Moderation is the key to good long-term health, but there are some foods that are so unhealthy, the only sane approach is to eliminate them from the diet altogether. These foods not only lack nutritional value of any kind, but also contain ingredients that have proven to be unequivocally detrimental to our health. Will a bite or sip of these foods compromise your health? Probably not, but consuming them with any frequency is not recommended.
It is hard to pick the worst offender from the list of ingredients in soda, but only because they are all so bad. Carbonated soft drinks contain high fructose corn syrup, sodium benzoate and phosphoric acid; ingredients that lead to tooth decay, insulin resistance, allergies, eczema, asthma, mineral depletion and osteoporosis. In addition, soda is very high in both sugar and calories, and does nothing to satiate hunger. People who drink soda regularly throughout their lives are prone to obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and heart disease. Consuming empty calories like those in soda makes it very difficult to lose or even maintain weight, so dieters should avoid it at all costs.
Many of us love eating fried foods. After all, they can be quite crispy and delicious. However, when you think about coating something in simple carbohydrates and allowing it to absorb hot oil for a few minutes, it is easy to see that this is not a very healthy method of cooking. In some cases, frying foods actually doubles the amount of calories in a meal without adding any useful nutrients. Eating fried foods has been shown to increase the prevalence of cancer, and it also correlates quite highly with obesity. Baking, poaching and sautéing are all vastly superior to frying, and these methods should be used as an alternative by those who wish to make healthier dietary choices.
Fast food seduces consumers with cheap, salty, fatty foods that are almost completely devoid of nutritional value. The average fast food meal contains over 800 calories, which is nearly half of what the average adult needs to consume in an entire day. These calories are disproportionally made up of non-essential fats and simple carbohydrates. There are no fresh vegetables, fruits, or whole grains, and lean protein sources are hard to come by. Foods can be judged by their ratio of nutrients to calories, and fast foods summarily fail this test with the lowest possible marks.
Commercial Baked Goods
Baked goods are generally quite unhealthy, and commercial baked goods are much worse than those prepared “from scratch.” The former contain all of the sugars and starches of the latter with the addition of trans-fatty acids to lengthen the time they can remain fresh on the shelves. These trans fats have been linked to heart disease and hypercholesterolemia, and have been banned in many locales because of these dangers. If you must consume baked goods, opt for the homemade variety and save them for special occasions, as their high calorie content and lack of vital nutrients make them a poor choice for regular consumption.