10 Foods to Avoid

If you’re like me, then chances are you usually try to make the right decisions when it comes to nutrition, but there are some things that you may be eating that are holding you back from shedding those extra pounds. I will show you what I believe are the top ten most unhealthy foods to eat, and for each one, I will give a healthy substitute. Here is the list:

1.) Soda (Diet and Regular) – I believe that the number one cause of obesity is refined sugar, and soda is a major source of all this sugar that people consume every day. The thing is, many people think they are doing a good thing by reaching for a diet soda, but this is just as bad, if not worse. Diet soda has artificial sweeteners which generally weaken the body and immune system, and can even slow down your metabolism!
Substitute With – Avoid all those chemicals and refined sugars and reach for some juice or try making a smoothie. This still has sugar, but its not refined so it doesnt have the negative effects of weight gain that soda has.

2.) Store Bought Salad Dressing – I’ve seen countless numbers of people who think they are doing a good thing by eating a salad, but then they ruin it by smothering it with salad dressing. Store bought salad dressing is almost always loaded with MSG, a chemical flavor enhancer which has been proven to cause extreme weight gain in lab rats.
Substitute With – Try making a homemade dressing, or just use olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

3.) Fried Foods – The main reason fried foods are so unhealthy is because many times the same oil is re-used hundreds of times such as with potato chips or doughnuts. This continuous re-use of the oil creates the unhealthy trans-fats. Fried foods aren’t so bad if they are homemade because chances are you don’t re-use the oil hundreds of times like a fast food restaurant or a doughnut shop would.
Substitute With – Treat yourself to occasional homemade fried foods or order something at a restaurant, because most nicer restaurants don’t re-use their oil as much as a fast food restaurants would. Also, if you do decide to fry at home once in a while, frying at the proper temperature ensures that the oil does not penetrate the food and make it greasy. Try to fry at a temperature of between 345-375 degrees farenheit.

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4.) Margarine – Many people substitute margarine for butter thinking it is the healthier choice, but this is wrong. While butter does have more saturated fat than margarine, margarine has man-made hydrogenated oil and trans fat which is actually worse for you than just eating the butter.
Substitute With – When choosing between butter and margarine, butter is the healthier, more natural choice.

5.) Refined Grains – The easiest way to lose weight is to cut down your consumption of grains, especially more refined grains like bread and pasta. Ideally, you should try to get as much carbs as you can from vegetables and fruit rather than grains, but if you do keep some grains in your diet, then choose the less refined options.
Substitute With – Choose grains that are not processed and contain some fiber and protein such as oatmeal or quinoa.

6.) Processed Sandwich Meats – Sandwich meats often contain a ton of additives, including MSG. This is especially true for cured meats such as prosciutto and salami. Turkey tends to have less additives than other sandwich meats, and there are brands that advertise as having no additives.
Substitute With – Buy from a brand that advertises as being all natural.

7.) Fish High in Mercury – Mercury has become a serious health concern lately, and a major part of our mercury consumption comes from fish. Certain fish have higher levels of mercury than others, and should only be eaten on occasion. The fish with the highest levels of mercury include shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. It is best for pregnant women to avoid these fish all together.
Substitute With – Eat more fish that have low levels of mercury such as cod, salmon, flounder, catfish, crabs, scallops, canned tuna (light has less than solid white), and generally any smaller fish or shellfish is usually lower in mercury.

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8.) Fast Food – The reason fast food is so unhealthy is because it is processed to the point that by the time you eat it, it has no nutritional value what so ever. Also fast food is loaded with harmful additives and chemicals. A hamburger cooked on the grill at home is far healthier than from a fast food joint, because the beef is fresher and the burger will not have MSG and other harmful chemicals added to it to make up for the cheap meat.
Substitute With – Make your own hamburger at home to avoid harmful additives and processed beef.

9.) “Fat Free” Foods – A lot of food at the supermarket is now advertised as fat free, but this is not necessarily healthier. Most of the time, when they take out the fat they replace it with refined sugar and other flavorings. It is far healthier to just eat the fat then to eat all that sugar instead. Also, many times the calories are almost the same because the extra sugar just replaces the fat.
Substitute With – Just buy the regular version of foods, not reduced fat or fat free. It is not only the healthier option, but it tastes better too!

10.) Vegetable Juice – It may seem like a clear choice for a healthy drink, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. With many store bought juices being loaded with salt and artificial flavors, the bad usually outweighs the good. Also, most juice is pasteurized which destroys most of the health benefits and then may sit on the shelf for weeks before you drink it.
Substitute With – You can buy a juicer and juice your own vegetables. It’s fun to play around with different recipes, and the fresh juice tastes much better as well.