11 Foods You Should Shy Away from for Your Health

We need food to live, but the wrong type or too much of it may be compromising our health… Common foods are packed full of additives that are detrimental to your health, but what should you be looking out for?

While nutrition experts tend to promote the concept of “all foods fit,” some foods may be deterring us away from health goals, all while increasing the risk of obesity, chronic disease, and premature death. So rather than eating these 11 “unhealthy” foods, enjoy their healthful alternative without an ounce of guilt!

Don’t Eat This, Eat That!

1. Granola Bars

Although granola bars appear as a healthful snack choice, dig a little deeper and most are comparable to a candy bar. Even claimed “natural” bars can be loaded with not only sugar, but of corn syrup and canola oil. To keep the desirability of granola bar’s convenience, prepare these portioned energy balls, free of unnecessary ingredients and loaded with nutrients and flavor.

2. Trail Mix

Like granola bars, trail mix may seem like a wise snack option. However, trail mixes are commonly loaded with sodium and sugar with the presence of added candies and salt. And if people contribute trail mix as healthy, they may overindulge on the large bag. Along with preparing a homemade, nutritious variation, portion it out into small bags or containers for an on-the-go snack.

3. Colorful Breakfast Cereals

Nutrition experts continuously promote eating colors of the rainbow for good health… in their whole form. In fact, food dyes can actually be harmful to health, including links to cancer, hyperactivity, and allergies. So rather than pouring out a bowl of Fruity Pebbles or Fruit Loops, slice up vibrant fruits for a fruit salad! From tropical-flavored filled with pineapple and oranges to a fall-inspired fruit salad with apples and pears, enjoy the colors of the rainbow naturally.

4. Margarine

Perhaps the popularity of margarine rose whenever high-fat products became shunned. However, the butter wannabe has a myriad of health concerns, predominately related to its trans fat content. Trans fats have become such a health concern the Food and Drug Administration stresses its removal from the food supply in the year 2018. So instead of trans fat-filled margarine, use olive oil in cooking or stick to a moderated portion size of butter.

5. Processed Meats

Let this meaty fact sink in: Processed meat consumption has sufficient, convincing evidence that it is carcinogenic to humans, with 34,000 cancer deaths per year associated to high processed meat diets. From turkey bacon to chicken nuggets, processed meats are essentially proteins that go under some sort of transformative process such as salting, curing, and fermentation for enhanced flavor and increased preservation. Although the exact “safe” level of processed meat is unidentified, individuals should limit processed meat to once or twice per month.

6. French Fries

Or at least, the notorious side item that comes with seemingly every meal at a fast food restaurant… While potatoes do supply healthful nutrients, including fiber and potassium, they tend to be overwhelmed with trans fat. (Not to mention the sugary ketchup they are mostly dipped in…) So rather than the automated answer to, “Do you want fries with that?” prepare these healthy and delicious homemade sweet potato fries!

7. Canned Soups

Although canned soups offer a valuable convenience factor, that may just be as advantageous as they get. In fact, one serving of canned soup can contain 800 milligrams (or more!) of sodium. To put such numbers in perspective, the American Heart Association encourages the average healthy human to consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. If you are to select a canned soup, opt for a low-sodium option, aiming to not exceed 350 milligrams. Additionally, this bistroMD chicken tortilla stew recipe utilizes reduced sodium chicken stock, no salt added diced tomatoes, and a plethora of seasonings to reduce sodium content without sacrificing flavor.

8. Cheese Dips

You really have to wonder, “Is this yellow dip really cheese?” While there are marginal contents of cheese in such dips, a laundry list of less-than-desirable ingredients also are included, such as sunflower oil, sugar, and artificial colors. Fortunately, there other delicious and nutritious dips we can count on, including this bistroMD edamole recipe!

9. Tomato Sauces

“Chunky tomato sauce with garlic and onion” may be the selection of choice to top off your spaghetti noodles for tonight’s dinner meal. And while the descriptors seem nothing short of healthful, sticking to a portion of noodles is not the only health advice surrounding the meal plate, as tomato sauces are hidden with sugars. Enjoy your pasta night with ease with these flavorful, nutritious alternatives utilizing spaghetti squash.

10. Packaged Pastries

Whether to satisfy that sweet tooth or a quick snack on-the-go, packaged pastries essentially offer nothing more than sugar, refined flour, and artificial food colorings and other additives. But when it ultimately comes down to pastries, they were founded in the premise of sugar and flour. But to minimize unnecessary additives found in packaged products, prepare pastries at home for ingredient control and healthify their nutritional content with these 10 baking swaps.

11. Soda

The concern surrounding soda consumption of is not new. Soda lacks any sort of nutritional value and supplies an average of 30 to 40 grams of sugar per 12-ounce serving. To put such numbers in perspective, the American Heart Association recommends males consume no more than 36 grams of added sugar per day and women no more than 25 grams! So rather than quenching your thirst with a sugar bomb, stay hydrated with these 13 ways to make your water taste better.