Foods That Were Harmful In The Past And Useful Now And Vice Versa

Our eating habits and preferences have changed dramatically. On the one hand, our food preferences are formed under the influence of culinary trends. On the other hand, many products we love today were considered not only dangerous but poisonous. In some cases, we observe the opposite transformation: common foods in the past are forgotten today. What people believed to be healthy before is in the blacklist today.  

Such myths appear for different reasons and one of them is the lack of knowledge and technologies to study the list of ingredients and find out their effect on our health.  

Advertisement also played a great role in promoting false facts about the benefits and the harm of certain foods. Manufacturers distributed false information for their profit only.

Even today we can not be 100% sure that we get reliable information about the quality of food we eat.

There is a possibility that in ten years we will witness a new food revolution and our perceptions about what is useful and what is not will change dramatically again.


In some cultures, a potato is called a second bread and there is a reason for it – one can make dozens of dishes with potatoes.

But several centuries ago, people refused to eat potatoes because they regarded this plant as a devil’s food and believed that it was poisonous. They cultivated potatoes only for non-food purposes. The problem was that people tried to eat not starch-rich potato tubers but green sections of the plant. 

Later the situation changed and potato is one of the most popular foods today. However, its usefulness is still debatable.

If potato tubers have been exposed to the sun for a long time, then they may be poisonous. Potato skin accumulates poisonous substance solanine. It is not recommended to use such potatoes.


Margarine was invented in the 19th century as a substitute for butter. It contains vegetable oil and different additives to make its flavor and consistency better. 

Margarine was considered useful for a long time. Ads said that it did not contain cholesterol, which was closely linked to obesity, and suitable both for cooking and spreading on sandwiches.

Today dietitians tend to believe that margarine brings more harm than benefits to our health. And they are right because margarine contains transfats, coloring agents, preservatives, and emulsifiers. 

Eating too much cheap margarine, your chances of developing atherosclerosis, heart attack, and diabetes mellitus are much higher. However, margarine may be the only alternative for people with an intolerance to animal fats or dairy products. 


Tomatoes come from South America and while the natives were cultivating and eating tomatoes, among the Europeans tomatoes garnered a reputation for being poisonous. Those bright red berries did not stimulate appetite and some people even died after eating them.

In those time no one knew that tomato stems and leaves were poisonous because they contain glycoalcoloids that can be deadly in large quantities. Tomato berries are absolutely safe. More than that, today we love tomatoes for their nutritious, antibacterial and other health properties. 

There is also evidence that tomatoes are good antidepressants and improve metabolism. But before you eat a tomato, make sure to cut out the pedicle (the part where the stalk was attached) because it is here where harmful solanine is accumulated.


When we first learned about soybeans, we became the most loyal fans of this crop for its unique properties. It was recommended to use soybeans everywhere and substitute meat, dairies and, even some vegetables with it. Many foods contained soy.

We can not say that much has changed for soy but dietitians do not see only benefits anymore. Today it is not recommended to incorporate soy to children’s diet because soy isoflavones can seriously change the endocrine profile and affect thyroid function.

Elderly people should be aware that soybeans may increase the risk of Alzheimer.

While soy has its disadvantages, it is still a valuable source of vegetable protein that helps to lose weight and is beneficial for women’s health. A rule of thumb is to know when enough is enough and consult your doctor before incorporating soybeans to your diet.


Eggplants were also first cultivated in the southern hemisphere and were ignored by the Europeans till the 19th century. This vegetable got a nickname a crazy apple because people believed that eating eggplants could cause hallucinations and in the worst-case scenario – a serious intoxication.

The truth is that eggplants are not only tasty but have several health properties. This vegetable is a recommended choice for people suffering from atherosclerosis, diabetes, constipation, and nervous system disorders.

However, avoid eating eggplants if you have gastritis or ulcers. It is strongly not recommended to eat overripe eggplants as they accumulate dangerous solanine in their flesh and skin. You can easily tell a good eggplant from a bad one – the latter is greyish green and has a soft stem.


When health and fitness became a billion dollar industry, fitness foods, including cereals, also gained popularity. Their high energy value and fiber increased the demand for cereals.

However, muesli and cereals brands failed to mention that their products contain a lot of sugar and refined carbohydrates. These empty calories are the first step to obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. 

Start your day with a home-made cereal. Ready-to-eat cereals should be your breakfast choice only in rare cases and preferably without honey, nuts, and dried fruits.