What Are the Worst Processed Ingredients and Preservatives for Your Diet?

Young woman refuses pizza worst processed ingredients and preservatives for diet

What Are the Worst Processed Ingredients and Preservatives for Your Diet?

Processed foods make up 73% of the US food supply and half of a typical person’s calorie intake in a day. 

Not only that, but they’re often half the price of less-processed alternatives, meaning that most Americans opt for the ultra-processed option, even though it has major implications for the body.

What are the effects of including the worst processed ingredients and preservatives in your diet? Find out below.


The Effects of Processed Ingredients on the Body

Most ultra-processed ingredients, among the worst ingredients for your diet, contain high levels of sugar, sodium, and fat, which contribute to health conditions such as the following:

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure


Processing also strips good foods of their nutrients, which means when you consume them, they lack what the body needs, such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Processed foods are also calorie dense, which can lead to overeating and the need to eat often to feel satisfied.


The Effects of Preservatives on the Body

Preservatives are natural and artificial ingredients added to foods to prevent decomposition and extend the shelf-life of a product. Most of the produce you find in the grocery store, including fruits and vegetables, contains some kind of preservative to prolong its freshness.

Examples of the worst artificial preservatives for your diet include antioxidants, benzoates, nitrates, sorbates, and sulfites.

Artificial preservatives lead to diseases such as the following:

  • Heart disease (weakens heart tissue)
  • Breathing problems (such as asthma)
  • Cancer


Most alarming is that many preservatives can transform into carcinogen agents. Preservatives that contain nitrites and nitrates can mix with the gastric acid of the stomach and form cancer-causing agents.

Other side effects of preservatives include hyperactive behavior in children, increased chances of obesity, gas and bloating, decreased energy levels, and heartburn.


Processed Ingredients to Avoid

Simply eliminating many of the worst processed ingredients and preservatives from your diet can go a long way toward improving your digestive health and losing weight.

Avoid highly processed foods such as the following:

  • Hot dogs, bacon, deli meat, and other processed meats
  • Breakfast cereals and cereal bars
  • Frozen and microwave meals
  • Potato chips
  • Instant noodles
  • White bread
  • Soft drinks and energy drinks


Preservatives to Avoid

Try to avoid these top five worst preservatives for your diet:

  • Sodium nitrite and nitrate: These preservatives are often added to processed meat. When cooked, they convert to nitrosamines, which increase the risk of cancer. Look out for these in deli meat, bacon, canned meat, and hot dogs.
  • BHA and BHT: These preservatives are used to extend shelf life and keep food from going bad. They’ve been found to potentially be carcinogenic and to disrupt hormones. Look out for these in cereal, vegetable oil, shortening, candy, gum, and chips.
  • Potassium bromate: This preservative, one of the worst ingredients for your diet, increases volume in bread and flour. It’s been shown to cause cancer in animals and disrupt the endocrine system. It’s found in most breads and some flours.
  • High fructose corn syrup: This preservative is a highly refined sweetener made from corn starch. It contributes to weight gain, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, insulin resistance, elevated triglycerides, and bad cholesterol. You can find it in foods such as soda, salad dressing, canned vegetables, pizza sauce, and soup.
  • Hydrogenated vegetable oil: This preservative gives packaged food a longer shelf life for up to several years. It raises bad cholesterol, lowers good cholesterol, contributes to heart disease and obesity, and increases risk of metabolic conditions. It’s most often found in foods such as chips, fried foods, crackers, baked goods, and fast food.


Other preservatives to avoid include artificial food dyes, artificial sweeteners, MSG, rBGH and rBST, and artificial flavors.


Feeling Overwhelmed?

As you can see, there are a lot of harmful ingredients in most of the foods we eat on a daily basis, often without thinking about it. So how do you avoid these worst processed ingredients and preservatives for your diet without spending hours scouring the ingredients list on every grocery store product?


That’s Where Vital Health Solutions Comes In

You don’t have to figure all this out on your own. 

Dr. Cheryl Winter, a registered dietician/nutritionist and family nurse practitioner, is passionate about helping you create a diet plan tailored to your unique health issues and needs that avoids the worst processed ingredients and preservatives for your diet. All without deprivation, strict diet plans, or cheating.

With her functional medicine approach, Dr. Cheryl seeks to regulate all your bodily systems so that the entire body works the way it’s supposed to. 

“I don’t believe in a one size fits all approach,” Dr. Cheryl says. “I move beyond trends and fads and help you discover what works for your body and lifestyle….and allow you to flourish and thrive.”

Do you want to begin your journey toward healthful eating that actually gets you results – without being miserable?

Click here to learn how to begin working with us and register for a free fifteen-minute discovery call with Dr. Cheryl.

Our team is ready to help you regain your health and vitality so you can harmoniously dance your way through life again.