Health Hazards: 7 Everyday Things That Are Surprisingly Bad for You (and What to Do Instead)

in Lifestyle

Though advertising can help us find products we love, the unfortunate truth is that it can also be misleading. Indeed, many products advertised as healthy and convenient are actually surprisingly harmful. If you’re determined to clear your home of problematic products, it may be worth starting with the not-so-healthy items below:

Non-stick Teflon Pans

Non-stick Teflon pans are often recommended as an easy alternative to traditional cookware. While Teflon starts out safe and stable, toxic chemicals are released into the air as the coating breaks down. Discovering that these toxic chemicals can lead to polymer fume fever may inspire you to shop for the best non-stick pan without Teflon.

Polymer fume fever can give you flu-like symptoms, and some people have also experienced more severe effects like lung damage. Instead of using Teflon pans, opt for non-Teflon ceramic alternatives.

Sit-Ups and Crunches

If you needed an excuse to get out of exercise, here it is. Sit-ups and crunches might cause lower back injuries. The US Army even changed its training program to exclude them since a study found that more than half of injuries from their fitness test were related to these exercises. Instead of doing sit-ups and crunches, opt for safer alternatives like the plank pose.

Not Getting Enough Sleep

Not getting enough sleep can make you cranky, but that’s not the only harmful effect. You also put yourself at risk of health issues like high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and heart failure. So, if you struggle to get enough sleep, go to bed earlier, avoid caffeine in the afternoon, and don’t nap during the day.


While your home will smell nicer with incense burning, it might not do your respiratory tract any good. Studies have established a link between incense use and respiratory tract carcinomas. Fortunately, there are other ways to make your home smell nice. Do some baking, warm up vanilla extract, or absorb foul odours with baking soda.

Digital Devices

Digital devices don’t just impact our sleep; they can also harm our eyesight. Blue light from devices isn’t usually present in our natural environment, and exposure might lead to photoreceptor damage and reduced ocular health. If you can’t avoid digital devices, invest in blue light filtration technology to ensure damaging wavelengths can’t enter your eyes.

Diet Soda

You might think you’re doing your body a favour by drinking diet soda over its sugarier counterpart, but research says otherwise. Studies have found that, compared to people who didn’t drink diet soda, middle-aged to older diet soda drinkers are three times more likely to  have a stroke or develop dementia. Another study also found that people who had one diet soda daily had smaller brain volumes than those who didn’t.


We’re told sugar is bad for us, so many people use alternative sweeteners like agave. Agave nectar is a plant-based sweetener, which might make you think it’s good for you.

However, agave is high in fructose, and fructose consumption can cause insulin resistance, putting you at risk of type 2 diabetes. Instead of reaching for agave, satisfy your sweet tooth with fruit.

We can’t live our lives avoiding everything we’re told is terrible for us. However, we can make a conscious effort to purchase products we believe will make us healthier. Before you reach for a supposedly healthier or more convenient alternative to another product, do your homework. You might find it isn’t as safe or healthy as you thought.

Image Credits: lasse bergqvist

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