You hear plenty about the foods you should eat, but it's just as important to know the foods to avoid. Certain foods come with a high price to your health and, unless it's a special occasion, aren't worth the risks. Eliminate the bad foods from your diet and then look for alternatives so you can spare your health without putting a damper on your diet.
Consuming soft drinks makes you more vulnerable to heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, obesity and obesity-related diseases. Drinking just one can of soda each day could increase your risk of dying from a heart attack by 20 percent, according to Harvard School of Public Health. Plain water or water with lemon juice is a healthier choice.
The cookie and cake icing that comes in tubs is loaded with sugar, and many brands contain dangerous trans fats. Consuming trans fats increases your risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke by raising your LDL cholesterol levels. Make your own frosting from more healthy ingredients such as low-fat cream cheese and honey.
A cup of kids' cereal can have more sugar in it than three chocolate chip cookies, reports the Environmental Working Group. Instead of sugary cereals, opt for wheat bran, oatmeal or another unsweetened cereal and then add chopped fruit for flavor.
Though it's often touted as a better alternative to butter, stick margarine is actually detrimental to your health. According to the American Heart Association, stick margarine is often high in disease-causing trans fats. Extra virgin olive oil or even tub margarine -- the softer variety -- is a better option, as it’s mostly the trans-fat content that causes stick margarine to be to firm when cold.
Most donuts, particularly the frosted ones, are bad for both your health and your figure. A single doughnut can contain trans fats, loads of sugar and refined flour, as well as between 10 and 20 grams of fat. Eat fruit, whole-grain toast with honey or whole-wheat bagels with jam instead.
A serving of instant noodles might look tasty, but it's high in sodium and carbohydrates without many vitamins or minerals. Instant noodles typically contain flavor enhancers, artificial dyes, preservatives, emulsifiers and other artificial ingredients, too. Consuming too much sodium can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney damage and other health problems. Buy whole-wheat noodles and make homemade soup instead.
In addition to being high in fat and sodium, many potato chips contain cancer-causing carcinogens from high baking and frying temperatures. Replace potato chips with dehydrated vegetable chips so you don’t have to give up crunchy treats.
The AHA warns that shortening typically contains disease-causing trans fats. Buying vegetable shortening doesn't eliminate the risks; it's best for your health to use olive oil or another fat in lieu of shortening.
Most frozen dinners contain more than half of the daily value for sodium, and that's just part of the problem with prepackaged meals. Frozen dinners are typically loaded with artificial ingredients and lack vitamins and minerals that your body needs. Take the extra 20 minutes and make dinner from scratch.
Eating sausage, deli meat, bacon and other processed meats could increase your risk for heart disease by more than 40 percent and your risk for Type 2 diabetes by nearly 20 percent, according to Harvard School of Public Health. Their high sodium and preservative content is partially to blame for the health concerns. Skip the processed meat and opt for fish, a cut of lean red meat or poultry to improve your diet.
- Harvard School of Public Health: Soft Drinks and Disease
- Fitness: 10 Foods to Never Eat
- American Heart Association: Trans Fats
- Environmental Working Group: Kids’ Cereals Pack More Sugar Than Twinkies And Cookies
- Reader's Digest: The Worst Foods You Can Eat
- Consumers Association of Penang: Stay Away From Instant Noodles to Keep Healthy
- Her Campus: Cornell: The Dangers of a College Staple: Frozen Meals
- Harvard School of Public Health: Eating Processed Meats, but Not Unprocessed Red Meats, May Raise Risk of Heart Disease and Diabetes