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The Seemingly Healthy Foods That Are Secretly Poisoning You

Some foods you'd least expect may secretly be poisoning you.

Some foods you know you shouldn’t be eating, but others that could secretly be poisoning you may appear healthy. Knowing which foods to limit in your diet can significantly boost your quality of life — and life expectancy.

Diet Soda

While diet soda may seem like a better choice than sugar-sweetened beverages, going diet isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. A 2014 study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that diet soda increases the risk of diabetes in men. Another 2012 study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that diet soda consumption is associated with several heart disease risk factors.

High Mercury Fish

Fish is an excellent source of protein, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. However, due to polluted habitats fish live in, fish is also a source of toxins like mercury and PCBs. Mercury generally isn’t harmful when eaten in very small quantities, but is toxic at high doses and can cause birth defects in children. Because of this, women who may become pregnant, pregnant and nursing women, and children should avoid high-mercury fish like marlin, shark, swordfish, tilefish, ahi and bigeye tunas, orange roughy, and king mackerel.


Found in supplements, juices, and teas, elderberries have been shown to relieve flu symptoms in some studies, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. However, the same source notes that only blue and black-colored elderberries are safe to eat — and unripe and uncooked elderberries are toxic, causing diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

Rhubarb Leaves

Cooked rhubarb stalks are often used as ingredients in baked goods, other desserts, salads, and sauces. However, not all parts of rhubarb plants are safe to eat. Rhubarb leaves are poisonous, causing nausea, vomiting, weakness, stomach pain, breathing difficulty, burning in the mouth and throat, breathing difficulties, seizures, and even coma, according to MedlinePlus.

Red and Processed Meats

Eating too much red meat — especially processed meats like hot dogs, sausage, bacon, and cold cut meats — may be secretly poisoning you in more ways than one. Processed meats have been associated with several chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity in several studies. A review published in 2014 in the American Journal of Epidemiology reports that eating red meat, especially processed meat, appears to increase your risk of dying.

[Image via Getty]

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