There are foods we should just not eat. Their ingredient lists are filled with artificial this and chemical that; it’s just become common sense that they should be avoided. But we’ll bet our list has some foods you enjoy. Let’s check it out.
According to the Mayo Clinic1, “margarine usually tops butter when it comes to heart health.” That’s because margarine contains unsaturated or “good fats”. Vegetable oil is usually used. These types of fats help reduce the “bad cholesterol” In contrast, butter is made of animal fats which contains more saturated fat.
“But not all margarines are created equal — some margarines contain trans fat. In general, the more solid the margarine, the more trans fat it contains. So stick margarines usually have more trans fat than tub margarines do. The answer is, read the label and choose the margarine with the higher unsaturated fats, avoid the others.
2. Microwave Popcorn
Oh no, say it isn’t so! Yes, it is so and here’s why. You know how that first whiff of steam that comes billowing out when you open a bag of microwave popcorn? It smells so good you can’t wait to grabs a fist full and start crunching. But, hold on a minute. That glorious smell you’re inhaling into your lungs is actually a chemical called diacetyl. It’s a synthetic butter flavoring. According to Dr. Mehmet Oz2, “People who work in the factories developed a problem called popcorn lung from inhaling the gases with the diacetyl in it. People who make it frequently can develop lung problems.”
Another problem that occurs with microwave popcorn is the PFOA chemical that is used to line the bag. Twenty percent of this chemical found in our bodies comes from microwave popcorn bags. It is known to cause bladder cancer, high cholesterol, and thyroid issues.
Here’s a better way to prepare your popcorn. Place organic corn kernels in a brown paper bag and lay the bag flat into the microwave. You can also opt for using an air popper. Sprinkle any healthy seasoning you want to used on your popcorn and enjoy.
3. Coffee Creamer
Here is a subject we have discussed before so we will simply quote ourselves as it bares repeating. “Trans fats, we have all been warned about trans fats. They have the dubious credit of causing thousands of deaths and heart attacks, according to the CDC3. How many of us must have our morning cup of coffee? Many of us consume several mugs of coffee every day. If you add those yummy coffee creamers to your cup of java, by the time your creamer bottle is empty, you've probably consumed a whole glass full of trans fats. Yuck! But you say that your creamer doesn't list trans fat as an ingredient? Thanks to a FDA loophole, manufacturers do not have to list the trans fat as an ingredient. If a serving size (1 tablespoon) contains less than 0.5 grams, then it is not required to list the trans fat. But we highly suspect that no one stops at using just one tablespoon of creamer in their coffee. So, beware. Try Natural Value or Native Forest coconut milk. You can also make your own creamer.”
4. Energy Drinks
Energy drinks can drastically increase blood pressure4 according to Medical News Today. In addition, the drinks can disturb your heart’s natural rhythm. Energy drinks contain very high levels of taurine and caffeine. Both of these ingredients can greatly increase your blood pressure as well as contribute to cardiovascular disease.
Why is it that all the really great snacks are bad for us? What a cruel trick. What’s bad about a potato? According to the government’s Health Promotion Board, the big problem with eating chips of any kind are the trans-fats. A high diet of trans-fats leads to many health problems no one wants to experience. Trans-fats cause heart disease, Alzheimer's, obesity, and cancer. In the case of eating chips, as they say, “Nobody can eat just one.” The Health Promotion Board tells us, “but if you think the harm only comes later in life, you’re mistaken. People who consumed high levels of trans-fat were found to have weight problems, liver failure, female infertility, and higher risk of depression.” Yikes! Who wants that?
A normal serving size of 15 potato chips, over one third is fat by weight. Nearly one third of that fat is in the form of trans-fat. It’s like for every 15 chips you are eating, 6 of those chips are all fat. We haven’t even touched the subject of sodium and preservatives.
The Pain is Worth the Gain
We know it’s difficult to give up the foods you really enjoy. But being healthy and energetic is a much better way of living your life. Are the “bad foods” worth sacrificing that? I’m sure you’ll find that the answer is “probably not.” On the other hand, maybe this is a really good time to get creative about the foods you love and find alternative ways to enjoy them.
We already made the suggestion of how to enjoy popcorn without all the added chemicals. If you use butter sparingly, it’s certainly better for than loading up on margarine. Replace your coffee creamer by making your own, and find natural energy sources for your mid-afternoon pick me up instead of an energy drink!
The solution to making a switch to a healthy lifestyle is not all about avoiding what’s bad, but instead finding ways to make the bad okay to eat. Because, if there is one tried and true thing to dieting that we know, it’s that deprivation doesn’t get you anywhere.