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List of Processed Foods to Avoid

author image Eliza Martinez
Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.
List of Processed Foods to Avoid
Hot dogs are highly processed and should be avoided most of the time. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Processed foods are those that are treated to preserve them, enhance their flavor or to change the texture of a food. Many processed foods have added trans fats, salt, sugar or high-fructose corn syrup and monosodium glutamate, or MSG. Avoiding these foods can prevent weight gain, heart disease and diabetes. A diet high in fresh foods and low in processed ones is better for health.

Processed Meats

Processed meats are treated with a variety of additives that could be harmful to health if eaten too often and in large quantities. That being said, an occasional hot dog or lunchmeat sandwich probably won't kill you. But eating them all the time can result in health concerns: up to a 42-percent increase in the risk of heart disease and a 19-percent increase in the risk of diabetes, according to Reuters. MayoClinic.com adds that most people in America eat too much salt and switching to fresh cuts of meat and fish can help you reduce the amount of salt in your diet. This will also help you cut the amount of preservatives you are eating, making you healthier. Thus, you should avoid hot dogs, cold cuts, sausages and bacon.

Packaged Baked Goods

Avoid many of the sweet treats that you can find ready-made at the supermarket. The high-fructose corn syrup that is often used to sweeten commercially-prepared items has been linked to obesity, Dr. Boyd Williams of Optimal Health University reports. Many of these foods also contain trans fat, which can lead to heart disease when consumed often, as well as being higher in salt than fresh foods. Baking your own treats is healthier because you can control what ingredients you use. Skip packaged cakes, cookies, cupcakes and brownies and choose fresh fruit or low-sugar yogurt for a sweet snack that can satisfy without such high-health consequences.

Frozen Dinners

A frozen dinner is convenient. However, it could spell disaster to your health if you eat them every day. Many contain MSG, which is added during processing to enhance the flavor of the meal. According to Williams, MSG has been linked to health conditions like Alzheimer's and autism and can also cause headaches, nausea and mood swings. MSG is an additive that can be hidden in foods since it is often found in other ingredients that are added to a food. Avoid frozen dinners whenever possible in exchange for healthy fresh meats and vegetables. When you do find yourself in a pinch and reaching for the convenience of a quick meal, read the ingredients carefully to find the one that is the best for your health.

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