6 Foods to Remove from Your Diet ASAPArticle posted in: Nutrition
Ready to do this? Are you ready to lose weight once and for all? There are a few foods to avoid while making the transition to leading a healthier lifestyle. In order to know the do’s and don’ts of your diet menu, we’ve got it all mapped out for you! Read on to find out what NOT to eat so you can be on your way to meeting that slimmer, healthier new you.
Check out our top six foods to avoid to stay on track with healthy living:
1. Fried Food
Leading our list of foods to avoid is fried a crunchy, greasy, high-calorie culprit. French fries and funnel cake might be delicious but a large, long-term study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition found people who ate fried foods even just once a week had a greater risk of both type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Over 100,000 men and women were studied for 25 years and as the frequency of fried-food consumption increased, so did the risk of disease. Additionally, fried foods eaten away from home—where frying oil may not be fresh—poses the greatest risk. Oil degrades over time and absorbs into foods, which contributes to weight gain, higher cholesterol and higher blood pressure.
2. Added Sugar
Another one of our foods to avoid is a no-brainer: Sugar. Sugar occurs naturally in all foods that contain carbohydrates. Even fruits and veggies have carbohydrates. But added sugar in foods and drinks like soda, juice, yogurt, condiments and desserts quickly add up and can increase the risk for obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, fatty liver disease, stroke and cardiovascular disease, according to a 2014 JAMA Internal Medicine study. The greater the intake of added sugar, the higher the risk for heart disease. About half of added sugar in the average American’s diet comes from beverages—including coffee and tea. Be cognizant of what you’re adding to your drinks!
3. Simple Carbs
All carbohydrates turn into glucose and raise our blood sugar. But simple (or refined) carbs like bagels, pasta and sugar become glucose much faster causing a blood sugar spike and crash. In an effort to find more energy, the body craves more carbs. You eat again. You crash again. This cycle leads to weight gain and increased risk of heart disease and diabetes, according to Harvard School of Public Health. Stick to complex carbs (whole grains, brown rice and fruits and veggies) that take the body longer to digest and keeps the release of glucose into the blood stream slow and steady.
4. Highly Processed Treats
Artificial flavors. Texture modifiers. Colorants. Food manufacturers will put almost anything into food to make a sale. But why do we buy this stuff? The snacks have a terrific crunch. The cookies dissolve perfectly in milk. That cereal doesn’t dissolve in milk. The list goes on. Billions of dollars each year are spent on creating “perfect” foods that appeal to our mouths and brains, which leads to overconsumption and a void of vital nutrients and fiber. Highly processed foods can also increase the risk of cancer, according to a 2014 BMJ study. A 10% increase in the proportion of ultra-processed foods was associated with greater than 10% risk for overall and breast cancer. Not all processed food is created equal. If you’re reaching for a packaged food, just be sure to read the Nutrition Facts and Ingredients list carefully to ensure it’s not overly processed.
5. Added Salt
Salt is an essential nutrient. It contains sodium and chloride, which regulate muscle contractions, nerve function, blood pressure and fluid balance. Some salt in the diet is important. However, adding too much extra salt can lead to high blood pressure and greater likelihood for contracting stomach cancer. So, be careful with that salt shaker! Don’t be tempted to use sea salt as an alternative because sea salt and table salt have the same basic nutritional value. Also beware of salt substitutes that use potassium chloride because excess potassium may be harmful to people with kidney, liver or heart issues, according to the Mayo Clinic. The best salt substitutes are herbs like turmeric or cayenne, lemon or lime juice or balsamic vinegar.
6. “Low-Fat” Foods
Before you reach for that skim milk, know this: Not all full-fat foods are bad for your health. In fact, South Beach Diet counts full-fat yogurt, milk and cheese as Healthy Fats because studies published by Harvard are showing Americans have a lower risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and obesity when their diets include full-fat dairy. What’s the logic? When people reduce how much fat they eat—whether with dairy, peanut butter, dressings or snacks—they seem to replace the void with sugar or refined carbohydrates, which DO increase all of those health risks. Additionally, foods that are specifically labeled “low-fat” often contain refined carbs to make them more palatable.