Eating bad foods can make you feel like crap, lead to weight gain and cause all sorts of health problems.
Here are 7 unhealthy foods you should avoid like the plague.
1. Added Sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup
You’re probably not surprised to see sugar at the top of the list.
In the last few decades, sugar has been considered unhealthy because it provides empty calories… and it’s true. Refined sugar has a lot of calories but NO essential nutrients.
A stimulated appetite and addictive features leading to cravings and binge eating… that’s a recipe for fat gain disaster.
Bottom line: Avoid all fruit juices and sugar-sweetened beverages, sugary treats and dried fruit. Agave syrup is no better than sugar. Read labels!
2. Grains – Especially Gluten Grains
There is a fair amount of evidence to suggest that people, even those who don’t have celiac disease, react poorly to foods that contain gluten.
Yes, that also applies to the “heart-healthy” whole wheat, which actually isn’t healthy at all. One study reveals that whole wheat can raise small, dense LDL (very, very bad) by a whopping 60% (9).
Whole wheat also happens to have a very high glycemic index, leading to the blood sugar “roller coaster” that makes you crave another high-carb snack soon after eating (10).
Evidence is mounting that gluten sensitivity is fairly common in the population. Gluten appears to cause harmful effects on digestion and other aspects of health, even in individuals without celiac disease (11, 12, 13, 14).
Studies on low-carb diets (which eliminate sugars and starches like grains) suggest that people who need to lose weight or have metabolic issues should avoid ALL grains, which are the largest source of carbohydrate in the diet (13, 14).
For people who exercise and don’t need to lose weight, there is no proven reason to eliminate healthier, non-gluten grains like rice and oats.
At the end of the day though, grains are a food group that contains NO essential nutrients that we can’t get in much greater amounts from animal foods or vegetables.
Bottom line: Everyone who cares about their health should avoid gluten grains, especially wheat. Healthy people who don’t need to lose weight can eat some non-gluten grains like rice and oats.
3. Trans Fats
Trans fats, also known as “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” fats, are unsaturated fats that have been chemically modified to increase shelf-life and make them solid at room temperature.
This process requires hydrogen gas, high pressure and is very disgusting. It is baffling that anyone ever thought these nasty, industrially produced fats would be suitable for human consumption.
Bottom line: Avoid artificial trans fats as if your life depended on it (it does).
4. Seed- And Vegetable Oils
Often portrayed as health foods, seed- and vegetable oils like soybean and corn oil are extremely unnatural for the human body as we didn’t have access to them until very recently in evolutionary history.
These fats contain an abundance of Omega-6 fatty acids, but we need to get Omega-6 and Omega-3 in a certain ratio to ensure optimal functioning of the body.
Eating too much Omega-6 and too little Omega-3 can lead to inflammation, a leading cause of many modern health problems
Polyunsaturated fats are also very sensitive to oxidation due to their abundance of reactive double bonds.
Bottom line: Avoid excess Omega-6 fats from seed- and vegetable oils. Increase intake of Omega-3 from fatty fish or cod liver oil instead.
5. Artificial Sweeteners
Even ingredients that are calorie free can still harm you and this may be especially applicable to artificial sweeteners.
Consumption of artificial sweeteners shows consistent and strong associations with preterm delivery and various diseases like metabolic syndrome, obesity (ironically) and type II diabetes (23, 24, 25).
These epidemiological studies don’t prove that the artificial sweeteners caused the diseases, but until there are controlled trials that prove their safety I recommend you AVOID artificial sweeteners.
Bottom line: If you must sweeten, use Stevia. Artificial sweeteners have NOT been proven safe and are potentially harmful.
6. Anything labelled “Low-Fat” or “Diet”
Some of the marketers working at the junk food companies are shameless liars… and unfortunately, they get away with it.
Even products marketed towards children as healthy, with labels like “diet” – “low fat” or “whole grain” are often high-sugar, high-wheat, processed garbage.
Bottom line: Be smart and read labels. Even foods disguised as health foods often turn out to be little more than processed crap.
7. Foods That Are Highly Processed
Foods that are highly processed are low in nutrients and high in unhealthy ingredients and artificial chemicals.
If the ingredients list contains more than five ingredients or something that you don’t understand, it’s probably bad for you.
Real food doesn’t need an ingredients list. Real food IS the ingredient.
Easy rule to remember: “If it looks like it was made in a factory, don’t eat it!“