According to the World Health Organization, leading a poor diet is considered to be one of the main contributing factors to serious, chronic illnesses such as heart problems, diabetes, cancer and other conditions associated with obesity. The WHO also point out that bettering people’s dietary habits is not just an individual issue, but a societal one too. Hence, this requires a multi-disciplinary and population-based approach. Generally speaking, we need to lower or completely exclude the intake of unsaturated fats, processed salt and sugar, and trans-fatty acids and to enrich our diets with fruits and veggies, nuts, legumes, and grains.
Unfortunately, as seen on The Guardian, poor nutrition is responsible for one in five deaths according to a study done on a global level. And, diet is the second highest risk cause for premature death after smoking, followed by high blood glucose, hypertension, obesity, and high cholesterol. Shockingly, though people’s life spans have become longer, they are not spending them in good health thanks to obesity, among other reasons.
Taking into consideration the negative impact of poor diet on the overall health and well-being, as well as its role in early death, this article will be focused on presenting the worst foods that you should definitely avoid if you want to maintain optimal health and decrease your risk of serious health issues and poor quality of life.
Better Your Diet & Health: Stay Away from these Foods!
As seen on Medical News Today, a healthy nutrition should be a combination of fruits and veggies in different colors, good fats, lean proteins, grains, and starches. When you eat healthy, you will significantly better your overall health in numerous different ways, i.e. enable a healthy loss of surplus weight, lower the risk of cancer, keep diabetes under control, prevent strokes and heart-related issues, strengthen the teeth and bones, ensure the health of the generations to come, better your mood and memory, improve your quality of sleep, and maintain optimal gut health.
To begin the journey towards a healthier diet that will not just help you preserve your good health, but also teach you how to enjoy the right foods in a healthy way and thus improve your overall quality of life, make sure you check out the list shown below comprised of the 10 unhealthiest foods and drinks that you should stay away from, as suggested by Kris Gunnars from Health Line.
Artificial sugar is considered to be one of the unhealthiest ingredients present in modern-day diet. But, there are sources of sugar which are worse than others and sugar-rich beverages are such. Unfortunately, when we consume sugar calories, our brain does not recognize them as food and thus, we end up overeating other foods and elevate our level of calories. When you consume too much added sugar, you increase the chances for insulin resistance that can lead to serious health problems and weight gain. Instead of sugar-filled drinks, opt for clean water, quality plain coffee, tea or soda water.
Wheat is an ingredient from which bread is made and it contains gluten, a protein which can be problematic for those that are insensitive to gluten or suffer from celiac disease. But, most of the commercially-sold breads are not healthy, even for those who have no problem with gluten due to the fact that they are made with refined wheat which contains empty calories and it is rather low on nutrients and it can rapidly increase the blood sugar as well. Opt for whole-grain breads that are less unhealthy than white breads or make your own bread that is low on carbohydrates and gluten-free.
Margarine is often used as an alternative to butter; however, this is a highly-processed food which has been made to look and taste similarly to butter. It contains numerous artificial ingredients and hydrogenated vegetable oils and thus, is high in trans fats. Even though the label may say no trans fat, it may still contain less than 0.5 grams per serving which is still a considerable amount. Opt for quality butter only, if possible one made from grass-fed cows.
Highly-processed meats like sausages, bacon, hot dogs, and pepperoni often contain a long list of unhealthy ingredients and they are not the same as unprocessed meat which can be nutritious and healthy. According to Health Line, there have been studies that connect diets high in processed meats with a higher risk of serious illnesses such as cardiovascular issues, colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
Regardless of the food you have in mind, if it has been made in a factory, it is not beneficial for you. Namely, real foods do not need ingredients because they are the ingredient, which is not something we see with the foods found at supermarket shelves these days.
Processed cheese is not the same as regular cheese which is rich in nutrients. The former is a combination of filler ingredients that have been engineered to look and feel as cheese. Therefore, when you are buying cheese, remember to read the labels to check the type- opt for regular cheese only.
Store-bought ice cream
Though a lot of people’s favorite dessert is ice cream, especially during summer days, it is one of the unhealthiest foods because of the abundance of artificial sugar it contains, as well as the high level of calories. Opt for homemade ice cream because you can control the ingredients you use and minimize or completely exclude the presence of processed sugar.
Though white potatoes are healthy, products like potato chips and French fries which are made from them are not due to the abundance of calories which has been associated with weight gain. This is because they are full of acrylamides which are carcinogenic substances that are created during the roasting, baking or frying of the potatoes. Opt for boiled potatoes or replace crunchy potato chips and French fries with nuts and baby carrots.
Though you may find it tasty and filling, commercially-sold pizzas are filled with a lot of unwanted ingredients. For example, the dough is made from refined wheat flour and the toppings may be filled with processed meats. Pizzas are also highly caloric. If you still want to enjoy pizza from time to time, make sure it is a homemade one because you can control the ingredients, both for the dough and for the toppings.
If you thought fruit juices are healthy, you are wrong; they are nothing more than fruit-flavored sugar-rich water. In fact, they contain as much sugar as soda drinks like Pepsi and Coke do and in some instances, even more. Reduce their consumption and opt for healthier variants like water, smoothies, and homemade juices.
Other Foods & Drinks that should not Be a Part of Your Diet
• Vegetable oils like corn, canola, and soybean oil (opt for healthier fats like butter, extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil)
• Gluten-free junk foods (choose foods that are naturally free of gluten, for example, animal foods and unprocessed plants)
• Agave nectar (replace it with healthier sweeteners like stevia)
• Low-fat yogurt (go with full-fat yogurt that is rich in probiotics)
• Candy bars (choose a fruit or a piece of dark chocolate)
• Coffee drinks high in artificial creamers and sugar (consume plain coffee only, preferable black with small amounts of full-fat milk or heavy cream)