With all of the claims that manufacturers are putting on their product labels and the advice from so called “health experts,” it’s easy to get confused about which foods are actually good for you. All of this confusion is enough to overwhelm you and make attempting to eat healthy much less appealing. The following 13 foods are some of the worst “health” foods that you need to avoid at all costs…
1. Gluten-Free Foods
Gluten is name that encompasses proteins that are found in various grains such as wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten sensitivity is a common issue that affects the way your body handles gluten. It causes your immune system to detect gluten as a foreign substance and triggers an attack on it. During this attack, the lining of your gut is impacted. This often leads to a serious problem known as Leaky Gut Syndrome, which I talked about in my previous article.
So, gluten-free products should be the way to go, right? They don’t contain any gluten so you should be safe from having to worry about developing Leaky Gut Syndrome. Despite their claims, most “gluten-free” products test positive for gluten due to cross contamination! In addition to their misleading claims, these products are often loaded with sugar!
Choose this instead: Rice (wild, brown, black)
2. Flavored Fat-Free Yogurt
Yogurt is considered healthy by everyone’s standards, right? This delicious, nutritious delight provides your body with protein, calcium, and powerful probiotics! That’s a fact, but you have to make the right choice and that flavored fat-free stuff that everyone buys isn’t it!
Flavored Fat-Free Yogurt is loaded with a ton of sugar and artificial sweeteners and colors. With some exceptions, almost any food that prides itself on being fat-free is usually loaded with sugar to add flavor. One of these yogurts typically loads 15-20g of sugar in a 6oz serving! These foods digest very rapidly, spiking your blood sugar, and leaving you hungry again less than an hour later. These problems outweigh the benefits that traditional flavored fat-free yogurt has to offer… Check out this yogurt report to find a better option for you!
Choose this instead: Plain, Fat-Free Greek
3. Banana Chips
Oh, bananas! Bananas are loaded with vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber making them a quick and convenient healthy snack choice. What causes banana chips to make the list of foods to avoid then?
The process of make the these chips calls for the banana to be chopped up and fried. This process takes away most of the banana’s vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber, which removes all of benefits of consuming a banana in the first place! To make things worse, banana chips are often coated with a sugar glaze, adding even more sugar to this already sweet snack. By eliminating fiber and adding even more sugar the glycemic index increases, meaning your blood sugar will rapidly rise and fall after eating these chips. The rapid rise and fall in your blood sugar levels will leave you feeling both tired and hungry, a double mood killer!
Choose this instead: Fresh or Dried Fruit
If you’ve fallen victim to this “health” food, you’re not alone. Granola commonly consists of rolled oats, nuts, and honey with more or less ingredients depending on your personal preference. Rolled oats, nuts, and honey are all great options! So, what makes granola so bad then?
More often than not, granola is made with extra sugar. Although you can’t see it, it’s there and adding extra calories! Another important factor to take note of is serving size. This is especially true for granola because the serving size is much less than you would think (or want it to be).
Now, not all granola is loaded with a large amount of extra sugar. Always be sure to check the nutrition label. Don’t forget to take note of the serving size. Making your own granola is always a great option as well (see recipe below)!
Choose this instead: Easy, Healthy Homemade Granola
5. Fat-Free / Low-Fat Milk
People often choose fat-free or low-fat milk out of the fear of getting fat. If that’s the case, the first thing that you need to do is read this article that I wrote that breaks down the health benefits of consuming fat. Next, you need to be wowed by these surprising findings found in a study by The American Journal of Nutrition.
The study looked at over 18,000 women who were either consuming full fat or low/no fat milk. What they found? The women consuming full fat milk were less likely to become obese! Again, this reinforces the fact that fat is not the enemy. I repeat, fat is not the enemy!
Choose this instead: Organic Raw Milk
Some of you may be thinking, “what in the world is Agave?” While others may be excited at the sight of the word Agave because “it’s the greatest thing in the world!” Regardless of it’s placement on the shelves of many health stores, Agave is the furthest thing from healthy.
Agave actually contains the largest amount of fructose out of any commercial sweetener, all while having little to no nutritional value. What’ s the big deal with fructose anyway? You’re always hearing bad stuff about it but WHAT is it? That’s a topic for another blog (coming soon), but just know that it primes your liver to start storing fat rather than burn it, YIKES! Please do yourself a favor and move that bottle of agave in your refrigerator to the garbage.
Choose this instead: Raw Honey
7. Fruit Juices
“Fruit is healthy. The word fruit is in fruit juice. Therefore, fruit juice has to be healthy!” That thought process encompasses the vast majority of the population. Fruit juice is still considered to be good for you. Truth is, it’s almost as bad as soda!
Fruit juice is highly concentrated. To help paint a picture as to what this means, you should know that drinking an 4oz glass of orange juice is the same as eating 2 medium sized oranges! Think about the amount of time it takes to drink 4oz of liquid compared to eating two medium sized pieces of food. It’s clear which is the better and more satisfying choice. In addition to being highly concentrated, fruit juices are packed with fructose! Fructose is the real “f” word that you should be staying away from.
Choose this instead: Green Tea
8. Packaged Lunch Meats
Packaged lunch meats are quick, convenient, and healthy… right? Well, maybe. Although we could all use more convenience in our lives, we need to also make sure that we are addressing our health first. More often than not, these meats are loaded with preservatives so they stay “fresh” as long as possible. These attempts to preserve the meat lead to you consuming ingredients that create a toxic environment in your body. Here’s a list of the ingredients that you should avoid:
- Sodium nitrate/sodium nitrite: increased risk of cancers, diabetes, and heart disease
- Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA): possible carcinogen (cancer causing)
- Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT): another possible carcinogen
- Smoked (natural or flavor): possible toxin
- Corn syrup: high levels of fructose (linked to diabetes)
- Aspartame: increased risk of delayed mental processes and seizures
Another common practice is to coat these meats in sodium, usually over 500mg worth per serving! Your daily recommended sodium intake is less than 2,300mg, making one serving of packaged lunch meat about 25% of your recommended intake. Excess sodium intake has been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
Choose this instead: Fresh, Never Frozen, Organic Meats
9. Wheat Bread
If you happen to be a lover of bread, you need to become an expert at reading labels. Many company’s use the great marketing tactic of including “wheat” or “made with whole wheat” on their packages. The reason they do this is because they know that when the majority of people see this, they will assume it’s healthy and buy it. Not you, not anymore after reading this!
The truth is, company’s will use processed white flour and include a tiny bit of whole grains so they can claim that it was made with whole grains on their label. Are they lying? No, this is a great marketing tactic. That’s why it’s important for you, the consumer, to be educated so that you don’t fall for these tricks!
Be sure to check the ingredient list. Ingredients are required to be listed in order from highest to lowest concentration. Another thing to keep an eye on is fiber content. Look for bread containing at least 2g of fiber per serving.
I hope this articles gets a million views and I become the guy that bread manufacturers and marketers hate. So, if you enjoy reading my content then don’t forget to share with a friend. Also, leave a comment at the bottom or send me message to let me know how I’m doing. All of my content is for you so your feedback is highly valued.
Choose this instead: Sprouted Gain Bread
You grab a bag of pretzels and do your diligence by checking the nutrition label. You’re not quite an expert yet but you notice they have little to no fat so you make the purchase! By doing this, you’re about to set yourself up for a giant spike in blood sugar levels and potential health risks…
What you forgot to check was the fiber content, which you would have noticed was slim to none. By combining little to no fat or fiber with a large amount of carbohydrates, this raises the glycemic index through the roof! Remember, high glycemic index foods digest rapidly, leaving you feel hungry and tired shortly after eating. Additionally, dietary fat will not make you fat and is certainly not the enemy!
Pretzels are usually loaded with sodium as well. A typical serving of pretzels contains over 600mg, and I know you don’t stop at one serving either. As you learned earlier, excessive sodium puts you at risk for several health risks including high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
Choose this instead: Celery or Carrot Sticks (same crunch without the cost)
11. Canned Vegetables
Just like packaged meats, canned vegetables add convenience to your life. You’re busy, you go to school or work everyday, make time to workout, and traditionally hangout with friends and family. With all of that going on, you want getting your meals together to be quick so you reach for that can of green beans in the cupboard. Before you pop the top, you need to consider these 3 reasons to avoid canned vegetables…
- Bisphenol A (BPA) content: BPA is added to canned vegetables to protect its contents against metal corrosion and bacteria, which is probably a good idea, right? Only problem is that BPA may affect fetal development and put you at risk for endocrine disorders, heart disease, and cancer.
- Sodium content: sodium, as you know, is an excellent preservative so it’s added to packaged and canned foods, typically in excessive amounts. Again, this puts you at a higher risk for serious health issues (high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke).
- Sulfites: like sodium, sulfites are added to foods as a preservative. Some people are extremely sensitive to sulfites and you may be one of them. Sulfite sensitivity includes shortness of breath or wheezing and usually occurs within 15 minutes after consumption.
Choosing to opt for vegetables is awesome and you should be proud of yourself for that. However, take a little extra time to buy fresh vegetables so that you don’t have to worry about the health risks associated with canned vegetables.
Choose this instead: Freshly Chopped Vegetables
12. Microwave Popcorn
It’s date night! You grab your honey, head to Redbox, grab a movie, and head right for the couch. You can’t forget a snack so you head for the obvious choice, microwavable popcorn! Little did you know, that tiny package of popcorn is a health disaster and here’s why…
Microwavable popcorn bags coats are coated with a substance that breaks down into perfluoroctanoic acid (PFOA), which is a cancer-causing agent. Not only does PFOA put you at risk for developing cancer, it has also been linked to tumor growth and toxicity of the liver, prostate, and kidney.
Another issue with microwavable popcorn lies in the fake butter that is used. The butter contains diacetyl, a chemical shown to cause bronchiolitis obliterans. Commonly known as “popcorn lung,” this disease results from inflammation of the airways in your lungs. Symptoms include dry cough, shortness of breath, wheezing and feeling tired.
So, next date night skip the microwavable and try the recipe below. Plus, making your own is something you can do together!
Choose this instead: Perfect Stovetop Popcorn
13. Protein Bars
You’ve all seen it before, the total gym bro finishing up this third arm workout this week. Right after he’s done, he rushes to get that protein bar so that he doesn’t miss the “anabolic window.” First of all, if you have your diet in check, there isn’t any rush to eat right away. Next, protein bars aren’t even healthy!
Although this won’t hold true for every protein bar on the market, it relates to the majority. These seemly healthy bars are usually highly processed and contain added fillers and artificial sweeteners. Making the case for protein bars even worse, your average protein bar contains 8-10g of sugar, yikes! In addition, the protein that’s included in these bars is often low quality and will do nothing to support your muscle building efforts.
So gym bros, next time you finish your crazy arm workout, skip rushing to the locker room to eat that candy bar disguised as a protein bar and have a real meal instead.
Choose this instead: High Quality Whey Isolate Powder (only use a shake for convenience, always opt for real food when possible)
Related: 11 Foods Proven To Boost Your Mood