Although there are hundreds of thousands of edible plants on our planet, most people tend to consume less than ten “foods” in different combinations for almost all meals. While most of these foods may be fine in moderation, some are best avoided altogether because of their adverse effects on our bodies, including the 7 foods to avoid herein. This is necessary just because of immediate health concerns, and some foods encourage cravings that can potentially lead to bad habits.
Man has been eating food for thousands of years, but it still is a topic that creates a lot of fuss. Naturally, people eat to get rid of hunger and fuel their bodies. However, the truth is that food does more than that. Nowadays, people are becoming more and more aware that food plays many crucial functions: keeping diseases at bay, helping the body remain fit, and even elongating life.
7 Foods To Avoid To Lose Weight
Eating healthy may seem like an easy thing to accomplish until you embark on the mission and find yourself struggling with questions such as what are the 7 foods to avoid in the virgin diet, what are the 7 foods to avoid on an elimination diet, or even what vegetable is bad for you (15)?
When it comes to diet, moderation is the key because almost all types of foods are not good when excessively consumed. However, some have harmful side effects even when eaten in moderation. These are the ones that ought to be avoided completely.
Here are the 7 foods to avoid:
Alcohol is a major killer, and sadly, many people do not count it as food; hence they do not factor it when looking into things not to include in their diet. It should be among the 7 foods to avoid at all costs. For starters, alcohol destroys brain cells in the long run, so why take it in the first place?
Alcohol may be far more dangerous to the body than most people think, and this is because once brain cells are destroyed, they never grow back. Although we have lots of brain cells, the more alcohol one consumes, the more brain cells are damaged (14).
The other disadvantage of alcohol is that it massively dehydrates the body; no wonder people urinate a lot even after drinking just one bottle of beer. The fact that the body flushes out the alcohol so quickly should indicate that it is unwanted. Furthermore, in the process, you also lose vital fluid and nutrients contained in the urine. By doing so, cells will shrivel up, leading to more permanent damage if not rehydrated.
Even worse, alcohol causes liver and pancreas malfunction and puts stress on several other organs of detoxification. This prevents the body from performing regular detoxification and brings a huge burden on your systems and eventually speeding up the aging process, which results in organ malfunction (2).
Among the top 7 foods to avoid, artificial sweeteners are probably the worst. Many studies have shown that aspartame and other sweeteners are actually very dangerous. Taking the example of aspartame, the artificial sweetener is often the cause of headaches that can range from mild to debilitating. In worst cases, people have gone to the extent of committing suicide to rid themselves of the pain. People who are sugar intolerant can still be affected by aspartame-containing products even if labeled as sugar-free.
Artificial sweeteners can also affect the serotonin levels in the body of a person. This is a chemical found in the brain and is responsible for regulating mood swings and hunger. When you eat low or zero-calorie food with aspartame, you may gain weight by eating more because you will be feeling hungrier (7).
There are also some indications that such sweeteners can potentially cause depression, brain tumors, and mimicking multiple sclerosis symptoms. This is dangerous because it may lead to misdiagnosis and improper treatment. To be safe, you may want to add artificial sweeteners to the list of foods to be avoided at all costs.
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There is probably no better example of empty calories other than soda. Soda does nothing nutritive for the body apart from adding sugar to your diet and weight to your body, so it should be among the 7 foods to avoid for 21 days to see results. In most cases, people do not factor beverages into their healthy eating plans. This may become a stumbling block for a person aiming to stay fit and healthy. It contains sugar, artificial sweeteners, and caffeine. Moreover, it has phosphoric acid and caffeine, which interfere with calcium balance, potentially leading to lower bone density (8).
Just a small can of soda contains about 138 calories. This means that if you drink two cans, you get the caloric total of a small meal. It would have been a good thing if the soda contained nutritional benefits, unfortunately, it does not. Furthermore, just like salt, sugar is habit-forming. Once you are used to drinking soda every day, stopping the habit may be a bit hard. Luckily, sugar withdrawal does not have any side effects.
Don’t be misled by adverts such as zero-sugar or diet soda and then think that those are healthy options to drink. Even diet soda comes packed with artificial sweeteners, which are also major culprits behind the reason for avoiding soda altogether.
Some people like to stay away from all kinds of meat for an effective 7 foods to avoid diet. If you choose to avoid meat, you don’t need to worry about not getting enough protein because you can still get this macro from plant-based foods. By eating things such as whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, you will absorb all the important amino acids. These are the little components that are from proteins.
If you take the example of soy protein, it contains all eight essential amino acids, just like meat. Soy and other plant-based proteins are healthy alternatives that do not contain the high amounts of saturated fat that meat does. Reducing saturated fat and meat intake can have positive effects on cardiovascular health and reduce the risk for certain types of cancer.
There is a lot of debate on whether humans should consume dairy or not. Many people argue that cow’s milk is designed for young cows, and not for humans. When milk is pasteurized, many of its nutrients are destroyed, and the remaining product can be quite problematic for some people’s digestive systems.
The dependency human-kind has on milk makes it difficult to stop using it, but there are other alternatives. For instance, cow’s milk substitutes containing soy, rice, almond, coconut, oat, or grain can fulfill your cravings for milk with many effects and will not result in any problems you may experience with cow’s milk.
Non-dairy coffee creamers are also a no-go zone. They contain hydrogenated oils that are not good for the body. They also have lots of high-fructose corn syrup, potentially damaging the liver by increasing liver fat. They also have artificial sweeteners, which can cause gastrointestinal issues (5).
You will realize that most of the foods on this list are generally sweet and quick to prepare or can even be consumed as bought. Coffee is one of those things that happens to be almost everybody’s favorite drink. This easy-to-fix drink can be associated with some strong negative side effects, yet people can’t seem to kick off the habit (12).
Heavy coffee consumption has been associated with elevated homocysteine levels. Elevated plasma homocysteine is in turn associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack.
The caffeine found in coffee speeds up almost all functions in the body except sleep. What this does is wear out the body, which contributes to speeding up the aging process. Coffee is also a diuretic. When you take it, you may excrete excess fluids and useful nutrients, hence depriving the body of those.
Furthermore, it is not easy to stop drinking coffee because of side effects such as nervousness and headaches. If you have been attempting to kick the habit, you may want to have a cup of coffee nearby but only drink a tablespoon after every hour. This strategy can help you fight your addiction, and within a week, you should have turned on a new leaf (10).
Although excessive coffee consumption can have negative health effects, more moderate coffee intake may actually have health benefits, so perhaps moderation is key (12).
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Added sugar is a very regular thing present in almost all meals of most people and probably tops the 7 most unhealthy processed foods you need to avoid. Think about it; there is sugar in desserts, candy bars, cereal, coffee, juices– name them all! Added sugar seems to be everywhere.
A good number of people think they do not consume sugar without knowing that it can also be disguised as sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, or any other ingredient that ends in –OSE. When sugar is contained in a portion of whole food, such as an apple, the food’s fiber pushes the sugar through the digestive tract, and some of it is absorbed slowly. The body can handle such small amounts of sugar by converting it to glucose which it utilizes as energy (13).
When cells have enough glucose, the liver converts it into glycogen. It is stored to be used by the body later when it needs energy but does not have enough glucose circulating in the blood. Basically, the stored glycogen is released and turned back into glucose.
If it so happens that all the places where the body stores glycogen are filled up, then the liver will have to convert it into Triglycerides. After this conversion, they are then stored as fat. This is a simple explanation why people gain weight even when eating food that is low on fat because sugar has the same effect (9).
Examples Of Healthy Options That Can Replace The Foods That Should Be Avoided
- When you’re in the mood for something sweet, have a piece of whole fruit instead of something with added sugar.
- Sweeteners need not be sugar for them to be sweet. Instead, use spices such as ginger, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, or even plant extracts that may include mint, stevia, and lavender. They can give the sensation of a sweet treat, but without the sugar overload that people are used to (3).
- Modern food dyes are made from petroleum and should be avoided because they may cause hyperactivity and allergic reactions. If you have to purchase packaged products, seek those that have vegetable-based colors.
- Stay off foods with preservatives by buying fresh foods. The food you buy should also be organically grown because it does not have too many pesticides and herbicides.
The Bottom Line
The problem for most people is that they tend to have a minimal diet of the foods they like, which they stick to for as long as they live. Some of the foods favored by many people are not always the healthiest. On top of that, modern food is filled with things like added sugars, fats, flavors, preservatives, and other additives. These things are meant to improve shelf life and reduce waste, but they can also cause weight gain and chronic disease risk over the long-term. If possible, reducing your intake of highly processed foods and going for more whole and minimally processed foods may be beneficial for your health and your waistline.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Acid Balance, Dietary Acid Load, and Bone Effects—A Controversial Subject (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Alcoholic pancreatitis: Lessons from the liver (2010, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Artificial sweeteners and other sugar substitutes (2020, mayoclinic.org)
- Chemical Pesticides and Human Health: The Urgent Need for a New Concept in Agriculture (2016, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Gastrointestinal Disturbances Associated with the Consumption of Sugar Alcohols with Special Consideration of Xylitol: Scientific Review and Instructions for Dentists and Other Health-Care Professionals (2016, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Good and bad acidic foods (2018, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Neurophysiological symptoms and aspartame: What is the connection? (2018, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Soda and Osteoporosis: Is There a Connection? (2007, webmd.com)
- Sugar and Excess Weight: Evidence Mounts (2013, webmd.com)
- Symptoms of caffeine withdrawal (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- The microbial content of unexpired pasteurized milk from selected supermarkets in a developing country (2011, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- What Are the Negative Effects of Coffee? (2020, medicinenet.com)
- What Is Glucose? (2020, webmd.com)
- What to know about alcohol and brain damage (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Which foods to avoid when trying to lose weight (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)