10 Foods You Should Never Buy

Integrative & Functional Medicine Physician By Alejandra Carrasco, M.D.
Integrative & Functional Medicine Physician
Alejandra Carrasco, M.D., is an integrative and functional medicine physician, best-selling author of Bloom, and founder of Nourish Medicine, a root-cause resolution integrative and functional medicine practice in Austin, Texas. She received her Master's from the University of Texas Health Science Center.

Ever wonder who the villains are in the grocery store? Here are my top ten:


There are some 10,000 documented reports of adverse reactions to aspartame. It has been linked to migraines, visual changes, seizures, depression, and brain cancer. Run away from artificial sweeteners!

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Canned Food

Cans of food expose people to dangerous levels of bisphenol A (BPA), a hormone-disrupting chemical that has been linked to everything from childhood aggression to obesity, heart disease, changes in breast tissue, and reproductive health problems. Cook your beans and veggies from scratch if you can!


An estimated 30 to 35% of people have gluten sensitivity. It's increasing globally due to a breakdown of our immune tolerance caused by increased exposure to chemicals, medications, and stress, as well as poor nutrition. This results in an altered gut microbiome, dysfunctional gut enzymes, increased intestinal permeability, and a lack of vitamins and minerals necessary to support the immune system. People who are gluten sensitive and continue to eat it are at risk for developing autoimmune diseases like psoriasis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. 

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GMO Foods

A 2012 study out of France confirmed the dangers of genetically modified food consumption. Rats were fed genetically modified corn chow on a daily basis for two years and the results included an exponential increase in mammary tumors, kidney failture and liver necrosis in the rats who ate GMO food compared to their control counterparts. Choose organic produce to ensure that you are not eating genetically modified foods.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

HFCS has been linked to diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome and cancer. Because it’s liquid fructose, our bodies have a really hard time processing it. 100 percent of the metabolic burden rests on our livers. And don’t forget, HFCS generally comes from genetically modified corn which has its own host of problems!

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Store-Bought Alternative Milk

Store-bought alternative milks are often full of added sugars, preservatives, and thickeners such as carrageenan which research has shown causes inflammation. When laboratory mice are exposed to low concentrations of carrageenan for 18 days, they develop "profound" glucose intolerance and impaired insulin action which can lead to diabetes and other chronic diseases. Make your own alternative milk at home!

Processed Foods

Not only do processed foods lack nutrient density, but they are full of harmful chemicals such as food coloring agents and BHT which have been linked to cancer and other chronic disease. Processed foods also have a slew of added sugars and high fructose corn syrup which can weaken our immune systems and promote disease. Choose whole foods instead of fake foods!

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The average American consumes 142 pounds of sugar a year! Sugar weakens our immune system, causes inflammation, and spikes our insulin levels. It’s also highly addictive. If you need a sweetener choose stevia or brown rice syrup instead of sugar.

Trans Fats

Trans fats are twice as dangerous for your heart as saturated fat, and cause tens of thousands of premature heart disease deaths each year. Check the ingredient list for any of these words: “partially hydrogenated,” “fractionated,” or “hydrogenated” and stay far, far away. Use coconut oil, olive oil, grass-fed butter, or ghee in your cooking.

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Water In Plastic Bottles

Always choose glass or a stainless steel bottle. Soft plastic bottles contain a number of harmful such as the carcinogen di-2-ethylhexyl-adipate (DEHA) and bisphenol-A (BPA), a known endocrine disruptor. Studies do indicate that there is a leaching potential, especially when hot water is involved, as the heat can encourage the plastic to off-gas, and in the bottle, the off-gassing vapors have nowhere to go other than directly into your water.

Ready to learn how to fight inflammation and address autoimmune disease through the power of food? Join our 5-Day Inflammation Video Summit with mindbodygreen’s top doctors.

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