There’s a lot of temptation out there in the world of sweet, greasy, and fattening foods. Some are tasty cheat meal treats and others should be avoided at all costs. Why? Sometimes the momentary indulgence isn’t worth the long-term consequences in terms of health and addictive properties. Take a look at this list of 7 foods that should never find a space on your plate (or keep it to a serious minimum).
Cake and pastries can be a great treat that can put a smile on anyone’s face but we all know they aren’t the healthiest choice. For many, the focus has always been placed on the sugary batter, but most of the time the icing is the true deal breaker. Not all store bought frostings are on the “do not buy” list. Those with trans fat are the true culprits. Trans fat is one of the most unhealthy fats used to create processed foods and it can take a bit of due diligence to avoid eating it. Very few store bought frostings are made without trans fat (butter is the other go to ingredient if you want it creamy and fluffy). FDA regulations that allow manufacturers to label certain foods as “trans fat free” even if they contain them makes it even difficult to trust what you’re buying. The best way to avoid consuming trans fat is to research your favorite brands prior to purchasing them or take the time to make your frosting from scratch.
A quick breakfast on the go, many don’t realize how unhealthy a small bagel is. On average, your plain bagel contains 350 calories and 50-60 grams of carbohydrates. If made from refined flour, bagels have been stripped of the fiber and nutrients that make it healthy to eat whole grains. When eating a bagel, you’re consuming the equivalent of 3-5 slices of white bread depending on the brand so do your research before buying. The body digests the starch found in bagels even faster than table sugar, spiking blood sugar depending on what you eat them with. With a glycemic index of 70, they are even unhealthier than just eating sucrose. Higher glycemic indexes equate more weight gain, the opposite of what many light bagel munchers are aiming for. Alternative: Whole wheat english muffins can be a healthier option.
Fast Food Hamburgers
Listing all the reasons why you should never eat a fast food hamburger would take an entire week. If you’re serious about becoming healthy and losing weight, you’ve given up these greasy sandwiches long ago. Let’s be real. The overload of trans fat, possible hormones, possible ammonia or additives to increase the flavor of the hamburgers and make them last longer are nothing but empty calories and chemicals. Just one fast food hamburger can contain the equivalent of 7 days of trans fat. Make your burgers at home and buy the best quality meat (organic if you can get it).
Fast Food French Fries
Since we’re on the topic of greasy unhealthy food, we can’t overlook French fries. Saturated fats are what takes the average potato and turns it into a catalyst for cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. On the other hand, vegetable oil and sunflower oil are actually beneficial for your health (in proper amounts). Consequently, the low prices found on dollar menus don’t warrant most chain fast food restaurants the ability to provide customers with the healthiest options (However, so fast food chains have removed trans-fat from their fries, like McDonalds). Saturated fats remain in the body longer, breaking down the good cholesterol and form platelets in the blood streams which increase your chances of developing blood clots. These deep fried finger foods are a first choice for children, but as you can see they aren’t to their benefit. Cut and fry your potatoes at home for a heart-friendly alternative.
Movie night will never be the same. Before, you’d snuggle up with a big bowl of popcorn fresh out the microwave, but after reading this, you need to make your way to the pantry and throw it all away. The lining of the bag alone is riddled with chemicals including perfluoroctanoic acid (PFOA). These chemicals have been linked to causing cancer in the liver, testicles, and pancreas of tested animals. This chemical is also thought to cause infertility in humans. The microwave process vaporizes these chemicals and fuses them into your popcorn. Olga Naidenko, a senior scientist with the Environmental Working Group has found that these chemicals can stay in your body for years; it is a likely contributor for the rise in cancer patients in recent years (but to be fair, the list of chemicals that have possibly contributed to cancer in the last few years if VERY long). Plans have been placed to begin phasing out microwave popcorn that uses PFOA in its bags by 2015, even still, the best way to enjoy your popped snack is by making it the old fashioned way (Jiffy Pop is still tasty).
Milk With Artificial Hormones
Milk producing cattle are injected with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) to assist the cow in producing more milk. The side effect of using rBGH is the accompanying increase in utter infections and pus in the milk. Insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) is also present in this milk. It’s been linked to causing breast, prostate, and colon cancer. When the two hormones were approved to be used in cattle, it was under the presumption that the cancer-causing IGF-1 would break down in the digestive tract. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. It has not been proven, but many researchers believe this to also be a contributing factor to the surge in cancer cases in recent years. It’s important to read the labels on anything you purchase, especially your milk. Go for organic brands or names that list they’re rBGH-free or rBST-free. Non dairy milk is also a good alternative (almond, soy, etc).
These meals may be convenient but they can contain a whole day’s worth of sodium. They are not the kind of thing you want to eat if high blood pressure or hypertension are an issue for you.
Our body requires about 180 mg to 500 mg of sodium a day in order to maintain the right balance of fluids in the body, transmit nerve impulses and maintain muscle function. The recommended daily sodium level is 1,500 mg, with 2,300 mg being the very highest amount we should consume in a day. For a low-sodium label, the Food and Drug Administration requires food products to have no more than 140 mg of sodium per serving. A product’s packaging can’t claim it’s “healthy” if it exceeds 480 mg of sodium per reference amount. – source
Do you own research!! You should to do a bit of homework before heading to the grocery store. It may take a few searches and reading through some articles but at the end of the day, every moment spent educating yourself is an investment in the future of you and your family’s health.