Worst foods to eat

Contents

The Top 10 Worst Foods To Eat

Healthy Eating

Processed junk foods are everywhere, full of sugar, salt and fat, they can have devastating effects on your health – but what are the real worst foods to eat?

Processed junk foods are everywhere, full of sugar, salt and fat, they can have devastating effects on your health – but what are the real worst foods to eat?

That’s not to say that the foods featured on this list are things you should never eat again, but if you want to follow a healthy diet then try to keep your intake of these 10 foods to a minimum.

1

Cheesy fries

It’s no secret that fries are high in salt, fat and calories, and adding large amounts of cheese to this already unhealthy food makes this a terrible recipe for your health. A regular portion of fries contains around 420 calories. Throw in 100g of cheddar cheese on top of this, and you will be adding a further 400 calories and 35g of fat to the fries.

2

Fried desserts

Anything deep fried is a poor health choice, and coating a dessert that is already high in sugar and fat in batter is something you should avoid. Fried foods can clog up your arteries which can, over time lead to heart attacks, strokes and diabetes. Don’t think this doesn’t apply to pineapple and banana fritters too. Just because they are fruit, they have still been cooked in batter and will also be swimming in a sugary syrup.

3

Cereals

Many of us start our day with a bowl of cereal, but in some cases, this breakfast choice can actually contain many harmful ingredients.

Some breakfast cereals (specifically those aimed at children) contain preservatives to make them last longer, artificial dyes, flavourings and high amounts of sugar. An article published in the Journal of American Dietetic Association found that cereals marketed at children contained more: sodium, carbohydrates, sugar and calories per gram than those not marketed to children. Where possible, try to stick to cereals that are high in fibre and low in sugar.

4

Pork scratchings (pork rind or crackle)

Perhaps unsurprisingly, deep fried pig skin covered in salt makes it onto our list of the 10 worst foods to eat. If you’ve ever had a bag of pork scratchings, then you might have had the pleasure of finding a piece that still has a few hairs on it. Pig hair is usually removed by burning the skin quickly before it’s cut up and cooked in the hot fat, but occasionally, some hair remains on the skin.

5

Fizzy drinks

Although they are technically not a food, fizzy drinks still rightly deserve a place on the unhealthy food list. The health implications of regular consumption of fizzy drinks include heart disease, tooth decay and osteoporosis. Fizzy drinks also contain enormous amounts of hidden sugar, with the average can of coke containing 10 teaspoons. Even diet drinks that seem more healthy should generally be avoided as although they might be lower in calories than full-fat versions, they still contain artificial sweeteners which can rot tooth enamel over time.

6

Processed meats

Processed meats have been modified to contain nitrates and other chemical additives to help preserve the meat for longer and enhance the colour. Some processed meats such as sausages are also made up leftover, unwanted parts of animals, mixed up with high amounts of salt and fat. Consuming processed meat can also cause health risks including high blood pressure, heart disease and some forms of cancer.

7

Frozen meals

Although frozen ready meals might be a convenient choice, they offer little in the way of nutritional value. To turn something that sits in your freezer for months on end into an edible meal, manufacturers add in high levels of preservatives and sodium to the food. Rather than filling your freezer with shop bought ready meals, batch make your own homemade alternatives and freeze the individual portions.

8

Chicken nuggets

Don’t be fooled into thinking that chicken nuggets are a healthy food choice because they contain chicken. The truth is, chicken nuggets rarely contain only chicken breast, with manufacturers mixing the meat with bulking agents and leftover bits of carcass (the average nugget contains 50 per cent more fat and carbs than protein.) Instead of eating the deep fried nuggets, make your own healthy chicken nuggets at home by using a lean chicken breast cut into pieces and coated in breadcrumbs.

9

Canned soups

A seemingly innocent addition to this list, canned soups are not as bad for your health as some of the other foods featured in this top 10, but they do contain high amounts of salt. Made correctly, soup can provide a hearty and healthy meal packed full of vitamins and other goodness so if you want to eat soup, then stick to making your own. That way you know exactly what is going into it and won’t fall into the high salt trap of the canned varieties.

10

Doughnuts

Although you might love doughnuts, in the long term, your heart won’t. Doughnuts are fried, so you consume high amounts of saturated and trans fats when you eat the treat. Doughnuts also class as empty calories, as the snack itself is high in calories and sugar (a chocolate iced doughnut contains 350 calories) but low in nutritional value. So it won’t be long before your reaching for another doughnut… or two.

The 10 BEST and WORST Foods for Health and Longevity

BY DR. JOEL FUHRMAN

10 Best

Green Leafy Vegetables
Leafy greens pack a micronutrient punch. This category includes dark lettuces, kale, collard greens, arugula, and watercress.

Cruciferous Vegetables
Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and radishes contain phytochemicals that modify hormones, detoxify compounds, and prevent toxins from damaging DNA.

Berries
Berries support heart health, improve blood glucose levels, and reduce inflammation. Enjoy all berries including blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries.

Beans
Satisfying and versatile, beans and legumes contain high levels of soluble and insoluble fiber and resistant starch.

Mushrooms
White button, Portabello, shiitake, oyster and other varieties protect against respiratory infections and breast cancer.

Onions
Onions, leeks, scallions and garlic supply anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant compounds.

Nuts
Walnuts, pistachios, pine nuts and almonds are rich in sterols, stanols, fiber, minerals, and other health-promoting nutrients and protect against heart disease.

Tomatoes
Tomatoes have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help to protect against cancer and disease.

Pomegranates and Cherries
These fruits protect against heart disease, cancer, cognitive impairment, and reduce oxidative stress.

10 Worst

Smoked, BBQ, or Conventionally Raised Red Meat
Contains cancer-promoting hormones and increases production of cancer-promoting hormones in humans. Cooking process produces carcinogens.

Commercial Baked Goods
Refined carbohydrates made from white flour, sugar, and oils are linked to depression as well as dementia. Avoid margarines, shortening, and fast foods, which also may contain trans fats.

Butter
Butter is linked to higher cholesterol, higher rates of heart disease deaths, and higher rates of invasive cancer, such as breast cancer.

Pancakes and Donuts
They are high in white flour, sweeteners, and oil (a triad of danger) and then fried – all of which magnifies your risk of heart disease and cancer.

Soda
The phosphoric acid in colas may cause calcium loss. Artificial sweeteners in diet sodas disrupt the body’s connection between taste and nourishment.

Fried Foods
Fried foods form acrylamides and other dangerous inflammation-promoting compounds as they cook, which can cause genetic mutations and increase the risk of cancer.

Highly Salted Foods
Excess sodium is linked to high blood pressure, strokes, heart enlargement and heart attacks, autoimmune disease, kidney disease, and stomach cancer.

Hot Dogs and Luncheon Meats
These processed meat scraps with chemical preservatives and coloring agents are linked to early death and childhood cancer when consumed during childhood or by parents before conception.

White Sugar and Calorically-Dense Sweeteners
All caloric sweeteners have effects that promote weight gain, heart disease, and diabetes. This includes maple syrup, honey, and agave. Concentrated sweeteners are linked to cancer.

Sweetened Dairy Products
Ice cream, low-fat ice cream, and frozen yogurt are high in dairy protein and concentrated sweetening agents. They are linked to elevations in growth-promoting hormones and certain cancers.

View PDF

Back to Endurance News

The Absolute Worst Foods for Your Health

It’s no secret that eating fruits and veggies can have a powerful (and positive) impact on health. But, what about meat, dairy, bread products, and other types of food? As it turns out, there is a lot of confusion regarding foods that are healthy and unhealthy. And while some aren’t as bad as you think, there are some that can lead to complications in vital organs among other detrimental occurrences. Curious to know what foods to avoid? We share the worst foods for your health, ahead.

Sandwiches contain some of the worst foods for your health. | Rez-art/iStock/Getty Image

Worst foods for your health

Diet is not just important to weight loss, it’s important to health, too. And, with so many vital nutrients, fruits and vegetables are at the top of the list when it comes to the best foods for your health. But, what about the worst foods for your health? Unfortunately, the below foods should be avoided as much as possible — especially since many of them can lead to heart complications, among other health problems.

Pizza

We hate to be the bearer of bad news but, commercially prepared pizza is one of the worst foods for your health. Often times, pizza places like Domino’s and Papa John’s use processed meat and cheese, highly refined flour, and sugar-filled tomato sauce. And while all of the above might taste incredible, these ingredients can have a last impact on your health — and not in a good way. If you must have pizza, consider making it from scratch at home with healthful ingredients.

Sugary drinks

Added sugar is a big problem in the American diet. And, unfortunately, it can lead to a host of health problems. One of the biggest culprits of added sugar? Beverages. Be careful when consuming things like soda, juice, and other sugar-filled drinks, as they can spike blood sugar levels and overtime impact the health negatively.

White bread

White bread should also be avoided. As one of the worst foods for your health, white bread is often made from refined wheat. Not only is refined wheat low in nutrients, but it can also spike blood sugar levels, too. In addition, those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity can experience adverse reactions to wheat-based bread.

Margarine

Margarine might make a great butter alternative, but it’s not exactly good for your health. Not only is margarine highly processed, but it also contains trans fats. And, the label is not always truthful. Companies do not have to disclose trans fat on the label, so long as it contains less than 0.5 grams per serving.

French fries

If we didn’t break your hearts with the truth about pizza, we’re about to with french fries. Because most french fries are fried in oils — which are often high in saturated fat — they are one of the worst foods for your health. On top of that, they can sometimes contain carcinogens, acrylamides, and other substances that form when fried.

Agave nectar

Looking for a sweetener alternative? Agave nectar might be your first and most healthful pick. Not so fast! As it turns out, the sweet alternative is actually one of the worst foods for your health. Contrary to popular belief, agave nectar is incredibly high in fructose and is also refined. For a better sugar alternative, consider Stevia.

Processed meat and cheese

By now it should come of no surprise that processed foods are extremely bad for your health. And, unfortunately, processed meat and cheese is no different. While regular cheese contains essential vitamins and minerals, processed cheese is stripped of nutrients. And, processed meat can lead to countless health concerns, including high blood pressure, heart disease, colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!

10 Foods You Should Never Eat

You may remember my article from last week entitled “10 Foods You Should Always Eat,” and today my dear friend, I want to let you in on the 10 foods I think you should never, ever, under any circumstances, allow to enter your beautiful vessel.

Now, you may disagree with some of my choices, and that is fine. I very much encourage you to do your own research to see what resonates with you. I also do not want you to feel blame/shame/guilt when reading this. You are not a bad person for eating any of the foods on this list. This is purely to help you feel more educated about your food choices, so you feel like an informed shopper.

This list comes from my 10 years in the filed of nutrition, health and wellness, and is indented to help you feel your very best every day. It is OK if this list pisses you off a little, just go in with an open mind and see how it lands!

1. Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils

Hydrogenated vegetable oils are more science experiment than they are food, in my opinion. The process of adding a hydrogen molecule to monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils requires a laundry list of chemicals, heavy metals, heat and processes that render the oil pretty well unrecognizable and toxic to your cells.

Hydrogenated vegetable oils do not go bad on the shelf – and the fact that they do not naturally break down means that your body is going to have a hard time breaking them down. Do not be fooled – these foods are NOT heart healthy. Avoid them at all costs.

Substitutes: Eating oils like coconut oils, cacao butter, extra virgin olive oil (from Greece or Italy, to make sure it does not have other oils added to it) and even grass-fed organic butter are better for your body because they are recognizable as food.

2. Processed Vegetable Oils

Mono and poly unsaturated fats like corn, canola and ‘vegetable’ oils have carbon molecules that do not have a hydrogen atom attached to them. This makes them readily available to react with other molecules in the environment like free radicals, light, heat and air. These oils are basically rancid by the time they hit the shelves because they are so vulnerable to being broken down — the process of extracting them from plants and getting them into the bottle is basically impossible without causing damage. These oils are chemically deodorized and treated so that they do not smell/look rancid, but they are.

Substitutes: Go for naturally saturated oils like coconut and cacao butter, or use whole food forms of fat like nuts, seeds, nut and seed butters, avocado and olives. Trust me, you will get used to a liquid oil free life!

3. Conventional Dairy Products

Conventional dairy cows are artificially impregnated for years at a time, in order to get them to produce milk – they are mammals like humans, meaning they only produce milk when they have a calf to feed. They are pumped full of hormones, antibiotics and other medications to keep milk supply up and to help fight off illnesses and infections that they’re vulnerable to due to their conditions.

Conventional dairy is also very acidic for the body, due to the processing it goes through to be made ‘safe’ for consumption. This acidic nature of the milk means that it actually robs calcium and other alkaline minerals from your body, because your body must stay alkaline. When you ingest acidic foods your body draws on the alkaline stores in your bones and teeth to neutralize the acid – causing a net loss in calcium for your body. All in all, milk does not do a body good in its current state.

Substitutes: Go for plant based milks like almond and coconut, organic goat milks and even organic cows’ milk – just be sure to go to the farm and know exactly how the diary cows are being fed and treated.

4. White Flour

White flour is absolutely nutritionally devoid – even if it has been enriched. The processing of white flour means that the germ and the bran have been removed, and all that is left is the endosperm. The nutrient-rich oils are located in the bran, and most vitamins and minerals are located in the germ. When these two things are processed out, you are essentially left with nothing but starch.

This starch is then bleached, and this further reduces its nutritional status. In the end, you have a substance that turns into paper Mache in your body, which is highly acidic and provides your body with no nutrition. The synthetic vitamins that are added back into enriched flour are not utilized by your body as efficiently as the natural vitamins and minerals that would have been in the plant had it not been processed at all.

Substitutes: Whole grains! Go for whole wheat, spelt, rye and oat. You may even want to experiment with sprouted grain products, and gluten-free products – just be sure your gluten-free products are not also fully processed and filled with refined grains.

5. ‘Low fat’ Processed Foods

Whenever you see the words ‘low fat’ or ‘fat free’ on processed or packaged foods (this does NOT include naturally low fat foods like fruits and veggies) you can assume that the foods in question contain a plethora of chemicals, additives, and preservatives and have been through several stages of processing. These foods are essentially unrecognizable as food by your body, and will not help to give you a slimmer waistline. What they will do is force your body to work over time to process the chemicals and search for what little nutrition may be left inside that item. At the end of the day, these products are just not worthy of your body.

Substitutes: Again, go for whole foods. If you feel like reducing your fat intake, start eating more naturally lower fat foods like whole fruits and veggies. Or simply eat naturally occurring fats like nuts, seeds, avocado and coconut because your body will recognize these fats and use them to create a healthy body.

6. Aspartame

Aspartame is a known neurotoxin. This means it literally poisons your brain when you consume it. When it breaks down through heat it becomes ever more toxic, and most items that contain aspartame have been heated through cooking or improper storage. It is hidden in a wide range of foods – especially anything labeled ‘sugar free.’ Aspartame can bio-accumulate in your body and cause damage over time. The long and short of it is, never eat aspartame.

Substitutes: Natural sweeteners! Go for foods that are naturally sweetened with fruit, maple syrup, dates, and coconut sugar.

7. Processed Deli Meats/Hot Dogs

Processed meats are not really meat. They are meat in the sense that they contain meat as an ingredient, but they are also loaded with things that are NOT meat. The sodium levels of deli and other processed meat products are sky high, and this is not a good thing for your heart. They are also packed full of chemicals that wreak havoc on your health. Nitrates are chief among the crazy chemicals hiding in those deli slices and they are known carcinogens. Bottom line is if you are going to eat meat, go for 100% meat – not a hodge podge of meat, meat-like ingredients and ingredients that are nothing like meat at all.

Substitutes: Go for the real stuff! If you include meat in your diet look for organic, grass/natural diet fed, GMO-free fed animals that were treated with love and respect.

8. Soda Pop

To me, soda is liquid poison. It’s comprised mostly of chemicals that have been composed in a lab and is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, which we know is an empty calorie – meaning it provides calories with no nutrition. The sugar content of soda, with its lack of fiber that would normally slow the release of sugars into your bloodstream – will cause a massive spike in your blood sugar levels. This forces your liver and pancreas to work very hard to move those sugars from your bloodstream into your cells.

You will then experience a strong blood sugar dip, which can give you headaches, make you feel dizzy or nauseated and will make you crave another concentrated hit of sugar.

Soda is very acidic, which will mean that your body has to draw on the alkaline mineral stores in your bones and teeth in order to preserve the slightly alkaline PH of your blood. And sugar-free sodas are no better – the artificial sugars found in calorie-free sodas actually stimulate your brain to seek sugar, which means that you will end up eating more over the course of the day than you would have if you just had a normal soda with normal sugar.

Substitutes: Go for kombucha, a naturally fermented tea drink if you are craving something fizzy. Tea, fresh juices and water will also help to hydrate your body.

9. Deep Fried Foods

Oil that is heated to the temperatures needed for frying are essentially rancid oils. The high heat alters their chemical structure and denatures them. Combine this with the protein coagulation and nutrient denaturing of the actual food being fried, and you have a food-like substance that actually robs nutrients from your body instead of providing them. Fried foods honestly should never, ever be consumed. Fried foods contain fats known as Trans Fatty Acids, which we now understand are the fats that are most dangerous for your health. These fats are oxidized fat that literally cause cellular damage, and are the fats that lead to heart disease.

Substitutes: Bake your potato chips and potato fries. Bake, poach, steam or broil your meats. Pan fry rather than deep frying. Use stable fats like coconut oil if you are going to be cooking in high heat. Just don’t deep fry.

10. Genetically Modified Corn

Three things you need to know: 1) Corn is actually a grain, not a vegetable. 2) Humans do not actually have the digestive enzymes needed to fully break corn down, which means that it mostly passes through your digestive system unchanged. 3) GMO corn has been altered on a cellular level to contain pesticides – which means those chemicals are not only on the surface, but are a part of the genetic make up of the corn.

All this is very bad news for your body. Combine that with the fact that GMO corn is hidden in pretty much all processed foods and you may currently be eating a diet that is made mostly of GMO corn products. For example most buns at fast food restaurants are composed of 70-80% CORN! Not even wheat! I encourage you to read your labels and see just how much corn you are currently eating – now knowing that it really provides little to no nutrition to your body.

Substitute: Eat unprocessed bread/grain products, and go for real veggies when looking for a side on your plate.

What do you think? Do you believe that all things are permissible in moderation, or do you think that there are foods that you really should never put into your body? What other foods do you think should be on this list, or food that shouldn’t be on this list? I would love to hear what you think!

If you want to turn your life around by taking care of your health, a good place to start is with your diet. You can exercise all you want, but if you don’t pay attention to what you eat, you will still suffer certain health issues. A lot of people don’t have any awareness when it comes to what they eat. They know that junk food is bad, but they don’t really care until related health problems arise.

The problem is that the health consequences of eating bad food take time to accumulate. Only after many years will you start to feel the consequences of bad nutrition, and by then, it’s too late. Eating bad food over a long period of time can cause many severe diseases and conditions that can be fatal. That being said, overdoing it with healthy foods and even drinking way too much water every day can also be detrimental to your health. Moderation is a key component of a healthy diet.

So pay attention to what you eat and how much you eat. It doesn’t take a lot of effort and it helps you to practice self-control, which is a valuable virtue. If you still aren’t sure where to start, here is a list of foods you should avoid.

1. Shark meat

Getting bitten by a shark is bad, but eating its meat is bad as well. Shark meat contains high levels of mercury and, when a person eats it, the high mercury concentration can cause blindness, loss of coordination and, in rare cases, even death. Scientists believe this meat has such high levels of mercury because sharks feast on huge quantities of smaller fish.

If you want to eat similar meats, but without so much mercury, try light canned tuna, shrimp, catfish, pollock, or salmon instead. Just to be safe, you should avoid eating tile fish, king mackerel, and swordfish, since their meat also has a lot of mercury.

Advertising

2. Baked sweets

Muffins, cookies, cakes, and doughnuts are all delicious and tempting sweets people find hard to resist. But, all of these baked sweets are pure sugar bombs. One typical doughnut has between 250 to 500 calories and can have over 60 grams of sugar. These are a great example of foods that people know are bad for their health, but they eat them just because they’re tasty, and in the end, their health suffers.

These kind of goods can cause a lot of digestive problems, obesity, and excessive amounts of sugar can lead to many cardiovascular diseases, as well as teeth problems. To satisfy your cravings, you can eat dark chocolate or protein bars — in moderation, of course.

3. Cereal with lots of sugar

A lot of people like to eat cereal for breakfast because cereals are supposed to be light and healthy — but are they? Even cereals that aren’t packed with marshmallows have a lot of sugar. If you add up the high gluten concentration, eating a lot of this food will guarantee inflammation within your stomach lining. It’s better to go for oatmeal, while making sure that you choose steel-cut oats. Prepackaged packets of oatmeal are almost as unhealthy as sugary cereals.

As an added benefit, oats are also sodium-free. Sure, they have a dull taste, but they absorb anything you mix them with, so choose something healthy and tasty.

4. White chocolate

Advertising

Not all chocolate is the same. The health effects of white and black chocolate are quite different. For example, dark chocolate is a very good antioxidant and it is one of the healthiest chocolates out there. Still, this doesn’t mean that you should eat a bar every day. On the other hand, its cousin, white chocolate, is quite unhealthy — three-ounces worth has over 45 grams of sugar.

Eating too much white chocolate can lead to serious obesity issues and tooth decay. In most cases, you should avoid eating chocolate, but if you must, eat only one ounce of dark chocolate per day. Chocolate is also one of the foods that causes constipation, so don’t overeat it.

5. French fries

You’ve probably heard this one before, but it is important to know just how bad french fries really are. Their high levels of trans-fats and oils can lead to hearth disease and hearth attacks.

Potatoes also have a high glycemic index that can lead to increased insulin levels in your body, and I can’t stress enough how bad this really is. Fries also have a lot of acrylamide, which is a carcinogen substance that forms at very high temperatures.

6. Margarine

On seemingly every margarine package, you can read about how it’s cholesterol-free, and because of that, people assume that this is a healthy alternative to butter. There might be no cholesterol, but margarine contains tons of trans-fats. What is ironic is the fact that trans-fats damage blood vessel walls and cause cholesterol levels to skyrocket. This leads to an increased risks of heart attacks and cardiovascular diseases.

Advertising

If you want to find healthy fats for cooking with, you should stick with omega-3 fatty acids and stay away from trans-fats.

7. Fish sticks

Just because they’re called fish sticks, people automatically assume they’re healthy — this is wrong! Fish sticks are fried in oil and are almost as bad as fries, especially because they are covered in fried bread. Fresh fish is very good and healthy, but fried fish sticks are very unhealthy and should be avoided.

8. Flavored yogurts

All of those so-called “healthy” small cups of fruit yogurts are in fact rich with sugar and far from good for your wellbeing. Basically, you are eating a desert in a small cup, and eating yogurt for breakfast or a snack is quite bad. By doing this, you raise your blood sugar and dehydrate your body. If you like yogurt, buy the good old original yogurt or plain Greek and add a little flavor with a small amount of honey or some chunks of fresh fruit.

9. Fruit juice

Yes, fruit juice. You might think that sodas are unhealthy, and they are, but fruit juice is almost as bad. These drinks are full of sugar — even those that are “100 % fruit” have a lot of sugar in them. Avoid drinking any kind of juice you can buy at your local store and instead get a blender. Buy fresh fruit and make your own juice. This is the only real healthy way of drinking fruit juice.

10. Gluten-free food

Advertising

Gluten-free products are becoming more and more popular each day and they are promoted as healthy. A lot of shops, and customers as well, think that they are a better option for a healthy diet. The truth is that these products are no healthier than the rest. On the contrary, most of these gluten-free goods are usually filled with extra calories and salt.

Furthermore, manufacturers like to add a lot of fat so that their products can look springy and tasty. Avoiding one problem by creating a new one is not a solution, but rather a substitution.

Basically, what you need to remember is to avoid all food that has artificial sweeteners, highly processed foods, and to create a healthy diet that has all the nutrients that your body needs each day, without excessive calories. If you sometimes eat too many calories, make sure that you burn them with regular exercise.

Featured photo credit: Karolina Grabowska.STAFFAGE via pexels.com

Delish: Eat Like Every Day’s the Weekend amazon.com $30.00 $17.99 (40% off)

Groggy today, but not sure why? It may have something to do with what you ate for dinner last night. While it’s a well known fact that you shouldn’t be slamming coffee and sweets right before hitting the hay, it turns out a lot of healthy foods may also be preventing you from getting those ZZZs.

1. Cruciferous Vegetables

According to new research aggregated by Eat Clean, certain veggies are better eaten at lunch. Cruciferous vegetables—like broccoli and cauliflower—are loaded with vitamins that are great for you, but they also carry a large amount of insoluble fiber, which takes forever to digest. Holistic nutritionist Elissa Goodman explains that if you eat these vegetables before bed, “your body will still be working on digesting it while you drift off,” which will in turn keep you from getting a comfortable night of sleep.

2. Red Meat

Eugene MymrinGetty Images

Red meat, like steak or ground beef, is high in protein and has a similar effect on the body as the cruciferous vegetables mentioned above.

3. Tomato Sauce

Zuzana Gajdosikova / EyeEmGetty Images

Tomato sauce is another veggie-based favorite to avoid. Because of its high acidity, it’s often the cause of morning-after heartburn and indigestion. You can still eat a bowl of spaghetti for dinner, but dietitian Alissa Rumsey says it’s best to eat it at least 3 hours before going to bed. Spicy foods, which are also notorious for causing heartburn, make for an extra restless night of sleep because they raise your core body temperature. So if you’re wondering why you had a nightmare after munching on some spicy penne arrabiata, now you have an answer.

4. Cured Meats And Cheeses

KuvonaGetty Images

Cured meats and cheeses are great for a daytime picnic, but not for dinner. If you planned on ending your day with a fabulous charcuterie platter, reconsider moving it to brunch: Cured meats and cheeses contains tyramine, an amino acid that makes you more alert.

5. Dark Chocolate

Courtesy of Melanie Makes

The sneaky devil—which can carry up to a quarter of the caffeine you’d find in an average cup of joe—also contains amino acid that makes you alert, similar to the one found in cured meats and cheeses. Basically, dark chocolate is double the energy, making it a much better snack for the afternoon than the middle of the night.

6. Coffee

Johannes Hicks / EyeEmGetty Images

This one should come as no surprise, but it’s actually your afternoon coffee drinking that can have more of an effect on your sleep than you would expect. Caffeine can remain in your system for hours, so it’s best to avoid it for several hours before going to bed.

7. Alcohol

fStop Images – Marc VolkGetty Images

Even though a glass of red wine can leave you feeling v. sleepy, alcohol is actually very disruptive to your sleep cycle and has negative effects on your later REM stages.

8. Soda

Annabelle Breakey

We’ve all heard it before: soda is really just not good for you. Despite it’s scary side effects, it’s also awful for falling asleep. It’s full on sugar, which leaves you wide awake, and has even been connected to restless sleep.

9. Orange Juice

Creativ Studio HeinemannGetty Images

Orange juice is not a good pre-bedtime drink for all the reasons you’d think—it’s extremely acidic, which is never a good idea before bed, regardless of if you suffer from reflux or not. It’s also very sugary, which, as you know, isn’t helpful for those trying to fall asleep more easily.

10. Water

Alexander Baumann / EyeEmGetty Images

It seems counterintuitive, but drinking too much water before bed is likely to interrupt your sleeping pattern for bed. That’s because water=urination, and you’re most likely going to want to get up and out of bed in order to do that. Eat This, Not That recommends hydrating more during the day and waning your H2O intake a few hours before you normally go to sleep.

Are there 10 that are probably worse than these? Sure. (In fact, you could probably find 10 things at The Cheesecake Factory that are worse than all of these.) But these are the types of foods—high in some combination of calories, saturated fat, sodium, white flour, and added sugar—that are contributing to America’s obesity, diabetes, and heart disease problems.

1. Pot Belly Pie

Judging by the label, Stouffer’s Large Size (16 oz.) White Meat Chicken Pot Pie has 530 calories, 11 grams of saturated fat, and 770 milligrams of sodium. But those numbers are for only half a pie. Eat the entire thing, as many people do, and you’re talking 1,020 calories, 21 grams of sat fat (a day’s supply), and 1,480 mg of sodium (two-thirds of a day’s worth).

2. Five Fleshy Guys

Think Five Guys is better than fast food burger joints? The Hamburger (with no toppings) has 840 calories and a day’s worth of saturated fat (20 grams). It makes a McDonald’s Big Mac (540 calories) look wimpy. The Bacon Cheeseburger (with no extra toppings) hits 1,060 calories and 30 grams of sat fat. Add 950 calories for the regular fries. A large McDonald’s Fries has “only” 510 calories.

3. Liquid Salt

A typical cup of Campbell’s regular Condensed Soup has 800 milligrams of sodium. But many people eat the whole can, which contains around 2,000 mg of sodium—nearly an entire day’s worth! Look for Campbell’s Healthy Request soups, with 410 mg of sodium per cup (still high if you eat the whole can). Better yet, try lower-sodium soups, like “Light in Sodium” soups by Amy’s, Imagine, and Pacific, and “Lower Sodium” soups from Dr. McDougall’s.

4. Tortilla Terror

Interested in a Chipotle Chicken Burrito (tortilla, rice, pinto beans, cheese, chicken, sour cream, and salsa)? Think of its 1,090 calories, 16 grams of saturated fat, and 2,240 milligrams of sodium as six Taco Bell Chicken Soft Tacos! You can slash the calories in half by ditching the tortilla, rice, and sour cream, and getting the chicken, beans, cheese, and salsa as the toppings for a salad.

5. Tower Trouble Cake

No one expects light desserts at The Cheesecake Factory. But the Chocolate Tower Truffle Cake kicks things up a notch. With its “layers and layers of fudge cake with chocolate truffle cream and chocolate mousse,” you’re staring at 1,770 calories—more than any cheesecake on the menu. And don’t forget the bonus 60 grams (three days’ worth) of saturated fat and 34 teaspoons of (mostly added) sugar.

6. Pizza Padding

At Uno Pizzeria & Grill, the Chicago Classic Deep Dish Pizza piles crumbled sausage and cheese on a thick white-flour crust. The “individual” size packs 2,240 calories (enough for the whole day), plus 48 grams of saturated fat (a 2½-day supply) and 4,400 milligrams of sodium (nearly two days’ worth). You might as well eat three Pizza Hut Pepperoni Lover’s Personal Pan Pizzas. Urp!

7. Triple Bypass

Can’t decide what to pick from a restaurant menu? No worries. You can order not just one entrée, but two…or three…all at once. Olive Garden’s Tour of Italy—lasagna, chicken parmigiana, and fettuccine alfredo—comes with 1,520 calories, 48 grams of saturated fat, and 3,250 milligrams of sodium. Add a breadstick (140 calories and 460 mg of sodium) and a serving of house salad with dressing (150 calories and 770 mg of sodium), and you’ll swallow 1,810 calories and 4,480 mg of sodium (enough for today and tomorrow) in a single meal!

8. Starbucks on Steroids

A Starbucks venti (20 oz.) White Chocolate Mocha with 2% milk and whipped cream is more than a mere cup of coffee. It has as many calories as a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese. Few people have room in their diets for the 530 calories, 14 grams of saturated fat, and estimated 9 teaspoons of added sugar that this hefty beverage supplies. Can’t say no? Drop the calories to 240 and the sat fat to three grams by ordering a tall (12 oz.) made with nonfat milk and no whipped cream.

9. Extreme Ice Cream

A half-cup serving of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream squeezes roughly 300 calories and an estimated 4½ teaspoons of added sugar into your fat cells, and half a day’s saturated fat into your artery walls. That’s if you can stop at a petite half cup! Häagen-Dazs ice cream is no better.

10. Shakedown

McDonald’s Chocolate Shake (soft serve ice cream, chocolate syrup, and whipped cream) starts at 530 calories for a small (12 oz.). Few people buy an ice cream shake expecting it to shrink their waist, but who would think that a “small” delivers the calories of a Big Mac? A large reaches 840 calories, 14 grams of saturated fat (¾ of a day’s worth), and an estimated 22 teaspoons of added sugar, all blended into a handy 22 oz. cup.

I often see website ads that say, “Never eat these foods.” Sometimes there is a picture of a banana. I have never clicked on those ads, but I am curious. Shouldn’t we eat bananas? And what other foods shouldn’t we eat?

If you did click on those ads or did a web search for “never eat these foods,” you might be surprised to find just how many foods different people say we shouldn’t eat.

But rest assured, the official position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the professional organization of registered dietitians, is that any food can fit into a healthful diet. Its list of “foods to avoid” is nonexistent, unless you have allergies or other sensitivities to consider.

In fact, the academy states in a 2013 position paper, “Some health and nutrition professionals and many ‘pseudo-experts’ promote specific types of foods to choose or avoid. A more responsible and effective approach is to help consumers understand and apply the principles of healthy diet and lifestyle choices.”

Targeting certain foods as “bad” can be counter-productive. It encourages black-and-white thinking, which only offers a sense of control as long as a person avoids foods on the “bad” list. Too often, people eventually succumb to temptation, leading them to spiral out of control.

Instead of “never eat these foods,” registered dietitians prefer to encourage thoughtful decisions such as “I can occasionally enjoy a small portion,” or “No, I won’t indulge today.” Helping people, especially those trying to lose weight, to make moderate food choices is a more sustainable approach to healthful eating than giving them lists of “good” and “bad” foods.

But, just to satisfy your curiosity, just what foods are on those “do not eat” lists? It really depends on who’s writing them. Some list specific food or restaurant items that are much higher in calories, sugar, sodium or fat than you might realize. Some list foods that can cause spikes in blood sugar — including fruit juice and, yes, bananas, which can offer health benefits. Others list broad categories of foods such as bread and pasta, processed foods, or foods made with genetically modified crops.

The authors of such lists often cite studies to support their arguments. But is it science or pseudo-science? It’s often difficult for consumers to tell the difference. That’s why it’s important to look for reliable sources to help you evaluate such questions. The academy is a good place to start. Check its website at http://eatright.org.

Chow Line is a service of Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its outreach and research arms, Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Chow Line, c/o Martha Filipic, 2021 Coffey Road, Columbus, OH, 43210-1043, or [email protected]

10 ‘Healthy’ Foods That Are Actually Bad For You

Photo Credit: Getty

Getty

As more and more health foods take over the shelves of grocery stores, it has become increasingly challenging for health-conscious consumers to pick out foods that are actually as nutritious as their labels claim to be.

Many of these ‘healthy’ or ‘guilt-free’ options are essentially junk food in disguise — loaded with sugar, sodium, trans fats and other additives that diminish their nutritional value.

Here are ten seemingly healthy foods that are actually diet busters, according to experts:

  • Microwave Popcorn: Typically, freshly made popcorn can be a great fiber-rich snack. “But the microwaveable versions have high levels of sodium and the chemical diacetyl, making it a food that shouldn’t be eaten often,” says Beth Warren, founder of Beth Warren Nutrition and author of Secrets of a Kosher Girl.
  • Granola: “A lot of granola brands you find in the grocery store have high levels of added sugar,” says Annessa Chumbley, Indianapolis-based registered dietitian and nutrition consultant for Premier Protein.”Too often the combined sugar content is hidden within the ingredient list,” adds Chumbley. This is why she recommends making granola at home. Here’s a quick and easy granola recipe to try.
  • Flavored Yogurt: “Many flavored yogurt options can have more sugar than a piece of cake,” notes Warren. Similarly, other flavored health foods like milk, oatmeal, coconut water and smoothies are also laden with sugar. “It’s important to turn the container over and see just how much sugar was added and what form of sweetener was used,” says Chumbley. She recommends purchasing unsweetened yogurt or opting for Greek, Nordic and Aussie yogurts which are low in sugar and high in protein.
  • Store-bought Trail Mix: Homemade trail mix can be an easy-to-make, balanced snack option, but ready-to-eat versions often contain chocolate chips, high amounts of salt and added sugars, Warren points out.
  • Veggie Straws: Veggie straws are mostly made from potato and corn. Meanwhile, some processed vegetable chips have high sodium and fat content. This makes them only a slightly better option than regular potato chips. “But their nutritionals are nowhere close to the benefits of eating an actual vegetable,” says Chumbley. For quick inspo, check out these fun and easy ways to eat more veggies.
  • Packaged Salads: If done right, salad can be a perfectly healthy and filling meal. But ready-to-eat salads often contain high levels of sodium and fat along with a whole bunch of preservatives to keep it from getting spoiled. This makes homemade salads your best bet (just remember to go easy on the salad dressing!).
  • Individual Applesauce Cups: Often, the applesauce cups that contain added flavors — like strawberry, blueberry or peach — have high-fructose corn syrup as the second ingredient, says Chumbley. “This can add up to five teaspoons of sugar in each serving,” adds the dietitian.
  • Turkey Bacon: Yes, it might be a slightly better option than the pork variety. But turkey bacon is still bacon — meaning, it has high amounts of sodium and saturated fats which puts you at risk for obesity and heart disease.
  • Dried Fruit: Many packaged dried fruit options are equivalent to a sugar bomb. So, make sure that the dried fruit you buy doesn’t have any added sugar, says Warren. It’s also important to be conscious of the portion size since dried fruit, store-bought or not, contains high levels of natural sugar, adds the nutritionist.
  • Multigrain Bread: Just because it’s multigrain doesn’t mean it’s a healthier option. It just means that the bread is made with more than one kind of grain. The key is to look for bread that’s made from whole grains instead of refined ones. This is because finely milled grains lack gut-healthy fiber and lose most of the essential nutrients (like iron, magnesium and B vitamins) during the milling process.

So, how can you make sure what you’re eating is actually healthy?

#1 Pay attention to the back of the label, not just the front. Don’t get fooled by the health halo on sugar-free, gluten-free or fat-free food options while grocery shopping. “Nothing in life is free. If something says the word ‘free’ I always look at the ingredient list to see what is substituted in its place,” says Warren. “Typically, if there is no sugar, then there may be more fat added to a product or vice versa,” she adds. Also, some of these added ingredients tend to be artificial. For instance, “sugar-free foods are often filled with man-made sugar alcohols, which are hard on the gut and digestion,” says Chumbley.

#2 Understand the ingredient list. “Be wary of ingredients you cannot pronounce or are unclear of why they should be inside a product,” says Warren. “For example, peanut butter should logically be only peanuts and perhaps salt. It’s unnecessary to have anything else in it such as added sugar, partially hydrogenated oils or any other ingredient you aren’t familiar with,” notes the nutritionist. To learn more, check out this great article on how to decode food labels.

#3 Stock up on whole foods. “I am a fan of eating foods and ingredients that are as close to their original state as possible,” says Chumbley. “Of course, this doesn’t always apply, but a good motto to keep in mind is, ‘the closer to the farm the better”, she adds. For instance, fresh fruits and vegetables, especially non-starchy veggies, are always a great option. And go crazy on eggs. They are an excellent source of protein. Plus, the egg yolk contains “the entire collection of energy-giving B vitamins” along with all four fat-soluble vitamins – A, D, E and K, tells Chumbley. She also recommends legume-based snacks like roasted chickpeas.

Here are a few other expert-approved strategies to eat healthy:

  • Get enough protein. “Make sure you’re getting enough protein to keep you full and energized throughout the day,” says Chumbley. Eat a protein-rich breakfast or lunch. Since protein is incredibly filling, it curbs glucose spikes, making it less likely for you to experience sugar cravings later in the day.
  • Start a food journal. Keeping a food diary or journal is a great way to track exactly what you are putting in your body each day, says Warren. Jot down everything you’ve consumed in a day. Then go through the journal at the end of the week and identify areas that can be improved. Are you eating enough veggies in lunch and dinner? Do you eat too much red meat and not enough fish? Are you having a snack or two between meals? And if so, are they balanced? “After that, you can work on adjusting these small changes each week,” she suggests. “You’ll notice that you are better able to seamlessly work them into your normal routine instead of making drastic changes that are less realistic and short-lived,” she explains. Here’s how to get started.
  • Detox after a food binge. It’s perfectly normal to indulge in your favorite comfort foods every once in a while. The important part is to bounce back instead of giving up altogether. “Start out with a balanced breakfast. This idea may seem obvious but is often what most people skip because they feel guilty or bloated,” says Warren. You might think it is a better option to not eat at all but this strategy will backfire. It will make you feel more hungry and more likely to munch later in the day, she adds. In addition, you can go for a “one or two-day reset involving a rotating mix of protein, vitamins and healthy fats,” says Chumbley. For instance, eat two hard-boiled eggs in the morning followed by carrot and bell pepper sticks or a roasted chicken breast for lunch. And a couple of hours later, eat some sliced cucumbers with guacamole for a light evening snack, and so on, she suggests.

And lastly, remember that “it’s better to be consistently good, as opposed to occasionally perfect,” adds the nutrition expert.

Looking for more healthy eating tips? Check out these easy-to-follow strategies.

The no sugar, bread, dairy and alcohol diet rules

Shares

Hi! I’m Lauren and I quit eating sugar, dairy, bread, alcohol and fried food for an entire month.

It all started when I noticed I was going out a lot, drinking more and more, to a point where my drinking and poor food decisions started affecting my workouts, weight and work performance.

You see, I run with a women-led trail running group here in Kansas City called the Mud Babes. I’m also on Team Run 816, sponsored by Run 816, a local runners’ shop. And I’m in a half marathon training group, Train 816, training to race in the Hospital Hill Half Marathon June 3rd.

I can officially say I workout and run more than the average person. I try to watch what I eat and how many calories I consume. But I’m not very good at making healthy food choices.

My diet was getting out of hand. I drank coffee with at least four creamers and several sugar packets every morning, bought Cheez-It’s and anything with processed cheese from the vending machine every afternoon, ate McDoubles a couple times a week and chowed on buffalo wings with blue cheese at least once a week.

I watch what I eat however I would have a great food day where I’m within my caloric range but then I drink a glass of rosé, then another, then another until my calories for the day are completely shot. And let’s not forget all the crappy food I eat when I’m buzzed or drunk or hungover. So just one night of drinks screws up my caloric intake and running schedule for at least two days.

The ultimate before picture. Me standing in front of a cupcake shop after finishing an 18 mile trail race.

As a woman in her early 30’s, I don’t bounce back quickly from a night of cocktails and beer so I would scrimp on my workouts the next day. Even though I was running at least 10 miles a week, I was actually gaining weight. And I didn’t feel my best. I felt sluggish when I ran, like I had lead weights in my feet.

During the last week of April, after a particularly busy week of social drinking, I told my boyfriend I was going to give up alcohol for the month.

But the more I got to thinking about it, the more I realized that alcohol is only one of the health culprits in my life. Cutting out alcohol will help me lose maybe five pounds and I won’t eat as terribly but I wanted a drastic change.What if I quit eating sugar?

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried to cut out sugar once before and that lasted one day, seven years ago. This was uncharted territory and I’m surprised I even thought it was possible to quit sugar. I mentioned it to my boyfriend and he thought I was joking. A day later he was ready to join me except he upped the ante.

I quit eating sugar, dairy, bread, alcohol and cooking oils for an entire month. My boyfriend and I came up with our own set of diet rules:

  1. No natural or added sweeteners. This includes natural sugars like agave, honey, sugar cane, etc. The first week I consumed artificial sweeteners like Equal in my coffee and drank Diet Coke. However I nixed those after a couple of days because it seemed silly to say no to natural honey and yes to aspartame.
  2. No dairy. Farewell goat cheese, extra sharp aged cheddar and feta. This also includes no cream in my coffee, not even half and half or non-dairy creamer. I’m not a big dairy drinker (except in my coffee) so almond milk takes a hit, as well.
  3. No bread. I honestly thought my hardest vice to give up would be sugar but I was so wrong. I banned all forms of bread including grains like quinoa, rice and crackers (farewell, Cheez-It’s.
  4. No alcohol. What do you do for fun when you cut out alcohol? I still don’t know because everything I do with friends involves drinking alcohol in some way, shape or form. Or my plans include working out. That’s pretty much what I do for fun: drink or work out.
  5. No cooking with oils. Because my boyfriend did the detox for weight-loss purposes we excluded cooking oils like canola oil, coconut oil, butter, etc. This was only a little difficult at first. I didn’t know how to roast veggies or cook eggs without oil but with some experimentation I figured it out (use water).
  6. No fried food. It wouldn’t be called a diet if I could eat fried food. So long, potato chips (my boyfriend’s favorite snack in the entire world).
  7. No sausage. Again, because my boyfriend wanted to lose weight we decided eliminating super fatty meats like sausage and pepperoni from our diet was the best route for us. We joke about how much he loves sausage (because it’s just so damn tasty). Saying no was the easiest way for us to do this.

What we can eat: vegetables, fruit, meat, fat-free or non-dairy based salad dressing for massive salads and Mio water enhancer.

Things worth noting:

  • Just because we quit certain foods doesn’t mean we believe these foods are “bad.” This is something we came up on our own and are by no means nutrition experts.
  • We’re not following any specific diet except our own so we aren’t counting the carbs and sugars in our macro nutrients. I’m not giving up strawberries because they’re higher in natural carbohydrates.
  • We aren’t weirdo jerks who insist the cooking staff at restaurants not cook with oils or ask for the ingredients of items. We understand that food cooked at restaurants will be cooked in butter or other oils and salad dressings will be high in calories. We just limited our dining out or ordered poached eggs instead of fried eggs.
  • I tried drinking water without an enhancer and I just don’t drink enough water without it.

Week one

I announced on Facebook (my social media channel of choice) I was giving up sugar, bread, dairy and alcohol. I wanted to make sure all of my friends knew about my diet so I had accountability and they wouldn’t unknowingly tempt me. I received tons of support.

One acquaintance on Facebook warned not to eat too much fruit because I would gain weight. This really bugged me because I hate being told what people think I should and shouldn’t eat (I used to be severely overweight). And the idea that I could gain weight from eating too much fruit is preposterous due to my lifestyle of running 10+ miles in a single stint alongside the detox. I would have to eat a shit-ton of fruit to gain weight.

The first three days I felt really tired in the afternoon and got a fairly intense headache, which I hardly ever get headaches.

I began to post an update every day, something I wanted to keep up on a weekly basis. However on day two of updates, someone I hardly know, my boyfriend’s grandmother’s neighbor who I met once before, said “Milk is still good for you Protein”.

First of all, again with people telling me what they think I should and shouldn’t eat. Just don’t do it. Second of all, this milk is good for you bullshit has been debunked. Milk is so high in calories and saturated fats and there’s way better methods of getting nutrients like protein and calcium. So I just replied, “No thanks.”

This turned into a circus where another person chimed in that I should drink milk. Please note, in my rules above, that I’m not excluding a food from my diet because I think it’s bad for me. I LOVE cheese. The ignorance turned into a tirade and ended in me blocking one of the people. The other person apologized.

Fortunately that was the last time someone did that during my detox. Unfortunately, I stopped sharing updates as often because of this.

Lessons learned:

  • Pack more fruits and veggies to eat at work so I don’t feel like I’m starving by the end of the work day.
  • Talking excessively about my diet opens the door to potential unwanted feedback.
  • Rx Bars and Lära Bars are awesome! They’re very tasty, fulfilling and contain simple ingredients.

Week two

I ran 12 miles with my running partner and bonked out at mile 9. It was my first long run in the heat and I failed to pack enough water or eat enough food prior to my run. I felt terrible. I didn’t know if I was going to puke, shit or pass out. When I got home I just laid on the couch and cried for a bit while my body worked through my mistakes.

I reached out to the running community for advice on whole foods I can eat prior and during long runs. The answer was apples and bananas before runs and Lara Bars during long-distance runs.

Two days later I went on a seven mile run with friends and made sure I was plenty hydrated. My energy levels were through the roof! After my run I met up with my boyfriend and the Kansas City Dog Club (a group he organizes) on a hike then ate steak and eggs for brunch.

Lessons learned:

  • Mandarins and Just Mango Slices from Trader Joe’s are the best movie theater snacks.
  • We made our first Nice Cream which has the consistency of ice cream but made entirely of blended frozen bananas. Freeze a few bananas, blend them along with vanilla flavoring for a couple minutes and it turns into nice cream. We’ve added cashews, strawberries, cacao powder and chia seeds as add-ins and it’s all delicious.

Week three

I noticed I have more clarity and focus at work. My primary job is writing and before when I was eating like crap I would feel like I was in a daze, like I was fuzzy-minded.

It’s also becoming easier to turn away food that isn’t allowed on my diet.

I used to not be a huge fan of fruit. I always thought it tasted too bitter. But now fruit tastes like heaven! It’s so sweet and fulfilling.

On day 18, I announced to all of my friends and Facebook that I was officially signed up for a 50K ultra marathon in November, something just a week prior seemed like a crazy idea.

Honestly, the confidence I have knowing that I can detox from sugar and carbs helped me decide to take on a 50k. My running partner had been talking to me about it but I had marked an ultra marathon down in my 2018 goals. Now that I quit sugar and bread I feel like I can do more than what I thought was possible.

Week three has me thinking that this diet is sustainable. Can I actually stay on this diet, (or a modification like it) to carry me to my first ultra marathon?

Lessons learned:

  • I tried making Xocolatl Energy Balls from world renowned ultra-marathoner Scott Jurek’s book Eat & Run. After making a couple of tweaks I perfected the recipe for my go-to pre-run snack. This also marked the introduction of coconut oil into my diet (but only in this instance).

This picture was taken on my 18th day of my diet when I decided to sign up for an ultra marathon.

Week four

Week four is hard. Real hard. Because mentally I’m already thinking about my diet being over. I was planning to let loose June 1 with my boyfriend, however in light of the Hospital Hill Half Marathon on June 3, I’m staying on the diet just a few more days.

I already have my drinks planned out. The folks at Rock & Run Brewery are brewing a special peach wheat beer just for the race and are giving out pints after the run. After my race, I’m going to brunch with my close friends from the Mud Babes who also are running the half marathon. After that I’m going on a day trip to Weston, Missouri for a short hike, Rosé and more food.

Knowing that the end is just around the corner is so hard.

The diet results

    • I dropped from size 12 to size 8 jeans. That’s insane. I still can’t believe it.
    • I lost five pounds. Big whoop. See the first bullet point.
    • My mind is sharper. I can focus on tasks longer than I could before, like writing for thirty minutes straight rather than ten.
    • My friends and I actually went out and did stuff rather than sit around and drink. True story: my friend who plays recreational softball took me to the batting cages and I actually hit the ball 80 percent of the time!
    • I feel less hungry. I still get hungry and hunger pangs sometimes but I don’t feel like I’m starving to death.
    • I feel fuller when I eat a meal. I don’t know the science behind this, but my proof is that I couldn’t finish eating a Chipotle burrito bowl (without rice, sour cream or cheese). That’s just crazy.
    • People tell me I inspire them to eat healthier. That’s pretty cool.
    • Fruit tastes like a delectable dessert.
    • I have a stronger sense of confidence in myself. I just accomplished what I thought to be impossible.

I survived no sugar, dairy, breads or alcohol for an entire month!

Towards the end of my diet, someone at a cookout offered me a beer and asked me what difference it would make drinking a few days before the month was over. I was friendly and declined but mulled it over internally.

What difference does quitting my diet make? It makes all the difference.

Leading up to my detox I was so worried about failing. But now I know I have the mental discipline to stop eating sugar, bread, dairy and alcohol. What other mental restraints do I have on myself?

What else am I stopping myself from doing for fear of failing or thinking something is impossible to accomplish?

Shares

Fried Food May Be Killing You, a New Study Says. Here Are the Worst Offenders

It’s no secret that fried food isn’t good for you. But a new study published in The BMJ details exactly how eating these foods may affect your health over time — and spells out which kinds may be the worst for you.

“People know fried food may have adverse health outcomes, but there is very little scientific evidence to demonstrate what the long-term adverse outcomes are for eating fried foods,” says Dr. Wei Bao, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa College of Public Health and a co-author of the study. “In general, we found that fried food consumption is associated with overall mortality.”

The researchers looked at about 20 years’ worth of data for almost 107,000 older women in the U.S., ages 50-79. All of the women were part of the Women’s Health Initiative study, and they filled out one detailed questionnaire about their dietary habits in the 1990s. Their health was tracked by researchers until 2017, and during that time more than 31,500 people died.

Those who reported eating at least one serving of fried food per day had about an 8% higher chance of dying early, compared to women who said they did not eat any, according to the study. They also had an 8% higher chance of dying specifically from cardiovascular disease.

However, fried food consumption did not seem to correspond to a higher risk of dying from cancer, despite some past research that has connected the two. “We know diet is important for cancer prevention or cancer survival, but not all of the dietary components ,” Bao says.

Fried chicken and fried fish were more strongly linked to early death than other fried foods, which the researchers grouped in a miscellaneous category including French fries, crackers, tortilla chips and snacks. The strength of the association may be because people simply consume more fried chicken or fish, Bao says, or because of differences in how those foods are prepared. For example, many restaurants reuse oil when they cook foods like fried chicken, which Bao says may increase the number of harmful byproducts transferred to the food. Meats also tend to be more deeply fried than many snack foods.

Get our Health Newsletter. Sign up to receive the latest health and science news, plus answers to wellness questions and expert tips.

Thank you!

For your security, we’ve sent a confirmation email to the address you entered. Click the link to confirm your subscription and begin receiving our newsletters. If you don’t get the confirmation within 10 minutes, please check your spam folder.

However, that finding (unfortunately) doesn’t absolve French fries. Since they were lumped into the miscellaneous group, the researchers weren’t able to look specifically at how French fries individually affected health — and it’s possible that their risks were obscured by comparably healthier foods in the “other” category, like crackers or fried plantains, Bao says. Past research has connected French fries to cancer and a higher mortality risk.

Still, Bao says his study is among the first to look at how eating any type of fried food affects mortality risk over time. The only other one he’s aware of, he says, was conducted in Spain in 2012, and did not find a correlation between fried foods and a higher death risk. This may be because more Spanish people prepare their food at home, rather than eating it in restaurants, and choose healthier frying oils, such as olive oil, Bao says.

In the new study, the researchers accounted for factors like medical history, demographics, smoking, drinking habits and overall diet quality, in an effort to isolate the effects of fried foods. But an observational study can a never prove cause and effect, and the authors note that it’s impossible to rule out the impact of other factors that affect health.

Another limitation of the study is that it only assessed dietary habits once, so it didn’t reflect how women may have changed their diets over time. Nonetheless, Bao says he believes that the findings are strong and likely apply to populations other than older women, even though the data did not specifically address other groups.

“We didn’t have any reason why the effects may differ by age, or even by gender,” Bao says. “I would suspect the association may be similar among younger women or even among men.”

Many other studies have linked fried foods to health issues including obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, but researchers estimate that nearly 40% of Americans eat fast food on any given day.

Write to Jamie Ducharme at [email protected]

Fake n’ Bake: 5 Fried Foods That Are Better Baked

Have food, will fry. It’s practically an American motto, but it’s also just about the unhealthiest way to eat otherwise healthy fare such as potatoes, chicken, fish, and veggies. “Frying not only nearly triples a food’s caloric content because of the added fat from frying oil, but heating foods to high temperatures can cause the formation of cancer-causing compounds,” says Nicolette Pace, an R.D. in private practice in Great Neck, NY. Plus, frying isn’t always the tastiest way to cook, since fat can dull taste buds and mute flavors. Cut the fat and keep the flavor (and the golden brown crust) by trying these smarter cooking methods:

Potatoes

Image zoom

Ah, potatoes. Perfectly healthy, low-calorie tubers that are routinely undone by butter, oil, and cream. And when they’re sliced into sticks or chips and sunk into a vat of oil, as the saying goes, no one can eat just one.

Why They’re Better Baked: Potatoes are a natural foil for added flavors: herbs, garlic, and a little crunchy sea salt. And they’re a cinch to make in the oven. Cut into wedges, toss with egg whites, and sprinkle with the chopped herb of your choice. Bake for 30-40 minutes in a 350-degree oven and you’ll get a pile of “fries” with a golden brown crust and a moist interior that serve as an excellent vehicle for ketchup.

Chicken Cutlets

Image zoom

Frying chicken, like frying potatoes, turns relatively lean meat into a delicious yet waistline-thickening finger food, logging nearly 500 calories for one measly drumstick.

Why They’re Better Baked: In this case, Pace recommends a method she calls “dry frying.” To make crispy chicken cutlets with less than half the calories and a fraction of the fat, coat chicken breasts in egg white then Panko, a Japanese breadcrumb that is shaved rather pulverized, creating jagged pieces that easily form a crispy crust. Heat a non-stick skillet to medium, and cook about 6-8 minutes per side until golden brown.

Eggplant

Image zoom

If you want to rack up the fat content of an otherwise harmless, low-calorie veggie, fry up a few slices of eggplant. Eggplant has the absorbency power of a super sponge, soaking up every last drop of oil it comes into contact with.

Why It’s Better Baked: Raw eggplant is spongy and tasteless. But once it’s cooked, it becomes soft and almost meaty in texture-and you don’t need much fat to get this desired result. To make a lower fat eggplant parm, lightly coat eggplant slices with egg whites, dredge in trusty Panko, and layer on an aluminum tray lightly sprayed with a healthy oil (like canola). Bake at 350 for 30 minutes and you end up with a crispy exterior and soft interior, perfect for topping with a homemade tomato sauce and a little shredded mozzarella.

Fish

Image zoom

Breaded, deep fried fish is really just a way to get kids and non fish fans to eat, well, fish. This completely negates any of its health benefits: low in fat, high in protein, and in possession of ultra-healthy nutrients like omega 3s, depending on the species.

Why It’s Better Baked: Fish, especially the white flaky varieties that are usually deep fried (like cat fish or cod) cook quickly, so they do well with a coating of Panko, a light spray of oil, and 10-12 minutes in the oven. Served with a squirt of lemon and some hot sauce, it’s healthy, tasty, and very similar to the basket of fried fish you’d find at a seaside clam shack.

Another method that Pace uses to eliminate the coating all together: A grill press. Using a grill or Panini type food press, season the fish fillet with salt, pepper, and an herb of your choice. Lightly coat the grill with oil and sear. This produces a nice crust on its own and keeps the interior moist and flaky.

Cheese

Image zoom

What was originally a lovely pre-meal bite in Italian cuisine-a small wedge of good homemade mozzarella coated with egg and quickly fried-has become bastardized into the gooey, caloric nightmare known as Mozzarella sticks, the app of choice at chain restaurants nationwide.

Why It’s Better Baked: Because warm cheese-whatever the heat source-is pretty decadent on its own; dunking in hot oil just ups the saturated fat and calories. If you want to ape the deep fried stick experience, try dipping rounds of firm goat cheese (though a wedge of brie or even firm mozzarella would work) in egg whites, and roll in (you guessed it) Panko. Place on a lightly coated sheet pan and bake for 5 minutes at 350. The taste you crave is crunch and gooey cheese, and you’ll still get that in spades.

  • By Shape Editors

3 Worst Foods On the Planet: Are You Eating Them?

This is a guest post by Alexander Heyne of Modern Health Monk.

There are three food groups lurking in your pantry that are foiling your entire plans to lose weight, improve your health, or get a little bit more muscular.

Advertisement

The scary thing is that they’re everywhere and thus we sometimes forget that they’re so deadly.

Some of them are obvious. Others are not (and are sometimes hidden on labels to prevent you from realizing they are there).

But the truth is the same – if you remove these three foods – and these alone, you will dramatically improve your health and get one (big) step closer to where you want to be.

I have personally seen people lose 50 to 100 pounds just from removing one of these three deadly foods.

Deadly Food #1

It’s the most sinful of sinful foods, except for sugar. It’s one of America and Europe’s favorite staple foods, one of the most popular additions to every meal, and often found in every single household.

Can you guess what deadly food #1 is?

Refined flours.

Advertisement

By refined flours, I mean white bread, white flour, white pasta, donuts, and even white rice.

“What? My morning white bread is bad for me!”

“Bad” isn’t the proper word. Here’s the thing. When food is harvested, it’s processed to make it more edible by humans. White flour, white sugar and white rice have all been processed an extra step.

The reason why they are processed an extra step isn’t important, but here’s what it does: It strips the grains (or rice) of their bran and fiber – the two parts of the plant that have the most vitamins and nutrients.

For example, check out the nutrient comparison of refined flour vs white flour:

Data from wikipedia

Not only does refined flour have a fraction of the nutrients that normal flour has (look at the chart – often 10-30% of the nutrients and vitamins), it actually is higher in overall energy.

Advertisement

In one study, scientists wanted to compare health and weight changes in two groups of people already following a caloric restricted diet: those eating whole grains and those eating refined grains.

The subjects were monitored over 12 weeks as they ate a calorie restricted diet, and here were the results:

  • The refined group had their bodyweight decrease by 1.3 pounds up to 10 pounds.
  • The whole grains group had their bodyweight decrease by about 1 pound up to 15 pounds
  • But the whole grains group lost an entire percentage of body fat extra
  • Cholesterol levels also went up 5% in the refined grains group… but not in the whole grains group

So not only are refined grains lacking in many nutrients, they actually have more calories than your standard whole grains or whole wheat.

Deadly Food #2

This might seem a bit unusual – I classify deadly food number two as liquid carbs. Not just sugary beverages, but liquid carbs.

We already know that sugary drinks (not just soda) are major contributers in this obesity epidemic, and lead to:

  • People over-consuming calories – because drinking liquid calories doesn’t quite leave us as full as eating solid calories
  • Obesity, and further down the road, heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure

But here’s the thing.

Liquid carbs overall encourage more fat gain than even eating solid carbs. You’ve already heard to “stay away from carbs” right?

Advertisement

But people rarely talk about liquid carbs – beer, processed fruit juice and other sugary non-soda drinks.

Here’s what happens to your body when you drink your carbs rather than eat them.

The quick spike in blood sugar from carbs gives you that energy that feels great, and it happens quickly. With solid carbs, there is at least physical matter, fiber, bran, etc. which slows down the absorption of the sugar into your blood stream.

The problem with liquid carbs is that they have no buffer – so they cause dramatic and rapid spikes in blod sugar which aren’t buffered by fiber or any physical material. So their effect on your body is much more pronounced.

I would classify the “worst class of foods #2” as liquid carbs we frequent consume in great quantities – the obvious sodas, but also the less-than-obvious beers, alcohols, processed fruit juices, sports drinks and other drinks we frequently consume throughout the day.

Even though they may not be sugar-based, they are sometimes just as bad in large quantities (e.g. having a few beers after work every night will definitely lead to fat gain).

Advertisement

Read: 5 Reasons To Quit Drinking Soda Drinks (And How to Do It)

Deadly Food #3

Ahh, French fries. Part of any perfect dinner out, right? Or how about chicken fingers. Maybe popcorn shrimp? Or what about some delicious crispy tempura.

Fried foods are deadly food number three.

Eating fried food is directly related to obesity, heart attack and diabetes.

But it’s not just a matter of frying.

What you fry the foods in is what matters too. For example, in one massive study done on over 40,000 participants in Spain, researchers found that fried food was not linked to heart disease-related deaths, but these people were frying with olive oil or sunflower oil.

So – if you fry or sautee your own food, make sure to stick to the healthier oils, and avoid the following:

  • Palm oil
  • Cottonseed oil

I personally stick with cooking only with extra virgin olive oil if I’m sautéing food. Extra virgin olive oil consistently comes out as one of the healthiest oils to cook with in virtually every study.

The Most Deadly Combination of All

There is one combination that is more deadly than virtually anything in our lifestyle.

And the scary thing is that it’s extremely common. It’s the flour + sugar combination.

You know – pastries. Cakes. Desserts. Cinnamon buns in the airport. Prepackaged foods in the vending machine.

There is a reason why pastries are so delicious, and so deadly – the combination of wheat and sugar is highly addictive and elicits a strong response in the brain.

So – as best you can – avoid the deadly combination of flour + sugar !

Are These Foods Sneaking Into Your Daily Life?

Rather than giving you a “definitive list” of foods to “eat” or “avoid” I figured I’d talk about three broad groups of food that people frequently consume that are directly damaging their health.

For example, for a diabetic or pre-diabetic, just removing refined flour and sugar has the potential to entirely reverse diabetes for good. Yes, for good.

For the rest of you, it has the potential to help shave off 5, 10, 20, or 50 pounds.

The scary thing is that they are often staple foods, depending on who you are, and where you are.

Avoiding them will help you live a longer, healthier, and slimmer life.

Image: Potato chips, Donuts, Processed fruit juice, Chicken wings

About the Author: Alexander runs Modern Health Monk, a site that shows people how to reverse health problems caused by 21st century life. Check out his free weight-loss crash course, or recent article on fixing neck and shoulder pain for office workers.

Summer often brings social events like picnics in the park and outdoor barbecues. It also typically brings thick burgers, hot dogs with all the condiments, fried chicken and ice cream — all of which can quickly undo a more active summer lifestyle.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

However, if you choose carefully, you can savor the freshest tastes of the season while keeping your weight in check. Registered dietitian Anna Taylor shares some key strategies for selecting the best summer foods, while passing the worst choices by.

1. Say ‘yes’ to fruit and veggies

Bring on the berries. Or watermelon. Or sweet corn. Or pretty much any other summer fruits and vegetables.

Fruit and veggies are typically low in calories and rich in nutrients. So help yourself to summer’s colorful produce. It will not only help you stay slim, it will also give you an energy boost for swimming or other calorie-burning summer activities.

2. Choose carefully at picnics

It’s awfully tempting, but that fried chicken that’s a staple at many picnics is among the worst foods you can choose. Fried foods “can add inches to your waistline within hours of eating them,” says Ms. Taylor. Processed meats (e.g., ham, bologna), potato salad and sweets are also not the best choices.

Instead, opt for lean proteins, such as grilled or baked or salmon or chicken breast. If burgers are the only thing on the menu, you can pare the calories by skipping the cheese — and maybe the bun as well.

Rather than eating pasta salad or potato salad, look for lightly-dressed coleslaw, fresh summer salad with berries and vinaigrette or a quinoa salad.

Not sure there will be any lighter options at the picnic? Bring something healthy to share, like a grilled chicken salad, fruit salad or foil-wrapped potatoes to cook on the grill.

RELATED: 5 Foods You Should Eat This Summer

3. Go for grilling

Just be careful what you choose to make. Red meat is typically high in fat, which increases your risk for heart disease.

On the other hand, certain types of fish (e.g., salmon, tuna steaks, herring) are quite tasty on the grill (think fish kabobs).

They’re also high in omega-3 fatty acids. Ms. Taylor says omega-3s discourage fat storage around the waistline. They’re also potent anti-inflammatories, which can help you beat bloating.

It’s OK to enjoy steak occasionally, but lean cuts, such as sirloin or round steak, are best. Avoid fattier cuts like New York strips or T-bones, she says.

Craving a burger? Try a grilled turkey burger or one made with lean ground beef. As with steaks, treat yourself to ground beef only as an occasional indulgence.

RELATED: Summer’s Bounty: Top 5 Healthy Foods for Your Heart

4. Don’t overdo smoothies

If smoothies are among your favorite hot-weather treats, remember that you can have too much of a good thing — the sugar adds up quickly.

In making a smoothie, limit yourself to no more than one handful of fruit. You can, however, add unlimited non-starchy veggies and a good source of protein (e.g., 4-6 oz. of plain Greek yogurt).

RELATED: 5 Simple Summer Snack Swaps

5. Limit restaurant meals

Even seemingly lighter restaurant foods (e.g., soups, salads, wraps) are often loaded with hidden salt, sugar and fats. These all contribute to weight gain and bloating.

That doesn’t mean you can’t invite your friends to eat with you on an outdoor patio. Just use your own patio so you control the menu. What you prepare yourself is typically better for you than anything you order at a restaurant.

So go ahead and feast on the bounty of summer. But choose wisely, so you can still feel confident and relaxed when you end up beside the pool or at the beach after the barbecue.

6. Stay away from sugary drinks

Sipping on a summery lemonade or sweet tea may seem benign, but one glass can easily have up to 200 calories, all from sugar. Since your body is unable to use all those calories during a lazy summer afternoon, the extra calories are eventually stored as fat — the last thing you want during swimsuit season.

7. Don’t overdo alcohol

Alcohol itself is more calorie-dense than either carbohydrates or protein. It contains almost as many calories per gram as fat. The calories add up quickly with wine coolers, beer, and fruity drinks like margaritas and daiquiris.

Remember that all alcohol is high in calories and will pack on the fat, especially around the mid-section because of how alcohol is metabolized in the body. If you choose to drink, stick firmly to the recommended serving sizes — no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men. Also, avoid the sugary add-ins.

If you enjoy your food while being mindful of what you’re eating and drinking, it can help you can avoid gaining weight.

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *