Everyday Foods That Studies Have Found Are Both Good and Bad for You

Sometimes, even the most unhealthy foods you eat every day aren’t all bad. With healthy eating should also come the understanding that pretty much all foods have both benefits and risks. Balance is key. Eating too much of some foods, and not enough of others, is bad for your health. Here are some of your favorite foods — and why they can be risky, but are perfectly fine to eat.

1. Eggs

A bunch of eggs in a brown bowl on a white table.

The debate on eggs has been quite interesting. | Irisstock/iStock/Getty Images Plus

We used to shun egg yolks because we thought they increased heart disease risk. Thanks to studies from publications like the American Journal of Public Health, we now know that even though eggs do raise LDL cholesterol, the effects aren’t as significant as research once suggested.

However, moderate egg consumption assumes you’re only eating one egg per day, says The Nutrition Source. Eating too many eggs for breakfast, you might miss out on other nutrients you could get from other foods, like whole grains.

2. Beef

Pieces of cut dry beef on a wooden table.

Eating beef might not set you too far back. | Rez-Art/iStock/Getty Images

According to the National Institutes of Health, some research suggests regularly consuming red meat increases your risk of disease. The problem with many nutrition studies, however, is that they involve self-reporting, which doesn’t always produce accurate results. We do know that too much saturated fat — found in beef and other sources of red meat — is bad. However, some early research does suggest red meat might have hidden longevity benefits. Plus, all things considered, it’s a plentiful source of protein (and carb-free).

3. Peanut butter

Oat bran bagel with creamy peanut butter.

Peanut butter can be a healthy snack if enjoyed without extra carbs and sweets. | Rojoimages/iStock/Getty Images

Everyone’s favorite snack (you’ve eaten it straight out of the jar before, don’t lie) gets a bad rap. Some research has even suggested peanut butter increases your risk for certain types of cancer. But there’s good news. Peanuts, according to JAMA Internal Medicine, can lower your risk of heart disease. As long as your peanut butter brand of choice is as minimally processed as possible (or you make your own), you don’t have to give it up completely.

4. Bread

Fresh bread with wheat ears on table.

Pick out your breads with caution. | VikkiePix/iStock/Getty Images

You’ve probably heard that most bread is bad for your health. According to Science Daily, it really depends on the type and the individual consuming it. In general, the more processing a food goes through before it hits the shelves, the further you should distance yourself from it. Bread made exclusively with whole grains — not just wheat or “multigrain” bread — provides fiber and B vitamins, as well as other beneficial nutrients. TIME warns it’s not easy to find breads without enriched flour, however. You don’t have to swear off bread entirely, but do pay attention to its ingredient list.

5. Tuna

A white bowl full of tuna on a table with a fork.

Tuna makes for a quick and easy snack. | HandmadePictures/iStock/Getty Images

Tuna has many health benefits, says Public Health Nutrition. It’s packed with healthy fats and protein, important components of any nutritious diet. However, many scientists over the years have expressed concerns over its mercury content, according to The Washington Post. Will eating tuna poison you? Probably not. Foods like tuna and salmon contain traces of mercury, but your chances of experiencing negative side effects are extremely small. In this case, the benefits of tuna outweigh the bite-sized risks.

6. Bananas

Bunch of Bananas in a wooden crate.

Bananas are a source of good carbs. | iStock.com

When people point out the flaws in this fruit, they tend to criticize its high carb and calorie content. That’s not the worst thing a bunch of bananas can do to you, though. If you eat too many of them over a long period of time, you could suffer a potassium overdose — which can have life-threatening side effects. Fortunately, like tuna, the benefits of bananas almost cancel out any associated risks. A moderate potassium intake decreases your risk of dying from more than one disease.

7. Potatoes

Potatoes on a wooden bowl and cut into halves on plates.

Don’t swear off potatoes forever. | Yelena Yemchuk/iStock/Getty Images

You might remember that study warning you fried potatoes might kill you. Technically, it’s not wrong. Eating fried foods (too much saturated fat) increases your risk of heart disease, because your body just doesn’t know what to do with all that extra fat. However, french fries aren’t the only way to eat a potato. A baked potato still provides plenty of fiber and vitamin C, says Organic Facts, as long as you don’t remove the skin. There are healthier foods out there, but all potatoes aren’t the enemy.