5 foods to avoid
You may be trying to lose weight, or you may just be striving to live a healthier lifestyle. Whichever describes you, it can be difficult to distinguish “fact” from “fiction” when it comes to health foods.
Often, foods that are marketed as healthy are really not good for you at all! If your goal is to make healthier choices and improve your overall health, here are 5 foods you should never add to your plate.
1. Farmed seafood
If you’re not vegan and choose to eat fish, make sure your fish is wild caught. This is particularly true for fish like salmon. The nutrient content of wild caught versus farm-raised fish differs drastically. And environmental pollutants like dioxin, pesticides and more are found in farm-raised fish in higher levels than in wild fish. Choosing wild fish ensures more nutrients, fewer pollutants and reduces the instance of GMOs.
Interestingly, farmed shrimp is one of the least healthy seafoods you can eat. Most people consider shrimp to be a quick, healthy way to add lean protein to their diet. However, shrimp is environmentally damaging, and the animals are raised swimming in ponds filled with antibiotics.
- What to eat instead: Try jackfruit cakes, a tasty alternative to crab cakes. Or, if you want to eat fish, make sure it is wild caught.
2. Fast food meats
You may have already cut back on fast food, but there are more reasons than just the fat and salt content to keep you away. One compelling reason is simple: fast food is in the “quick and cheap” business. That means most of the meats, eggs and dairy products served up in fast food chains are factory farmed. Hormones, inhumane conditions and cruel slaughter practices are main ingredients in your burger.
Additionally, the animals that went into the production of your nuggets and burgers were likely fed GMOs as a part of their diet – genetically modified corn, for example. GMOs have been linked to food allergies, intestinal damage, infertility and sterility and even an increase in infant mortality – in humans! Bypass the fast food and bring your lunch to work.
- What to eat instead: Simply reach for a veggie patty, portobello or tofu burger! Or try one of the new burger alternatives like the Impossible burger or the Beyond Burger. Today these are savory, smoky, perfectly seasoned alternatives to fast food meats.
Margarine was originally marketed as an alternative to butter that was lower in saturated fats. As it turns out, that’s just not so. The spread contains highly processed fats that are far from natural.
- What to eat instead: Rather than reaching for the margarine, choose one of the alternative butters made with coconut oil or olive oil found in your local grocery store.
4. Fruit juice
A glass of juice now and then is fine, particularly as a part of a detox diet. But juice contains just as many – if not more – calories as soda, making it a sneaky way to add calories to your diet. Additionally, not all juices will contain the same nutrients, such as fiber, of the real deal.
Specific juices to avoid are fairly clearly labeled. Stay away from drinks called juice cocktail, juice drink and juice-flavored drink. These beverages are packed with sugar, and they contain very few nutrients.
- What to drink instead: If you’re feeling thirsty, grab a glass of water and infuse it with lemon, cranberry or a slice of orange.
5. Energy Drinks
When you’ve had a rough night’s sleep and need a little pick-me-up, skip the energy drinks. These high-sugar, high-caffeine drinks are associated with weight gain and even heart disease and stroke!
- What to drink instead: If you’re feeling the midday slumps, sip some unsweetened green tea for an extra energy boost.
Read more about how bad diets are responsible for more deaths than smoking.