When you are too pressed for time, you probably don’t pay much heed to pay what you put in your stomach and always choose comfort over health. There are some foods that can cause more harm than good to your body – those are the processed foods.
Processed foods cover a whole range of consumable items that are prepared, preserved, refined, and messed around in some way or other. And not all of them are bad for you. For example, cut fruits are technically processed but they are not bad for you as they are essentially the same. In this context, when we say processed food, we mean food that is chemically tampered with and not mechanically.
Why processed foods are bad for you?
Ultra-processed foods are injected with salt, sugar, fat, chemical preservatives, and some substances that are not used in culinary processes, to increase its taste and shelf life. These substances can elevate your risk for contracting serious health issues like obesity, heart disease, disease, high blood pressure, and cancer.
Processed foods contain a lot of artificial ingredients that imitate real food. These unnatural ingredients in your diet can aggravate many health conditions. To top it all, these foods are designed to make you overeat and become addicted to them.
Here is a list of 10 food items you shouldn’t come near with a 10-foot pole if you are serious about your health and weight loss.
Undesirable number one is bacon. It’s quite a shame because bacon makes everything better. But the high level of sodium, countless preservatives, and the high amount of saturated fat makes it one of the unhealthiest foods.
🍫 Granola Bars
Seemingly harmless granola bars are loaded with tons of sugar and simple carbohydrates that offer little to no nutritional value. What you need to do is make sure that the foods that claim to be healthy are indeed healthy by reading the ingredient lists thoroughly. If there are any ingredients that you are not familiar with, google it and make sure that it is something that you actually want to put inside your body.
🍜 Instant Noodles
It’s cheap, it’s fast, and it’s tasty. The holy trifecta of culinary virtues makes it a favorite among college students all over the world. Sustaining themselves on instant noodles is something akin to a rite of passage to many of them. It is better to avoid instant ramen from your diet because they contain a food additive called Tertiary-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ), a preservative that is a petroleum industry byproduct. They’re also incredibly high in sodium, calories and saturated fat. The plastic containers in which they come also doesn’t help their cause.
🥜 Dried Fruits
This one might come as a surprise to you because dried fruits are supposed to be healthy. But the truth is, they are loaded with sugars and unwanted calories. When taken in moderation dried fruits can be a good source of nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants.
🍿 Microwave Popcorn
Microwave popcorn bags contain a chemical called perfluoroalkyls which have been linked with health problems as diverse as impaired kidney function and poor semen quality. Air-popped and plain popcorn is one of the healthiest snacks you can have. It’s the oil popped and flavored variety that you have to watch out for.
People love to slather their fried foods like burgers and fries in ketchup. It might be a good idea to hold the ketchup because most bottled ketchup consists of overcooked tomatoes, water, and a large bolus of sugar and some form of GMO corn syrup. Many brands also add many flavor-boosting chemicals under the name of “natural flavorings.”
Bad news for Starbucks lovers. Of all the blended drinks out there Frappuccinos are the worst for you besides being ridiculously expensive. A grande caramel Frappuccino with whipped cream topping would be a whopping 400 calories and 65g of carbohydrates, 63 of which are sugar.
🍟 Flavored Potato Chips
They are crazy addictive and you can never stop at a single bag – that’s not the only thing flavored potato chips can do to you. Chips are typically high in fat and calories, which can raise the risk of weight gain and obesity. Moreover, chips are low in vitamins and minerals and the high sodium content in chips can negatively impact your cardiovascular health.
🥣 Breakfast Cereal
Breakfast cereals are highly processed and are made with refined grain. It has a high amount of added sugars and refined carbohydrates. It can spike your blood insulin levels. Replace your cereals with an oatmeal breakfast made with rolled oats and sweetened with honey.
🍗 Deep Fried Food
You can deep fry just about anything – fish, french fries, chicken strips, cheese sticks and what not. These foods tend to be very unhealthy as they are high in calories and trans-fat. Beyond that, cooking at very high temperature changes the chemical structure of fats, making them difficult for your body to break down, which can ultimately lead to negative health effects.
Cooking your own food and avoiding pre-packaged meals and restaurant meals helps in restricting the intake of ultra-processed foods. Choosing whole foods every time can be quite challenging due to issues of affordability, availability, or accessibility. It is not realistic to completely eliminate processed foods from your diet. So, enjoy them in moderation and use common sense.