Some of these foods are known hormone disruptors, while others could increase your chance of developing a chronic disease. And if you’re trying to get pregnant or are breastfeeding, there are some major no-nos on the list. Whether these foods mess with your fertility or put you at risk for weight gain and heart disease, these are some of the most unhealthy options that should never be on your plate. Basically, these are the worst foods for women you’re going to want to avoid. If you’re looking for what you should be eating, make sure you check out the 50 Best Foods for Women.
Canned veggies make whipping up dinner a cinch, but it could also be at the cost of your health. Many cans are laced with bisphenol A, or BPA, an industrial chemical used in various food and beverage containers. A study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that BPA can affect cell function in the brain and impact central nervous system development.
It can also be particularly harmful to women; researchers from the University of Illinois found that BPA interferes with the production of estradiol, the sex hormone essential for reproductive development. Another study found that mice exposed to BPA stopped producing viable eggs even at a young age. And it’s not just canned goods; BPA is lurking in all kinds of plastic, too. Be sure to double check your labels and only buy cans and plastics that are specifically labeled BPA-free.
Milk is often fortified with vitamin D, an essential vitamin most Americans are lacking in. Vitamin D can help boost weight loss, fight depression, and prevent your bones from developing osteoporosis. But D is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it needs some fat to be absorbed. Since skim milk has had all the fat removed, you’re better off drinking 2% or whole milk to reap the bone-protecting benefits from the vitamin D. Skim milk has also been linked to infertility, so if you’re trying to get pregnant you’re better off picking a milk that has a little (or all the) fat.
Extra Large Coffees
Courtesy of Facebook, @DunkinDonutsUS
Coffee, in general, is healthy; studies have shown it can help you live longer, reduce anxiety, and is good for your heart, plus a whole host of other health benefits. But it is possible to have too much of a good thing. “An adult can safely consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine a day, which is equivalent to four 8-ounce cups of coffee, but drinking any more than that can cause calcium excretion, which, over time, may lead to osteoporosis,” Dr. Mamta M. Mamik, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, says. Women are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis; of the 10 million Americans who have osteoporosis, 80 percent are women. Enjoy your coffee, but try to stick to one or two cups.
Another sneaky source of trans fats is non-dairy coffee creamer, which are often times made with trans-fatty hydrogenated oils. The ingredients in Coffeemate Original flavor, for example, include: corn syrup solids, partially hydrogenated soybean and/or partially hydrogenated cottonseed. Even trace amounts of these processed trans fats could be bad for your heart. You’re better off sticking to a splash of whole milk instead. Looking for something non-dairy? Try a creamer made with almond milk and coconut milk, like Nutpods dairy-free creamers. They’re made without sweeteners or artificial flavors and will add a creamy boost of flavor to your coffee.
Think diet soda is a great way to cut calories and boost weight loss? Think again. Sure, it’s calorie and sugar-free, but it’s chock-full of chemicals and scary additives. And it’s just as bad for your belly as regular soda; a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that people who drank diet soda regularly had nearly three times the amount of belly fat over a 9-year period compared to those who didn’t drink diet soda. Ditch the soda altogether and sip on sparkling water with fresh fruit. Better yet, brew up one of our 22 Best Teas for Weight Loss.
You may think white bread is a better choice than, say, a donut, but they’re both refined carbohydrates, and your body processes refined carbohydrates as sugar. Refined carbs have been stripped of almost all of their fiber, which means they cause your blood sugar to spike and your insulin levels to rise. This is especially problematic for one of the 5 million women who have polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS.
Women with PCOS are likely to have an insulin resistance, which means their body doesn’t respond when insulin is produced to metabolize glucose, like the glucose that’s delivered from refined carbs. This leads to high blood sugar and weight gain, especially in the oh-so-flattering area of your belly. Another double-whammy for women is that the spike in blood sugar could inhibit ovulation, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Women with PCOS and insulin resistance should limit all refined carb intake, but if you must reach for bread, make it the 100% whole grain variety (we offer some options in our bread ranking) and pair with a protein. The fiber combined with the protein will help stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels.
We’re big fans of yogurt at Eat This, Not That!, but we prefer Greek yogurt with a little bit of fat. And if it’s plain, even better. Non-fat yogurt, especially flavored yogurts, can be sugar bombs which spike your blood sugar and insulin levels. It can also impact your ability to get pregnant. A study published in the journal Human Reproduction found that women who ate high amounts of low-fat dairy were at a whopping 85 percent higher risk of ovulatory infertility compared to women who ate little to no low-fat dairy. You’re better off picking up full-fat plain Greek yogurt and adding your own toppings, such as fresh fruit or nuts.