19 Things People Consume Even Though They’re Dangerous

Scientific research and modern manufacturing methods have led to an increase in convenience foods and ultra-processed products that have become part of many people’s everyday lives. Increased knowledge and research around the health impacts of these products have led to concerns about these 19 things.

Raw or Undercooked Meat

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According to Healthline, “properly cooking meat destroys potentially harmful pathogens. On the other hand, pathogens remain in raw meat. Thus, eating raw meat greatly increases your risk of developing foodborne illness.” Raw or undercooked meat can lead to infections such as Salmonella, E. coli, and other bacterial infections, which can cause symptoms like diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps.

Trans Fats

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Known to increase levels of bad cholesterol and decrease good cholesterol, eating trans fats can increase your risk of having a stroke or developing heart disease. These fats are commonly found in processed foods, baked goods, and fried foods and will cause inflammation and blocked arteries in the body.

Artificial Sweeteners

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People often use artificial sweeteners in an attempt to lose weight. However, some studies suggest they may contribute to weight gain and increase the risk of metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes by altering the body’s ability to regulate glucose.

Energy Drinks

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The high caffeine and sugar content in these drinks can cause heart palpitations, high blood pressure, and, in extreme cases, heart failure or arrhythmias. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, “These drinks are often used by students to provide an extra boost in energy. However, the stimulants in these drinks can have a harmful effect on the nervous system.”

Alcohol

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Alcohol consumption can lead to liver diseases like cirrhosis, various forms of cancer, and alcohol use disorder. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism also found that “alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, and can affect the way the brain looks and works. These disruptions can change mood and behavior, and make it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.”

Raw Shellfish

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Raw shellfish, particularly oysters, can harbor pathogens like norovirus and Vibrio bacteria. Consuming shellfish when it is raw or undercooked increases the risk of foodborne illnesses, which can be particularly dangerous for certain people, including the immunocompromised.

Unpasteurized Dairy Products

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Unpasteurized dairy products can contain harmful bacteria like Listeria, E. coli, and Salmonella, which can cause severe gastrointestinal illnesses and infections. Pregnant women, infants, the elderly, and individuals with weakened immune systems are especially at risk of serious health complications from these bacteria.

Refined Sugars

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Consuming a large amount of refined sugar is linked to numerous health issues, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. The sugar can cause higher levels of body fat, insulin resistance, and inflammation in the body. Consuming foods high in refined sugars can also cause a spike in blood sugar levels, followed by a rapid drop in energy.

Processed Meats

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Processed meats are classified by the World Health Organization as carcinogenic and are known to particularly increase the risk of colorectal cancer if consumed regularly. The high levels of sodium and preservatives in these products can also contribute to high blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Caffeine

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While moderate consumption can have beneficial effects, consuming excessive levels can lead to negative outcomes such as insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, stomach irritation, and an increased heart rate. You can also develop a dependence on caffeine that can cause withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.

Herbal Supplements

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There is no real regulation on herbal supplement manufacturers, and as a result, there are many products on the market that have inconsistent doses or contain contaminants, posing health risks to consumers. Some herbal supplements can also negatively interact with prescription medications, potentially reducing their effectiveness or leading to harmful side effects.

Raw Eggs

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Consuming a raw egg can lead to a Salmonella infection, which can cause symptoms like diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. There is also a risk that some proteins in raw eggs can interfere with the absorption of biotin, a vital nutrient, potentially leading to deficiency if consumed in large quantities.

Over-the-Counter Painkillers

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Overuse of painkillers such as paracetamol can lead to liver damage or failure, and it’s therefore crucial to read and adhere to the recommended dosage. Drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin can cause gastrointestinal issues, including ulcers and bleeding, as well as kidney problems with long-term use.

Fast Food

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Generally high in saturated fats, calories, and sodium, fast food leads to an increased risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and other health issues. According to the National Library of Medicine, “Today, eating processed foods and fast foods may kill more people prematurely than cigarette smoking.”

Deep-Fried Foods

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Deep-fried foods contain trans fats and acrylamide, substances that are both linked to an increased risk of cancer and heart disease. Regularly consuming deep-fried foods can cause higher cholesterol levels, obesity, and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart conditions.

Detox Teas

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Carrying claims of detoxification and weight loss, these teas are largely unsupported by scientific evidence and can be misleading to consumers. Many detox teas contain diuretics or laxatives, which can lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and gastrointestinal distress. Instead, it’s better to focus on a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise.

High-Sodium Foods

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Consuming excessive amounts of sodium is a major risk factor for hypertension, which can lead to cardiovascular issues such as a heart attack or a stroke. It can also cause fluid retention, leading to swelling in areas across the body and placing an additional strain on the heart.

Diet Sodas

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Diet sodas have been linked to an increased risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes because of their use of artificial sweeteners, and there is a suggestion that they have a negative effect on the gut microbiome. UCLA Health also says that “studies have linked the diet soda habit to an increased risk of stroke.”

Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs)

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The long-term health impacts of consuming genetically modified foods are an ongoing subject of debate and scientific study, but there is concern that the antibiotic resistance markers used could cause broader antibiotic resistance. This poses a significant risk to public health.

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