While having an occasional deli sandwich for lunch isn’t likely to kill you, consistent consumption of deli and processed meats over time has been linked with many types of illness, including heart disease and cancer, explains Roger E. Adams, PhD, dietitian and nutritionist and founder of eatrightfitness.com. In fact, the World Health Organisation (WHO) classifies processed meat (most deli meats, hot dogs, ham, bacon and sausage) as a carcinogen. “Twenty-two experts from ten countries reviewed more than 800 scientific studies and concluded that consuming 50g of processed meat daily increased the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent,” says Adams. “Additionally, the high sodium content of most processed meats can lead to both acute and long-term increases in blood pressure.”
Diet soft drink
The chemical culprit found in most products containing artificial sweeteners, including the ever-popular diet sodas, is aspartame, which has been linked to brain tumours as well as some blood-related cancers, such as leukaemias and lymphomas (though research has been minimally focused on rats). “Aspartate breaks down into the neurotransmitter aspartic acid, which without being bound to other amino acids is neurotoxic,” says Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, health, diet and nutrition expert.
White sugar and white flour products
White foods or foods that have been processed, refined, and often left with a white appearance are not healthy for your body to digest. These foods – think flour, bread, crackers, white rice, pastas, etc – provide too many simple carbs that convert to blood sugar quickly and can result in insulin resistance and lead to diabetes and heart disease. “Physiologically, sugar causes a surge in the hormone insulin and also alters the way the liver metabolises the simple form of sugar, glucose,” says Dr Dean. “Sugar promotes oxidative stress and internal inflammation which is similar to rusting. This internal rusting causes ageing, wrinkles, etc, because it damages cells.” Sugar also taxes the adrenal glands and the immune system. When adrenal function is impaired or weak, Dr Dean explains that a person may suffer from low blood sugar, low blood pressure, low body temperature and fatigue or exhaustion.