by Helen Sanders
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tells us that over one third of American adults are obese. Furthermore, obesity is a major precursor for a number of chronic conditions including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer – some of the leading causes of preventable death.
The CDC also goes on to say that “the estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was 4147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars; the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.”
From this it is clear to see that obesity is a huge problem throughout Western society and the main cause of obesity is that on a daily basis people consume foods every day with little to no nutrition.
This means that the foods we are consuming do not offer the nutrients that our bodies need to function such as proteins, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, antioxidants or vitamins and minerals.
These no-nutrient foods are simply made up of calories from sugars, trans fats and other artificial ingredients. There’s absolutely nothing that your body needs, just empty calories.
Of course, we all like to treat ourselves to a scoop of Ben and Jerry’s now and again. However, this should be on a rare occasion and if your grocery bag is tipping the scales on the negative side for nutrition, that could be a serious problem.
Here are some of the most popular everyday food items to avoid:
Be it the full sugar or “diet” variety, soda in general is one of the worst things you can put in your shopping cart.
First, sugary drinks are possibly the worst source of added sugar out there.
The reason being that when you drink something like a soda filled with sugar, your brain doesn’t register it as food. Therefore, you don’t compensate by eating less. This is a horrific spiral which leads to you completely overloading your daily calories.
This makes it easy to consume huge amounts of sugar each day by drinking most of your calories. Overloading your body with sugar this way can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Of course, if you’re already aware of the danger overloading on sugary beverages can do but still want to curb your soda cravings, you may think that opting for a diet or sugar-free version is the healthy option. Well, think again.
The artificial sweeteners found in “diet” sodas are seriously bad for your health.
In fact, one 2013 study showed that both artificially sweetened and sugar sweetened beverages were linked with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
2. Low-Fat Yogurt
Yogurt can be extremely healthy. However, most products found in the grocery store are the complete opposite.
Low-fat yogurt options have all the natural dairy fats removed, only to replace them with something worse: sugar.
These yogurts are loaded with sugar to compensate for the lack of flavor due to the removal of fat.
3. Processed Meats
Don’t get me wrong, unprocessed meats can be incredibly healthy. However, processed meat cannot make the same claim.
Research has shown that those who eat processed meats are at much higher risk of chronic diseases including heart disease, colon cancer and type 2 diabetes.
4. Gluten-free Junk Foods
Many people need a gluten-free diet such as those who suffer with celiac disease.
However, going gluten-free has somehow become incredibly trendy and many people who can tolerate gluten perfectly well choose a gluten-free lifestyle as they believe it is a healthier way to live. In fact, a 2013 study showed that one third of Americans actively avoid gluten in their diet.
The problem is many people still eat processed junk foods that just happen to be gluten-free. These are normally overloaded with unhealthy oils and sugars as well as refined grains like corn starch or tapioca starch.
Remember folks, junk food is still junk food whether it contains gluten or not.
5. Pre-made Coffee Drinks
It is worth noting that black coffee, the kind you brew from the bean is packed with antioxidants and can actually lower your risk of many diseases like Parkinson’s.
Yet many people who drink coffee do so from brand name coffee house chains which turn what was once a healthy powerhouse into harmful sludge.
Coffees made with creamers, sugars, syrups, candies, and so on are not good for you.
Helen Sanders is chief editor at HealthAmbition.com. Established in 2012, Health Ambition has grown rapidly in recent years. Our goal is to provide easy-to-understand health and nutrition advice that makes a real impact. We pride ourselves on making sure our actionable advice can be followed by regular people with busy lives.