Which Food Is Considered Unhealthy? Over the past few years, the importance of eating healthy has been stressed over and over. The constant barrage of attention on what you eat can be overwhelming, especially if you’re trying to follow a certain diet. Sometimes it can even make your head spin when trying to figure out what’s good and what’s bad for you. This leaves many people confused about which foods are safe to eat and which are not.
How to Differentiate Between Healthy and Unhealthy Foods?
Who doesn’t love to eat tasty food every day? But while enjoying the tasty food, people forget the quality of their meals. Different foods contain various types of healthy and unhealthy fats, so you need to choose the food options that are good for your body.
When ordering food in a restaurant, most people think about the taste of their meal and not the actual nutritional value of the food coming their way. You should be aware of healthy and unhealthy food choices.
But still, if you give preference to the taste and neglect the nutritional value, you’re asking for trouble or a health risk. This is because unhealthy food options like junk food may be too delicious but it contains bad fats that will adversely affect your overall health in the long run.
Before finding out the reason why some foods are considered healthy and others unhealthy, let’s find out what is healthy food and unhealthy food.
What are Healthy Foods?
Healthy foods are considered to be the food items that are rich in nutrition and have a beneficial effect on our overall health. Healthy food includes many organic food options like natural food, whole foods, etc.
Nutrition is essential for every individual. If you want to stay fit, healthy, and strong, eating well is crucial, besides being physically active, to maintain a healthy weight.
Healthy eating is usually referred to as eating clean meals that provide nutrients and are important to give you energy, maintain health, and make you feel good.
What are Unhealthy Foods?
Unhealthy foods can be described as foods that have less nutritional value and are high in fat, sugar, and calories. Such food may be high in protein but your body needs a certain amount of protein – not in excess.
If a food item is not helping you maintain a healthy weight, it’s considered unhealthy. For instance, some unhealthy foods include high tropical oils and salt, low fiber content, low vitamins, unhealthy fats, etc.
Mostly, unhealthy foods contain processed items like snacks and fast foods, which are low in essential nutrients that our body requires for healthy living.
Why are certain foods unhealthy?
Food becomes unhealthy due to its preparation method. If there is a high amount of sugar, fat, and sodium in food, it’s not good for your health.
According to the American Heart Association, one must keep their consumption of saturated fat lower than 7% and consume trans-fat below 1% in daily calorie intake.
What is the difference between healthy and unhealthy foods?
Now that you know what makes a food healthy and unhealthy, let’s find out the basic difference between healthy and unhealthy food based on different factors, such as:
Generally, healthy food helps in providing more energy to your body so that you can work all day long without feeling exhausted. Some high energy foods are fresh fruits, green leafy vegetables, sprouts, raw nuts, honey, yogurt, etc. On the other hand, unhealthy foods are low in energy and high in fat content.
Some unhealthy food options are fried chips, burgers, pizza, fried meat, etc. If you consume healthy foods, the problem of fatigue, headaches, depression, joint pain, etc. could get resolved, whereas the unhealthy foods invite obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and other chronic diseases.
Many people avoid eating healthy, nutritional food because they don’t find it tasteful. On the other hand, unhealthy foods are available in various varieties and are tasty as well. So, you are tempted to eat cheeseburgers, pizza, or more unhealthy foods because of their delicious taste.
According to a research-based study, over 92% of people choose unhealthy food options but only 8% of participants preferred healthy food in their daily life.
So, after looking at this huge percentage difference, you can figure out why most of the population across the globe are suffering from unwanted health conditions even at a very young age.
Unhealthiest Foods On the Planet
Sorry to break it to you, but even though there are some foods you simply just can’t ever seem to resist (we’re talking cookies, nachos, onion rings—the stuff that taste oh so good) they’re just not the best for you healthwise. It’s these nutrient-deficient foods you’re going to want to avoid, as they can truly wreck your body, especially if you’re trying to make healthier choices during these times when it’s much easier to just load up on junk food. And due to food manufacturers and deceptive marketers, even some of your seemingly “healthy” meals are filled with unhealthy fats, artificial ingredients, and unnecessary preservatives that are hazardous to your health, too.
On a mission to help you understand exactly what exactly is in your food, and why it’s bad, we put together this list of the least nutritious foods on the planet that are so toxic, they just wreck your body. And while you’re clearing these out of your kitchen, be sure to stay on course with any of the 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time
Unhealthy Ingredients: Soybean and canola oil
The problem with coffee creamer? There’s no cream! The first three ingredients listed on Nestle’s Coffee-Mate’s popular creamers, for example, are water, sugar, and soybean and/or canola oil. Is that what you want to add to your morning cup of joe? Coffee creamers can also have synthetic additives like mono and diglycerides.
Drink This! Instead: Plain ol’ cow’s milk always makes for a healthy addition to your morning cup, but if you’re still looking for a hint of flavor, try out a plant-based creamer to jazz up your cup of Joe. Califa Farms has tons of varieties, and these creamers have fewer calories and sugar than the typical Coffee-Mate Creamers.
Bleached White Flour Bread
Unhealthy Ingredient: Bleaching chemicals such as azodicarbonamide
Even if your bread’s first ingredient is “wheat flour”—keep reading. If it doesn’t mention that it’s unbleached, you’re likely noshing on a sandwich laced with creepy chemicals. Some manufacturers use an ingredient called azodicarbonamide, which you might recall is the “yoga mat” additive that Subway once controversially used. This plastic dough conditioner is used to make bread dough fluffier. The CSPI agrees you should avoid it, citing evidence that the chemicals azodicarbonamide break down into after baking are recognized carcinogens.
Eat This! Instead: There are plenty of whole-grain and whole-wheat flours and breads that don’t include bleaching chemicals. Not only that, but they are better for you in a variety of other ways, too. Go with one of these Best Brand Name Breads for Weight Loss!
Unhealthy Ingredient: Fiber-less fruit, high-fructose corn syrup
It’s natural! What could be wrong? Well, while 100 percent fruit juice is a better pick than high fructose corn syrup-laden drinks like Sunny D, even the all-natural Welch’s Grape Juice still packs up to 36 grams of sugar per cup—or about what you’d get from whipping four Krispy Kreme glazed donuts into a blender. And although this sugar is natural, your body treats it the same way as any other sugar. What’s more, most of the sweetness in juice comes from fructose, a type of sugar associated with the development of visceral adipose tissue in overweight people—yep, that’s belly fat—according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Drink This! Instead: Just add fresh sliced fruit like oranges and grapefruit to plain ol’ H2O and chill.
Unhealthy Ingredients: Caramel coloring, Bisphenol A (BPA), aspartame
What do artificial colors, flame retardants, and waist-widening fake sugars all have in common? They’re ingredients in all your favorite diet fizzy drinks. Nearly all popular diet sodas contain aspartame, an artificial sweetener that was initially developed to aid weight loss, but that has recently been found to have the opposite effect, raising glucose levels, overloading the liver, and causing the excess to convert into fat, according to a study in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.
Eat This! Instead: There’s nothing wrong with a nice glass of water but if you’re sick of plain H2O, opt for one of these delicious detox teas or a cup of coffee instead.
Deep Fried Foods
Unhealthy Ingredient: High heat, inflammatory oil
Fried chicken, fried calamari, pork rinds, chicken-fried steak. You won’t ever see these items marked as an “Eat This.” Besides the high fat and calorie content, the main issue with these fried foods is that they contain high levels of inflammatory Advanced Glycation End products, or AGEs. These compounds form when animal-derived products are cooked at high temperatures for a prolonged period of time. According to a 2015 review published in the journal Advances in Nutrition, experts concluded that “sustained exposure to [AGEs] gradually erodes native defenses, setting the stage for abnormally high [oxidative stress] and inflammation, the precursors of disease.”
Eat This! Instead: Luckily, researchers from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine found that when people cut out high-AGE foods like processed and fried foods, markers of inflammation in their body diminished. So, go grilled whenever you can or bake your foods in the oven.
Bacon & Sausage
Unhealthy Ingredients: Nitrates and nitrites, high heat cooking methods
Processed meats are the worst of both worlds. They’re typically made from red meats high in saturated fats, and they contain high levels of advanced glycation end products (AGEs): inflammatory compounds that are created when these processed meats are dried, smoked, and cooked at high temperatures. Not to mention, those nitrates and nitrites in cured and natural, “uncured” meats can turn into carcinogenic nitrosamines when exposed to high heat, according to Meat Science. (And you’re typically roasting your sausages on a flame-flickering grill and bacon in a frying pan, right?)
Eat This! Instead: Luckily, manufacturers have a limit on the amount of nitrites they use and are required to add antioxidants, such as vitamin C, which a review in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found helps to inhibit nitrosamine formation. While a study in Food Chemistry found processed foods have an average of 80 percent fewer nitrites than they once did, you can take extra precautions to limit your nitrosamine exposure by purchasing uncured meats that use no nitrites—only salt—and try turning down the heat.
Unhealthy Ingredients: Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT), Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA), refined carbs, added sugar
There’s no sugar-coating it: sugar wreaks havoc on the body. Consuming too much of the white stuff can lead to obesity, which often causes other health problems like diabetes and heart disease. And many cereals pack more sugar into one bowl than you’ll find in a Boston Cream Donut! To make matters worse, many popular varieties like Frosted Flakes and Fruity Pebbles are also laced with Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) or BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole), ingredients that are banned in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and much of Europe because they are thought to be carcinogenic. You’ll also want to check out the 20 Worst “Healthy” Cereals.
Eat This! Instead: Cascadian Farms Chocolate O’s and Nature’s Path Peanut Butter Panda Puffs are both flavor-packed, low-sugar picks that don’t contain any scary chemicals.
Unhealthy Ingredients: Sodium, preservatives
Freezing food is a terrific way to make it last longer, so why add preservatives? Unfortunately, manufacturers do; just witness this list of the 67 Worst Frozen Foods in America.
Eat This! Instead: Opt for organic, low-sodium, low-sugar frozen options. These 15 New Healthy Frozen Foods that Make Clean Eating a Breeze are among the best options.
Unhealthy Ingredient: Sodium
And here you thought we’d say the sugar. And calories. And fat. And everything else. While that’s all true, and restaurant desserts are dangerous because the portions are often oversized, it’s the sodium content that many people don’t even think about. That innocent-looking, California Pizza Kitchen dessert you see pictured above has a whopping 1,110 calories, 73 grams of fat, 640 milligrams of sodium, 103 grams of carbs, and 64 grams of sugar. Check it out with its other evil friends on this list of 20 Restaurant Desserts With More Salt Than A Bag of Pretzels.
Eat This! Instead: A small scoop of sorbet is a low-risk way to satisfy that sweet tooth at the end of a meal.
Unhealthy Ingredient: Sugar (duh)
According to the Pew Research Center, Americans ate over 90 grams of added sugar a day in 2014—which is 40 grams above the FDA’s recommended intake of 50 grams per day and a whopping 65 grams above the World Health Organization’s recommended intake of 25 grams! Americans’ high consumption of refined, white sugar has been linked to everything from increased risk of type 2 diabetes to heart disease to obesity. Say goodbye to added sugars—and goodbye to your belly—with the Zero Sugar Diet!
Eat This! Instead: Check out our report Every Popular Added Sweetener—Ranked! to choose a smart alternative, but we’d recommend reducing your intake of added sweeteners in general.
Most Unhealthy Drinks:
Given below are list of unhealthy drinks that you should avoid for a healthy living:
We all swear upon the health promoting qualities of milk. Rich in calcium and other vital nutrients, it is beneficial for people of all age groups. But whole milk contains saturated fat, which raises the cholesterol levels and triggers inflammation. It also leads to clogged arteries. However, this doesn’t mean that you should give up consuming milk. All you need to do is opt for skimmed (fat-free) or 1 % low fat milk. Skimmed and low fat milk provides you with all the vital nutrients. Some of them are calcium, protein, Vitamins D and B-12 and potassium. It also combats the bad stuff from entering your body. Milk from plant sources like soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk etc., are also healthy options, though they are not as nutritious as animal milk.
Sodas And Sweet Drinks:
Sodas and sugary drinks are a regular sight in restaurants and supermarkets. But, few of us are aware of the fact that nearly 100% of the calories in regular soda come from sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. In fact, it is considered the real culprit behind obesity. It also damages your teeth and leads to cavity formation. Certain studies have shown that cola drinks can weaken your bones. Processed sugary drinks, such as bottled teas, sports and energy drinks, etc., can also drastically increase your calorie consumption without providing any nutrients. Plain water is the best alternative for these drinks that hydrates your body without providing extra calories. Other beverages that are low in calories and contain healthy antioxidants include green and black teas. Hence this is one of the most unhealthy drinks that should be avoided.
Alcoholic beverages are an absolute waste when it comes to providing nutrition. We are aware of the ill effects of alcohol on our health. The calories found in alcohol are empty calories, which the body cannot use for producing energy. Your liver is forced to break down the alcohol into fatty acids, which get accumulated in the liver. Excessive exposure to alcohol causes the death of liver and brain cells. A glass of wine contains about 165 calories while a can of beer contains a little more than 150 calories. A serving of 1.5 ounce liquor shot of rum, vodka, gin or whiskey contains around 100 calories. So, have these drinks in moderation. Replace them with mineral or soda water with a dash of lemon or lime, hot or iced tea or coffee or diet soft drinks.
Fast foods taste better, but they have no nutritional value. Therefore, they are considered unhealthy, and eating them can harm your health. Mayonnaise, trans-fats, and French fries are some of the unhealthy foods you should avoid. However, there are some healthy substitutes for these foods. A healthy lifestyle is based on mindful eating and regular exercising. Hence, choose your food wisely and eat them in controlled portions to stay fit and healthy.