ingredients to avoid

Chapter 3: Ingredients in food to avoid

Many ingredients on the market can aid in the cooking process or offer a cheaper alternative, but they are not always beneficial for your health. Some of these foods can cause harmful effects, and you should avoid them in your dishes. Check out these ingredients to avoid in food on your menu.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

You can find high fructose corn syrup in foods such as juice, breakfast cereals, soda, snacks and candy. This sweetener comes from corn but can cause serious health issues if you consume too much, making this ingredient one of the worst additives in food that you should avoid.

High fructose corn syrup can increase liver fat and boosts the risk of diabetes. It can also increase blood sugar, decrease insulin and trigger inflammation. This ingredient does not offer minerals or vitamins, meaning it deposits empty calories that can lead to weight gain without any nutritional boost.

Hydrogenated Oils

Hydrogenated oils, also known as trans fats, make foods and oil more shelf-stable. These foods can last much longer in your cabinets and pantries but are not suitable for your body. These oils can increase inflammation and the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

You should avoid trans fats as much as possible and be aware of the amount you use in your dishes, if any. Many baked goods, coffee creamers, crackers, potato chips and fried foods contain hydrogenated oils, so rethink these recipes if you feature them on your menu.

Artificial Sweeteners

Some fad diets and weight loss trends encourage people to use artificial sweeteners in their beverages and meals. However, some sweeteners can cause health concerns and contribute to weight gain. Additionally, one study discovered these sweeteners were linked with increased cancer risk.

Artificial Preservatives

You might use products with artificial preservatives in your kitchen to keep items longer on your shelf. They may help you prevent some forms of waste, but they don’t improve the nutritious quality of your meals. Preservatives prevent premature decomposition but are not always beneficial for consumption. Products that list artificial ingredients, like artificial colors and flavors, can contain chemicals that negatively impact your body and lead to serious health issues.


Too much sugar in any form can have adverse effects on your body. High cholesterol, obesity and diabetes can also result from too much sugar. Sugar is a flavor enhancer that makes you want to keep reaching for more. You can combat this by looking for natural juices, flavors and spices to enhance your dishes to satisfy your guests without compromising their health.

Enriched Wheat

Enriched wheat products contain no bran or endosperm. Dishes made with enriched wheat will not have the essential vitamins and minerals people need, like fiber, vitamin B or E. Whole wheat should always be the first ingredient in your grain products.


Margarine may contain trans fats, which can lead to heart disease. Additionally, different brands can contain various amounts of salt and saturated fats. Stick margarine is likely to have more saturated fat than a tub or liquid margarine, but you should consider skipping this ingredient altogether.

Canned Soups and Vegetables

These may not seem like ingredients to avoid until you look closer at the nutrition labels. Some canned soups have high levels of salt, which can lead to elevated blood pressure and heart or kidney diseases. Additionally, canned vegetables and soups can have more fat and calories than their fresh alternatives.

Avoid These Unhealthy Ingredients in Your Diet-Conscious Menu

This list of food ingredients to avoid is not exhaustive. You should avoid many other foods in your dishes to adapt to a more nutritional menu. Thankfully, these ingredients have healthier substitutions, which you can discover in the next chapter. You can also look at these nutritious and delicious recipes to fill your menu or contact us to learn more about alternatives for your kitchen.