National Geographic revealed that in 2011, the world has an average consumption of 2,870 calories per day – 45% of it is from grain, 11% produce, 8% eggs, 9% meat, 20% fats and 5% others. While diets may vary depending on where you are in the world, one thing is for sure – there are foods to avoid for they are not created equal.
Eating is a vital part of our lifestyle. Since it’s natural, taking it for granted is easy. In fact, unhealthy eating habits contribute to 678,000 deaths every year in the United States alone. Obesity and nutrition-related diseases including cancer, heart disease and diabetes are the usual consequence of a typical American diet that is high in sodium, saturated fat, sugars, and overall – calories.
People would’ve practiced a healthy diet if it’s that simple. But, the reality is that the usual list of foods to avoid is made of the tastiest, cheapest, and filling selection in the pantry. They are tempting and hard to resist. So, we understand where you’re coming from. With that said, it is crucial to make a conscious choice when it comes to your calories in.
List of unhealthy foods to avoid
Poor nutrition is still one of the causes of health and economic problems in the world. Thus, how do you ensure that your plate is filled with quality nutrients that would benefit your overall being? Here’s a list of unhealthy foods to avoid, or to include in your menu sparingly.
How many times have French fries been tagged as an unhealthy food? This isn’t surprising news. But the big question is – how bad are they that they always make it to the list of foods to avoid? Potatoes are vegetables, right? So what makes them an unhealthy choice in your diet?
A study associated the regular consumption of fried potato to elevated mortality. The authors of the research pointed this result to its high amount of sodium and fat. Regularly eating this food also increases the risk of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Other kinds of potato preparations don’t seem to manifest the same risk, so, it would really boil down to the way you cook this vegetable. It isn’t really harmful raw, until it’s soaked in oil and sodium.
With this knowledge, should you say goodbye to French Friess for good? The findings about its correlation to death are noted for those people who eat the said food more than twice a week. This means that munching on this snack in the right portion, and maybe rarely, should not hurt.
Nothing can be more satisfying than nibbling on a pack of chips while binge-watching your favorite series, or hanging out with your friends with a bottle of soda. But, despite this junk food’s popularity, there’s a reason why you’ve been told time and again to only eat it occasionally. Though it’s easy to empty a bag of it in just a single sitting.
Since chips are highly processed (to suit your taste buds), consuming it daily may trigger you to take in salt that results in more cravings. This is one of the reasons why people who love junk foods, and eat them regularly, tend to gain weight.
You can check the nutrition breakdown of your favorite potato chips to see for yourself. You’ll discover the high amount of calories, sodium, and fats without the nutritional value that your body needs.
On top of this, the American Cancer Society highlighted that the acrylamide potato chips contain is a compound that’s related to cancer during a study in mice. Who would want to expose themselves to these risks by constantly eating this junk food?
Did you know that doughnuts can have as much as 15-30 grams of sugar in them? That’s equivalent to a cup or 1 ½ cup of sugar! That’s a lot for a food that has very little nutritional value! If you’re eating that much, your body will need to pump more insulin out than usual just to compensate for that!
This is an unhealthy spike because you’ll be hungry again very soon and will crave for more carbohydrates and sweets. And, this can signal your body to overeat, or worse, for you to pick unhealthy choices of food! Your cue? That one whole piece of doughnut, if you really can’t stop yourself, should be your only source of sugar in your diet. That’s how serious it gets!
As in any other food that went through food processing a lot, you can expect white bread to be unhealthy. The refined flour is so highly processed that so many additives are already in it just to make it white. White bread is one of the foods to avoid because its high glycemic index can spike your blood sugar. Sometimes, you can even experience constipation and bloating from eating it too much.
Bread comes from flour which comes from grains. Imagine the processing that the grains went through and you’ll realize how much fiber is removed. You also lose vitamins, iron, and protein from refining the grains, only to be left with starch. Refined carbohydrates found in white bread cause too much sugar in your bloodstream. Often, these sugars get stored as fat unless your body uses them immediately to move and for other body functions.
Why should you avoid eating bacon? People love bacon for its crunchiness! It adds texture and flavor to your food, right? However, after a bacon undergoes the curing process, some of its nutrients are lost. Additives such as nitrates, sugar, and salts, are introduced while preserving the pork which, when taken in large amounts, can be bad for your health.
Because of its high cholesterol and saturated fat – a lot of it, in fact – your risks for heart diseases elevate. There are also harmful compounds such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons produced when meats are cooked at high temperature. Again, that increases risk for development of tumors in colon, liver, etc. that could lead to cancer.
Sausages are high in salt and fat content. These two combinations alone can be deadly due to risks of several illnesses such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cancers. The juicier the sausage, the more fat content it has. But that’s what makes sausages delicious, right?
The bad news is that the very thing that makes sausages delicious can increase the likelihood of your early death. Yes, the fat content is the major culprit. Also, these are red meat high in nitrates and nitrates, like other processed meats, which are known to be carcinogenic.
One of the worst places to eat is anywhere you’ll be tempted to eat pizza. Just a slice of pizza is over your recommended daily fat intake. So, this is definitely one of the foods to avoid, especially if you’re on a diet. Believe your doctors when they say overeating pizza can increase risks of cardiovascular diseases and obesity.
It is an extra-high calorie food with too much sodium or salt, too. Do you like more toppings in your pizza? Sadly, they add calories and could severely impact your nutrition. Pizza typically contains a lot of saturated fat, thereby, can increase the bad cholesterol levels in your body. The high amount of salt in pizza, on the other hand, can elevate risks of high blood pressure.
Jellies and Candies
When you were a little kid, your parents likely gave you sweet treats to show their affection. But, the truth is, they would have demonstrated better care for you if you didn’t get the appetite for them! Those gummy candies and jellies aren’t only high in sugar, they are also bad for your teeth!
The sugars break down as they interact with bacteria in your mouth which creates acid, consequently, weakening your teeth. If you’ve been eating candies and jellies from a young age, you might even need to visit your dentist! There may have been cracks or chips in your teeth, or worse, cavities! If you do eat them occasionally, make it a habit to brush your teeth right away. And, go easy on the bag of sweets! Don’t eat them all in one go!
If you’ve been reading Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute articles for a while, you would have noticed one thing. There’s an emphasis on educating people about sugary foods. Eating too much sugar and carbohydrates can be toxic to your body systems.
Remember that your body can normally take care of itself in protecting you from toxins. However, when your body shows difficulty managing these toxins, inflammation can happen. Cereals aren’t bad. This breakfast meal is one of the easiest and most convenient foods you can have. Plus, they’re rich in fiber which is good for the gut.
Unfortunately, many cereal makers are adding sugars to hopefully attract more consumers who aren’t keen on the bland taste of non-sugary cereals. Imagine having a high-sugar breakfast to start your day; that’s a sure way to shoot your blood sugar high! Your insulin levels will increase and then your body will crave eating again when your blood sugar goes down. That can be dangerous!
Processed meats like ham, frankfurts, bacon, and salami are considered carcinogens according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Certain chemicals in processed meats cause foods to be carcinogenic, such as N-nitroso chemicals that may damage the lining of your gut.
These red meats are also notoriously preserved with nitrites and nitrate which may produce the same chemicals. If you don’t take them in moderation, these chemicals may cause bowel cancer. These are the kinds of foods to avoid if you don’t want to suffer consequences in your health as you grow older.
Common health issues caused by poor nutrition
Once you’ve developed poor eating habits, you are most likely consuming food with low fiber and high in sodium, fat, and sugar. Doing this for a long time might impair your daily health, and even your general wellbeing.
There’s a link to stress and unhealthy eating patterns. Among the common health issues that are also associated with poor nutrition are already mentioned in each of the foods to avoid above. These are weight gain, obesity, high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, certain types of cancer, and tooth decay.
Best alternative to unhealthy food
Drastically changing your diet may sound difficult at first, but it’s possible with determination and support. Sure, it’s indulging to go treat yourself with your comfort food, but if it’s too much, that’s when you draw the line. Don’t get this wrong. It doesn’t have to be a carrot or celery stick all the time, balance is the key, and making some tweaks to your meals should be a good way to start.
There are alternatives to your foods to avoid, and in changing your eating habits, going whole is the idea. For example, if french fries is your favorite, substitute them with baked sweet potato fries instead. These sweet potatoes are healthy, and they are dense with antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. The taste isn’t very far either. You’ll surely find a new favorite!
If you love mayonnaise because of its texture, flavor, and taste, you’ll find greek yogurt appealing! This healthy alternative is good for your gut, and it could be as flexible as your mayo. You can add a little salt, herb, and garlic for it to become a dip or dressing.
Completely cutting junk and other kinds of unhealthy foods may not be sustainable or realistic as you could end up binge-eating, but the point is to control your intake. Enjoying it as a part of a treat meal, or occasion should not hurt your health. If substituting doesn’t work for you, and you still end up triggered by any from this list of foods to avoid, talking to a healthcare professional might help you change your eating habits.
You are what you eat
You see, the world is full of healthy food choices, that is, if you know where to look. Whole foods are good for you while refined carbohydrates, ready-to-eat foods, and those with added sugars and sweeteners aren’t. Clean eating can be part of your lifestyle. It really is just a matter of choice.
We get it. It can be hard sometimes. Maintaining a balanced diet and knowing what foods to avoid can be tough when there are so many comfort foods available. There’s an Ayurvedic proverb that says, “When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.”
Eat in moderation. Small servings are okay. It’s not about counting calories. Choose food from its natural state with less to no preservatives. The simple things. These truly are the key to good health and happiness. You can get started with a healthier lifestyle through these healthy recipes here in Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute. Invest in your body for a stronger and healthier you!