Busy lives often prevent the average American from eating food that is genuinely nutritious. And yet we all know that eating the right diet is the number one determinant of a healthy life free from disease. A poor diet contributes to weight gain, decreased energy, mood swings, inadequate sleep patterns and… chronic illness -heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, to name a few. In order to protect your family’s health, we’ve provided the top 10 worst foods you should try your best to avoid.
It’s no surprise that the rates of obesity in America have steadily increased over the past 30 years – the same time period that has witnessed an explosion in the number of convenience stores, fast food restaurants, and vending machines. Consider these facts:
- 41% of American adults (over 30) and 59% of young adults (ages 18-29) eat at a fast food restaurant at least once per week.
- On any given day, as many as one-third of children ages 4 to 19 consume a fast food meal.
- Half of the U.S. population over the age of 2 consumes at least one soda daily.
- The average American eats 24.3 pounds of candy and 29 pounds of French fries every year.
It may be hard to swallow, but being careful about what you eat—and what you don’t eat—significantly impacts every part of your well-being: the way you look, the way you feel and even the way you act and think. The bottom line is that garbage in equals garbage out! If you want to feel better, have more energy and focus, and experience increased vitality, you first have to take out the trash. That is, you need to remove the toxic “garbage” foods from your family’s daily diet. That’s why we’ve created this list of the top 10 foods your family should avoid:
Worst Food #1 – Sodas
The United States, though it has only 5% of the world’s population, consumes nearly 33% of the world’s soda making it the world’s largest soda consumer. The average American drinks approximately 56 gallons of soft drinks every year. That’s 56 gallons of toxic chemicals guzzled every single year! Sadly, this statistic includes American children. Consider this: for every can of soda a child slurps, the risk that the child will become obese increases 1.6 times. And, weight gain is not the only thing you get from that fizzy drink. Soda consumption is linked to tooth decay, diabetes, acid reflux, and heart disease. Moreover, the pH of most soda pop is 2.8 – very acidic – because of the active ingredient phosphoric acid. Phosphoric acid causes calcium to leak from bones, thereby increasing the risk of osteoporosis. And since one single can of soda is loaded with a whopping 10 teaspoons of sugar (mainly in the form of high fructose corn syrup), drinking it can also put you at risk for developing a serious chronic illness such as diabetes.
Foods with Trans fats:
Trans fats are made by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil through a process called hydrogenation, which makes the oil less likely to spoil. Because adding trans fats helps foods stay “fresh” longer, they are commonly found in many fast foods, processed foods, packaged foods, donuts, cakes, and spreads. They can be identified in a list of ingredients as “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oil. Eating trans fats contributes to high cholesterol, clogged arteries (atherosclerosis), obesity, diabetes and even development of dementia. Therefore, try to limit consumption of the following foods that contain trans fats:
Worst Food #2 – Margarine
Worst Food #3 – Packaged desserts/cake mixes
Worst Food #4 – Fried fast foods such as French fries, chicken nuggets, etc.
Worst Food #5 – Frozen sweets such as waffles and pies
Food with High Fructose Corn Syrup:
High fructose corn syrup, or HFCS, has become one of the most common sweeteners to replace sucrose, or table sugar. HFCS is ubiquitous! It can be found in almost everything – soft drinks, baked goods, jellies, condiments, artificial sweeteners, frozen foods, and even medicine such as cough syrup. But despite its abundance in the grocery store, consuming this sweet little syrup is associated with a variety of health risks: weight gain, diabetes, liver disease, metabolic syndrome, neurotoxicity (poisonous to nerve tissues) and cancer. HFCS is particularly associated with increased body fat. Dr. Mark Hyman explains: “HFCS is absorbed more rapidly than regular sugar, and it doesn’t stimulate insulin or leptin production. This prevents you from triggering the body’s signals for being full and may lead to overconsumption of total calories.” Be sure to check the ingredients on food labels. If you see high fructose corn syrup on the label, don’t buy it. Instead, choose a different brand or skip the food item altogether. Specifically, the following foods commonly contain HFCS:
Worst Food #6 – Candies and candy bars
Worst Food #7 – Breakfast cereals
Worst Food #8 – Chips
Worst Food #9 – Baked goods such as muffins, rolls, and white or whole wheat breads
Worst Food #10 – Energy bars and drinks
Out with the Old and In with the New!
The way to avoid eating these 10 harmful foods is to learn to enjoy (even love) eating healthy foods. And it can happen more easily than you might suspect – the more you eat lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and regular servings of fish (omega-3 fatty acids), the more you will grow to love their taste as well as the way you look and feel after you eat them. It’s a process that reinforces itself the more you do it. If you’re not sure where to start, download our FREE report, Natural Health 101: Living a Healthy Lifestyle.
How Can My Family Eat Healthy with Our Busy Schedule?
Let’s face it… Sometimes, it’s just easier to drive through a fast food line than to prepare a home-cooked meal. With football games, band practices and other hobbies, the modern American family simply does not have the time to scramble together a nutritious entrée. With that in mind, here are a few simple suggestions to help you transition to healthful eating:
- If you must grab a quick meal on the go, order a salad, grilled chicken wrap or fruit cup.
- Instead of selecting fries as a side dish at a restaurant, choose vegetables, fruit or coleslaw.
- Have a variety of healthy snacks available at home instead of processed foods – take these snacks with you to sporting events, music rehearsals, etc. instead of buying items from vending machines.
- If you’re still having trouble transitioning to healthful eating, talk to an integrative medicine physician or a nutritionist who can provide you with creative recipes that your entire family will enjoy.
 Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults. (2010). Coronary artery risk development in young adults.
 Pew Research Center.