12. White Bread, Refined Flours
Grains are good, right? So bread must be good too? Well, not if it’s white bread made from refined flours. White flour is stripped of all the nutritional fiber, minerals, and vitamins, and all you get is grain waste mixed with chemicals to achieve the nice white color. But behind it lies the risk of weight gain, thyroid damage, and organ damage. Go whole grain instead!
13. Artificial Sweeteners
No, these are no better than sugar. In fact, they’re often worse. Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, neotame, acesulfame potassium, etc. might contain fewer calories, but they can still increase the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome. You may not have noticed but many sugar-free gums contain aspartame, which is considered the most dangerous substance in the world. Sugar has healthy alternatives such as honey, maple syrup, and agave syrup, to name a few.
14. Energy Bars
Energy bars might be necessary for athletes who need a quick burst of energy, but if that’s not you, try to resist these tasty calorie bombs. Energy bars contain a lot of sugar (we talked about sugar before), high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, and can contain trans-fats. So this is basically candy that’s full of calories, sugar, and artificial ingredients. In other words, it’s a ticking time bomb.
15. Fast Food
Sure, fast food tastes good, it’s fairly inexpensive, and it’s everywhere. But what makes it taste so good? It’s the same things that are slowly killing you: trans-fats, sugar, salt, preservatives, additives, dyes, and other chemicals that enhance the looks and the taste of this food. Fast food can affect your risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, mood disorders, weight gain, metabolic disorders, etc. So at least try to cut down on fast food.
16. Barbecued Meats
The smell of barbecue might be hard to resist, but please try. The chemicals that enter the meat during the process are associated with risk of pancreatic cancer and breast cancer. If you can’t resist, try to limit the intake of barbecued meat and consider adding some rosemary to your hamburger to reduce the amount and number of carcinogens.
Wheat contains a carbohydrate that suddenly and greatly increases your blood sugar levels. This triggers high insulin production and weight gain. Over time, your pancreas will become overworked and you’ll become insulin resistant, and then you can get diabetes. And high blood sugar levels trigger the production of compounds that speed up the aging process and give you wrinkled skin. So you’ll age faster and be prone to diabetes, which in itself is a big issue.
Salt plays a big role in regulating our blood pressure. If you eat too much salt, you’ll have high blood pressure and increased risk of cardiovascular disease, which is among the leading causes of death in the world. So, don’t cut out all salt as your body still needs it, just limit the amount and watch out for sodium levels in processed foods. Just 3.75 grams of sodium per day is a sufficient and safe amount. Anything above 6 grams poses a serious health risk.
19. Commercial Fruit Juices
Don’t believe the big flashy labels that say 100% fruit. Most of the time, the secret is in the fine print. Commercial fruit juice often contains added sugar, coloring, preservatives, and it can lose its nutrients during pasteurization. Your best bet is finding a trusted local juice bar or making your own fruit juice at home. We’d go for the latter. Have some fun and explore new tastes.
20. Breakfast Cereals
Again, we blame it on the marketing. Breakfast cereals aren’t harmless as their happy cheerful colors and toys inside the box might suggest. They actually contain sugar, artificial coloring, preservatives, GMO products, and they’re often stripped of the nutrients they had before processing. Try oatmeal with some fresh or dried fruit instead. It tastes great, and it’s actually good for you.