Never is a really strong word. When it comes to diet, weight loss, and overall healthy living, experts generally advise that you practice moderation in order to achieve long term success. But when a food contains ingredients that are known to cause cancer, or that employees who work with them need to wear specialty suits in order to handle the food, they’re not worth the risk.

Experts agree these five foods have such serious side effects and health concerns that you should never eat them if you’re looking forward to a long, healthy life.

Artificial Sweeteners

You would think things like diet soda or sugar free candy would be better for you than their sugar-laden counterparts, right? Wrong.

Research on foods and drinks containing artificial sweeteners including sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame K, and neotame is conflicted; as many of the studies are funded by the manufacturers using the sweeteners in their products. Some of the most controversial and disturbing data comes from independent research studies where these sweeteners were found to cause a whole host of health problems.

Whether it’s the recently published study that finds that diet soda can actually make you gain dangerous fat around your middle or more frightening data that suggests that artificial sweeteners can cause neurological diseases, joint pain, digestive problems, depression, IBS, headaches and cancer, there’s enough bad press out there to steer clear of these chemicals all together.

Butter Flavored Microwave Popcorn

Microwave popcorn has been long thought to be a tasty, healthy snack, but due to a scary chemical additive, that belief is dead wrong.

A 2012 study found that the ingredient 2,3-pentanedione (PD) that’s used to make your popcorn smell and taste buttery and delicious combined with Diacetyl, another tasty chemical compound in microwave popcorn, is so harmful it can cause life threatening lung disease in workers who handle the substance. The problem is so real it’s actually earned the nickname “popcorn lung,” and as a result of its discovery workers wear specialty hazmat style suits when handling the substance.

Good rule of thumb, if they need to wear a hazmat suit to produce it, don’t eat it!


Introduced as a healthier alternative to butter, margarine was long touted as being better for you because of lower calories and fat. Unfortunately, the hydrogenated oils used to create the butter alternative has created a whole new health nightmare monster instead, trans fat.

Making headlines in recent years, trans fat is pretty much considered the worst type of fat you can put in your body. It’s been proven to not only raise your LDL cholesterol (that’s the bad kind), but to simultaneously lower your HDL cholesterol (the good kind), resulting in a one two heath whammy.

According to science, if you absolutely need it, just use butter. It’s actually better for you.

Pre-Packaged Baked Goods

Along the same lines as margarine, prepackaged baked goods are loaded down with partially hydrogenated oils, and deliver a heart stopping amount of trans fat in every serving.

Partially hydrogenated oils are actually so bad that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has made a statement that these oils are no longer “generally recognized as safe” and are urging companies to phase them out of use in their food production.

Be sure to read the labels on anything your purchase though, as items with less than 0.5% of trans fats don’t need to list it on the label. Check baked goods for any sort of “partially hydrogenated oil” to ensure the item is trans fat free.

Canned Tomatoes or Canned Tomato Sauce

While tomatoes in an of themselves are super healthy, stay away from canned tomato products. Researchers have discovered that because of the highly acidic properties of tomatoes, they are able to break down the can lining and as a result can contain higher than safe levels of BPA.

BPA, or bisphenol-a is the chemical used to coat the cans, and ingestion has been found to cause numerous health issues, including reproductive issues in men and women, and increased risks of cancer.

Stick with jarred tomatoes instead, or use fresh to create a tasty, healthy sauce of your own.

What foods wouldn’t you ever eat because they’re gross, or for health reasons? Let us know in the comments!




Nicole Kurz
Nicole Kurz
Nicole is a 30-something fitness and health writer who has successfully lost enough weight that two people can fit in her old pants. She races triathlons, rides bikes, is obsessed with health and wellness, isn’t afraid of the “boy weight section” at the gym. When she’s not blowing your mind with health news on Article Cats, she’s probably laughing at an inappropriate joke somewhere while drinking a cup of the strongest black coffee you can find.