There is much confusion about which foods are healthy, and which are not. Coca-Cola was invented by a doctor and pharmacist and today it leads to weight gain, diabetes, and cardiovascular conditions. To help you out, here is a list of 15 foods that are unequivocally not good for you and some healthier alternatives.
1) Sugary drinks
When people drink sugar calories, the brain does not register them as food. This means that when we pull into Mcdonald's and order a Big Mac with fries and a tall coke, we don't realize that you are ordering a calorie bomb. A large Coke should cause us to compensate by eating less. However, we often don't see all the sugar in the beverage. When consumed in large quantities, sugar can drive insulin resistance in the body and is linked to a fatty liver, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. The alternative is to drink water, tea, or coffee.
This is the world's most popular junk food. The dough is most often made from highly refined wheat flour and the meats are highly processed. The alternative is to make your own pizza with healthy ingredients with a thin crust and healthy toppings like avocado, arugula, and olive oil.
3) White Bread
Most commercially available breads are unhealthy because they are made with refined wheat which is low in essential nutrients and leads to a rapid spike in blood sugar. The alternative is whole-grain bread.
4) Most Fruit Juices
Most people assume incorrectly that fruit juice is healthy. The reality is that fruit juice contains almost the same amount of sugar as a Coke. The alternative is to look for fruit juices that have overwhelming health benefits notwithstanding the sugar content such as blueberry juice.
5) Industrial Vegetable Oils
There has been a dramatic increase in our consumption of soybean, corn, cottonseed, and canola oils. They are cheap and versatile. However, they are also very high in omega-6 fatty acids that cause oxidative stress in the body. They have also been linked to an increased risk of cancer. The best alternative is extra virgin olive oil.
This used to be considered a healthy alternative to butter. It is a highly processed pseudo-food that has been engineered to taste like butter. It is full of artificial ingredients and to make matters worse, it is loaded with vegetable oil. The alternative is to use real butter - it does not spread as smoothly, but will make you look and feel a hundred times better.
7) Pastries, Cookies, Cakes, and Donuts
They are filled with refined sugar, refined wheat flour, and added fats. One alternative is the consumption of rice cakes.
8) French Fries and Potato Chips
Potatoes in their natural form are healthy. Fries have been deep-fried in vegetable oil. Potatoes are best boiled or baked.
9) Bacon and Sausages
Who doesn't like bacon for breakfast? Bacon is incredibly unhealthy and not only because of the fat. As a result of the curing process, bacon and sausages contain nitrates and nitrites, which transform into nitrosamines, which are highly carcinogenic when exposed to high heat. It does not matter how you cook them, the heat transforms them into cancer bombs. Unfortunately, there are no healthy alternatives.
10) Sugary Cereals
Cereals tend to get a free pass and manufacturers have done a great job in masquerading their products are "healthy". I am not talking about Fruit Loops because everyone knows they are junk food. I am talking about Blueberry Clusters, Special K Protein, and Cheerios Multigrain. If you read the labels you will see that are packed with added sugar. They are selling health but not giving it. The alternative is oatmeal but you want to stay away from instant oatmeal because it is full of sugar and colorants.
11) Deli Meats
There is nothing more harmless than the traditional ham sandwich, right? Deli meats are not good for a number of reasons. Firstly, they may contain traces of bacteria, especially if not stored properly. Secondly, they contain bucketloads of sodium. If you have to consume deli meats, you should look for low-sodium options.
12) Dried Fruit
This is another snack that is believed to be healthy. Yes, they are still fruit but they often contain added sugar and contain vegetable oil. They are often coated with this oil to prevent spoilage and preserve the taste. The oil lightly deals the fruits from losing their natural aroma and original flavour. It also prevents mildew from infesting the fruits by sealing their pores from fungal spores. Eat nuts and seeds instead.
13) Fruit Yogurt
Fruit is good and so is yogurt - however, when you combine them the result is not great. Firstly, fruit yogurts are packed with sugar. Secondly, the beautiful colouring in the yogurt often does not come from the fruit but from fruit juice concentrates so there is more sugar again. But that is not the worst additive. The worst thing is carrageenan. It is an emulsifier that can cause inflammation. The best alternative is to buy unflavored yogurt and add natural fruit.
14) Granola Bars
Here is another food that is supposed to be healthy. However, they generally contain large amounts of sugar, corn syrup, and sorbitol, and this is a lethal combination that will make you gain weight. They also contain soybean oil. Finally, they contain BHT, a widely banned carcinogen. A good alternative is to make your own granola with oats, nuts, and seeds.
15) Frozen Fish Products
Most fish is healthy. Most manufacturers, however, use STPP (sodium tripolyphosphate) to retain moisture in various frozen fish products. The problem is that this is a pesticide. Enough said. Stay away from these products and eat fresh alternatives.