#1- Sports/Energy Drinks
These drinks are bold to say they “hydrate better than water”. Truth is, they do not. They are formulated for athletes who do very intensive workouts for a long period, to replenish mineral ions and vitamins. So if you’re just training regularly, water is the best option as you would want to avoid artificial flavours and sugars.
A glance at the nutrition facts also reveals a lot of sugar along with their electrolytes, and a lot of calories too.
#2- Veggie Chips/Fruit Chips
The pieces of actual veggies/fruits in those chips are so thin and processed that most of the nutrition from the produce is gone. As a guideline, the less complicated a food is, the healthier it is.
#3- Fruit Juices
While fruit juices have some vitamins, it has too many calories and sugar. One 8 ounce of grape juice, for example, has about 170 calories, 42 grams of carbs, and 40 grams of sugar. (That’s more calories and sugar than a 12-ounce can of Coke.) You can’t build lean muscle with that many empty calories and sugars.
Even the “all-natural” ones may contain high-fructose corn syrup and additives.
#4- Nutrition Bars
This high-calorie bar is convenient for people on the go. But some are packed with unhealthy ingredients like white chocolate, artificial sugars and sugar coated dried fruits. It might as well be a candy bar. If you’re going to eat them, choose one that’s low in added sugar and made mostly of nuts, seeds, fruits, and whole grains. Better yet, make your own. Here’s a simple recipe.
Many protein bars are candy bars in disguise. They’re filled with sugar and high-fructose corn syrup and include trans fats and artificial sweeteners. While the protein content is commendable, there’s just too much extra.
#5- Low Fat/Fat Free Options
This also spawns from the “fat will make you fat” myth. Fat doesn’t make you fat, a bad diet and a lack of exercise do.
Fats support everything from brain and metabolic function to quicker fat loss. If you avoid fats, you’ll struggle to get the right ratio of macronutrients (carbs vs. proteins vs. fats) because more calories will have to come from carbs; that will skew your macronutrient ratio and cause more fat gain.
Low- and no-fat foods typically replace the fat with other stuff, like salt, sugar, or thickeners, which can add calories. Meanwhile full-fat products come the most naturally. And the same rule from No.2 applies; “the less complicated a food is, the healthier it is.”
Margarine was invented to be a healthier alternative to butter, due to its lower saturated fat content. But boy were we wrong! It is made of trans fat, the number 1 culprit for causing heart attacks. Though, most have eliminated it, it’s important to note that most contain industrial, highly processed fats that would never be found in nature.
#7- Atlantic Salmon
This type of salmon is falsely promoted to make you think they are wild caught. Most of Atlantic Salmon are in fact, farm-raised, as it is not allowed to fish for Atlantic salmon in the Atlantic Ocean.
Farm raised salmon contains cancer causing dioxins 11 times more than wild salmon. The flesh of wild sockeye salmon is bright red, courtesy of its natural astaxanthin content. It’s also very lean, so the fat marks, those white stripes you see in the meat, are very thin. If the fish is pale pink with wide fat marks, the salmon is farmed.
You can also bet on Alaskan Salmon, as they are not allowed to be farmed, so you will only find wild versions of them.
#8- Vegetable Oils
Vegetable oils like canola, corn, grape seed, etc. come from chemicals: producers blast the seeds at high heat and dump solvents to extract the oil. In later stages, they inject other chemicals to improve color and odor. This elaborate process transforms the vegetable oil into an unstable fat called polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA).
Your body doesn’t digest PUFAs well because your cells consist mostly of saturated and monounsaturated fats. Also, vegetable oils also have a high ratio of Omega-6 PUFA to Omega-3, which create inflammation within the body and can increase risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
#9- Well Done Meat
Cooking them at very high temperatures produces molecules called heterocyclic amines (HCAs). These are carcinogenic, toxic compounds also found in cigarette smoke. Well-done meat contains 3.5 times more HCA than medium-rare meat.
#10- Coffee Drinks
Black coffee has proven to have many health benefits including protection against liver cirrhosis and helping people live longer after liver transplants. But all those are trumped when whipped cream, syrup and sugar are added to it. Yes, we are talking about your favourite Starbucks! The less complicated it is to make, the healthier it is.