The food you give your body every day plays a vital role in your overall health, so you need to keep an eye on what you eat. While daily exercise and health insurance certainly add to your well-being, cutting down on these 20 unhealthy everyday foods will go a long way towards a long and healthy life.
20. White bread
White bread has had all the goodness processed out of it, leaving no nutrients, no fiber, no flavor – just empty calories. It won’t fill you up the way that real bread would either, so it’s easy to overeat white bread, leading to a whole host of health issues like weight gain and diabetes. If you want to live a long and healthy life, avoiding big medical bills, start by eliminating white bread from your diet.
While cheese is not as bad as some of the other foods on our list, the high levels of fat and salt it contains make it a less healthy choice for your sandwich. Try to reduce the amount of cheese you consume and be sure to steer clear of low-quality processed cheeses. Invest in yourself by reducing how much cheese you eat.
18. Tomato sauce in jars
Most processed foods contain a lot of hidden sugar, even those that aren’t normally considered sweet, and tomato sauce that comes in jars or cans is one of the worst. Three tablespoons of a typical tomato sauce can contain up to a teaspoon of sugar, so make your tomato sauce from scratch and save that sugar for dessert!
17. Sugar-loaded breakfast cereals
Easily prepared and popular with kids, it’s no surprise that we all too quickly reach for that box of breakfast cereal. But those crunchy and colorful bite-sized pieces are packed with highly refined sugar – bad for your body and bad for your teeth. Unless you want to deal with cavities and mid-morning sugar slumps, take the time to have a healthy breakfast–it will give you a longer-lasting energy boost for the day!
16. Ice cream
Of course, we all love ice cream, whether it’s a delicious banana split, a decadent chocolate sundae, or a simple cone on a hot summer’s day. But ice cream comes laden with fat and refined sugar, meaning health risks in the long term like diabetes or high cholesterol, so skip the sundae and purchase frozen yogurt instead.
15. Fries and potato chips
We are probably all aware that salt-laden, deep-fried fries and potato chips are not healthy, but they’re so delicious that it can be hard to stop. Try baking your potato-based snacks in the oven using a minimum of oil and salt if you simply can’t live without them.
14. Diet versions
So-called “light” versions of some foods are generally low in fat, so in order for them to still taste good, the manufacturers pack them with extra sugar, such as high-fructose corn syrup, or additives like artificial sweeteners. This means that they are nowhere near as healthy as they are claimed to be, so be mindful of what you eat.
13. Fruit juice
Just because it came out of a fruit doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for you. Fruit juices are high in sugar – manufacturers usually add extra for sweetness – and yet have none of the fiber of the original fruit. Once again, your dentist will notice if you cut back on sugary fruit juices, as they are bad for your teeth.
12. Red meat
Limit how much red meat you consume to live a longer and healthier life. Numerous studies have shown that eating meats like beef, lamb and pork can increase your risk of developing a variety of cancers.
11. Microwave popcorn
It’s movie night and you’re about to reach for the popcorn…stop! Microwave popcorn contains diacetyl, which is a flavor additive that has been shown to have some serious health consequences. Research has shown that it attacks the cells lining the brain, which is quite an important part of your life, so make your popcorn the old-fashioned way.
10. Soy sauce
While soy sauce does offer some health benefits as it is a low-calorie flavor enhancer with vitamin B6, riboflavin and other micronutrients, the high levels of salt it contains put it on our list of worst foods. Go for one of the many low-salt light soy sauces available to avoid hypertension and heart disease in the long term, or simply to avoid feeling bloated afterwards.
Margarine is extremely high in trans-fats and hydrogenated vegetable oils, which means that you are putting yourself at risk of cancer and heart disease if you consume it every day. Try using butter instead or switch to olive or coconut oil, which can both claim to be way healthier than margarine.
8. Cold cuts
Deli meats can turn a standard sub into an excellent lunch, but if you are eating them every day, then you are increasing your risk of cancer. Research has shown that the processing that goes into these meats can cause colorectal cancer, so choose fruits or similarly healthy foods for lunch.
7. Energy-boosting drinks
Energy-boosting drinks give you a quick burst of energy, not the slow all-day burn you really need. Try drinking green tea instead. It increases your energy levels but doesn’t come with caffeine or all those sugars and chemical additives.
6. Pre-packaged pastries
Are pre-packaged pastries delicious and convenient? Of course they are, because they come loaded with refined sugars, trans-fats and other additives. If you take the time to bake your own pastries from scratch, you’ll be consuming less sugar while also spending less money. Don’t you want to do some savings?
5. Soft drinks
If you regularly consume soft drinks, then you are putting yourself at risk of significant weight gain, leading to diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease and cancer in the long term. Sticking to zero sugar soft drinks won’t help because even though they are calorie-free, they do have other – no less significant – effects on your well-being. Choose healthier drinks or, even better, water. Your dentist will also thank you if you reduce the amount of soft drink you take, as they are bad for your teeth as well.
4. Fried food and fast food
Fried food and other types of fast food are high in salt and fat, which means that eating them daily will make you pile on the pounds and increase your risk of heart disease. Cut down on how often you eat fried food or fast food – save it for the occasional treat, unless you want some serious health problems down the road. Save some cost on your health insurance by being healthy in the first place.
3. Candy bars
It’s probably no surprise that candy bars are not at all good for you. They’re basically just highly processed yet empty calories wrapped in refined sugar, flour and fat.
2. Pre-made frosting
Sure, it’s convenient when you’re pressed for time, but pre-made frosting contains trans-fats – one of the only products that still does. Trans-fats can cause a range of health issues, from affecting your cholesterol levels to triggering inflammation, leading to weight gain, diabetes and heart disease. Invest your time and energy into making your own frosting, thus investing in your long-term life quality.
1. Maraschino cherries
When cherries are processed to maraschino cherries, they lose all that was good about the original fruit. Moreover, your body has a tough time digesting them as a result – it can take up to 52 hours!