Are you aware of all the risks and dangers of consuming unhealthy foods? Research suggests that the arteries may begin to clog and set the stage for future heart attacks as early as age 30(Wikipedia).
Evidence shows that eating foods low in nutritional value, so-called junk foods have the same addictive effect as drugs, cocaine, heroin, that alter brain activity. Symptoms of physical and emotional addictions other than food also include instances such as alcoholism, smoking, and a host of addictive drugs. Cravings are a common sign and all of these behaviors do not place the person in a fixed or healthy state of mind.
There is a general myth and misconception that many people have. They believe that they can exercise away a poor diet. They feel that just because they are exercising, they have more leeway with their food choices.
The truth of the matter is that 70% of weight loss depends on your diet. In order to drop pounds and achieve a lean physique or a slim body, most of your effort should be focused on your diet. You must avoid pitfalls and substitute poor food choices with healthier alternatives.
The biggest culprit is sugar. Studies have shown that sugar is the main cause of the obesity epidemic. It is highly addictive, and the more you consume, the more you crave it. Dietary guidelines by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommend the daily intake of sugar should not exceed 10% of total daily calories.
With a 2,000 calorie diet, that’s less than 200 calories or 50 grams of sugar per day for someone who follows a healthy diet. Aim to gradually reduce your sugar consumption over time until your consumption of it becomes negligible.
Sounds simple enough, right? There is a popular saying that goes:
Success is very simple, but just because it is simple doesn’t mean it’s easy
You must have self-discipline and a lot of determination. You will slip up here and there. It is inevitable. What really matters is that you stay the course. Success is not linear.
It is a jumbled mess. You will experience setbacks, mistakes and there will be times when you cave in and give in to temptations and cravings. This is par for the course.
Never even consider quitting just because you slipped up here and there. This is a journey, and there will be times of self-doubt. In fact, weight loss is one of the most difficult journeys out there. Always remember that it is darkest before the dawn.
That being said, the list below contains ten foods that must be taken off your diet. Failure to do so will make your weight loss goal just another lofty dream. If you manage to ditch the foods below, your weight loss journey will become much easier.
Ten Unhealthy Foods To Avoid
Because of the high amount of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil used in their production, chips contain many artery-clogging trans fats. Trans fats are very unhealthy, and they cause cardiovascular problems and undesired weight gain. A significant amount of the by-products in chips can also be negative to your health, namely a substance known as acrylamide, which is a known neurotoxin and could be associated with the development of cancer.
We all enjoy munching on some chips while watching our favorite TV programs but why not munch on a healthier snack like frozen fruit or one or two carrot sticks. They may not be as tasty, but they will not sabotage your weight loss goals.
Having the dubious honor of being considered as one of the worst foods ever and with zero nutritional value, donuts are made up of refined sugar, processed carbohydrates, fats, and preservatives. There are roughly 190 to 300 calories in one medium-sized doughnut on average. However, the number of calories can be as much as 400 depending on the size of the doughnut, the types of ingredients, their weight, etc.
They disturb the digestive system and cause gastrointestinal upsets. The sugar levels are addictively high in donuts. Whenever you consume a meal that contains such a high level of sugar your insulin levels go through the roof. It is widely known that a sugar spike is accompanied by a severe sugar crash.
These changes in your blood sugar levels can lead to continued hunger and an even greater tendency to crave refined carbs. Having the first donut can set in motion a cycle of unhealthy eating that leads to weight gain.
With bagels comes the fact that they have a lot of calories, so they are easy to overeat in one sitting. According to statistics from the National Institute of Health, the average bagel’s serving size has increased by almost double over the last 20 years.
The smaller-sized bagels are usually intended as a snack, but some are large and can pack more than 600 calories. People usually find that to be more than enough to serve as a meal on its own, even without toppings like butter, bacon, or cream cheese. A bagel could mean that some of those calories end up in your hips, thighs, and belly.
Eating bagels distorts your normal physiological blood sugar levels leading to unstable insulin spikes. Unstable insulin levels are associated with cardiovascular problems, metabolic disturbances, weight gain, acne, body pains, and mood swings.
4. Fast food
Fast food is notoriously not the best thing for you. You know they won’t make you look slim or healthy, but sometimes on an urge or a craving, there’s no denying a big mac, fries, and soft drink. But are they really worth it? Being aware of the risks might help you make a better decision.
According to a systematic review published in the journal Health Promotion Perspectives, fast food has been found to contain “unhealthy” substances in various forms.
As much as you might hate to hear it, a large portion of the food served at fast-food restaurants is high in saturated fat, cholesterol, sugar, and salt. It will put on weight and increase your risk of heart disease. It is also very low in nutritional value.
Without really repeating the same old story, just remember, Fast foods are highly detrimental. Avoid them at all costs, even on your cheat days.
5. Microwaved Popcorn
Microwave popcorn bags are often lined with certain chemicals called perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) that are believed to cause cancer conditions, infertility, thyroid conditions, and immune system problems.
When you are microwaving the popcorn, some of these bad chemicals get absorbed into the popcorn. In addition to that, when PFCs undergo chemical reactions and are finally broken down into perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), the resulting chemical is believed to be a possible cause of cancer.
As part of its own research, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) examined the presence of PFOA in a range of sources, including microwave popcorn bags and non-stick pans. The study showed that microwave popcorn could contribute to more than 20 percent of the average blood levels of PFOA in Americans.
So, be warned that eating from the bag is not as healthy as many people think.
6. French Fries
Researchers in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published the results of a study of over 4,000 older adults monitored over an eight-year period. The study found that Dietary consumption of French fries more than twice a week was associated with an increased mortality rate.
The study did not provide data on how many fries the study subjects consumed at a sitting, although an “official” serving is considered to be around 10–15 individual fries (130–150 calories). In addition, french fries are loaded with salt and fat, which can raise the risk of cardiovascular disease.
A healthy version of French fries is homemade “baked fries” which use minimal oil and are similar to deep-fried potato chips.
7. Breakfast Cereal
A cereal can constitute the primary ingredient of a nutritious breakfast that also includes fruit, protein, dairy, and complex carbohydrates. But looking for healthy breakfast cereals is a challenge, especially when there is a choice between processed grains, sugar, and fat.
A lot of cereals contain Genetically Modified Organism(GMO) that have long-term harmful effects. Most people have the illusion that cereals are natural and a very healthy breakfast meal. The marketing for these products is persuasive. The reality is that most cereals are high in sugar and extremely unhealthy.
Is it any wonder then that children these days are increasingly obese? This is the reason. Switch to healthier options such as eggs, fruit, oats, whole grain bread, green smoothies, etc.
Frozen dinners are often marketed as a quick and easy meal solution – but that doesn’t mean they’re good for your waistline. In fact, a lot of frozen dinners are high in sodium and saturated fat. For instance, one package of Stouffer’s Macaroni & Cheese contains around 1150 mg of sodium – which is almost the recommended daily allowance of 2,300 mg per day. Frozen dinners aren’t always completely unhealthy, but you have to be extremely careful. Whenever possible, opt for fresh foods – not processed!
Bread is a staple in most diets – but that doesn’t mean you should eat it in abundance. For instance, one slice (or two) of white bread contains anywhere from 80 to 150 calories – depending on the brand. White bread is also usually high in carbs, which can have a huge impact on your blood sugar levels. High levels of blood sugar can lead to hunger pangs and sugar cravings – which may be difficult to control if you consume large quantities of white bread on a regular basis!
This is because modern processed flour and additives in the white packaged bread can make it unhealthy. Consuming too much white bread with additives can contribute to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
It is a known fact that often when foods are processed, they tend to lose nutrients. However, many commercially produced white bread products are fortified with vitamins and minerals to replace the nutrients lost due to processing food.
Whole wheat bread is the best choice for a healthy diet because it contains fiber that is not absorbed by the body and impacts gut wellness. We like the fiber in the whole-wheat bread because it helps control blood sugar levels for a slower release of carbohydrates. Fiber helps slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, keeping energy from turning into fat. Fiber also helps with that “full” feeling, which is key to weight loss.
Pizza is an Italian dish consisting of a flatbread that’s typically topped with cheese and other ingredients – like pepperoni, sausage, or veggies. The thing about pizza is that it’s super high in calories and fat. But more importantly, the toppings you choose can have a huge impact on the overall healthiness of the dish.
For instance, even though there are some “healthy” options (such as veggies), if you choose to add pepperoni or sausage – which are both really high in sodium and saturated fat – then your pizza will be totally unhealthy! One slice of pepperoni pizza actually contains 480 calories and around 980mg of sodium!
But regardless of how you feel about the term itself, it’s still important to be aware of the foods that are broadly considered “unhealthy.” Some people might think that being unhealthy means eating the occasional slice of bacon or hamburger. Realistically, it should mean avoiding these foods altogether if you’re trying to lose weight and improve your health overall.
If you manage to remove the above-mentioned foods from your diet, you will be much better off, and not only will you lose weight, but your health not be compromised.