7 Foods Even The Experts Won’t Eat

By:  Natasha Longo,

Food scientists are shedding light on items loaded with toxins and chemicals–and simple swaps for a cleaner diet and supersized health. Experts from different areas of specialty explain why they won’t eat these eight foods.

Clean eating means choosing fruits, vegetables, and meats that are raised, grown, and sold with minimal processing. Often they’re organic, and rarely (if ever) should they contain additives. But in some cases, the methods of today’s food producers are neither clean nor sustainable. The result is damage to our health, the environment, or both. So we decided to take a fresh look at food through the eyes of the people who spend their lives uncovering what’s safe–or not–to eat. We asked them a simple question: “What foods do you avoid?” Their answers don’t necessarily make up a “banned foods” list. But reaching for the suggested alternatives might bring you better health–and peace of mind.

1. The Endocrinologist Won’t Eat: Canned Tomatoes

Fredrick Vom Saal, is an endocrinologist at the University of Missouri who studies bisphenol-A.

The problem: The resin linings of tin cans contain bisphenol-A, a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to ailments ranging from reproductive problems to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Unfortunately, acidity (a prominent characteristic of tomatoes) causes BPA to leach into your food. Studies show that the BPA in most people’s body exceeds the amount that suppresses sperm production or causes chromosomal damage to the eggs of animals. “You can get 50 mcg of BPA per liter out of a tomato can, and that’s a level that is going to impact people, particularly the young,” says vom Saal. “I won’t go near canned tomatoes.”

The solution: Choose tomatoes in glass bottles (which do not need resin linings), such as the brands Bionaturae and Coluccio. You can also get several types in Tetra Pak boxes, like Trader Joe’s and Pomi. Exposure to BPA Causes Permanent Damage In OffSpring

2. The Farmer Won’t Eat: Corn-Fed Beef

Joel Salatin is co-owner of Polyface Farms and author of half a dozen books on sustainable farming.The problem: Cattle evolved to eat grass, not grains. But farmers today feed their animals corn and soybeans, which fatten up the animals faster for slaughter. But more money for cattle farmers (and lower prices at the grocery store) means a lot less nutrition for us. A recent comprehensive study conducted by the USDA and researchers from Clemson University found that compared with corn-fed beef, grass-fed beef is higher in beta-carotene, vitamin E, omega-3s, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), calcium, magnesium, and potassium; lower in inflammatory omega-6s; and lower in saturated fats that have been linked to heart disease. “We need to respect the fact that cows are herbivores, and that does not mean feeding them corn and chicken manure,” says Salatin.

The solution: Buy grass-fed beef, which can be found at specialty grocers, farmers’ markets, and nationally at Whole Foods. It’s usually labeled because it demands a premium, but if you don’t see it, ask your butcher.

3. The Toxicologist Won’t Eat: Microwave Popcorn

Olga Naidenko, is a senior scientist for the Environmental Working Group.

The problem: Chemicals, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), in the lining of the bag, are part of a class of compounds that may be linked to infertility in humans, according to a recent study from UCLA. In animal testing, the chemicals cause liver, testicular, and pancreatic cancer. Studies show that microwaving causes the chemicals to vaporize–and migrate into your popcorn. “They stay in your body for years and accumulate there,” says Naidenko, which is why researchers worry that levels in humans could approach the amounts causing cancers in laboratory animals. DuPont and other manufacturers have promised to phase out PFOA by 2015 under a voluntary EPA plan, but millions of bags of popcorn will be sold between now and then.

The solution: Pop organic kernels the old-fashioned way: in a skillet. For flavorings, you can add real butter or dried seasonings, such as dillweed, vegetable flakes, or soup mix. Make it organic and use coconut oil. If You’re Still Eating Microwave Popcorn, You’re Not Fully Grasping The Health Consequences

4. The Farm Director Won’t Eat: Nonorganic Potatoes

Jeffrey Moyer is the chair of the National Organic Standards Board.

The problem: Root vegetables absorb herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides that wind up in soil. In the case of potatoes–the nation’s most popular vegetable–they’re treated with fungicides during the growing season, then sprayed with herbicides to kill off the fibrous vines before harvesting. After they’re dug up, the potatoes are treated yet again to prevent them from sprouting. “Try this experiment: Buy a conventional potato in a store, and try to get it to sprout. It won’t,” says Moyer, who is also farm director of the Rodale Institute (also owned by Rodale Inc., the publisher of Prevention). “I’ve talked with potato growers who say point-blank they would never eat the potatoes they sell. They have separate plots where they grow potatoes for themselves without all the chemicals.”

The solution: Buy organic potatoes. Washing isn’t good enough if you’re trying to remove chemicals that have been absorbed into the flesh.Budget tip: Organic potatoes are only $1 to $2 a pound, slightly more expensive than conventional spuds.

5. The Fisheries Expert Won’t Eat: Farmed Salmon

Dr. David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany, published a major study in the journal Science on contamination in fish.

The problem: Nature didn’t intend for salmon to be crammed into pens and fed soy, poultry litter, and hydrolyzed chicken feathers. As a result, farmed salmon is lower in vitamin D and higher in contaminants, including carcinogens, PCBs, brominated flame retardants, and pesticides such as dioxin and DDT. According to Carpenter, the most contaminated fish come from Northern Europe, which can be found on American menus. “You could eat one of these salmon dinners every 5 months without increasing your risk of cancer,” says Carpenter, whose 2004 fish contamination study got broad media attention. “It’s that bad.” Preliminary science has also linked DDT to diabetes and obesity, but some nutritionists believe the benefits of omega-3s outweigh the risks. There is also concern about the high level of antibiotics and pesticides used to treat these fish. When you eat farmed salmon, you get dosed with the same drugs and chemicals.

The solution: Switch to wild-caught Alaska salmon. If the package says fresh Atlantic, it’s farmed. There are no commercial fisheries left for wild Atlantic salmon. Farmed Fish vs. Wild Fish: How Healthy
Is The Fish At Your Favorite Grocery?

6. The Cancer Researcher Won’t Drink: Milk Produced With Artificial Hormones

Rick North is project director of the Campaign for Safe Food at the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility and former CEO of the Oregon division of the American Cancer Society.

The problem: Milk producers treat their dairy cattle with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST, as it is also known) to boost milk production. But rBGH also increases udder infections and even pus in the milk. It also leads to higher levels of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor in milk. In people, high levels of IGF-1 may contribute to breast, prostate, and colon cancers. “When the government approved rBGH, it was thought that IGF-1 from milk would be broken down in the human digestive tract,” says North. “There’s not 100 percent proof that this is increasing cancer in humans,” admits North. “However, it’s banned in most industrialized countries.”

The solution: Buy raw milk or check labels for rBGH-free, rBST-free, produced without artificial hormones, or organic milk. These phrases indicate rBGH-free products. Why Do Humans Still Drink Milk?


7. The Organic-Foods Expert Won’t Eat: Conventional Apples

Mark Kastel, a former executive for agribusiness, is codirector of the Cornucopia Institute, a farm-policy research group that supports organic foods.

The problem: If fall fruits held a “most doused in pesticides contest,” apples would win. Why? They are individually grafted (descended from a single tree) so that each variety maintains its distinctive flavor. As such, apples don’t develop resistance to pests and are sprayed frequently. The industry maintains that these residues are not harmful. But Kastel counters that it’s just common sense to minimize exposure by avoiding the most doused produce, like apples. “Farm workers have higher rates of many cancers,” he says. And increasing numbers of studies are starting to link a higher body burden of pesticides (from all sources) with Parkinson’s disease.

This article first appeared on preventdisease.com.






38 responses to “7 Foods Even The Experts Won’t Eat”

  1. Magda Garcia-Villalta Avatar
    Magda Garcia-Villalta

    Very, very interesting article. Thank you very much for the information.

  2. Patti J. Avatar
    Patti J.

    If we are not to eat conventional apples, how are we to get them without drinking the juice and adding calories and so many more carbs? I am a diabetic. I would rather munch on something healthy and get my fruit quota for the day than drink my way to getting what I need.

    1. Jennifer Doll-Rindler Avatar
      Jennifer Doll-Rindler

      Buy organic grown apples … to avoid ingesting too many

    2. Barbara Avatar

      In north Alabama we have several good grocery stores. I shop at Earthfare because of convenience, or Publix. Whole Foods is good if you have one near. The nearest one to me is Birmingham. Publix has a small organic section and they carry bags of organic Fuji apples, which are my favorite apples to munch on. They are about $7 a bag; about 10 or so apples per bag.

    3. Zuni Avatar

      I also am diabetic. Maybe 20 lbs overweight. Having trouble dealing with the diabetic news

      1. renee Avatar

        Please do not stress yourself about your recent knowledge. It simply means that you have more of an incentive to enter a whole big and beautiful world of real and healthy foods. You’re going to learn to shop well, cook well and eat like a king. Or queen. Is Zuni a boys or girls name?? How I wish we could stay in touch!!! My whole name is renee pearman and I’m on facebook if you want to invite me as a facebook friend. I’m starting a savings account to be able to put in a good garden next year. I’ve done canning before and I’d love to can a lot of tomatoes. All of us are going to have to start growing as much as we can on our patios or rooftops. I’m about to begin the virgin diet. J.J. Virgin is the author, I get my books on amazon.com: no sugar, gluten, corn, soy, eggs, dairy, peanuts, and as few chemicals as you possibly can. I found a sweetener at my grocery store: Monks Fruit….like stevia, it’s a plant to help us avoid processed sugar. Better for diabetics than honey or maple syrup. Start eating coconut oil but only the best tropicaltraditions.com The book (small) is also on Amazon which explains why it’s so great and why theirs is so pure….not everything at the grocery store is wonderful, no matter what the label says. My very best blessings to you…think ‘new adventure’ and be happy about it !!!!

        1. Susan Churella Avatar

          Hi Renee, I found your reply to Zuni to be very encouraging and I admire you for that. There is just so, so much negative interaction on blogs, I just had to let you know. I have never heard of the Virgin Diet but I will check it out. I recently lost 20+ lbs. on the NutriMost program through a holistic healthcare provider in Worthington, Ohio, where I work (live in north Columbus, Worthington is a northside suburb). It has really opened my eyes about the garbage that I used to eat and learning more everyday about the benefits of whole, organic foods.

    4. Kathleen Avatar

      I think the point in the entire article was to always eat organically.

    5. carol steavens Avatar
      carol steavens

      I buy only organic apples(now plenti at walmart) then add them to my green smoothy. That way I get pectin from the skin also

  3. Cher Avatar

    Thank-You, I enjoyed and learned so much that I shared it on my Facebook page. Everybody wants to be healthy, there is just so much to watch out for and so much to Learn, Learn, Learn ! Twenty Four Seven Three Sixty Five.

  4. Reba Nicholson Avatar
    Reba Nicholson

    Very in formative…..Thank you..

  5. Tumay Avatar

    Very nice ınformation.Thank You. For enligtening us

  6. Pam Pitts Avatar
    Pam Pitts

    Thanks for actually sharing the information, so any others hold on to the info for $, I don’t always have $15 extra for a book as matter of fact have to rethink food budget to be able to buy healthy organic foods!

  7. Celery Leaves Avatar
    Celery Leaves

    Thank you for scaring the food out of my hand! Seems really beneficial for young woman wanting to have babies!

  8. Carolyn Ferguson Avatar
    Carolyn Ferguson

    I would guess apple juice would be the last thing to drink,since the apples are washed but not peeled so the pesticides are squeezed into the juice.

  9. Heather Rushing Avatar
    Heather Rushing

    Interesting information but what about our grocery bill? It’s sad that organic means pricier.

    1. LizzyQ Avatar

      Yea however you have to think would you prefer paying the farmer or the doctor… 🙂

  10. diana Avatar

    Thanks for the article. I have been trying to convince my friends to eat organic foods and not to drink the milk that is on the grocers shelves without reading the label first. I will be sure to forward this article.

  11. Dotti Schuck Avatar
    Dotti Schuck

    Very informative info! Thank You!!!

  12. Ilana Avatar

    I’m already good for all except the apples. Organic from now on 🙂 Thank you!

  13. Erika Vega Avatar
    Erika Vega

    I think 90% of eating is common sense, my motto is Less is more.chew your food (not inhale it) less sugar & salt and TRY to moderate your caffeine intake.Take time to enjoy Every Bite and drink lots of water before meals.Just somethings i learned to do over the course of 20 years to keep me trim.

    1. Stuart Perry Avatar
      Stuart Perry

      what did you say that was common sense? It was something that you learned through your experiences. Not everyone is the same.

  14. Christina Avatar

    A comment about the cost of healthy food or organic foods.
    I went to a Natural Nutritionist for health issues and the diet she put me on was not expensive and I found that when I ate healthier foods, I ate at least 50% less!! When your body gets what it needs, you are not hungry. The unhealthy stuff leaves you with empty calories and fats that you crave causing you to eat more. So if you can eat less, you really don’t spend any more. In fact, at some point, it’s actually no more cost. I suggest starting by replacing a few things at a time. Hope this is helpful.

  15. Pearl Clark Avatar
    Pearl Clark

    All of this advice is great if you can afford it. We are on fixed incomes. In the summer and fall I grow some stuff in my back yard and buy fresh vegies at our local farmers markets which are not organic. The rest of the year I buy what I can afford at our local supermarket. Organic vegies are very expensive while regular are not. As for apples I’m with the person who can not afford those very expensive organic apples and no longer drink fruit juices so as to be able to control my diabetes without meds. So what advice do you have for folks like us?

  16. elimanningedith Avatar

    many of poor folks cannot afford to eat organic or purchase organic. It is too expensive for people whose incomes are unsteady or low

  17. Janet Avatar

    Wow! I didn’t know. Now I do. Thank you for the info.

  18. C. Ray Bryan Avatar
    C. Ray Bryan

    Occasionally I beg to differ! I read your whole list of commentary, and not once was the commonest, most poisonous food mentioned — processed sugars. I too am diabetic — in spades! I woke one day with soggy fence posts for legs. My two doctors tried a number of treatments, none of which helped. Then I recalled that my grandmother used to call the disease ‘sugar diabetes’ and totally changed my diet to see if she was right. I stopped ingesting anything containing processed sugar — any sugar, be it dextrose fructose sucrose maltose or whatever-ose; no candy; no syrup; no cakes, cookies, tarts; no soda pop; etc.
    . The improvement was dramatic: I lost a pound a day; my pedal edema disappeared; the oozing skin patches on my calves dried up; and I never felt better. In the next 6 months, I lost 65 pounds — much of it water weight in my legs.
    I learned to sip highly flavored rather than highly sugared drinks — like wine vinegar; I added a little more pepper to my foods — it increases the flavor! You learn how to experiment with flavors, not sweets. You would be astonished to learn how many canned foods are laces with sugar or HFCS (high fructose corn syrup). I learned to read the labels!

  19. Maria Avatar

    This was a most enlightening article. I feel it is never too late to learn, but you have shown me that in some cases it just may be. I feel though, that when you do find out any mistakes you make, even if you didn’t previously know you were making one, the first thing you do is to correct them. This is exactly what I am going to do. Thank you for this priceless information. And thank you to my diet expert that lead me to your article.

  20. Wanda Bigelow Avatar
    Wanda Bigelow

    My husband took some potatoes from the store and planted them. We did get potatoes from them. Somehow there is an error stating that store-bought potatoes won’t sprout.

    1. John Taylor Avatar
      John Taylor

      Wanda Bigelow Oct 5, 2015 at 11:47 pm — YES, totally agree with a certain amount of “caveat” ::: “Seed Potatoes” purchased in most stores, big box garden shop, always sprout for me. When I save potatoes from the grocery aisle it is a hit or miss on sprouting, usually can look at the ‘eyes’ of the spuds and if they are emerging usually can cut those to individual chunk with a sprout and grow. NOTE: Many foods are irradiated to prevent spoilage which I’m led to believe will reduce or prevent reproduction ?

  21. Tina Avatar

    I was astounded with all the pesticides listed in these
    Items. Will buy the organic products.

  22. Marvin L. Zinn Avatar
    Marvin L. Zinn

    Interesting things I mostly knew about for many years.

    I have never been overweight, and your calculation says I burn more calories than I ever eat in a day. If I shrink that much I will soon disappear. Maybe I gain back from fresh air I breathe. 🙂

  23. Stuart Perry Avatar
    Stuart Perry

    Why do i care if the Organics expert will not eat conventional apples? I need the opinion of some doctor they says the negative effects of eating these apples. Beware articles that use the word expert. A expert in one thing does not mean that they are an expert in everything.

  24. Keru Avatar

    My husband was diagnosed with Diabetes. He immediately changed his lifestyle. He stopped eating processed foods, juices, and any form of sugar. He also started walking at least for thirty minutes daily. In two months he has lost 12 pounds, his sugar level has greatly imroved together with his cholesterol levels. His food portions have greatly been reduced. I am a witness of what a difference it makes to change our diet.

  25. Idy Avatar

    Isn’t fresh wild Alaskan salmon contaminated with radiation from Fukushima? Aren’t you missing something?

  26. Jeanne Avatar

    I think the issue is eat whole foods nothing processed. Grow what you can or buy from farmers market s . If the farmer is reluctant to have you visit their farm don’t buy from them. I always ask are they local. Honey is the best sweetener especially if bought directly from the beekeeper as most only have pure. If you can make everything from scratch. These days just go onto the internet to learn how to make anything. A lot of farmers are growing produce as natural as possible especially the ones that sell at farmers market. You can make your own alternative milk. It’s a great achievement to make as much as your food yourself at least you know what is in it. It’s easy to have some glass jars and bottle excess produce in season to use at a later date. When things are in season prices go down good time to stock up and start bottling / canning.

  27. Elaine Avatar

    You know what I find interesting about all this food that we eat here in the States they are ALL are cancer producers.America is all about making money. They obviously don’t care about the civilization and most of us have no choice but to buy non organic.Most people can’t buy “organic” why sell this crap to us? Bring down the prices so people can afford to buy better quality food.

  28. Micheline Avatar

    We were farmers all our lives, it’s very easy to say why farmers don’t cut their prices,a field not spayed will produce about half the quantity of the one sprayed. We have the same expenses (maybe a bit less) but never the less, farmers can’t and won’t work just to be kind and nothing left in our pockets at harvest time. Keep that in mind!

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