You already know you should limit how much junk food you eat on a regular basis in order to be healthy. Everyone deserves the occasional indulgence, but before you dig in there are a handful of foods you should steer clear of to avoid damaging effects on your body, skin, and waistline.
In small doses (think: one teaspoon per serving), sugar is totally fine. But it gets a little dicey when you have too many artificial sweeteners. Here’s the deal: Sweeteners are way, um, sweeter than sugar, and they can reset your taste buds to crave sugary foods. As a result, you end up eating more junk. Plus, people who limit their artificial sweetener use find that they have more energy and don’t have as many cravings.
Most of us think it’s a healthy alternative to butter, but margarine has loads of trans fats, which increase your cholesterol. And it contains a lot of ingredients versus butter’s one or two. The calorie count is also similar to butter, but we tend to eat more of it because we think it’s healthier. Your best bet: Stick with small does of butter or use heart-healthy olive oil.
Unfortunately, “diet” or “low-fat” doesn’t mean low-calorie. Diet bars and low-fat foods like yogurts usually have more sugar, salt, and unhealthy fillers to make them taste okay. Even worse, we typically eat double the serving we should because we’re not satisfied or think that it’s okay to eat more because it’s “healthy.”
That store-bought frosting from a tub might taste great on cakes and cookies, but it’s packed with problems. It’s one of the only items in the grocery store that still has trans fats, which are terrible for your health and waistlinet. Trans fat raises bad cholesterol, lowers good cholesterol, and causes inflammation, which can lead to belly fat and diseases ranging from heart disease to diabetes. On top of that, tub frosting is loaded with sugar, and high-sugar diets contribute to premature wrinkles. Yikes.
If you’re prone to skin problems and tempted to grab a bagel before you go in the morning, think twice. Bagels have a massively high glycemic index, which increases insulin and leads to increased inflammation in the body, which is shown to possibly accelerate aging and worsen acne and rosacea (google it).
Processed Baked Goods
So convenient, so tasty (if we’re being honest here), but so not worth it. Those pre-packaged mini muffins, doughnuts, and dessert cakes will add tons of calories and loads of unwanted sugar to your diet, plus they aren’t easy to digest. These foods are bad on so many levels, because they are filled with high sugar content and preservatives for a longer shelf-life – they can literally sit there foreveri. Sugar increases inflammation in the skin, which on top of irritating acne, can make you look puffy and bloated. Skip the wrapped stuff and grab fresh fruit for a sweet fix instead.
Dietitians and doctors all agree: Soda should be removed from your diet completely. One can of soda is like a can of water with 10 packets of sugar in it. The recommended amount of daily sugar is about six teaspoons or 24 grams, and soda has way more than that. Good old fashion H2O is still your best option. If you want to jazz it up, add a slice of fresh fruit for flavor.
A bowl of Frosted Flakes or Fruit Loops might taste like nostalgia, but it’ll wreak some havoc with its high amount of inflammation-causing sugar and gluten content. For some people with sensitive skin, gluten can exacerbate breakouts, leading to increased redness and, yes, more breakouts. Opt for low-sugar, gluten-free options.
Jarred Tomato Sauce
It’s easy to forget sources of sugar when you’re making recipes that aren’t traditionally considered sweet, but they do exist. Tomato sauce is a big culprit. Make your own, because the store stuff has a ton of sugar.
Soy sauce is low in calories and has some good vitamins and minerals like riboflavin and vitamin B-6, but the extremely high sodium content will leave you bloated and at risk for conditions like hypertension. There are so many low-sodium, lighter soy sauce options, there’s no reason to buy the regular stuff anymore. We still recommends using the light stuff sparingly. A tablespoon of the low-sodium soy sauce is about 600 milligrams of sodium instead of 900, so it is less but not by much.