Nonna Joann’s Top 10 ‘Worst’ Foods

Nonna’s Ten ‘Worst’ Foods of the Decade Part 2

Our food supply has become so polluted that it’s difficult to discern what’s a whole food and what’s not. I’ve divided my ‘Top 10 Worst Foods of the Decade’ in half. Today’s blog contains the second half: 5 through 1. Click Here to see Part One. I’ve listed them in descending order. The most obvious foods, which we regularly eat, are mentioned in my previous blog. The not-so-obvious unhealthy foods we often believe are healthy are covered in today’s blog, ending with the one food parents really believe is a health food, but it’s full of sugar. Madison cereal

#5 — Fried Chicken (A popular kids’ menu item.)
Fried chicken comes in many forms for kids: chicken fingers, chicken nuggets, chicken sandwiches, etc. Parents often think this is a better choice than a hamburger. There’s six to ten grams of trans fat in each order of onion rings or chicken fingers.  KFC Original Recipe Chicken Dinner has seven grams of trans fat, mostly from the chicken and biscuit.

#4 — Microwave Popcorn
A report from the FDA indicates that a chemical coating used in microwave popcorn bags breaks down when heated into a substance called perfluorooctanoic (PFOA). The Environmental Protection Agency has identified PFOA as a “likely carcinogen.” Another study has found an acid that can be extracted from the chemical causes cancer in animals and is “likely to cause cancer in humans.”

Why is cereal on ‘Nonna’s Top 10 Worst Foods’ list? Madison’s not sure.

A second potential danger in microwave popcorn is diacetyl, an FDA-approved chemical found in the fake butter flavoring. There’s even a debilitating respiratory disease called “popcorn workers lung,” (the medical name of the condition is bronchiolitis obliterans) suffered by microwave popcorn factory workers caused by extended inhalation of the chemical’s fumes. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, (NIOSH) concluded that diacetyl needs further study so that workers in the flavorings and snack industry are no longer at risk. Do your family a favor and purchase a hot-air popper! It’s just as fast as the microwave variety and when you use organic popcorn and real butter, it’s a healthy snack.

#3 — Processed Lunch Meats
Hot dogs are considered “kid food.” You’ll find them on many children’s menus and are considered a summer staple. Most cured meats, expecially breakfast and other sausage, bacon, luncheon meats, and hot dogs, contain nitrites and nitrates. They’re added to processed meats to prevent botulism and enhance the taste and color of the meat. Without nitrates processed meats would be brown, just like cooked hamburger. Once inside the body, they can form nitrosamines, a cancer-causing chemical. These carcinogenic compounds have been associated with cancer. They have also been linked with leukemia and ADD/ADHD in children.

#2 — Boxed Cereal (including instant oatmeal)
More than 2.7 billion packages of cereal are sold in grocery stores each year. It’s the third most popular supermarket product (behind soda pop and bread). This translates to an average of 10 pounds, or 160 bowls, of cereal per American each year.

Extruded grains are industrially processed foods, including “healthy” breakfast cereals, which really aren’t so healthy. For all boxed breakfast cereals, grains are extruded — forced out of a hole at high temperature with pressure in order to make them into the various shapes typically found in breakfast cereals. The extrusion process destroys most of the nutrients in the grains, including fatty acids. Boxed cereals end up being empty calories. Cereals marketed to children are even worse as they are loaded with added sugars. Even the organic oatmeal pictured has 3 teaspoons of sugar per serving. Make your own hot oatmeal, it’ll cost less, taste better, and have less sugars.

#1 — Fruited Yogurt
The number one food parents believe is a healthy food and it’s NOT…is fruited yogurt. Yogurt is full of probiotics. Probiotics live in the tube that runs right through the middle of us. It includes our nose, sinuses, mouth, upper airways, lungs, esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, rectum and anus. We no longer eat a healthy diet with natural foods containing good bacteria, so the bad bacteria proliferate. We think we’re eating healthy foods with probiotics, such as fruited yogurts. But fruited yogurts have up to 7 teaspoons of sugar in a serving. The sugar feeds the bad bacteria, so we’re not better off than when we started. The solution is to eat PLAIN yogurt with active ingredients and add fruit-only jams for flavor. (Vanilla flavored yogurt is not the answer, either. There’s more added sugar in the vanilla yogurt!)

Click Here for The Decades Top 10 Worst Foods…items 10 through 6.

7 thoughts on “Nonna Joann’s Top 10 ‘Worst’ Foods

  1. Ally says:

    I loved it! I memorized all of the foods, too. Fruited yogurt, boxed cereal, processed lunch meat, microwave popcorn, fried chicken, store-bought cookies and crackers, non-dairy whipped topping, birthday cake, soda pop, and french fries!

  2. Maggie Macaulay says:

    Another great one for Parenting News! If any readers would like to receive our free weekly parenting newsletter, please subscribe at If you would like to have an hour with the incredible Joann Bruso, please attend the upcoming teleseminar Transforming a Picky Eater on Tuesday, February 22nd at Noon EST. For more on her workshop as well as the five others in this series called Tune In for Your Parenting Tune Up, please go to

    • Nonna Joann says:

      All lunch meat has been processed. The deli lunch meat MAY still have nitrates. Ask the clerk to check to see if nitrates have been added. Nitrates give lunch meat a pink color.

  3. danielle says:

    love this article! I have trouble finding a good low sugar yogurt for my son. Every week I have a different brand on my shopping list because I think they all stink! So much sugar I am shocked, even the ones that say less sugar made just for kids are loaded with it. I see you rec. plain yogurt with fruit only jam for flavor, can you recommend a good fruit only jam? everything I see in my grocery store has sugar in it. thanks, this is driving me crazy.

    • Nonna Joann says:

      Fruit-only jam adds other fruit concentrate for sweetness. You can find Smucker’s Simply Fruit in most grocery stores. Cascadian Farms Organic fruit spread can be found in most whole food stores.

  4. Kit says:

    WOW, Nona, I had NO idea… I could have guessed of course the french fries, cereal, and EVEN the popcorn. I make it on the stove now. But the yogurt? Huh? I always thought I was sending healthy foods with my children to school including that yogurt. Thank you so much for enlightening me. From now on it’s plain yogurt with fruit. I’m shocked what we are led to believe as moms in this country. Keep doing a great job and sending us all of your amazing wisdom! I love you for it! Happy New Year! Kit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *