Top 10 Reasons to Avoid Processed Foods…some of them may be new to you!

Print Friendly

I think we all know processed foods aren’t good for us. But some of these reasons were new to me, and very interesting! I’m sure some of them are a bit exaggerated, but hey, what can I say?

Top 10 Reasons
to Avoid Processed Foods (source: Huffington Post)

CEO and Chairman of Rodale, Inc. and book author

by guest blogger Tyler Graham, coauthor of The Happiness Diet

1: Deciphering food label ingredients leads to unappetizing results. Take the innocuous-soundingcastoreum, which is used to enhance the flavor of puddings, candies, and some frozen dairy desserts. You might be surprised to know that it’s derived from beavers–beaver anal glands, specifically.

2: Many foods get their red coloring–“carmine”–from ground-up insect shells that can cause severeallergic reactions in some people.

3: The greater the number of cheap cuts of meat ground into a single patty, the greater the risk of contamination with E. coli. A standard fast-food burger contains the trimmings of dozens of cows raised around the globe.

4: According to research from UCLA, it takes only two months to lower levels of brain chemicals responsible for learning and memory (like BDNF) on a steady diet of processed foods.

5: Processed food is only as good as its packaging: In the summer of last year, Kellogg’s recalled 28 million boxes of cereal because a compound in the box lining (the company wouldn’t say what) was giving off a foul smell and tainting the taste of the boxed food.

6: The same company that makes metal detectors for airports also sells them to food manufacturers, who use the devices to test processed meats for stray wires, metal shards, and hypodermic needles.

7: The ingredients list for Strawberry Fruit Roll-Ups doesn’t include…strawberries.

8: Animal feed given to factory-farmed cows contains rendered roadkill and euthanized cats and dogs, as well as plastic pellets as a cheap form of “roughage.”

9: There are more than 80 ingredients in one Oscar Mayer Lunchables Breaded Chicken and Mozzarella sandwich.

10: The FDA allows 19 maggots and 74 mites in a three-and-a-half-ounce can of mushrooms.

Tyler Graham is the coauthor of The Happiness Diet. Previously, he served as the health and environment editor of O, The Oprah Magazine, the nutrition editor atPrevention, and the environment editor atBest Life. He recently launched a men’s health section at Details magazine.

For more from Maria Rodale, go to

Follow Maria Rodale on Twitter:
FRESH Posts In Your Inbox
Life Made Full
Join the 1000's of Readers That
Receive Our New Posts By Email.


  1. Nicole says

    Really!?!?! Is this really, really true!?!? (I will follow the links later… Just reacting right now =). Very thankful for my family’s diet right about now…

  2. says

    ohhh mmmmmm geeeeeeeee. i am so glad i finally am waking up to this nastiness and getting my family on a healthy eating path—even though the 2 and 4 year old are giving me such a hard time! we’ll get there.
    beaver anal glands? what the heck

  3. Kelly says

    Having been involved in agriculture my entire life, most of what this guy says is completely blown out of proportion or out right wrong…. for instance
    8: Animal feed given to factory-farmed cows contains rendered roadkill and euthanized cats and dogs, as well as plastic pellets as a cheap form of “roughage.”

    98% of farms in this country are family owned and operated and the term factory farm is a term coined by animal rights extremists to make it sound bad….. also it has been illegal since 1997 to feed ruminants any form of meat protein.

    This is just one example of how this “reporter” is out of touch with where his food comes from and how it is produced…

    Please people do your research talk to a farmer not a journalist about where your food comes from…..If you are unsure as to where to meet a farmer, virtually every state has dairy, beef, corn, soybean etc farm organizations…. please contact those farmer organizations as they would be happy to put you in contact with your local farm family.

    • Kate Smith says

      Family farmers are being forced out of business at an alarming rate. According to Farm Aid, every week 330 farmers leave their land.i As a result, there are now nearly five million fewer farms in the U.S. than there were in the 1930’s.ii Of the two million remaining farms, only 565,000 are family operations.iii As established family farms are shut down, they are not being replaced by new farms and young farmers. Very few young people become farmers today, and half of all U.S. farmers are between the ages of 45 and 65, while only 6% of all farmers are under the age of 35.

  4. MWVet says

    I don’t know about the rest, but as a veterinarian, I can tell you #8 is completely untrue. Euthanized animals are cremated, not rendered into animal food, because the drugs we use to euthanize them are controlled substances and are highly regulated. And feeding contaminated roadkill to livestock would be a huge risk to causing illness in the livestock. Ill livestock = less money for the producers. Producers not only care about their animals, but those animals are their livelihood. I would be very skeptical of the rest of the article just because of this one item – the author clearly doesn’t research what he writes.

  5. ndv1982 says

    This is the biggest crock I’ve ever read. Are people really THAT willing to believe anything they read?!?! C’mon guys! Use common sense when choosing what you want to put into your body.

  6. Megan Hughes says

    For all of us who are disagreeing with the facts presented in this article, I have to say with discomfort – That he is true.

    Being as America is so profit driven, we need massive amounts of food at a fast paced which involves being innovative and finding subsitutes for humans and animals.

    “Substitues” involves many things included in this article, including the unfortunate extras such as genetically grown plant products, farmed fish, etc. When you eat out of boxes, just know that you are adding chemicals to your body –

    If you doubt this, do any amount of research on the correlation to processed foods and heart disease, diabetes, and cancer in the US in comparison to those of countries with significantly less cases of those health issues.

    It’s unfortunate but that is why we are the only things supporting ourselves and we must watch what goes into our body.

    If you choose not to believe this and take action towards eating healthier, you have a greater risk of obtaining significant health issues in the future.

  7. says

    The FDA posts this information to show you how much the average inspection uncovers and then REJECTS from production lines. They dont ALLOW 19 maggots into your food….the average that they FIND is 19 and then they REJECT the tainted cans.

    It’s called COMPREHENSION….pay attention next time!

  8. says

    If this information was nor so seriou for our health, it would be almost comical. Unfortunately we cant laugh at it, because this is the reason why people are sick and suffering at an enormously alarming pace.


Speak Your Mind