When it comes to food, you can always find something to satisfy your craving, whether it’s a full meal or a light snack. But, as it turns out, the things we like to eat the most are often the ones we shouldn’t even consider putting in our bodies. To help you make choices with a clearer mind, here are the 10 Most HARMFUL Foods People Keep EATING (Part 2).
10. Anything Fried, Grilled, or Broiled
It shouldn’t really come as a surprise that anything that has been modified isn’t the healthiest thing out there. Which doctor has ever said that eating a steaming plate of fried chicken was good for your arteries? Probably none. Basically, if you see something that’s been deep-fried, chances are, you shouldn’t go near it. When something is fried, it becomes more calorific because it absorbs the fat of the oils, and eating fat-laden foods can raise blood pressure and cause high cholesterol – which are risk factors for heart disease. You might think that grilling your food would be better, but even then, you would be wrong. Grilling is actually among the unhealthiest cooking methods, but people tend to overlook it and focus on the frying. Exposing meat to high-temperature cooking can cause several harmful chemicals to form – like heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. These two, in particular, are known to cause cancer in animals and are suspected to increase the risk in humans, as well. The same goes for broiling the food. It might be quicker to broil than to bake, but in the long run, those extra minutes will be worth it. If you’re not ready to say goodbye to your precious chicken or mighty steak, there are plenty of alternative cooking methods you can try if your concerned about your health. Boiling, stewing, blanching, and even steaming are all fine ways to cook your food without putting your health at risk.
9. Instant Oatmeal
You’ve probably heard the enormous praise oats receive from dieticians. Packed with beneficial fiber and protein, vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids, oats are practically the picture of health! There are even studies that show how eating whole-grain oats can help control blood sugar, lower the amount of fat in the blood, and even promote weight loss. Seriously, you get a lot of advantages when you eat a bowl of oatmeal. However, these health benefits come with whole-grain oats – not instant oats. If you get a bowl of instant oats, you’re most likely getting a serving of added sugar, salt, and artificial coloring, rather than vitamins. That’s because instant oat manufacturers tend to remove the oat’s fiber to give their meal a better texture and help it cook faster. Plus, many companies use fillers such as flour or add sugar and sugary dried fruits to their oats. Sure, it might make the taste better, but it loses all of its healthful elements. And one of the biggest problems with instant oatmeal is when most people eat it, they aren’t eating it plain. They’ll add milk, sugar, and a lot of add-ins, which basically turns this formerly healthy breakfast into a sweet dessert. If instant oatmeal is your savior on busy mornings, don’t worry, there are other ways to turn oatmeal into a fast food without having to resort to instant. Try making some overnight oatmeal or even crock-pot oats to save some time and gain some health advantages.
8. Cheese In A Can
Okay, this one is pretty obvious. Why, oh, why would a weird, squishy, neon-bright substance be anything else but harmful to you? Really, think about it. While cheese in a can is not healthy in the slightest, it never really claimed to be so. This highly processed, fake cheese has quite a reputation – both good and bad – throughout the world. A lot of people love it, despite its obvious unnatural ingredient list, and don’t really question why everybody else says they should probably steer clear of the stuff. Well, we’re here to tell those people exactly what’s wrong with cheese in a can. For starters, the cheese isn’t really cheese at all. In most cases, only about 50% of what’s in the can is actually cheese. The rest is just a bunch of ingredients like salt food dyes, preservatives, extra dairy, emulsifiers, all added to make it look the way it does. All of these are then added to the melted, pasteurized cheese before being converted to a spray. By the time all the extra ingredients are in, the faint amount of actual cheese has already lost most of its natural flavor and texture – which isn’t for the best. These are added to make the cheese last longer on the shelf. Some cheese in a can doesn’t even need to be refrigerated! It can just sit there, in your pantry, forever. Please, do yourself a favor, don’t buy cheese that can stay out and about for ages, and go with real cheese. Cheese is healthy in moderation, but not when it is sprayed out of a can.
There’s nothing like a good old bagel with cream cheese to start off your day right. Or better yet, a BLT sandwich made with sliced bagels instead of bread. Bagels are just yummy, no matter what you eat them with. However, you might be surprised – or not – to hear that they might not be the healthiest thing to eat for breakfast, and they might be causing you a lot more harm than you thought. First of all, the average bagel will have about 350 calories – that is, before any toppings are added – which is a lot for one tiny round pastry. But, that’s not the only reason why bagels shouldn’t be your go-to breakfast order. They are also made with refined white flour, meaning they are high in refined carbs. For those who don’t know, refined carbs have been stripped of almost all fiber, vitamins, and minerals and are considered “empty calories.” They are usually digested more quickly than regular carbs and have a higher glycemic index, which can lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels after a meal. Refined white-flour foods have also been linked to weight gain, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes. But don’t worry – not every bagel is out to get you. If you go for one made with 100 percent whole grains, you should be able to enjoy your bagel without a care in the world.
6. Sports Drinks
After a long run or a hearty workout, nothing feels better than an ice-cold bottle of your favorite sports drink. Whether it’s Gatorade or Powerade, there’s a brand and a flavor for everyone. However, if we’re being completely honest, most people don’t only drink sports drinks when they’ve engaged in physical activity – which is where part of the problem begins. Sports drinks are advertised as being a quick source of energy, thanks to all of the electrolytes they contain. And they are – for the most part. Electrolytes are minerals that maintain your body’s ionic balance. This balance is essential for nerve, muscle, and brain functioning. They can help replace what we lose during long durations of exercise, especially in the heat. But, if you just drink one while lying on the couch, binging your favorite show, it might have the opposite effect on your body. While a sip or two might quench your thirst for a while, the high amount of sugar found in these drinks is too high to be consumed while resting. Getting extra sugar and sodium throughout the day for less active people is neither recommended nor necessary. Sports drinks have even been linked to weight gain and tooth decay, especially in children. So, while sports drinks can help you stay hydrated, it’s best to only drink them when needed. Otherwise, you might be looking at some undesirable problems that could’ve been avoided.
5. Certain Fish
Fish is one of the healthiest foods we can get. As a kid, you were probably told time and again how important it was to finish your plate of fish because it would help make you smarter. That trick always worked, and it wasn’t all lies. Most fish are full of vitamins and omega-3 and are a great source of protein and fiber. Even the American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least two times per week as part of a healthy diet. If you know how to choose the right kind of fish, all those benefits will be yours. However, if you choose poorly, you might end up bringing on some really bad health issues. Let’s take swordfish, for example. Swordfish contains a lot of protein, but it also contains high levels of mercury. Actually, they have been found to have the highest mercury levels in any of the larger edible fish. Mercury is a potent human neurotoxin that can be fatal to pregnant women, women of childbearing age, and young children. In pregnant women, mercury crosses the placenta and can harm the developing brain and nervous system of the fetus. Both the FDA and the EPA have recommended against eating this fish and other mercury-dense fish like king mackerel, marlin, and Albacore Tuna. So, next time you want to eat some fish, take the time to choose it carefully.
4. Agave Nectar
Everybody knows the consequences too much sugar in your diet can have on your body. And many people have tried to fill their sugar void with artificial sweeteners, which, more often than not, end up being even worse than sugar itself. That’s why a lot of people turn to agave nectar, a sweetener derived from the agave plant. It’s usually marketed as a healthy alternative to sugar, and why would it not be? It comes from a plant! There’s nothing more natural than that! However, these health claims are nothing but empty promises. There is a reason why agave nectar doesn’t cause the same blood sugar spikes as table sugar does – it’s because of its high amounts of fructose – a good 85%, to be exact. Fructose is a sugar that does not directly affect blood glucose levels but it does affect a lot of other things. Sure, agave nectar claims to be suitable for people with diabetes, but it can do so much more damage elsewhere. For instance, it can completely mess up your metabolic health by contributing to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and so on. Eating high-fructose foods can also put extra strain on the liver to convert these sugars into fats, which may lead to added body fat. You want to be really healthy? Try Stevia instead for a natural and calorie-free alternative.
3. Frozen Pizza – Or Just Pizza
By now, you’re probably thinking: “well, if I can’t even have pizza, then what’s the point of even eating anymore?” And you would be right, pizza is so delicious! It’s probably one of the world’s most popular junk foods ever. No matter the country, they’ve probably got their very own version of a pizza. But, unless you missed the keyword there, pizza is a junk food, and what normally goes in junk food? That’s right, junk. And junk food is made with ingredients that are somewhat less than desirable. Stuff like highly refined dough and heavily processed meat is usually the star of the greasy pie. They’re also often high in calories, sugar, and fats. And if you choose to add that extra cheese, beware of the extra calories it comes with! While your take-out pizza might not be the healthiest thing to eat, frozen pizzas are even worse. Along with all the harmful ingredients from the regular pizza, the party is joined by numerous food additives and higher sodium levels. The salt is the real culprit here, as the majority of frozen pizzas have more than half the daily recommended intake. A high salt diet means higher blood pressure, raising the risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, and other potential health problems. Frozen pizza might be one of the easiest and cheapest meals you can make, but is it really worth the health hazard?
2. Hot Dogs
Almost everybody loves a good hot dog once in a while. It’s one of America’s most famous dishes, after all. However, even eating that one lonesome hot dog could have a lot of negative effects on your body that you might not even be aware of. Of course, we all know that hot dog sausages are not – let’s say – all-natural. We’ve been told for ages that we shouldn’t expect anything other than fake and processed ingredients that wouldn’t bring us any source of nutrients whatsoever – and that’s more than accurate. In order to keep hot dog sausages looking fresh, enhance the color, and stay preserved for longer, they have to be modified to contain nitrates and other chemical additives. These chemicals have been linked with many health risks, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and some forms of cancer. Hot dogs are normally high in sodium, and saturated fats, filled with sodium, and overall, should probably never be consumed. Yes, hot dogs are super unhealthy, but that’s not even the worst part. Most processed meat, like hot dogs sausages, are made up of the leftover, otherwise unused cuts, which is then blended together. So, next time you feel like eating a hot dog, maybe, just don’t.
1. Ice Cream
What do ice cream cones, ice cream cakes, and ice cream sandwiches have in common? They’re all frozen desserts we wish we could eat every single day. You had a bad breakup? Get out the ice cream. You had a good grade? Ice cream! You just feel like eating ice cream? Then go get it! Any reason is good reason to eat the best frozen treat ever. Which is why it can become a bit of a problem sometimes. You see, people tend to forget that, even though ice cream is delicious and doesn’t seem as sugary as chocolate cake, it’s still in the dessert category. Meaning, you aren’t safe from all the sugar, calories, and fat that your favorite ice cream brand contains. Most ice cream is high in calories and added sugar, and the little nutrients it provides cannot compensate. Even low-fat or no-sugar-added products that are often promoted as healthier, usually contain the same number of calories as regular ice cream. Ice cream is highly processed and includes ingredients like artificial flavors and additives, which have been proven to cause some negative health effects. Since ice cream is so tasty, it can also be extremely easy to overindulge and exceed your daily calorie intake. One scoop or two probably won’t hurt you; just make sure you don’t accidentally eat the whole tub! Who hasn’t been there before?!