Though we lead busy lives it is important to remember to eat healthily. Sometimes it is more convenient to grab processed foods off the shelf without thinking of the nutritional value. These foods are always on-hand, which is why they make so much money for manufacturers. They have saved us time and energy in the past, but at what cost?
The products on this list may be staples of our daily diet, but if we overindulge, they can lead to health problems down the road. Some of these items are clearly harmful, but because they’re profitable, they stay on store shelves. Others may not be as obvious, but can still have negative effects if we eat too much of them.
1. Diet Coke
Diet Coke tries to market itself as a healthier alternative to regular Coca-Cola. However, even though it is sugar-free and has no calories, it may not be as healthy as people think. According to the Mayo Clinic, people who drink more than one can of Diet Coke a day could be at risk for some serious health problems.
Healthline reports that Diet Coke may not be as “diet” as once thought. Artificial sweeteners in the drink have been linked to chronic kidney disease, tooth decay, and increased risk of osteoporosis, depression, and heart disease. More studies are needed to confirm these findings, but it may be wise to cut back on Diet Coke or avoid it altogether.
2. Hot Dogs
Hot dogs are not just full of mystery meat – they also contain other ingredients that can be harmful if consumed in excess, like maltodextrin. This substance can damage the intestines and stomach, so be careful how many hot dogs you eat!
Hot dogs are loaded with sodium- in fact, just one serving contains 33% of the recommended daily intake. And if that’s not enough to turn you off, most hot dogs also list “poultry meat” among their ingredients. This ambiguous term makes it hard to know exactly what kind of meat is in your hot dog. Considering all this, it’s surprising that hot dogs are still so popular.
3. Breakfast Sandwiches
Breakfast sandwiches from fast-food restaurants like McDonald’s, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Tim Horton’s can be tempting and delicious, eating one every day could be doing your body a real disservice.
Although it’s not a problem to have breakfast sandwiches every once in a while, they are high in cholesterol. According to The Nutrition Twins, eating a fast-food breakfast sandwich three times a week can make you gain eight pounds a year. This is because of the three-hundred extra calories from the sandwich that you wouldn’t otherwise get if you stuck to eating at home. It’s definitely something to think about the next time you’re considering a McDonald’s McMuffin.
4. American Cheese Slices
Imitation cheese is often packaged in a way that is misleading. These products are made with vegetable oils, trans fats, flavorings, and preservatives instead of milk fat, which is what normal cheese is made with.
All of these ingredients make imitation cheeses much less healthy than real cheeses. You can identify imitation cheeses among other things, because they are considerably less expensive than real cheese. There are multiple brands out there that sell similar products, from Kraft to Whitehall.
5. Commercial Salad Dressings
Vegetables are nutritious, but some of them don’t have the best flavor. You can make a salad with all the fixings, but it might be a little bland without dressing. And that’s okay, but you might want to avoid store-bought salad dressings.
The unhealthy ingredients in many store-bought salad dressings (vegetable oils, sugar, trans fats, artificial chemicals) negate the benefits of eating a salad. Instead, try making your own dressing from olive oil, vinegar, and a dash of salt and pepper. Next time you’re shopping at Costco, take a closer look at the labels on the salad dressings to make sure you’re not inadvertently sabotaging your healthy eating efforts.
6. Gummy Bears
A bag of Gummy Bears might not seem like it contains a lot of sugar, but it actually has the equivalent of 12 teaspoons. That’s between two and three times the recommended daily intake for a child.
Though gummy bears are often associated with a sugar high, it’s important to remember that they also contain artificial ingredients like petroleum-based dyes. These dyes have been linked to problems like attention deficit or hyperactivity, meaning that a pack of gummy bears from Walmart might cost you a lot more than just a couple of bucks.
7. Instant Ramen
Maruchan Soup is a very popular meal for its affordable price, at just thirteen cents a packet. It’s also super-easy to prepare. However, due to its low fiber content, a serving of this soup is hardly going to satisfy you.
If you consume Maruchan Soup frequently, you may be at risk for high blood pressure and high cholesterol, among other problems, because each container is very high in sodium: it provides half the recommended daily value.
Pancakes are a delicious breakfast treat enjoyed by kids and adults alike. However, they’re not exactly healthy. Pancakes tend to be high in salt and preservatives, which you should avoid if you’re trying to eat a balanced diet.
What’s more, they typically contain trans fats, which raise the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Some of them also have partially hydrogenated soybean oil, which isn’t one of the healthiest fats out there. But, let’s face it, did any of us really think eating at iHop every day was good for our health?
9. Hot Sauce
There’s no denying that hot sauce is one of the most popular condiments out there. Its versatile flavor means it can be used in a myriad of dishes, from simple snacks to more elaborate meals. There isn’t a single meal that can’t be made more exciting with the addition of hot sauce.
Although the appeal of hot sauce is its spiciness, it can also damage our stomach lining and cause gastritis. The most sensible thing to do is to consume this product in moderation and take into account the negative effects it can have on our health.
No doubt, coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world. People love to drink it, and many can’t imagine starting their morning without a hot (or iced) cup. However, while coffee can give you the energy to start the day, too much of it can also damage your health.
Coffee addiction is a real problem – just ask any of the millions of people who line up at Starbucks every day. This addiction can cause serious problems like sleep disorders and headaches, and can even worsen anxiety and lead to cardiovascular issues in the long term. But coffee is so addictive that even knowing all of this, people can’t help but keep coming back for more.
You’ve probably heard that meat is part of a healthy, balanced diet. However, overindulging in meat can also be a health risk. A lot of meat on the market today contains pesticides that the animals consume, which can remain in their bodies and be harmful to us.
Although most red meats contain hormones and antibiotics that are given to the animals to accelerate their growth, this does not stop companies like Tyson Foods from making billions. The factory farming process often uses hormones like testosterone, estradiol, and progesterone on its cattle, which then trickles down to humans, causing problems. Fish, however, are not any better, as they can contain heavy metals such as mercury.
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