Not all foods are created equal; some foods are nutritious, others offer few benefits for your health. We all know that deep fried, battered, and fatty foods will add inches to your waistline, but what about foods that are seemingly healthy? Doctors, nutritionists, and other health experts have all weighed in on these insidious foods. Without further ado, here are the 10 worst foods that you have probably eaten some time this week.
We all know how much Americans love and obsess over bacon; putting it in recipes it does not belong in (e.g. bacon vodka). I, too, am guilty of opting to top my already questionable cheeseburger with bacon. Many doctors pass on it for good reason. Bacon definitely isn’t health food, but it offers very little in terms of nutrition. Not only is bacon processed meat, but it is also pure fat, sodium, and cholesterol.
2. Soft Drinks
Sometimes, an ice cold soda really hits the spot. And thanks to the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine, there’s so many delicious flavors to gulp down. Like bacon, soft drinks have almost no nutrients. Soda consumption has been linked to obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. They have even been shown to be just as bad as cigarettes.
3. Diet Soda
“But what about diet soda?”
While many diet sodas have little to no calories, they are filled with chemicals and artificial sweeteners to make up for it’s general grossness (you’re not fooling anyone, Coke Zero). Aspartame, a common sugar substitute, has been linked to a myriad of unpleasant health symptoms like digestive problems, headaches, even certain types of cancer. It’s no wonder many doctors have nixed soda from their diets.
Looking to cut soda out of your life? Drink water with every meal and carry a water bottle with you everywhere you go. Once you get in the habit of consuming more water, you’ll find yourself craving soda less often.
4. Reduced/Low Fat Foods
It seems like every other food at the grocery store is advertised as “fat free”. I know what you’re thinking: “Aren’t low fat foods the better choice?” Not necessarily.
Like diet soda, reduced fat and fat free foods often have more additives to improve its taste. Reduced fat peanut butter? It has more carbs and sugar than regular peanut butter.
One doctor chooses not to eat fat free whipped topping because of its’ artificial ingredients.
5. Boxed Cereal
Boxed cereal is easy for busy college students on the go, but it’s not always the most nutritious. Most cereals have refined grains and lots of added sugar. Oatmeal, whole grain cereals, cereals with low sugar and whole wheat bread are all quick and filling. Don’t forget to add protein (like eggs) to the most important meal of the day.
6. Processed Meats and Cold Cuts
These are often essential to making your fave sandwich, topping the perfect pizza or bulking up boring pasta, but what do they really have to offer? These processed meats are filled with sodium, preservatives and other chemicals to lengthen their shelf life. Look for sandwich meats with less ingredients and preservatives and buy organic meat if your wallet can handle it.
7. Ice Cream
I cried a little as I wrote this. Who doesn’t love a scoop of ice cream on warm apple pie? Ice cream is far from healthy, one doctor even calls it the “worst food for humans” because of unhealthy ingredients like hormones, sugar and pasteurized dairy.
8. Foods with Enriched/Bleached Flour and “White Foods”
When you think about it, white flour and processed grains are in a lot of delicious foods: pastries, sandwiches on white bread, white pasta . . . the list goes on.
One doctor says that these foods all have high glycemic indexes (which raises blood sugar and makes you hungry faster). Swap out white foods for healthier grains like whole wheat flour, brown rice and quinoa. The high fiber content in whole grains will keep you full and satisfied.
I remember when the Nutella craze first came about. Everyone and their mother was talking about this wonderful chocolatey spread. While Nutella is delicious, it is not nutritious. The first two ingredients in Nutella are sugar and palm oil, yikes. Most of Nutella’s calories come from sugar and fat, and there aren’t many nutrients. Old fashioned peanut butter is a better choice.
10. Juice and Smoothies
Fruit juice is a great example of a deceptively healthy drink. Many juice labels advertise that a serving of juice is the same as a serving of whole fruit. However, what makes fruit a healthy option is it’s fiber content. When fruit is turned into juice, it’s fiber content is drastically reduced. Without the fiber, juice is simply another sugary drink. Smoothies are also thought to be healthy, but many store bought smoothies have a bunch of added ingredients and sugar. You’re better off eating whole fruit, or “watering down” your juice. You can also make your own smoothies.
Although health professionals say they choose not to eat these foods, that doesn’t mean you’re barred from enjoying them.
What’s life without indulging in a decadent chocolate cake or mouthwatering bacon cheeseburger? Moral of the story: enjoy in moderation, because (sometimes) you deserve to