Not many people realize what the term, ‘a healthy diet’ actually means. For many, it might mean eating vegetables on time and finishing your meal before you go for the dessert. For others, it might mean incorporating healthy supplements and watching the calorie counter all the time.
Sadly, some people think that their diets are ineffective for their individual fitness goals, even though it’s impossible for any healthy regimen to not involve a healthy diet.
So, what exactly does a healthy diet mean if not eating everything right? You got your proteins, healthy carbs, supplements, and everything. But is that enough?
Here to set the record straight, we’ve highlighted some of the most important foods that you need to avoid if you don’t want obesity, cardiovascular disease, brittle bones, or a fragile physique that’s all fat and no muscle. That’s because our diet poses serious risks that you need to avoid at all costs, regardless of what your fitness goal is.
Not only do you need to know why these foods are harmful, but you’ll also have to understand how to avoid anything that puts your fitness efforts at risk.
Foods You Need to Avoid for a Healthy Diet
The first and the most important thing that you need to avoid is sugar. Not only is it added to almost everything you find in the grocery store, but it’s also one of the most obscurely advertised items in a nutritional information chart that you’ll find on any product.
Some of the most common names of sugar include:
- Agave nectar*
- Barbados sugar*
- Barley malt.
- Beet sugar*
- Blackstrap molasses*
You can find almost 50 other names for sugar on the internet. All these names are conjured up by corporations that aim to sell their foods labeled as ‘healthy’ or even ‘sugar-free’. It’s true. Most of the products on the shelves that boast their sugar-free status are in fact, the furthest from it. Many of these sugar-free variants contain more sugar than their normal variants. They just don’t say ‘sugar’ clearly.
The AHA recommends the added-sugar limit of 150 calories (36 grams of sugar) for men and 100 calories (24 grams of sugar) for women. If you don’t think sugar is harmful, here’s a couple of common problems that arise in people who eat more than the recommended amount of sugar daily:
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
- High or Low Blood Pressure
- Heart Attacks
Some researches even show a link between various types of cancer and sugar, thereby confirming that no good will come from adding that extra gram to your cup today. If you haven’t tried alternatives, do so because you want to cut out sugar from your life.
Processed foods are any edible items that have gone through any form of preservation process before being put on the shelf. Obviously, naturally occurring edible foods aren’t meant to remain fresh for more than a specified duration. That’s why manufacturers have to add sodium, fat, and considerable amounts of added sugar to get the food’s shelf-life expectancy up.
The addition of sodium in almost every product you’ll find in the food aisle is mandatory for companies because not only does it help the product last longer in the market, but it also makes their products taste better.
Your breakfast cereals, tinned vegetables, canned fruits, pies, pastries, cakes, biscuits, ready meals, etc., all fall under the umbrella of processed foods because they all have some or another form of preservation process they go through to be at the store.
Wondering what’s the worst that could happen if you ate a little too many processed foods? Here’s a list:
- Elevated Blood Pressure
- Irregular Cholesterol Levels
- Unstable Blood Sugar levels
- Heart Disease
Sodas, Beverages and Fizzy Drinks
Who doesn’t like a can of soda with their meal? Lately, it’s one of the most essential parts of people’s daily plans when they get home and want to Netflix and chill with a can of Coke or some other soda beverage.
Do you know how many ounces of sugar there are in a can of Coca-Cola? In a 12 oz Coca-Cola can, there are almost 39 grams of sugar. That’s almost 10.6 grams in every 100 ml of the drink. And the best part is, this sugar is labeled as, “high-fructose corn syrup”.
Needless to say, one 300-ml can of Coca-Cola alone is enough to bring you over the recommended intake of sugar for the whole day. So, think about that the next time you’re about to pop open another cold one.
You can imagine the same case for almost all “fresh juices” and “energy drinks” that each come with sodium, caffeine, and a whole lot of sugar. This is especially true for all the ‘no-added-sugar variants in the market as well. You can be sure that even if they don’t contain more than their ‘with sugar counterparts, they’re not really ‘sugar-free’.
Not all fats are bad for you. Many people have already heard this a million times but you might not know what this means. Especially if you’re someone who’s trying to lose fat. Let’s just say, that of all the fats, the one you need to avoid at all costs, is trans fat.
Trans fats are dietary and are made when manufacturers take liquid oil and process it to become solid fats such as the visible ones in margarine and shortenings. It might make something taste nice, but not without a deadly price. From your microwave popcorn, cakes, cookies, and pies to pizzas, fried foods, non-dairy coffee creamers, and tea whiteners, everything that contains trans fats is undoubtedly going to cause you serious and nasty health problems in the future.
Some of the most common problems that result from the intake of trans fats include:
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Heart Attacks
- Raised Bad Cholesterol and Lowered Good Cholesterol
It doesn’t matter what your fitness goal is. You can be an average joe looking to lose weight or an athlete looking to make smarter choices. If you’re eating any of the above, you’re not going to get healthy results from your training. Moreover, you’re putting yourself at risk for the most dangerous health complications out there.
So, eat smart and work out without worrying about your long-term health. You’ll notice results faster than you did before.