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5 Popular Snacks That May Harm Your Immune System, Says Science

Limit your consumption of these sugary/salty goodies!
FACT CHECKED BY Kiersten Hickman

Despite the increased rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, the pandemic isn't over yet. In fact, in some states, the seven-day averages in new cases are slightly on the rise once again.

So, even though one-third of U.S. adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine it's still important to do everything you can to keep your body's first line of defense strong—your immune system. While there are many foods that can support immune function, there's also a list of snacks and meals to limit your intake of, as they could suppress your body's ability to fight off infection.

Below, you'll see just five popular snacks that may harm your immune system, and then, don't miss The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.

Totino's Bacon & Pepperoni Pizza Rolls

totinos pizza rolls
General Mills
6 rolls (85 g): 230 calories, 9 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 410 mg sodium, 30 g carbs (1 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 6 g protein

Totino's Bacon & Pepperoni Pizza Rolls may bring back pleasant childhood memories, however, eating them regularly could be hindering your immune function. Just six of these pizza rolls contain about 18% of your daily needs of sodium and chances are you'll probably have closer to two servings, right? That means you'd up to 820 milligrams of sodium with this snack. Research has shown that salt can suppress anti-inflammatory responses and alter gut bacteria, so eating a lot of processed foods that are high in sodium could backfire on your immune system

Talenti Salted Caramel Truffle Gelato

talenti salted caramel truffle

2/3 cup (117 g): 320 calories, 15 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 140 mg sodium, 42 g carbs (<1 g fiber, 34 g sugar), 5 g protein

Let's set the record straight here—we would 100% eat a serving of this ice cream. However, the key is moderation, as just one 2/3-cup serving of this Talenti flavor costs you 26 grams of added sugars. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that men consume no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams) of added sugars daily and women have no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) each day to protect the heart. If you're a woman, one serving would slightly surpass the AHA's recommendations.

Eating too many added sugars can negatively affect your immune system as well. But more on that in the next slide…

Frosted Hot Fudge Sundae Pop-Tarts

pop tarts hot fudge sundae

1 pastry (48 g): 180 calories, 4.5 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 210 mg sodium, 35 g carbs (<1 g fiber, 16 g sugar), 2 g protein

This snack/breakfast food is packed in not-so-good ingredients such as hydrogenated palm kernel oil and high fructose corn syrup as well as a potentially harmful preservative called TBHQ. Additionally, just one pastry boasts 16 grams of sugar, and high-sugar foods can raise blood glucose (sugar) levels and increase the production of inflammatory proteins that wreak havoc on your immune function. 

Lay's Sour Cream & Onion Potato Chips

lays sour cream onion

1 oz. (28 g): 160 calories, 10 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 160 mg sodium, 15 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 2 g protein

One serving of Lay's Sour Cream & Onion Potato Chips packs quite a bit of total fat at 10 grams. Potato chips, in particular, are very high in omega-6 fatty acids and too much of these can cause do some damage to the immune system over time.

"Processed foods, with their high sugar levels, omega-6 fatty acids, excess sodium, and junky additives, on the other hand, can stoke the fire of inflammation," Sydney Greene, MS, RD has told us before. "When inflammation is high, it taxes the immune system leaving us more susceptible to disease and illness."

Pepperidge Farm Chesapeake Dark Chocolate Pecan Cookies

chesapeake cookies

1 cookie (26 g): 140 calories, 8 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 80 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (1 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 2 g protein

Yes, this cookie looks delicious and yes, you should feel fine eating one. But don't overdo it, because one cookie can quickly turn into two or three, and all of that sugar can not only through your blood sugar levels out of whack, but may also impair immune function.

For more, be sure to check out The Unhealthiest Snacks On the Planet.

Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the former news editor of Eat This, Not That! Read more about Cheyenne
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