WHILE it is often said that there are no individual “good” and “bad” foods, rather dietary patterns that predict health and weight outcomes, there are some foods so lacking in positive nutritional attributes that they are best avoided entirely.
Here are a few of the worst foods for you nutritionally and foods your health will not miss if you choose to never eat again.
No surprises here. Not only are soft drinks one of the most concentrated sources of added sugars in the diet with a 600ml bottle giving you 13 teaspoons of the white stuff but they are highly acidic which means a nightmare for dental health. And just in case you thought the diet option was a safe bet, while diet soft drinks contain no sugar, rather a range of sweeteners, there is more evidence building to link the consumption of diet soft drink to increased blood glucose levels, greater appetite and cravings for sweet foods and overweight and obesity. So stick to water when it comes to hydration and skip soft drinks completely.
While brown rice is a wholegrain and offers a number of key nutrients, processed white rice used to make rice crackers and snacks concentrates the starches resulting in highly refined snacks that send blood glucose levels soaring. If you consider that just 10 rice crackers, or a single row in a packet contains more carbohydrate than two small slices of wholegrain bread, it is easy to see how easy it can be to overconsume these carbohydrate rich snacks. The other thing not frequently considered is that a number of processed rice snacks, including those marketed to children contain added MSG, used to flavour a number of BBQ, chicken and pizza flavoured snacks. The less of these added flavours in the diet the better as evidence suggests that strong flavours programs the palate to seek out other rich flavours in the diet.
Now we are not talking about extra virgin olive oil in this case, rather blended oils simply listed as vegetable oil on food labels. Not only do vegetable oils offer little nutritionally compared to extra virgin olive oil or nut oils but often the primary oil in the blend is palm oil, an oil primarily made up of saturated fat, the type of fat known to increase heart disease risk factors. Palm oil plantations are also causing much environmental damage. Vegetable oils are often listed among the first ingredients on margarines and other spreads including chocolate nut spreads and offer nothing positive nutritionally to the diet.
Frozen baked goods
The most popular foods in the frozen section of the supermarket — meat pies, doughnuts, cakes, sausage rolls, Danishes, apple pies and other desserts are not only baked full of saturated fats but often trans fats as well. Trans fats are particularly damaging to the body and are formed in foods when vegetable oils are heated to extremely high temperatures which is the case with commercial baked goods as the ovens used to make these products can be heated to exceptionally high temperatures, much higher than could ever be reached when we bake at home. So if you enjoy baked pies and cakes, homemade is a much better option and the less pastry we eat, the better it is in an attempt to keep our intake of nasty trans fats minimal.
Packaged noodles and pasta
If you check out the list of ingredients on a packet of 2 minute noodles, or boxed pasta and sauce you will get the drift. Not only are pre-packaged noodle and pasta dishes packed full of preservatives, flavours and additives but nutritionally they tend to be a high carb, high salt meal options. The average bowl of noodles can contain more salt than is recommended to eat in an entire day, while the pasta and sauce combos are often high in fat, salt and flavours. MSG is often added as are thickeners, preservatives, flavours and colours to help the food resemble what it is supposed to look like when reconstituted. Do yourself a favour and eat your noodles or pasta fresh, the way they are supposed to be enjoyed.