The Top 10 Foods to Avoid


We all have those guilty pleasure foods that we aren’t so proud of but refuse to even consider letting go of, but some of these are horribly intoxicating for your body, regardless of portion control or exercise habits. I know, I know you’ve more than likely heard that last sentence a thousand times, but that doesn’t make it any less pertinent. These foods do a heck of a lot more than just ruin a diet; they can jeopardize your health in the long run as well as make you more susceptible to life-threatening diseases – including some cancers and heart diseases, these being the number one killer of Americans. So treat your body like a temple and flush out these snacking sins. Pander to your guilty pleasures elsewhere, because this is a toxin-free zone! These are the foods to avoid if you want to live healthy.

  • Soda – High in calories and sugar, soda is essentially a drinkable candy. Studies have shown that soda has been a major contributor to American weight gain. Soda in general also does some serious damage to your dentures, and don’t think you can get away with diet soda. Though it may be low cal, the chemicals they put in actually cause you to eat greater amounts of food later in the day due to their lack of satisfaction. So diet soda actually can kill your diet, funny how that works. If you can’t stand the taste of just plain water, buy flavoring packets as a soda replacement.
  • Deep Dish Pizza – Picture this: you’re sitting with your pals in a local pizzeria and you’re famished, but you’ve also just started a health kick. Cue the waiter with your deluxe deep dish pizza. Your eyes widen with joy as this work of art sits before you, but you know you have to remain calm, so you take two slices and call it dinner. Sounds like a good choice right? Wrong. This pizza is deceptive with calories in the crust alone, not to mention the smattering of whole milk cheese and greasy pepperoni/sausage. This “health conscious” decision of only two slices can end up at 1200+ calories. Oops. But you don’t have to swear off of pizza completely: order the thin crust with veggie toppings instead of the meat and you have a yummalicious dish that ca be less than 300 calories per slice! Crisis averted.
  • White bagels – Made with refined wheat flour, this food has been stripped of the fiber and other nutrients that make whole-grains healthy. To top it off they’re ridiculously dense, both calorically and physically: one bagel is the equivalent to about five slices of white bread. They may be portable and easy to access, but the benefits stop right about there. Do whatever you can to keep these out of your life, but if you can’t live without bagels, then go for a whole wheat or bran version and scoop out some of the inner dough. Some other alternatives would be an English muffin, or two slices of whole-wheat bread with an egg and vegetables.
  • Hot dogs – Sorry, meat lovers. Four-fifths of the calories in a regular hot dog come from fat of one kind or another. Plus do we really know what cuts of meat went into making that hot dog link? Like with the bacon point, eating processed meats (like the hot dogs) can lead to a greater risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. A barbecue cookout can still be a cookout without the traditional hot dogs. Substitute this culinary sin with chicken or turkey sausage, that way you get a higher protein and lower fat meat, as well as that same ‘hot dog experience’ you remember from being a kid.
  • American cheese – It’s a mixture of milk fats, solids, emulsifiers, whey protein, and food coloring: I don’t know about you, but that’s not what first comes to my mind when I hear the word cheese. It’s also incredibly high in sodium, and it’s the fat-holding equivalent of a piece of fatty meat. Four to five slices of American cheese will put you to about the halfway mark of your daily intake of sodium, yikes! So next time you’re in the dairy section, look for the good stuff if you must have cheese. And remember, keep it to the suggested serving: you don’t need to go Wallace and Gromit on that dairy product.
  • Toasted breakfast pastries – Again with the white enriched flour and high sugar content, there is almost no real fruit in that iconic fruit filling. This breakfast “treat” is a one stop shop for a blood sugar level through the roof, energy crashes a few hours later and binge eating due to dissatisfaction. Next time, reach for some yogurt, fruit, eggs, whole grain toast and avocado, or even cereal (just not the sugar-coated one). Breakfast can be sweet without being seriously bad for you.
  • Bread and crackers made with potassium bromate – Potassium bromate is a chemical added to dough to allow it to rise while baking. Animal studies on this chemical have been conducted and linked it to renal cancers and is also said to be have harmful effects on the human liver; it has also been banned from several countries including China, Canada, Brazil and the entirety of the European Union. What does that tell you? As a culture we eat a lot of bread, but what we eat shouldn’t be what kills us. So be on the lookout for this ingredient on the nutrition label to keep your body safe, and find an alternative if your breads and crackers contain this chemical.
  • Margarine – Though originally thought to be a healthier option due to the lower cholesterol, it turns out that a stick of margarine is filled with trans fat which actually lowers the levels of good cholesterol, raises bad cholesterol levels, and damages your blood vessels, essentially increasing the risk for coronary heart disease. To avoid this terrible food, you can resort to the tubs of either whipped butter, reduced calorie butter, or even avocado as a great alternative. However if you’re a purist and can’t live without the taste of butter, use as little as possible of the real thing, but otherwise avoid margarine.
  • Low-fat peanut butter – Peanuts are naturally stocked full of healthy fats. Misinformed food corporations however aim to make these have a lower fat content – which makes it more appealing on the shelves to people trying to watch their weight. However, the chemicals and hydrogenated oils they add to the peanut butter are actually difficult for your body to process, and like margarine, contains hydrogenated oils that will raise bad cholesterol levels and lower good ones. Though the natural version has a higher fat content, it is safer for you body as it can be high in antioxidants, just remember to exercise self-control, i.e. do not eat the whole jar in one setting when two tablespoons will do the trick.

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