Top 10 Foods to Avoid

Better food choices.
Better food choices.

If you want to stay healthy, there are many foods you should avoid. Most are tasty and convenient; some are even considered healthy. However, it's important to remember that foods like the ten types listed below could be holding you back from living your healthiest life.

1. Processed Meats

Processed meats should be avoided because they are not in their natural state. They have been modified through curing, salting, smoking, or some other process that preserves the meat and enhances its flavor. WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer reports processed meats as "carcinogenic to humans."

2. Margarine

Margarine is loaded with trans-fat because most types are made with partially hydrogenated oils. The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of trans fats you eat. Instead of margarine, try good old-fashioned butter made from grass-fed cows, which is rich in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).

3. Table Salt

White table salt is refined. It starts out as natural mined salt, but the way it's processed destroys the naturally occurring iodine which is replaced with potassium iodide in potentially toxic amounts. White table salt is also stabilized with dextrose, which turns it purple and finally, it's bleached white. Almost everyone is aware white table salt can cause hypertension. So it's best to use it very sparingly or switch to better alternatives such as Celtic sea salt, Himalayan salt, or other seasonings.

4. Canned Foods

Canned foods are convenient, don't quickly spoil, and can be an affordable source of essential nutrients. However, they are high in salt, contain added sugars, and may contain BPA, a chemical that's associated with health problems like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Your best bet is to serve locally grown, fresh vegetables.

5. Microwave Popcorn

Popcorn is a healthy food if you pop your own in a pan with olive oil and sprinkle it with a natural salt. However, microwave popcorn is filled with questionable ingredients, including non-stick perfluorochemicals like perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). These chemicals are linked to cancer. Another primary concern is its fake buttery flavoring compound called diacetyl, which causes serious lung disease when inhaled in large quantities.

6. Kids' Breakfast Cereals

Kids' breakfast cereals are often highly processed, and most are high in sugar and refined grains. High sugar consumption can have harmful effects and may increase the risk of several diseases. Cereals marketed to kids have about 85 percent more sugar, 65 percent less fiber, and 60 percent more sodium than cereals marketed to adults. You should also be aware of deceptive natural claims as well. Thankfully, there are healthier options made with whole grains that have low enough sugar levels to be a nutritious choice.

7. White Bread

White bread is made from enriched white flour that has been stripped of all its nutrients, and it contains no fiber. It spikes your blood sugar levels and can give you a carb rush followed by a crash. It spurs cravings, contributes to weight gain, and tends to add fat to your body. There's even a link between the consumption of refined carbohydrates - like white bread - and depression in post-menopausal women.

8. Soft Drinks

Soft drinks, which are the primary source of sugar in the American diet, are also laced with potentially cancer-causing dyes. Soft drinks provide no fiber, vitamins, or minerals, and sugar can become addictive.

9. Fruit Juice

When whole fruit is converted to juice, it is pasteurized, pulverized, filtered, pureed, and stored in large vats, all of which chip away at its nutrients. Fruit juices - organic or otherwise, with pulp or without - are not equivalent to whole fruit. Additionally, they contain too much sugar and can flood your body with just as much sugar as a soft drink.

10. Fried Foods

There's no fried food that is healthy or good for you. Regardless of the food, if it's been fried, it will be higher in fat that can clog your arteries and packed with extra calories that can cause weight gain. It's healthier to eat food that is baked, boiled, or grilled instead of fried.

Top 10 Foods to Avoid