While balance is key when it comes to any healthy eating plan, there are certain foods nutritionists dodge altogether. Whether they’re full of chemicals, trans fat, sugar, or other non-negotiable ingredients, they’ve got us convinced to run the other direction! Here are the top 11 foods you’ll want to stop eating immediately.
While this might be a childhood favorite, reminiscent of baseball games and sporting events, hot dogs are anything but kid-friendly. Sometimes referred to as “nitrate popsicles,” this is one homogenous meat to re-think.
As nutritionist Kerri Glassman, RD wrote for Today.com, “They're high in sodium and saturated fats (not the good kind, like those found in coconut) and filled with sodium nitrite (a commonly used preservative that adds color and flavor to meats) and often other chemicals and dyes."
Instead, look for all-natural, nitrate-free hot dogs.
This fizzy calorie-free drink might hit the spot, but drinking this is actually worse for you than drinking a regular coke. Plus, there are chemicals you simply don’t want to be putting into your body.
“Artificial sweeteners found in diet soda are known to trigger insulin, which sends your body into fat storage mode and may lead to weight gain, even though the soda contains no calories itself,” Glassman said on Today.com.
Instead, choose an all-natural seltzer or unsweetened tea.
If it’s been processed and reconstructed then it’s probably not the food choice for you. Swap Cheez Whiz and other canned cheeses or meats for fresher options.
"I particularly avoid those that are made with additional thickeners, preservatives, sugar, or a high content of preservatives,” Jaclyn London, M.S., R.D., senior clinical dietician at Mount Sinai Hospital told WomensHealthMag.com.
It’s crispy and delicious, but another processed meat to avoid.
As Gans told WomensHealthMag.com, “Its high saturated fat and sodium content has been a huge deterrent for me for years."
Well, this one is hard to give up entirely, but we get the point.
Why drink your calories when there are so many delicious foods out there? Skip the flavored latte or cappuccino and stick to plain cream for a healthier caffeinated pick-me-up.
"I'd rather eat my calories (or save them for a glass of wine!) than drinking calorie-rich, nutrient-poor beverages that don't fill you up." — London said to WomensHealthMag.com.
Perfect for dipping, this snack time food is full of little more than carbohydrates. A handful is never satisfying and there’s little nutritional value — plus, you often eat them thinking your going for the “healthier” option!
“They have no fiber, no protein and no healthy fat to keep you satisfied or add health benefits to the calories you’re consuming,” Glassman writes.
If you do eat them, choose to dip them in hummus for added protein and nutrition.
Why ruin a good thing? Instead of going for preserved or candied fruits, get the real deal.
Silicon Valley nutritionist Michelle Davenport Ph.D., R.D., explains on WomensHealthMag.com: "The added sugar, chemicals, and artificial dyes ruin the health benefits of the naturally delicious fruit."
Pepperoni can be hard to resist, especially when it comes on a pie with cheese. This is one topping though your body will thank you for bypassing. Like hotdogs, these are full of nitrates and should be skipped unless specifically listed as “nitrate free.”
Keri Gans, R.D., author of "The Small Change Diet" points out the practicality of leaving this favorite behind.
"I personally don't love the taste, but more importantly, I'd much rather top my pizza with nutritious veggies than overly processed meat," Gans said to WomensHealthMag.com.
Florescent Orange Snacks
Anything that unnaturally orange can’t be healthy, right? Nutritionists agree.
“These crunchy old school lunch box go-tos are full of salt, chemicals and artificial coloring,” Glassman said on Today.com.
If you’re still craving something with a crunch, opt for an all-natural tortilla chip or bake your own at home. Glassman also suggest air-popping popcorn and adding turmeric for an orange appeal.
Leave these creamers in your office kitchen or the “dairy” section of the store ASAP.
"It's completely without nutrient density of any kind, and it can increase your risk for heart disease," Kristin Kirkpatrick, M.S., R.D., a wellness manager at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute said to WomensHealthMag.com.
Black coffee, anyone?
Like pretzels, sugary cereal gives you calories but little nutrition. Not only that, but the high sugar content causes your blood sugar to spike and then drop after only a couple of hours.
"Most cold cereals are loaded with added sugars and are missing protein and fiber," Brooke Alpert, M.S., R.D. said to WomensHealthMag.com. "If I eat that to start, my entire day will be thrown off eating-wise, as I'll be hungry and on a sugar crash within an hour or two,” adds Alpert, founder of B Nutritious.
“Processed pastries are made with refined sugar, refined wheat flour, hydrogenated oils (unhealthy trans fats) and a whole bunch of other chemicals and artificial ingredients,” Glassman added on Today.
Next time you’re at your local coffee shop or bodega, pick up a package of almonds instead. Not only will you feel better about your choice, but also you’ll stay fuller for a longer period of time.
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