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Unhealthy Foods You Should Avoid and Their Alternatives

In our modern Western style diets, we are exposed to a large selection of bad foods. These are foods that are unhealthy as they contain little nutritional value, but do contain unwholesome ingredients, like grease, processed salt and sugar, and trans fats and artificial flavors.

Commonly these bad foods are called junk food. In this group, we could include all processed foods, fast foods like burgers and fries, but also soft drinks loaded with sugar and even cookies, chips and chocolate bars.

A visible impact of foods like these have been the rising levels of obesity globally, not just in the States. But there are a string of health related illnesses linked to junk food – from heart problems, to type 2 diabetes, to even a lack of energy and poor concentration.

Although junk food feeds on our sugar and salt cravings, it can be harmful to our bodies in the end.

The first problem that these type of foods causes are extra fat.

Junk food contain an unhealthy amount of fat. Once consumed your body will not be able to burn these fats and you will store them. Most likely around your waist and butt. If this trend continues then you will become obese, develop high cholesterol, heart problems and even predispose you to type 2 diabetes.

The high fat content of junk food is not the only problem. These foods are loaded with sugars and carbs. In fact, in most cases one junk food meal will contain enough sugar for three days. Adding in carbs, which will convert of sugar in your body, and then you have problems. One problem that can develop is that your insulin levels, which regulates your blood sugar levels, could lead you to the path of diabetes.

But below are some of the bad foods you should avoid.

Corn syrup

High fructose corn syrup, or sucrose, is a chemical sweetener that is found in many junk foods.

If you eat regular sugar, your pancreas creates insulin, and the sugar is broken down into energy that signals our brain that we are full and our appetite is suppressed and satisfied. But with corn syrup does not cause the pancreas to produce insulin. Without insulin production, your brain never receives the message that we are full, and our appetite goes dangerously unchecked. While natural sweeteners are digested normally, high fructose corn syrup goes straight to the liver, where it is turned into fat and subsequent weight gain. Therefore, it is best to avoid corn syrup.

Food that contain corn syrup

Sodas

Soft drinks like Coke, Pepsi, Sprite and Dr Pepper are all examples of drinks that contain near 50 percent more fructose than glucose. Our bodies are simply not designed to breakdown the amount of sugar in these type of drinks. Although glucose acts as the body’s fuel, fructose is processed in the liver where it is converted into fat.

Rather opt of water flavored with strawberries, lemons, mint leaves or some cucumbers. Also, try drinking green tea or coffee instead of sodas.

Ketchup

Most brands of ketchup contain corn syrup, even the best-selling brands like Heinz.

Rather choice a healthier brand by reading the label to see if they use corn syrup. There are plenty of ketchup brands that use 100 percent tomatoes. You could also try some salsa or sun-dried tomato humus as an alternative to ketchup.

Breakfast cereals

Most cereals on the store shelves are a combination of corn sugar, wheat and soybean flour. The result of eating such foods will lead to a sugar spike. But to control sugar levels our bodies needs to produce insulin.

Some of the worst cereal brands are Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, Apple Jacks, Frosted Mini-Wheats, Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops, Special K. Kellogg’s, and Smorz. However, they are not the only offenders.

Rather eat oats, fruits and make your own smoothies. You could even use quinoa as a breakfast cereal.

Trans fats

Trans fat could lead to:

Hardening of the arteries: Over time trans fats accumulate in the arteries. After a while, these arteries become clogged. The implication is that a person could have a stroke or heart attack. Also, trans fats increase bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol levels.

Obesity: If you consume more trans fats than you should, you are sure to become overweight over time, especially around the abdominal area, which again leads to a series of health issues. These fats also affect insulin levels in the body and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Therefore, there some foods you should avoid as they contain high levels of trans fats.

Crackers, chips and cookies

Snacks like chips, cookies and crackers, are packed with sugar, refined white flour, trans fats, processed omega-6 fatty acids, and sodium. Combined these ingredients can lead to high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s and diabetes. But the big issue here is that some brands will use hydrogenated cooking oils.

An alternative is to bake your own cookies. Otherwise, opt of kale chips, nuts, or sweet potato chips.

Microwave popcorn

Popcorn is normally fine to snack on. But flavored microwave popcorn is not. These are covered in artificial flavors, trans fats, sodium, and chemicals like perfluoroalkyls, which has been associated with kidney disease and poor semen quality

Rather go for the air-popped popcorn with a light dusting of salt and butter.

Refined vegetable oils

Cooking oils such as soybean oil, sunflower oil, and canola oil are all examples of refined oils. These are not healthy oils or better put, they are not good fats. Trans fats and vegetable fats are the real culprits because they contribute to inflammation, cancer, heart disease, and obesity. More so, trans fats are not natural fats. But these are vegetable oils artificially transformed with hydrogen under high pressure and chemicals. Consuming vegetable oils is damaging for our body, especially the reproductive organs and lungs.

Rather cook with coconut oil and drizzle with olive oil or hemp oil.

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

You will find MGS in noodles and soups to add flavor to food.

The problem is that companies will hide the name MSG by used one of the following terms: magnesium glutamate, sodium caseinate, autolyzed yeast, gelatin, calcium glutamate, glutamic acid, natrium glutamate, calcium caseinate, textured protein, yeast extract, or even as natural flavors. But even though MSG is meant to enhance flavor they interfere with the body’s nervous system to fake the enhanced taste effect. More so, many people have an allergic reaction to MSG, and in the long-term could develop dysplasia, liver inflammation, digestive problems, and increase blood pressure.

Doritos

These chips do not contain powdered cheese, but MSG. Doritos are not the only chips that are loaded with MSG. The more flavor chips have, the more MSG and other artificial flavors they contain.

Rather go for kale chips, fruits, nuts and carrots as healthy snack alternatives.

Fried foods

Besides the obvious, the fat and calories, fired foods are also rich in MSG.

Rather go for home fried foods if you really have the craving. But it would be better to grill or bake your food to reduce the calories.

Closing remark

Leading a health life involves having the knowledge and disciple to make healthier choices. By removing these few bad habits out of your diet could not only extend your life, but also give you a better quality life.

 

About Jacques Dippenaar

Jacques is an influential health blogger and researcher helping readers explore interesting facts and information.

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