All About HEALTH > JUNK FOOD : why you must STOP
JUNK FOOD : don't be surprised if you are sick
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Harmful Effects of Junk Food
Fast foods are specially designed to be addictive in nature with high levels of salts, sugars and fats that make you crave them even when you are not hungry.
We've been warned enough about the downside of too much consumption of junk food. There’s no doubt that fast foods and processed foods have increased the burden childhood obesity, heart disease and diabetes and have made these chronic diseases a common lifestyle concern.
In his book, Encyclopedia of Junk Food and Fast Food, Andre F. Smith defines junk food as, "those commercial products, including candy, bakery goods, ice cream, salty snacks, and soft drinks, which have little or no nutritional value but do have plenty of calories, salt, and fats. While not all fast foods are junk foods, most are. Fast foods are ready-to-eat foods served promptly after ordering."
Not only do they add inches to your waistline, but scientists and researchers have also indicated through various studies that junk food can actually cause serious damage to your brain. The worrying bit is that it’s not just years of poor eating, but regular consumption of junk food even for few days can lead to a mental meltdown.
The more junk food you consume, the less likely you are to consume the essential nutrients that your body relies on. You know that junk food can hurt your health, but you may have not known about the effects of junk food on how your brain functions.
JUNK FOOD :
Can cause memory and learning problems
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2011 showed that healthy people who ate junk food for only 5 days performed poorly on cognitive tests that measured attention, speed, and mood. It concluded that eating junk food for just five days regularly can deteriorate your memory. This probably stems from the fact that a poor or toxic diet can cause certain chemical reactions that lead to inflammation in the hippocampus area of the brain which is associated with memory and special recognition.
(There are 19 Ingredients in Your McDonald's French Fries!)
Diets that are high in sugar and fat can suppress the activity of a brain peptide called BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) that helps with learning and memory formation. Moreover, the brain contains synapses which are responsible for learning and memory. Eating too many calories can interfere with the healthy production and functioning of these synapses.
Increases the risk of dementia
This has been one of the scariest discoveries associated with the consumption of junk food. You may know that insulin is produced in the pancreas and helps in the transportation of glucose to fuel the body. Insulin is also produced in the brain where it helps in carrying signals between nerve cells and forming memories. A study conducted at the Brown University shows that too much fatty food and sweets can substantially increase the insulin levels in our body.
Just like in the case of Type 2 Diabetes, with higher levels of insulin, the brain stops responding to this hormone and become resistant to it. This can restrict our ability to think, recall or create memories, thus increasing the risk of dementia. Researcher Suzanne de la Monte, M.D., a professor of pathology, neurology, and neurosurgery at Rhode Island Hospital and the Alpert Medical School of Brown University was the first to uncover this association. Following this discovery, most scientists refer to Alzheimer’s as a form of diabetes of the brain.
(Shocking Secrets About the Junk Food Industry)
Lessens its ability to control appetite
Excess consumption of trans fats found in fried and processed foods can send mixed signals to the brain which makes it difficult to process what you have eaten and how hungry are. This is probably why you end up overeating. Healthy brain functions require a daily dose of essential fatty acids like omega-6 and omega-3. Deficiency of these two elements increases the risk of attention deficit disorder, dementia and bipolar disorder and other brain-related problems.
(The Dark Side of Instant Noodles: What Makes Them Harmful?)
Over consumption of junk food may displace these with trans fats which are harder to digest. A 2011 study shows that trans fats may cause inflammation in hypothalamus, the part of brain that containing neurons to control body weight.
In worst scenarios, the habit of overeating can be similar to drug addiction to an extent that relying on junk foods may activate the pleasure centres of the brain greater than receiving drugs.
(Junk Food May Kill Your Appetite for Healthy Food)
Can cause chemical changes that can lead to depression
A lot of studies have shown that eating foods high in sugar and fat actually changes the chemical activity of the brain making it more dependent on such foods. A study conducted at the University of Montreal on mice showed that they suffered with withdrawal symptoms after their regular junk food diet was discontinued. In humans, these withdrawal symptoms can lead to the inability to deal with stress, make you feel depressed and eventually you would turn back to those foods to comfort yourself and handle these feelings. Soon, you may be caught in a vicious cycle even before you know it. Also, by consuming too much fast food you may lose out on essential nutrients like amino acid tryptophan, the lack of which can increase feelings of depression. An imbalance of fatty acids is another reason why people who consume more junk food are at a higher risk of depression.
(7 Most Addictive Foods That Are Unhealthy)
Makes you impatient and can cause uncontrollable cravings
Eating a sugary cupcake or doughnut may temporarily spike your blood sugar levels making you feel happy and satisfied but as soon as they return to normal you are left feeling all the more irritable.
Fast food is packed with refined carbohydrates which cause your blood sugar levels to fluctuate rapidly. If your sugar levels dip to a very low level, it can cause anxiety, confusion and fatigue. With high content of sugar and fats, you tend to eat too fast and too much to satisfy your cravings. This can inculcate an impatient behaviour while dealing with other things. Fast foods and processed foods may be laden with artificial flavourings and preservatives like sodium benzoate that tends to increase hyperactivity.
Junk food plays a major role in the obesity epidemic. By the year 2050, the rate of obesity in the U.S. is expected to reach 42 percent, according to researchers at Harvard University. Children who eat fast food as a regular part of their diets consume more fat, carbohydrates and processed sugar and less fiber than those who do not eat fast food regularly. Junk food in these children's diets accounts for 187 extra calories per day, leading to 6 additional pounds of weight gain per year. Obesity increases your risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and many other chronic health conditions.
Your insulin levels become elevated when you eat processed sugars, such as those in soft drinks, white flour and other foods devoid of fiber and nutrients necessary to properly metabolize carbohydrates. Eating junk foods throughout the day causes chronically high insulin levels, which eventually prompts your cells to begin to ignore this important hormone, resulting in a condition known as insulin resistance. Ultimately, obesity and Type 2 diabetes may set in. Since the 1980s, Type 2 diabetes, which was minimal in teenagers, has risen to 15 percent.
Junk food may lead to depression in teenagers, according to Andrew F. Smith, author of the book "Fast Food and Junk Food: An Encyclopedia of What We Love to Eat." Hormonal changes at puberty make teens more susceptible to mood and behavioral swings. A healthy diet plays a part in keeping hormone levels on an even keel, while a diet high in junk food falls short of these requirements. Consuming trans fats, saturated fats and processed food is associated with up to 58 percent increase in risk of depression.
Processing that removes vitamins, minerals and fiber makes junk foods into the sources of empty calories that nutritionists disparage. Children who eat a lot of junk foods may develop nutritional deficiencies that lead to low energy, mood swings, sleep disturbance and poor academic achievement, among other health conditions, according to the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension.
High sodium levels are a defining characteristic of many junk foods and one of the contributing factors to the overconsumption of salt that typifies the Western diet and contributes to high blood pressure and heart, liver and kidney diseases, according to Harvard Health Publications. The average American eats five to 10 times more salt than the 2,300 milligrams per day recommended by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Considering the high rates of high blood pressure among Americans, that level should be even lower -- about 1,500 milligrams per day -- for 70 percent of adults. However, the trend since 1988 shows that fewer people with hypertension adhere to a low-sodium diet now than did then.
Author's page : http://food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/there-are-19-ingredients-in-your-mcdonalds-french-fries-736343
There are 19 Ingredients in Your McDonald's French Fries!
Pragati Shukla , NDTV
Updated: February 03, 2015 15:56 IST
After a very poignant, letter-stretched 'whaaaat' and a very audible, six-minute gasp, I've come to realize that those crispy bits of heaven served at McDonanld's contain not three, not four but 19 ingredients! Cue grumble. So what on earth are we eating?
These are the ingredients used to make French fries in McDonalds's, United States :
Vegetable Oil (Canola Oil, Soybean Oil, Corn Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil with TBHQ and Citric Acid added to preserve freshness,
Natural Beef Flavor [Wheat and Milk Derivatives]*,
Citric Acid [Preservative],
Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate (Maintain Color),
Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent.
Contains: Wheat and Milk.
*Natural beef flavor contains hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk as starting ingredients.
McDonald's explains these ingredients on their website as part of their 'Our Food, Your Questions' initiative. Some of these are -
Dextrose is a natural form of sugar that helps give the fries their perfect golden color.
Sodium acid pyrophosphate is added to keep the potatoes from turning gray after freezing and before they are cooked at the restaurant.
Citric acid is added to preserve the freshness of the oil.
Dimethylpolysiloxane is also added to reduce foaming and oil splattering.
TBHQ is an antioxidant that acts as a preservative, allowing the oil to remain fresh from the supplier all the way to the restaurant.
McDonald's uploaded an official video to explain all of these ingredients.
How They Make McDonald's Fries
I reckon a lot of people are going to stick to homemade fries for a bit.
Author's page : https://authoritynutrition.com/15-health-foods-that-are-really-junk-foods/
15 “Health Foods” That Are Really Junk Foods in Disguise
By Kris Gunnars, BSc
Surprisingly, some of these foods are considered healthy by many people.
1. Processed “Low-Fat” and “Fat-Free” Foods
The “war” on saturated fat is the biggest mistake in the history of nutrition.
It was based on weak evidence, which has now been completely debunked .
When this started, processed food manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon and started removing the fat from foods.
But there’s a huge problem… food tastes horrible when the fat has been removed. That’s why they added a whole bunch of sugar to compensate.
Saturated fat is harmless, but added sugar is incredibly harmful when consumed in excess .
The words “low-fat” or “fat-free” on a packaging usually mean that it is a highly processed product that is loaded with sugar.
2. Most Commercial Salad Dressings
Vegetables are incredibly healthy.
The problem is that they often don’t taste very good on their own.
That’s why many people use dressings to add flavour to their salads, turning these bland meals into delicious treats.
But many salad dressings are actually loaded with unhealthy ingredients like sugar, vegetable oils and trans fats, along with a bunch of artificial chemicals.
Although vegetables are good for you, eating them with a dressing high in harmful ingredients will totally negate any health benefit you get from the salad.
Make sure to check the ingredients list before you use a salad dressing… or make your own using healthy ingredients.
3. Fruit Juices… Which Are Basically Just Liquid Sugar
A lot of people believe fruit juices to be healthy.
They must be… because they come from fruit, right?
But a lot of the fruit juice you find in the supermarket isn’t really fruit juice.
Sometimes there isn’t even any actual fruit in there, just chemicals that taste like fruit. What you’re drinking is basically just fruit-flavored sugar water.
That being said, even if you’re drinking 100% quality fruit juice, it is still a bad idea.
Fruit juice is like fruit, except with all the good stuff (like the fiber) taken out… the main thing left of the actual fruit is the sugar.
If you didn’t know, fruit juice actually contains a similar amount of sugar as a sugar-sweetened beverage .
4. “Heart Healthy” Whole Wheat
Most “whole wheat” products aren’t really made from whole wheat.
The grains have been pulverized into very fine flour, making them raise blood sugar just as fast as their refined counterparts.
In fact, whole wheat bread can have a similar glycemic index as white bread .
But even true whole wheat may be a bad idea… because modern wheat is unhealthy compared to the wheat our grandparents ate.
Around the year 1960, scientists tampered with the genes in wheat to increase the yield. Modern wheat is less nutritious and has some properties that make it much worse for people who are intolerant to gluten .
There are also studies showing that modern wheat may cause inflammation and increased cholesterol levels, at least when compared to the older varieties .
Whereas wheat may have been a relatively healthy grain back in the day, the stuff most people are eating today is best avoided.
5. Cholesterol Lowering Phytosterols
There are certain nutrients called phytosterols, which are basically like plant versions of cholesterol.
Some studies have shown that they can lower blood cholesterol in humans.
For this reason, they are often added to processed foods that are then marketed as “cholesterol lowering” and claimed to help prevent heart disease.
However, studies have shown that despite lowering cholesterol levels, phytosterols have adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and may even increase the risk of heart disease and death .
Butter was demonized back in the day, due to the high saturated fat content.
Various health experts started promoting margarine instead.
Back in the day, margarine used to be high in trans fats. These days, it has less trans fats than before but is still loaded with refined vegetable oils.
Margarine is not food… it is an assembly of chemicals and refined oils that have been made to look and taste like food.
Not surprisingly, the Framingham Heart Study showed that people who replace butter with margarine are actually more likely to die from heart disease .
If you want to improve your health, eat real butter (preferably grass-fed) but avoid processed margarine and other fake foods like the plague.
Recommending trans fat laden margarine instead of natural butter may just be the worst nutrition advice in history.
7. Sports Drinks
Sports drinks were designed with athletes in mind.
These drinks contain electrolytes (salts) and sugar, which can be useful for athletes in many cases.
However… most regular people don’t need any additional salts, and they certainly have no need for liquid sugar.
Although often considered “less bad” than sugary soft drinks, there really is no fundamental difference except that the sugar content is sometimes slightly lower.
It is important to stay hydrated, especially around workouts, but most people will be better off sticking to plain water.
8. Low-Carb Junk Foods
Low carb diets have been incredibly popular for many decades now.
In the past 12 years, study after study has confirmed that these diets are an effective way to lose weight and improve health .
However… food manufacturers have caught up on the trend and brought various low-carb “friendly” processed foods to the market.
This includes highly processed junk foods like the Atkins bars. If you take a look at the ingredients list, you see that there is NO real food in there, just chemicals and highly refined ingredients.
These products can be consumed occasionally without compromising the metabolic adaptation that comes with low-carb eating. But they don’t really nourish your body… even though they’re technically low-carb, they’re still unhealthy.
9. Agave Nectar
Given the known harmful effects of sugar, people have been looking for alternatives.
One of the more popular “natural” sweeteners is Agave nectar, also called agave syrup.
You will find this sweetener in all sorts of “health foods,” often with attractive claims on the packaging.
The problem with Agave is that it is no better than sugar. In fact, it is much, much worse…
One of the main problems with sugar is that it has excessive amounts of fructose, which can cause severe metabolic problems when consumed in excess .
Whereas sugar is about 50% fructose and High Fructose Corn Syrup about 55%, Agave contains even more… up to 70-90%.
Therefore, gram for gram, Agave is even worse than regular sugar.
See, “natural” doesn’t always equal healthy… and whether Agave should even be considered natural is debatable.
10. Vegan Junk Foods
Vegan diets are very popular these days, often due to ethical and environmental reasons.
However… many people promote vegan diets for the purpose of improving health (which is questionable).
There are many processed vegan foods on the market, often sold as convenient replacements for non-vegan foods.
Vegan bacon is one example.
But it’s important to keep in mind that these are usually highly processed, factory made products that are bad for just about anyone, including vegans.
11. Brown Rice Syrup
Brown rice syrup (also known as rice malt syrup) is a sweetener that is mistakenly assumed to be healthy.
This sweetener is made by exposing cooked rice to enzymes that break down the starch into simple sugars.
Brown rice syrup contains no refined fructose, just glucose.
The absence of refined fructose is good… but rice syrup has a glycemic index of 98, which means that the glucose in it will spike blood sugar extremely fast .
Rice syrup is also highly refined and contains almost no essential nutrients. In other words, it is “empty” calories.
Some concerns have been raised about arsenic contamination in this syrup, another reason to be extra careful with this sweetener .
There are other better sweeteners out there… including low-calorie sweeteners like stevia, erythritol and xylitol, which actually have some health benefits.
12. Processed Organic Foods
Unfortunately, the word “organic” has become just like any other marketing buzzword.
Food manufacturers have found all sorts of ways to make the same junk, except with ingredients that happen to be organic.
This includes ingredients like organic raw cane sugar, which is basically 100% identical to regular sugar. It’s still just glucose and fructose, with little to no nutrients.
In many cases, the difference between an ingredient and its organic counterpart is next to none.
Processed foods that happen to be labelled organic are not necessarily healthy. Always check the label to see what’s inside.
13. Vegetable Oils
We are often advised to eat seed- and vegetable oils.
This includes soybean oil, canola oil, grapeseed oil and numerous others.
This is based on the fact that these oils have been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels, at least in the short term .
However… it’s important to keep in mind that blood cholesterol is a risk factor, NOT a disease in itself.
Even though vegetable oils can improve a risk factor, there is no guarantee that they will help prevent actual hard end points like heart attacks or death, which is what really counts.
In fact, several controlled trials have shown that despite lowering cholesterol, these oils can increase the risk of death… from both heart disease and cancer .
So eat healthy, natural fats like butter, coconut oil and olive oil, but avoid processed vegetable oils as if your life depended on it (it does).
14. Gluten-Free Junk Foods
According to a 2013 survey, about a third of people in the U.S. are actively trying to avoid gluten.
A lot of experts think this is unnecessary… but the truth is that gluten, especially from modern wheat, can be problematic for a lot of people .
Not surprisingly, the food manufacturers have brought all sorts of gluten-free foods to the market.
The problem with these foods, is that they are usually just as bad as their gluten-containing counterparts, if not worse.
These are highly processed foods that are very low in nutrients and often made with refined starches that lead to very rapid spikes in blood sugar.
So… choose foods that are naturally gluten free, like plants and animals, NOT gluten free processed foods.
Gluten-free junk food is still junk food.
15. Most Processed Breakfast Cereals
The way some breakfast cereals are marketed is a disgrace.
Many of them, including those that are marketed towards children, have all sorts of health claims plastered on the box.
This includes misleading things like “whole grain” or “low fat.”
But… when you actually look at the ingredients list, you see that it’s almost nothing but refined grains, sugar and artificial chemicals.
The truth is, if the packaging of a food says that it is healthy, then it probably isn’t.
The truly healthy foods are those that don’t need any health claims… whole, single ingredient foods.
Real food doesn’t even need an ingredients list, because real food IS the ingredient.
Author's page : https://authoritynutrition.com/20-foods-to-avoid-like-the-plague/
20 Foods That Are Bad For Your Health (Avoid Them!)
By Kris Gunnars, BSc
Here is a list of 20 foods that are generally very unhealthy.
If you want to lose weight and avoid chronic disease, then you shouldn’t eat much of these foods.
In many cases, the best choice is to avoid them completely.
In this article, healthy alternatives are mentioned whenever possible.
1. Sugary Drinks
Added sugar is the single worst ingredient in the modern diet.
However, some sources of sugar are worse than others, and sugary drinks are the absolute worst.
When people drink sugar calories, the brain doesn’t “register” them as food.
For this reason, people don’t automatically compensate by eating less of other foods instead, and end up drastically increasing their total calorie intake .
Sugar, when consumed in large amounts, can drive insulin resistance in the body and is strongly linked to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. It is also associated with various serious diseases, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease .
Sugary drinks are also THE most fattening aspect of the modern diet, and drinking them in large amounts can drive fat gain and obesity .
Alternatives: Drink water, soda water, coffee or tea instead. Adding a slice of lemon to water or soda water can add some taste if you don’t like it plain.
2. Most Pizzas
Pizza is one of the world’s most popular junk foods.
This is not surprising, given that it tastes awesome and is incredibly convenient to eat.
The problem is that most commercially prepared pizzas are made with seriously unhealthy ingredients.
The dough is made from highly refined wheat flour, and the meats on them are usually processed. Pizza is also extremely high in calories.
Alternatives: Some pizza places use healthier ingredients. Homemade pizzas can also be very healthy, as long as you choose wholesome ingredients.
3. White Bread
Bread is generally made from wheat, which contains the protein gluten.
For this reason, all wheat-based breads are a bad idea for people who have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
However, most commercial breads are unhealthy, even for people who do tolerate gluten.
This is because the great majority of them are made from refined wheat, which is low in essential nutrients (empty calories) and leads to rapid spikes in blood sugar (10).
Alternatives: For people who can tolerate gluten, ezekiel bread is an excellent choice. Whole grain bread is also definitely better (or “less bad”) than white bread.
If you have problems with gluten or carbs, then here are 15 recipes for breads that are both gluten-free and low in carbs.
4. Most Fruit Juices
Fruit juice is often assumed to be healthy, but this is a mistake.
Many fruit juices are actually little more than fruit-flavored sugar water.
It is true that the juice contains some antioxidants and vitamin C, but this must be weighed against the large amount of liquid sugar.
In fact, fruit juice contains just as much sugar as a sugary drink like Coke or Pepsi, and sometimes even more .
Alternatives: There are some fruit juices that have been shown to have health benefits despite the sugar content, such as pomegrenate juice and blueberry juice.
However, these should be considered as supplements, not something you drink every day to quench thirst. Drink water instead.
5. Industrial Vegetable Oils
In the last 100 years or so, people have increased their consumption of added fats.
However, this is entirely explained by a drastic increase in the consumption of refined vegetable oils, such as soybean oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil and canola oil.
These oils are very high in omega-6 fatty acids, which humans never consumed in such large amounts before.
There are many serious concerns with these oils. They are highly sensitive to oxidation and cause increased oxidative stress in the body. They have also been linked to increased risk of cancer .
Alternatives: Use healthier fats like coconut oil, butter, extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil instead.
Margarine used to be considered a healthy alternative to butter.
Fortunately, most people have now realized that this is far from being true.
Margarine is a highly processed pseudo-food that has been engineered to look and taste like butter.
It is loaded with artificial ingredients, and is usually made with industrial vegetable oils that have been hydrogenated to make them more solid. This increases their trans fat content significantly.
Keep in mind that manufacturers are allowed to label their products with “no trans fat” as long as it contains less than 0.5 grams per serving, which is still a significant amount.
Alternatives: Use real butter instead, preferably from grass-fed cows.
7. Pastries, Cookies and Cakes
Most pastries, cookies and cakes are extremely unhealthy.
They are generally made with refined sugar, refined wheat flour and added fats, which are often disturbingly unhealthy fats like shortening (high in trans fats).
These tasty treats are literally some of the worst things that you can put into your body. Almost no essential nutrients, but tons of calories and unhealthy ingredients.
8. French Fries and Potato Chips
Whole, white potatoes are very healthy.
However, the same can NOT be said of the products that are made from them, such as french fries and potato chips.
These foods are very high in calories, and it is easy to eat excessive amounts. Several studies link consumption of french fries and potato chips with weight gain (20, 21).
These foods may also contain large amounts of acrylamides, carcinogenic substances that form when potatoes are fried, baked or roasted (22, 23).
Alternatives: Potatoes are best consumed boiled, not fried. If you need something crunchy to replace potato chips, try baby carrots or nuts.
9. Gluten-Free Junk Foods
Gluten-free is all the rage these days.
About a third of people in the US are actively trying to avoid gluten, according to a 2013 survey (24).
The problem with many gluten-free diets, is that people replace the gluten-containing foods with processed junk foods that happen to be gluten-free.
These gluten-free replacement products are often high in sugar, unhealthy oils and refined grains like corn starch or tapioca starch. These refined starches lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar, and are extremely low in essential nutrients.
Alternatives: Choose foods that are naturally gluten-free, like unprocessed plants and animal foods. Gluten-free junk food is still junk food.
10. Agave Nectar
Agave nectar is a sweetener that is often marketed as healthy.
However, agave nectar is not as healthy as some people think. It is a highly refined sweetener that is extremely high in fructose.
High amounts of fructose from added sweeteners (not whole fruit) can be absolutely disastrous for health (25).
The truth is, agave is even higher in fructose than other sugars.
Whereas table sugar contains 50% fructose, and high fructose corn syrup around 55%, agave nectar is 85% fructose (26).
Alternatives: Stevia and erythritol are healthy, natural and calorie free. There is a list of several several healthy and natural sweeteners in this article.
11. Low-Fat Yogurt
Yogurt can be incredibly healthy.
Unfortunately, most yogurts found in the grocery store are extremely bad for you.
They are frequently low in fat, but loaded with sugar to make up for the lack of taste that the fats provided.
Put simply, the yogurt has had the healthy, natural dairy fats removed, only to be replaced with something much, much worse.
Additionally, many yogurts don’t actually contain probiotic bacteria, as generally believed. They have often been pasteurized after fermentation, which kills all the bacteria.
Alternatives: Choose regular, full-fat yogurt that contains live or active cultures (probiotics). If you can get your hands on it, choose yogurt from grass-fed cows.
12. Low-Carb Junk Foods
Low-carb diets are very popular these days, and have been for several decades.
There are plenty of real foods that you can eat on a low-carb diet, most of which are very healthy.
However, this is not true of processed low-carb replacement products, such as low-carb candy bars and meal replacements.
These are generally highly processed foods that contain very little actual nutrition, just a bunch of artificial ingredients mixed together and then sold as food.
Alternatives: If you’re on a low-carb diet, eat foods that are naturally low in carbs. Low-carb junk food is still junk food.
13. Ice Cream
Ice cream is one of the most delicious foods on the planet.
Unfortunately, it is also one of the unhealthiest. Most commercial ice cream is loaded with sugar.
Ice cream is also high in calories, and it is very easy to eat excessive amounts. Eating it for dessert is even worse, because then you’re adding it all on top of your total calorie intake.
Alternatives: It is possible to make your own ice cream using healthier ingredients and significantly less (or no) sugar.
14. Candy Bars
Candy bars are incredibly unhealthy
They are high in sugar, refined wheat flour and processed fats. They are also very low in essential nutrients.
Processed foods like candy bars are generally engineered to be super tasty (so you eat more), and have been designed so that it’s very easy to eat them quickly.
A candy bar may taste good and cause some short-term satiety, but you’ll be hungry again very quickly because of the way these high-sugar treats are metabolized.
Alternatives: Eat a piece of fruit instead, or a piece of real high-cocoa dark chocolate.
15. Processed Meat
Even though unprocessed meat can be healthy and nutritious, the same is NOT true for processed meats.
Studies show that people who eat processed meats have a higher risk of many serious diseases, including colon cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease (27, 28).
Most of these studies are observational in nature, so they can not prove that the processed meat caused the diseases.
However, the statistical link is strong and consistent among studies, so I do believe there is something to it.
Alternatives: If you want to eat bacon, sausages, pepperoni and other “processed” meats, then choose wisely and try to buy them locally from sellers who don’t add a lot of unhealthy ingredients. Quality counts.
16. Processed Cheese
Regular cheese is healthy.
It is loaded with nutrients, and a single slice of cheese contains all the same nutrients as an entire glass of milk.
However, processed cheese products are nothing like regular cheese. They are mostly made with filler ingredients that are combined and engineered to have a similar look and texture as cheese.
Cheese is healthy, but processed cheese is not. Read labels, and make sure that the cheese you’re eating is actually cheese.
Alternatives: Eat real cheese instead.
17. Most Fast Food Meals
Generally speaking, “fast food” chains serve only junk foods.
The majority of the food they offer is mass-produced, highly engineered junk food with very little nutritional value.
These places are often very cheap, but keep in mind that junk food costs you twice.
For every penny you save there, chances are that it’s going to cost you many times more in the future. Poor health is expensive.
Alternatives: Fortunately, all sorts of healthy fast food places have started to appear. Chipotle is one great example.
18. High-Calorie “Coffee” Drinks
Coffee has been unfairly demonized.
It is actually very healthy, and loaded with antioxidants.
Studies also show that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of serious diseases, like type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s .
Unfortunately, stuff is sometimes added to coffee that turns this wonderful beverage into harmful sludge.
If your “coffee” has a ton of artificial creamer and sugar, then it is NOT good for you.
It is loaded with liquid, empty calories, and will be just as unhealthy as any other sugar-sweetened beverage.
Alternatives: Drink plain coffee instead. Black is best, but small amounts of heavy cream or full-fat milk are fine as well.
19. Anything That is High in Sugar, Refined Grains and Vegetable Oils
One of the most important things you can do to eat healthier, is to read labels.
It is important to avoid (or at least minimize) foods that contain:
Added sugar (and high fructose corn syrup).
Refined grains like white flour.
Industrial vegetable oils.
Artificial trans fats.
These are some of the unhealthiest (and most common) ingredients in the modern diet.
The importance of reading labels can not be overstated, and this applies to all foods, even so-called health foods.
20. Most Highly Processed Foods
By far the simplest way to eat healthy and lose weight, is to avoid processed foods as much as possible.
Put simply, if it looks like it was made in a factory, then it’s probably bad for you.
A good rule to remember, is that real food doesn’t need an ingredients list, because real food IS the ingredient.
Author's page : http://www.rd.com/health/healthy-eating/8-ways-to-train-your-brain-to-hate-junk-food/
8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Hate Junk Food
If unhealthy, processed food, is sabotaging your weight loss efforts, outsmart junk food cravings with these clever tricks.
By Liz Vaccariello
Why do we crave unhealthy food?
As explained in the recent New York Times Magazine piece, "The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food," there's no denying that junk food cravings are powerful, physiological reactions—and, apparently, carefully and strategically developed by food manufacturers.
Many of our favorite supermarket snacks are made with the “perfect” amounts of added sugar, salt, fat, and other chemicals designed to make us want more. But you can steer clear of processed food by eating as many healthy, whole foods as possible, and the less junk food you eat, the less you want. Try the following tips and see if they work for you.
Practice the five-ingredient rule
If there are more than five ingredients on a food label—a red flag for food processing—don’t buy it. (Or if you do, consider it a treat instead of an everyday purchase). This is an easy way to avoid impulse buys like flavor-blasted chips or pre-made cookies when food shopping.
Aim for three colors
A 2012 Cornell study found that people prefer three food items and three different colors on their plates, compared with more or less of either category. So (instead of reaching for a candy bar), snack on nuts (loaded with healthy fats), fruit slices, and a small square of dark chocolate to get a healthy variety of colors, textures, and nutrients.
Break your routine
It only takes a few weeks to form a habit. So if you always associate 3 p.m. with a trip to the vending machine, start a tradition to walk around the block for five minutes instead. This may kick your craving altogether.
Make healthy food your treat
One of the best, easiest desserts? Stash red grapes in the freezer, and cap off dinner with something sweet without kick-starting sugar cravings.
Keep the healthy stuff handy
Store healthy foods you want to eat more front and center in your fridge and out on your countertops. Snack foods are so easy to dig into—you just rip open a bag. If you had, say, red peppers all sliced and ready to go, they’re all the more tempting to dip into hummus.
Know your trigger foods
Whether you've got a sweet tooth for chocolate and red velvet anything or love salty treats like pretzels, know the foods that send you down the spiral of junk food binging. You've already accomplished half of the battle by identifying them. Keep them out of the house.
Gross yourself out
One surefire way to consume less processed food is to learn more about what you’re really eating. Here are a few that make us cringe: those frozen "grilled chicken" breasts get their marks from a machine infused with vegetable oil. The preservative BHA is added to processed food like Tang, Kool Aid, and breakfast sausage even though Health and Human Services consider it a likely carcinogen. The vitamin D3 added to many yogurt brands is manufactured from sheeps's grease. And the “natural flavor” in BBQ
Baked Lays (PepsiCola company) is made with milk and chicken powder. Yuck!
Chew more than you need
Adam Melonas, renowned chef and founder of UNREAL candy (along with Nicky Bronner, a 15-year-old determined to "unjunk candy") shared this smart tip:
"If you can make people chew more, they'll eat less."
Next time you sneak in a treat, chew slowly and consciously. Wait until you finish one bite to take the next.
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