As human beings, we all need to eat to survive.The foods we eat give us nutrients, mineral, and energy our body needs.
But there are some foods you should never eat or eat as per dietary guidelines.
According to the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, a typical American diet exceeds major unhealthy elements like sodium, solid fats, and added sugar.(1)
And the consequences of these unhealthy diet elements shockingly impact our health.
How many grams of sodium per day you should be taking.
The World Health Organization(WHO) suggests sodium intake not to be more than 2g/day for adults.
The American Heart Association recommends it to be 1.5 g or less for an ideal body health.This is easily achievable by consuming more green vegetables, fruits, and restricting consumption of processed meat, cheese, bread, and salt.(4)
Image Source: American Heart Association
Does it mean restricting sodium consumption completely help even better? Definitely "NO'.
Sodium is often referred as a nutrient villain. But, it also provides key benefits to a healthy and fit body like regulating blood pressure and blood volume.
If a high intake is responsible for bad health, consuming it lower than recommended values is not suggested.
Even the latest study by the McMaster University contradicts the popular belief of low sodium diet and reduced risks of CVD.
The study suggests that a low sodium diet is equally unhealthy like a high sodium diet and increases risks of CVD.(5)
What are solid fats?
Solid fats exist in the solid state at room temperature and have a high concentration of saturated and trans fats.
The main source of solid fats is animal foods. Hydrogenation of vegetable oils is also a source of solid fats.
Some of the easily available solid fats include coconut oil, palm oil, butter, cream and beef fat.
How much of these fats should you be eating?
Restricting consumption of these fats is essential for body health. The American Heart Association recommends consuming 11 to 13 grams of saturated fat for a 2000 calories diet.(8)
You can easily replace unhealthy fats WITH healthy fats if you track and control what you eat.
What is added or refined sugar?
This sugar is not natural but refined and added to your meal or beverage during preparation.
Added sugar is not good for heart health and should be avoided. You can quit it or reduce its consumption by avoiding drinking more fruit juices and beverages loaded with added sugar.
How many grams of sugar in a day you should be eating?
The latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends not more than 10% of your daily calories should come from added sugar.(9)
It means if you eat a 2000 calories diet, then not more than 200 calories should come from sugar.
However, NHS recommends only 5% of total calories should come from added sugars. It is beneficial to consume as less as possible.(10)
What makes a good diet?
A healthy or balanced diet has unsaturated fats, protein, carbohydrates, natural sugar, and salt. All in a healthy amount. Anything more or less is not good for your health.
And, to get all these things in a healthy amount, eat fruits and vegetables, whole grains not refined grains, and avoid sugary beverages.
Here are 6 foods that we all eat daily but they are not supposed to be good for health.
1. Fruit Juice
Fruits are good for a healthy diet because they have essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that we need.
What about fruit juices?
Dietary fiber also helps reduce chances of developing diabetes and some types of cancer.
But, it is best to drink the fruit juices with moderation without added sugar.
2. Baked Potato Chips
While they are lower in fat but they are rich in calories and also they lack the ability to make you feel full.
So you always overeat them which makes you gain weight because of high calories.
3. Rice Cakes
They have a high glycemic index and nothing good to add to your diet.
They are over processed to the point any benefit of the rice is lost. They end up being like the baked chips you over eat on them; with both, you need to trade them out of foods.
4. Veggie Straws
They are advertised as being healthy because they are made from vegetables. The thing is the processing takes any real nutrients out.
You are better off just eating real vegetables dipped in hummus.
5. Granola Bars
While true granola is good for you the granola bars are not.The bars are high in sugar and sodium and low in fiber.
They end up being as bad as a candy bar.
You can go a step further and change granola bars with chocolate, just have a real dark chocolate bar.
Granola bars may cause a blood sugar spike, make you obese and will turn you unhealthy and unfit if you keep on digesting them in excess for a long time.
6. Agave Nectar
Marketed to be healthier than high fructose corn syrup; the problem is it is actually much worse.
While the fructose in fruits is fine for your health but eating things like agave and cane sugar will kill your metabolic health.This means your metabolism drops and has a harder chance of recovering.
Another problem is that high levels bring up your insulin resistance which put you at a high risk for type two diabetes.