12 Worst Processed Foods You Must Avoid (and What to Eat Instead)



1. Pickles

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Pickles are the perfect burger or sandwich topper, giving your dinner the juicy crunch it needs. While pickles are technically made from cucumbers — a vegetable — they’re not as healthy as you think. To transform a cucumber into a pickle, you have to soak it in a solution called brine. Brine is a mixture of vinegar, spices, and salt … a lot of salt. This is what gives them their delicious, sour flavor. The excess salt in the average pickle might not be worth the taste, though.

There are about 833 milligrams of sodium in one medium-sized pickle (it varies slightly by brand and type). However, this is almost 40 percent of your daily recommended salt intake — in one pickle. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per person per day. Even if you quarter a whole pickle to fit on your sub sandwich, that’s still more sodium than one person needs in a single meal.

What to eat instead: Scoop a small amount of pickle relish onto whatever food you’d normally add a pickle to. It’s not the healthiest condiment you can eat, but it has far less sodium per serving than a whole pickle. A small amount will still give your sandwich the sour, crunchy kick you’re looking for.

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