The line between what food is and isn’t healthy seems to be clear. If you’re trying to lose weight, for instance, you should probably skip that deep fried Twinkie platter at the state fair. And if you want to stay healthy, skip that nasty old butter and stick with margarine.
Despite the best efforts of many food industries to convince you otherwise, there are many, many foods out there that are flat out unhealthy for you. They may be associated with actually healthy foods, or give off the appearance of healthy foods. But rest assured, if you’re a man over 25 trying to lose weight, or just stay nutritious for its own sake, then the following 6 foods should be avoided like the plague. So prepare to purge your pantry, because these are the 6 shockingly unhealthy foods.
#1. Fruit Juice
Nutritionists demonize soda for essentially being liquid candy packaged in a can. These people are correct…until they suggest fruit juice as an alternative. Because fruit juice doesn’t have much more of a higher moral ground on this subject. Unless you know where to look in terms of brands, the majority of store bought fruit juices, including all the mainstream brands, are also essentially liquid candy in a bottle. Sometimes, you won’t even find any actual fruit in there, but chemicals that, when mixed together, taste like fruit.
And even when you drink real, 100% fruit juice, you’re still approaching fruit wrong. Among other things, fruits have fiber, which can only be consumed from solid materials. This means that when you drink fruit juice, even fruit juice that is actual fruit, you’re cutting out an essential nutrient that the fruit gives you otherwise.
#2. “Low-fat” and “Fat-free” Foods
Most people think they’re safe from the dangers of calories and fats when they see “low-fat” or “Fat Free” on the label. In truth they’re playing right into the hands of a century old marketing scheme that has long since been debunked. For the uninitiated, fat does not make you fat, sugar does. But sugar companies took issue with this, as you can imagine, and thus scapegoated saturated fat and shot down any who said otherwise.
This got them a lot more money, since food tends to taste absolutely dreadful when you take out the fat, and thus food companies compensated by adding more sugar. So when you see “low fat” on the label of a food product, what it means is that the company took all the stuff that makes it taste naturally good, and loaded it down with sugar to make up the difference. So these foods are actually making you fatter, and considerably so. Saturated fat is harmless, if you want to lose weight, ditch the sugar.
#3. Commercial Salad Dressing
Vegetables and salads are incredibly healthy…and also pretty bland and disgusting on their own. This is why food companies started making salad dressing, said to be just as healthy, as well as the perfect condiment for your salad. And in many cases, this is true. Salad dressing can be incredibly healthy, as well as a delicious addition. However, many brands of salad dressing, including most of the mainstream supermarket brands, are loaded down with ingredients like sugar, trans fats, and vegetable oil, with a heavy dose of artificial chemicals to complete this equation for how to turn something healthy into something that’s incredibly unhealthy.
This, as you can imagine, negates any good that salad may have done for you. So make sure to research which salad dressing brands are the healthiest before you head to the store. Your salads will be all the more rewarding because of it.
#4. “Heart healthy” Whole Wheat
If you’re intolerant to gluten, you’re best off avoiding any kind of wheat these days, even if it says otherwise. You see, whole wheat bread isn’t really whole wheat. The grains that would otherwise have made it whole wheat have been so thoroughly pounded and pulverized, that the flour that remains is just as likely and just as fast to raise your blood sugar through the roof as their refined brethren are. This is due to a lot of factors, but the essential thing to remember is that whole wheat has long since lost all nutritional value it had, at least when compared to its peers.
#5. Sports Drinks
If you aren’t an athlete, you really have no need for sports drinks. Any nutrients it offers is meant squarely for someone who regularly goes through the physical and mental hurtles that an athlete does. As such, sports drinks are full of electrolytes and sugar. Meaning it’s essentially sugar that’s sometimes barely healthier.
The average man has no need for more electrolytes, meaning that sports drinks are essentially soft drinks with a fancier name attached. And if you’re thinking of just using them when you’re exercising, as they were intended, don’t bother. A nice, cool, bottle of water will do the job better than any sports drink. It’ll keep you hydrated, while not loading you down with unnecessary salts and unhealthy sugars.
#6. Low Carb Junk Food
Low carb diets can be a great way to lose weight and improve your overall health. But if you think low carb junk food should be an essential part of that diet, then you’re unknowingly kneecapping yourself. If you take one of these low carb candy bars, and look at the ingredients section, you’ll find that there actually isn’t any real food in there. It’s all just chemicals and other ingredients that have been so refined that any nutrition they may have offered has been lost.
Now, that’s not to say you should never touch them when on a low carb diet. In healthy amounts, the metabolic adaptation of low carb eating will be unaffected. However, everything should be in moderation, so be sure to only eat them once every two days or so. This way you can have a tasty treat, without undoing all the hard work you’ve been doing.