Sometimes I’m asked what some of the worst foods to consume are. Here are a few that come to mind. Remember, however, you can choose healthier versions of these foods (organic, locally sourced, etc.) Also remember that if you consume one of these foods occasionally, it’s not going to kill you.
These just aren’t things I would recommend eating on a daily basis.
1. Sausage - processed, preserved with chemicals, super high in sodium and saturated fat, excessive consumption linked to colon cancer.
2. Bacon - high in sodium and nitrates, which has been linked to cancer, high in saturated fat and cholesterol.
3. Frozen dinners - really zero nutritional value, loaded with fat, calories, sodium, highly processed and full of chemicals.
4. Bagels - Bagels are made with refined white flour, which has had all of its nutritional value processed out of it, and they contain on average upwards of 400 calories. A white flour bagel turns to sugar the minute it hits your system. (This is a hard one for me…I love bagels!)
5. Potato chips - salted deep-fried starch, full of fat, calories, sodium and bad carbohydrates. Contain acrylamide, a carcinogen that forms when food is fried at a high temperature.
6. Burgers - The average restaurant burger contains upwards of 20 percent fat, which means that a fifth of that patty is pure animal fat, full of cholesterol and other unhealthy components. Once you start adding cheese and bacon, you drive the fat content into the stratosphere. Choose an organic, lower fat meat, or try a bean burger! They really are delicious!
7. “Diet” foods - Foods labeled ‘fat-free’ or ‘diet’ can often contain more sugar and chemicals than their full-fat counterparts. They don’t satisfy your body’s need for nutrients, either. And, when you eat “diet” you think you can eat more of it, so we overindulge in fat-free cookies or low fat snack cakes, etc. It’s always better to eat real foods, even if they contain fat. (Your body needs good, healthy fat, by the way.)
8. Deli meats - Typically highly processed and usually contain chemical preservatives. Some are high in nitrates/nitrites. May contain hormones or antibiotics that were fed to the animals. Should you have a hankering for deli meat, choose something organic and preservative-free.
9. Toaster pastries - The crust is made with white flour and unhealthy fats, and the filling is just pure sugar, with next to no actual fruit. Add icing and you’re looking at upwards of 10 packets of sugar per two-pack! Not a powerful way to start your day.
10. Packaged cakes and cookies - Contain loads of sugar and more transfats than almost anything else because the addition of partially hydrogenated oils, which help keep the food shelf-stable and moist at the same time. Lots of preservatives are also added to prevent them from spoiling. There is no nutritional value and lots of empty calories.
What would you add to this list?
How can you make healthy substitutes? The first step is to become aware of what’s in your food and becoming conscious and making a healthier choice.