10 Processed Foods to Avoid at All Costs from 10 Processed Foods to Avoid at All Costs

10 Processed Foods to Avoid at All Costs

Full Story

Shutterstock

10 Processed Foods to Avoid at All Costs

Everyone knows that junk food is “junk,” right? But there is a subculture of junk food that is sold to children, adults and is often masqueraded as healthy or decently health option. The worst part? We are feeding our children most of these things, because the items come packaged some conveniently. Dr. Michael Greger, the author of “How Not to Die” and founder of the new non-profit “Balanced,” is a pioneer in attempting to bring education to the public about how we can take control of our lives and our foods. (Listen more about Balanced.)This starts by first identifying the foods that we must avoid at all costs (and coming up with some better options!) that are also convenient.

 

Shutterstock

Processed Meats & Chicken Nuggets

While these items are uber-convenient, processed meats (deli, hot dogs and chicken nuggets) are probably some of the worst foods for you. For example, chicken nuggets are loaded with not-so-great chemicals, breading, salt, fat and tons more preservatives than any adult (or child) needs. That includes most deli meat and hot dogs as well, which have been linked to major illnesses, says Dr. Greger. What you can do, however, is look for “nitrate free” and “preservative free” deli meats and dogs, and healthier options to traditional chicken nuggets – like grilled organic chicken or fun-grape leaves chicken.  Use the chance to pick meat that is closer to its natural state. 

Shutterstock

All Soda – Even “Diet” Ones!

Typical soda is loaded with calories, sugar and chemicals.  “Diet” sodas are arguably even worse with the artificial sweeteners which research has shown actually causes individuals to eat more later.  If you are craving the fizz, try seltzer water in wide varieties of flavors. Just ensure that you are grabbing the no-sugar and no artificial sugar added.  The health benefits to avoiding soda show that this may be the #1 thing to avoid in your eating and drinking habits.

Shutterstock

Sugary Breakfast Foods

You won’t believe how much sugar is in some cereals and breakfast foods. Pay smart attention, read labels and choose carefully when deciding between cereals and breakfast bars.  Truly, it’s best to avoid these options and go for more whole food options like whole-grain items, eggs, veggies and the like. Think outside of the box and sometimes have “dinner for breakfast,” instead of breakfast for dinner!

Shutterstock

Most Salad Dressings

Note that I said “most,” because there are healthier options out there every day. But generally speaking, the salad dressings that are readily available are high in soybean oil, chemicals and sugar. In the alternative, try making your own salad dressings with olive oil and seasonings, or checking the labels and looking in the refrigerated section for more healthful options with olive and coconut oils.

 

Shutterstock

French Fries

Cooked in oil that is no-telling-how-many-days old and full of trans fats and salt, fast-food French fries are one of the worst foods we can consume.  Try eating potatoes in their original state (baked), and if you are conscientious go for the sweet potato variety which is much more nutrient dense.

Shutterstock

Canned Fruit in Syrup

Pre-packaged fruits for children in sugary syrup and cans are probably one of the most sugar-dense foods available. Always choose fruit fresh, and for best results eat it with a protein (like a piece of cheese) to help balance out blood sugar.  If you must go with canned fruit, choose the ones without syrup and in their own natural juices.

Shutterstock

Potato Chips

Most potato chips are full of vegetable oil, trans fats, white potatoes and salt. This combination is just a disaster for blood sugar and spikes in insulin. Additionally, because of the convenient nature of potato chips, eating them in moderation are extremely difficult.

Shutterstock

Sugary Foods (in general)

From sugary coffees to doughnuts to highly-processed foods out there, we have to become more aware of our sugar intake. Avoiding these extra sugars will result in major changes to our health.

 

Shutterstock

Sports Drinks

Unless you are a heavy-sweater, outdoor worker or endurance athlete, there is no reason to be ingesting any form of sports drinks which are heavy in sugar.  Even the zero-sugar drinks are full of artificial sweeteners and should be avoided. Try some other options, however, even if you are an athlete.

Shutterstock

Junk Pasta Sauce

“Despite conventional wisdom, pasta isn't all that bad—it's the processed American pasta sauces loaded with excess calories, mounds of salt, and buckets of added sugar that give your plate of carby heaven such a bad reputation,” says Eat This, Not That. However, there are several brands of pasta sauce that have more sugar than cereal, soybean oil and more chemicals than we can pronounce.  Again this is a simple idea of reading labels and choosing a better choice in sauce.

10 Processed Foods to Avoid at All Costs