When it comes to nutrition, people are always telling us the what foods we need to be eating and the worst foods we need to avoid. But just because something is good for you doesn’t mean you should necessarily eat it in excess. In fact, even the healthiest foods can cause problems if you have too much of them. There is definitely a good reason why people always say all things in moderation! With so much information floating around telling you to eat this and eat that, it can be hard to discern what you can be eating every day versus what you should be incorporating into your diet every now and then.
While it’s a safe guess to assume you’re good to go when it comes to most natural foods like fruits and vegetables, some unsuspecting foods can cause surprising health problems if you eat a large quantity of them — a good reason not to adhere to any strict or extreme diet. To prevent you from consuming too much of a seemingly good food group on your quest to eating healthy, try limiting your intake of following seven foods, which all have different negative health consequences if you happen to go a little overboard.
“This particular fish is the highest of the sea in mercury levels,” says trainer and nutritionist Darin Hulslander. “Overdosing on mercury can lead to speech problems, vision problems, and even poor muscular coordination.”
Though tuna can be a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, canned tuna contains chemicals like BPA, which can interfere with hormones in your body. Stick to white canned tuna in water, which has the lowest mercury levels, or switch to other options like whitefish or salmon.
Though soy products have become more popular over the years, too much of the genetically modified bean can cause some health issues.
“Too many non-organic soy or soy protein isolates can enhance the production of estrogen, which can elevate women’s risk of developing certain cancers,” says Dr. Gabrielle Francis. Since about 95 percent of soy is genetically modified, and many products such as soy milk are highly processed, your best bet is to stick to organic soybeans and tofu to avoid any problems down the line.
Although you might be thinking your intake of corn on the cob is never very high, what you may not realize is that corn is present in a ton of other foods, including chips, ketchup, cookies, and many other processed foods. Like soy, over 90 percent of corn is genetically modified, and eating too much of it can increase your ratio of omega-6 fatty acids, which can increase your risk of developing cancer and heart disease.
“When omega-6 fatty acids are combined with high levels of insulin-induced by glucose, it is a deadly combination for increased inflammation,” says Dr. Barry Sears.
These heart-healthy nuts are high in selenium, a mineral that’s healthy for your immune system and thyroid functioning. However, too much selenium can be toxic to the body, causing symptoms like brittle hair and nails, garlicky breath, and digestive complications. Stick to two brazil nuts a day to receive their health benefits without putting yourself at risk.
Although bananas are a beneficial health food and a good source potassium, too much of the mineral can cause hyperkalemia, which can cause heart, muscle, and nerve problems.
“Hyperkalemia causes irregular heartbeat, slows your pulse, and could also be a warning side for cardiac arrest,” says health coach Jenny Helms. Though one or two bananas a day won’t hurt you, eating an all-banana diet (which some people actually advocate) — can cause dangerous health problems, including permanent nerve damage.
“People think [farmed salmon] is so healthy,” says Jennifer Cassetta, CN, MS. “However, farm-raised salmon, like other factory farmed animals, eat corn and soy, and therefore do not contain the high amount of omega-3s that we think they do.”
Studies have also found that farmed salmon is more toxic than wild salmon, so opt for the latter whenever possible.
In addition to containing high amounts of fat, peanut butter is often filled with ingredients like corn syrup and hydrogenated oil.
“Peanut butter is best to eat sparingly,” says Dr. Francis. “This is a very high-allergy food and may have traces of mold called Aspergillus niger, which can be harmful to your health.”
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