed food ingredients

This is not me, but this is what I do.

Essentially we have stopped eating anything that contains the dirty dozen ingredients: high-fructose corn syrup, sodium nitrite, Aspartame, GMO foods, autolyzed yeast extract, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, “natural” flavorings, partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil, palm oil, artificial dyes, and trans fats.

For example, I don’t eat Red Velvet Cake because the only thing creating the required color is Red Dye #5, which is derived from coal tar. It’s implicated in ADHD, inflammation and cancer.

This may seem burdensome, but somehow we still manage to eat well. I don’t clip as many coupons, though, as most of those are for highly processed foods that are expensively marketed and over-packaged.

As I’ve said before, I read labels religiously. I only wish more people would do the same—and know what they’re putting into their bodies.

2 thoughts on “30 Foods We Have Banned

  1. I agree with virtually everything you wrote, though… if I weren’t keeping kosher, I’d be eating natural bacon. Saturated fats are not bad for you…. per “Why We Get Fat” by Gary Taubes, the book that changed MY diet, and my life.

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