Choosing the right foods make a big difference in how your body behaves as well as how you feel. While some foods taste great, considering what’s in them and how they were made may make you think twice before putting them in your mouth.
Below are some of the foods you should avoid.
Some may be obvious, while others are either considered “healthy” or have unhealthy components hidden in them.
1. Fruit Juice
At first glance, store bought fruit juice looks healthy. The presence of the fruit, be it apple, orange, grapefruit makes it seem like a good idea.
The problem with most fruit juices found in store shelves is that they’re very different from the actual fruit juice (the juice squeezed from a fresh fruit).
Majority of packaged fruit juices are made up of water, sugar and a concentrate mixture. This makes it very different from what juice from real fruit is.
To make the juices taste good, there’s also a lot of sugar.
According to the USDA’s nutritional database, 12 ounces of:
- Orange juice contains 31 grams of sugar.
- Apple juice on the other hand has around 35.5 grams of sugar.
This comes out to be even with 12 ounces of:
- Soda (Cola) which contains 33 grams of sugar.
It’s true that fruit juices have some vitamins like vitamin C, and they also contain some minerals like potassium.
However, considering the amount of sugar and other substances added to preserve the juice and add flavor, it would be much better option to eat fruits instead.
2. Foods with Trans Fat
When your doctor was telling you to avoid fat, this was the fat they really meant. Sure there’s saturated fat which the American Heart Association recommends us limit to at most 5% to 6% of our daily calorie intake.
Recent studies however have shown that saturated fats aren’t the enemy we were all told it was.
Everyone however, does agree that trans fat is the baddest of the bad. This is the fat everyone should avoid.
Trans fat is actually unsaturated fat (healthy fats) that has gone through the hydrogenation process. Here, healthy oils are covered into a more solid form.
During hydrogenation, the healthy oils are given a boost of chemicals to make them store longer. This makes them more practical for commercial manufacturers and some users.
The problem is doing so also makes them very unhealthy.
Trans fat is quite prevalent in commercially bought products. These include creamers, snack chips, cakes, cookies, and crackers. Some restaurant foods like fried chicken and doughnuts may also have trans fat depending on the type of cooking oil they use.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, consuming foods that contain trans fat increases the risk of heart disease. It decreases the levels of good HDL cholesterol and increases the bad LDL cholesterol levels.
They also cause inflammation and can cause insulin resistance that contributes in the development of type 2 diabetes.
So as much as possible avoid any product you find that contains the words “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” in the label.
Once known as a healthy substitute for butter, turns out is not so good for you.
Margarine was created so that we enjoy the smooth buttery flavor without the fats and cholesterol that comes with butter.
Because it is made using vegetable oil, margarine contains no cholesterol making it healthier from that standpoint. It also contains a lot of good fats.
According to the USDA database, one tablespoon of margarine contains 6 grams of healthy monounsaturated fat, and 3.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat.
Butter on the other hand, has only half the amount monounsaturated fat and 7 grams of saturated fat.
What turns the tables is the trans fat content in margarine. One tablespoon of margarine contains less saturated fat at 2.2 grams, but more importantly 2.1 grams of trans fat.
As it turns out, studies now show that it is trans fat that increases our blood cholesterol levels and also up our risk of developing heart disease.
Saturated fat on the other hand isn’t as bad as once thought and actually increases the good HDL cholesterol and lowers the bad LDL cholesterol.
Being made from dairy, butter also contains vitamins A and D along with other minerals, making it a much better option compared to margarine.
4. Microwave popcorn
Microwave popcorn bags, just the bag itself, is often lined with a chemical called perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOA). PFOA has been shown to be linked to increasing the risk of getting cancer.
The chemical also affects kidney function as well as fertility in both humans as well as animals.
Depending on the brand of microwave popcorn you get, it may also contain artificial flavoring as well as MSG and trans fat. All of which are unhealthy for us.
While it isn’t as convenient as placing a bag in the microwave and waiting for the corn kernels to pop, buying organic popcorn kernels from the grocery and pop them using a skillet, is a much healthier option to go with.
For flavoring you can use the different types of powders like cayenne or garlic powder to give them variety.
5. Artificial Sweeteners
Very similar to margarine, artificial sweeteners arose from trying to find a better alternative to sugar. It sought out to give us a way to enjoy the sweet taste of sugar without the spike in blood sugar after that can lead to insulin resistance as well as increase the risk of diabetes.
Artificial sweeteners also have that extra advantage of having zero calories. Which is why we see many people abusing it.
Any time we hear the word “artificial” a few bells go off. And this is true with these sugar alternatives.
And while artificial sweeteners were designed to help prevent diabetes, studies show the opposite.
One such study is from the Center for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health in France, where the researchers concluded that beverages sweetened by both sugar, as well as those artificially sweetened were associated with increasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
While they don’t have calories, they have contributed to the increase in obesity as people have been having more servings of their favorite artificially sweetened drink or food.
This is opposite to its recommended use when both the American Diabetes Association and American Heart Association said using non-nutritive sweeteners judiciously may help with weight control or weight loss.
6. Genetically Modified Foods
Genetically modified organisms or GMOs, for short are a new branch of science where the makeup of living organisms are manipulated by scientists in their lab. Through the use of genetic engineering, these plants are easier to grow, can grow bigger and also withstand chemicals like pesticides better.
The problem with changing the genetic makeup of what becomes our food means that we can’t really be sure if it is safe or not.
The Non-GMO project notes that most developed countries do not consider GMOs safe. Nations in the European Union as well as countries like Japan and Australia prohibit the sale and production of GMOs.
Not only GMOs bad for consumption of all living creatures it is also bad for the environment, studies in humans as well as animals show numerous health problems increasing after GMOs were introduced back in 1996.
The percentage of Americans with 3 or more chronic diseases also increased drastically in through the years. In the same manner food allergies have increased, disorders such as Autism, reproductive disorders, digestive issues and many others continue to rise.
As far as GMO is concerned, it’s better to stay far and clear of them.
Stick to real food instead.