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9 processed foods you should never eat

By Anang Agarwalla
Last updated on: October 27, 2014 11:37 IST
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Eat clean and chemical free for a happy and healthy heart, mind, body and soul, says Anang Agarwalla.

These are the processed food products that you need to avoid.

Tinned tomatoes

Whole/ crushed tomatoes or other tomato based products in cans are very harmful as the acids in the tomatoes react with the lining of the can to produce toxic by-products. Over time these acids can corrode the can (not very visible to the naked eye) releasing an even more toxic cocktail of chemicals.

This is why a lot of manufacturers are lining the tins with a plastic coating.

This creates a problem; the plastic linings are not BPA(BisPhenol A) free. BPA and other chemicals leach out from the plastic over time into the tinned food. These chemicals are carcinogenic and cause disruptions in the endocrine system.

All canned products are also traditionally mega loaded with Sodium. It is safer to keep away from all canned foods.

Granola bars

These sugary sweet ‘healthy, whole fibre’ treats are loaded with copious amounts of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), preservatives and at times very high amounts of sodium and trans fats.

HFCS causes a sharp and sudden spike in the blood sugar level which damages the liver and pancreas affecting the natural insulin production in the long run.

Microwave popcorn

This is one of the most popular yet one of the unhealthiest snacks ever.

It contains a deadly chemical called Diacetyl, which gives popcorn that mouth watering, buttery aroma and taste.

It has been known to destroy the lungs when inhaled. Most of the workers in popcorn factories suffer from a condition called “Popcorn Lung”.

It is safer to make your own popcorn at home with simple house hold ingredients.


This is another lethal food. Developed as a healthy alternative to butter, margarine in reality is brimming with trans fats, free radicals, copious amounts of preservatives, emulsifiers and hexane.

All these chemicals are linked to many health problems like heart disease, high blood cholesterol, obesity and high blood pressure.

Powdered beverage mixes/ tetrapack juices

That tall glass of cold iced tea made from a premix on a hot day can seem very inviting but do remember that though these premixes and juices claim to have some percentage of fruit or real tea, in reality it is negligible.

Artificial flavours and colours can cause a whole host of confounding health issues ranging from allergies, a sore throat to renal impairment. Sugar, in large quantities, causes blood sugar spikes and diabetes amongst other lifestyle diseases.

Store bought cookies, cakes, muffins, biscuits and breads

All of the above have been clubbed together as they almost always contain an offending cocktail of commercial fats (they are cheaper than butter and have a long shelf life), preservatives, dough conditioners and improvers, emulsifiers, loads of salts and sugars.

All these chemicals bring down costs and give the products a long shelf life, great texture etc but end up harming our health causing problems ranging from indigestion to cancer.


It is best to just stay away from all sodas; they do not have a single nutritional benefit.

Sodas are the most acidic processed known food which creates an acidic medium in the body, perfect for bacterial diseases and cancer to breed.

Hot dogs and other processed meats

Most processed meats contain unimaginable amounts of artificial flavours, salt and cheap synthetic fillers.

Mechanically separated meat is normally processed with a lot of chemicals like Ammonia (to clean and sanitise it) under very high pressure and heat leaving it devoid of any nutrition.

Frozen fries

Hot, crispy and fragrant; who doesn’t love French fries? Commercial fries are made with specially grown potatoes that are low in fibre and high in starch to give that perfect firmness and texture.

These fries are processed so much that by the time they reach you they are bereft of any nutrition and full of harmful obesity causing, liver and artery clogging fat, salt and preservatives. When you crave for fries, it is best to make it at home in the oven with minimal oil.

Photograph: Bogdan Cristel/Reuters is an online Lifestyle journal that covers various genres like lifestyle, health and fitness and technology for Indian consumers.

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Anang Agarwalla