With so much nutritional information to sort through it can be difficult to figure out what’s actually healthy and what’s not. The following are foods many of us may have thought were relatively healthy, while some of the others we’ve known for awhile to stay away from. They’re all foods most nutritionists would never touch and should not be part of our diets.
1. Microwave Popcorn
As long as there wasn’t too much salt and butter popcorn has been touted as a healthy snack. Microwave popcorn, however, often includes diacetyl. This chemical has been linked to respiratory problems and even Alzheimer’s. The better option is to make popcorn the old fashioned way by popping kernels on the stove in a pan.
2. Energy Drinks
These drinks aren’t regulated by the FDA and they often contain ingredients that aren’t healthy. Some of the more popular energy drinks pack in a lot of sugar in a single can. Those trying to lose weight should stick primarily to water. Getting excessive calories from what we drink only makes it harder to stay within our daily caloric needs.
3. Low-Fat Muffins
Low-fat and fat-free used to be the darlings of the diet world. But low-fat often means added sugars to improve taste and even the same amount of calories. A low-fat muffin may even be less filling, tempting you to have a second one.
4. Frozen Dinners
Regular frozen dinners are loaded with fat, calories, and added sugars. Even the low-fat dinners often have too much sugar, sodium, and preservatives. On top of that they provide little nutritional value. Even a small chicken pot pie dinner can pack in over 1,000 calories.
5. Diet Soda
While regular soda has long been associated with excess sugar coupled with no nutritional value, diet soda may in some ways be even worse. Studies have shown that diet soda drinkers tend to be heavier than those who don’t consume diet drinks. Some of the sweeteners in diet soda have even been linked to cancer.
6. Canned Soup
Soup is a great way to fill up with something that is primarily liquid to help stave off hunger. Canned soups, however, are loaded with sodium and few nutrients. Most canned soups have 2 to 3 servings in each can, leading many people to ingest far too many calories and sodium when they consume the entire can.
7. Trail Mix
Most trail mixes are high in fat, calories, sugar, and sodium. With pieces of chocolate and nuts, and fruit that are covered in everything from a sugar glaze to high-fat yogurt, it’s not a healthy choice. It’s possible to make your own healthy trail mix by eliminating sugar-coated fruit, using only dark chocolate, and laying off the salt.
8. Processed Lunch Meat
A turkey or ham sandwich without the mayo may sound healthy, but not if the meat is processed and loaded with chemicals like nitrates. Most meats that are preserved by curing or smoking have ingredients that are linked to cancer. These lunch meats are also high in fat and sodium while offering little nutritional value.
9. White Bread
With simple carbs and little nutritional value, white bread is an enemy of weight loss. It’s refined, processed, and full of gluten, which makes it tough on the digestive system.
Margarine is basically vegetable oil loaded with trans-fats, added flavors, and coloring. This means stick margarine should be avoided. Small amounts of butter are healthier than eating margarine. Better yet, use whipped butter which has lower amounts of fat and fewer calories.
11. Specialty Coffee
While a regular cup of java is fat-free and has virtually no calories, most of the specialty coffees we order at the coffee shop are just the opposite. Most mochas, lattes, and flavored coffees are full of syrup, sugar, and high fat-milk products. If you must put something in your coffee try a touch of honey or stevia.
12. Canned Frosting
Eating frosting is essentially the same as shoveling spoonfuls of sugar and fat in your mouth. Cake and cookie frosting is not only a dieter’s nightmare but it’s unhealthy. Add to that the fact that colored frosting has high amounts of food dye and it’s definitely worth staying away from.
Staying away from these 12 nutritional bombs will not only help improve your health but will help trim your waistline as well. Making a few simple changes to your diet can go a long way to losing weight and getting healthy.