The flip side of our convenient and modern, fast-paced, technology-driven lifestyle is reflected in our choice of readily available unhealthy foods. With busy schedules and non-negotiable deadlines, we tend to compromise on our diet, nutrition, and ultimately, our health in the long run. Who has the time to cook from scratch when you can order your favorite food at the click of a button? Right? Well, sadly, it isn’t that great an idea. We need to realize that even if we order the simplest of dishes that are categorically low in calories and fats, it would still be an unhealthy food choice compared to freshly prepared home-cooked meals. A healthy lifestyle is based on the cornerstone of a healthy diet and regular exercise. Read on to know about the commonly available unhealthy food options and how you can avoid them or replace them with healthier alternatives. Keep scrolling!
In This Article
List of Unhealthy Foods And Drinks – Top 15:
Now you might end up asking as to what food items fall in the category of unhealthy foods. Well, these food items have almost become a part of our life as we consume them on a regular basis. From the grilled chicken of KFC to the cheese burger of Mc.Donald’s, we just can’t resist consuming them. We do not even realize that we are loading our bodies with unhealthy saturated fat, trans-fats and cholesterol. Health experts and nutritionists often criticize fast foods as unhealthy. Given below are the most unhealthy foods that are extremely unhealthy and fattening:
We all love to have mayonnaise on our sandwiches, burgers, wraps and pizzas. We do not even realize that we are loading our bodies with unwanted fat and calories. Mayonnaise isn’t that unhealthy, if you consume it in moderation. But we love a thick crust of mayonnaise. Just a quarter cup serving of mayonnaise can load your body with 360 calories and 40 grams of fat (1). So, restrict its consumption. Switch to low-calorie condiments like mustard, salsa, BBQ sauce or taco sauce. You can also use light mayonnaise, which contains just 35 calories and 3.5 grams of fat in one tablespoon (2).
2. Trans Fat:
Trans fat is a toxic fat that increases bad cholesterol and reduces good cholesterol (3). It also damages blood vessels. Just one tablespoon of it packs a whopping 100 calories, which is, off-course, not good for your waistline. Butter is a healthier option. You can consume a small amount of whipped butter available in tubs. Otherwise, go for the trans fat free brands of stick margarine.
Ghee is a favorite ingredient in Indian recipes. It is basically clarified butter with an intense taste. Just a few drops of ghee, add loads of flavor to any food, from veggies to meat. And it does not cause any harm as long as you are consuming a few drops. But, you should keep it in mind that ghee is high in saturated fat and excess consumption can increase your cholesterol levels. Olive oil is a healthy substitute for ghee (4). You can also combine a teaspoon of olive oil with half a teaspoon of ghee to toss roasted or steamed veggies.
4. Whole-Milk Yoghurt:
Whole milk products can raise your calorie intake. Therefore, it is important to keep an eye on your portion size. Just 1 cup serving of full fat plain yogurt contains 149 calories (5). Instead, you can switch to fat free yogurt for a lower calorie intake.
5. French Fries:
French fries are undoubtedly one of the most loved snacks. The crunchy and crispy potatoes are irresistible and we usually end up eating more than we should. The fact is that these fries add kilos to your frame. It is important to do moderate exercise or consume more fruits and vegetables. Occasional indulgence is, of course, acceptable and harmless.
[ Read: Junk Food vs. Healthy Food ]
6. Hot Dogs:
Hot dogs taste amazing, but are extremely unhealthy! Nearly 80% of their calories come from unhealthy saturated fat. The processed meat used in it increases the risk of heart disease and colon cancer (6). So, try and cut down the consumption of hot dogs. Go for healthier options like turkey sausages or lean chicken, which contain less fat. They are also good sources of high quality protein.
Bacon can make everything all right with the world or so, say the bacon lovers! But bacon lovers should keep in mind that their favorite food is loaded with unhealthy salts and saturated fats. You can add small amounts of bacon to your vegetables to enjoy the taste without filling your body with unhealthy fat. You can also use it as a garnish by sprinkling crumbled bacon on a side dish of Brussels sprouts or a vegetable salad. Its salty and smoky flavor also improves the taste of other dishes.
8. Theater Popcorn:
This popular theater snack is loaded with calories and fat. These popcorn kernels are popped in enormous quantities of coconut oil, which contains more than 90% saturated fat. Besides, in theaters, most of us indulge in the habit of munching on these snacks. A medium size packet contains 20 cups of popcorn. It packs about 1200 calories and 60 grams of saturated fat in it. Their calorie content is equivalent to 3 large sized fast food burgers. The saturated fat in it is equivalent to a full stick of butter. Like most unhealthy food items, they also have a healthy substitute in the form of low-cal-air popped or microwave popcorn. These popcorns contains just 30 calories in 1 cup of serving.
9. Toaster Pastries:
These pastries are considered a breakfast treat, but they are the unhealthiest food to start your day with. Made up of white flour, these contain tones of added sugar. Even the fruit flavors are not derived from a real fruit. A serving of two pack toaster pastries contains a whopping 10 teaspoons of sugar. These can drastically increase your blood sugar levels accompanied by a mid-morning energy crash. So, avoid these pastries and look for a healthy alternative. You can try the whole-wheat pita bread spread with a thin layer of peanut butter. You can also stuff them with sliced apples or strawberries.
10. Deep Dish Pizza:
We all are in love with deep dish pizza because of its thick and dense crust that offers a great taste. But the excess dough in the crust can greatly increase your calorie count. Additionally, the fattening whole-milk cheese and greasy meat toppings comprising of bacon, sausage and pepperoni also add more calorie. A two slice serving can load your system with 1300 calories and 24 grams of saturated fat that clogs your arteries. It is difficult to give up your favorite pizza, but you need not do so. Opt for a thin crust pizza that contains less starch and has veggies like onions, peppers, mushrooms and broccoli instead of meat toppings. This will fill you up and provide nutrition at the cost of just 250 calories!
This might come as a shock as granola is generally considered a healthy food. But, the fact is that this yummy breakfast cereal contains more sugar and too little fiber. Being high in sugar, just one cup serving of granola can provide 600 calories to your system. And it is almost one -third of an average woman’s daily requirement. So, replace granola with a crunchy cereal, which contains more fiber than sugar. You can try having a tablespoon of nuts like walnuts, almonds, etc., or berries to satisfy your sweet tooth. If you do not want to give up your granola entirely, sprinkle over a small amount of low fat or non-fat yogurt. You can also add some strawberries or blueberries for more nutrition.
The little leaves of lettuce and slim slices of deli meat in a wrap seem like a nutritious option to most of us. But, the flat breads used in preparing these wraps can add 300 calories to your system. Besides the cheese, cold cuts and spreads contain no less than 700 calories. Prepared from refined grains, most of the wraps do not contain enough fiber. Always check the nutritional information of any wrap and choose the one prepared from whole grains. When preparing the wrap at home, you can skip cheese and choose a healthier option like avocado. You can use spicy mustard instead of mayonnaise. You can also add some extra veggies like green peppers, onions, tomatoes and lettuce.
Most Unhealthy Drinks:
Given below are list of unhealthy drinks that you should avoid for a healthy living:
13. Whole Milk:
We all swear upon the health promoting qualities of milk. Rich in calcium and other vital nutrients, it is beneficial for people of all age groups. But whole milk contains saturated fat, which raises the cholesterol levels and triggers inflammation. It also leads to clogged arteries. However, this doesn’t mean that you should give up consuming milk. All you need to do is opt for skimmed (fat-free) or 1 % low fat milk. Skimmed and low fat milk provides you with all the vital nutrients. Some of them are calcium, protein, Vitamins D and B-12 and potassium. It also combats the bad stuff from entering your body. Milk from plant sources like soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk etc., are also healthy options, though they are not as nutritious as animal milk (7).
14. Sodas And Sweet Drinks:
Sodas and sugary drinks are a regular sight in restaurants and supermarkets. But, few of us are aware of the fact that nearly 100% of the calories in regular soda come from sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. In fact, it is considered the real culprit behind obesity. It also damages your teeth and leads to cavity formation. Certain studies have shown that cola drinks can weaken your bones. Processed sugary drinks, such as bottled teas, sports and energy drinks, etc., can also drastically increase your calorie consumption without providing any nutrients (8). Plain water is the best alternative for these drinks that hydrates your body without providing extra calories. Other beverages that are low in calories and contain healthy antioxidants include green and black teas. Hence this is one of the most unhealthy drinks that should be avoided.
15. Alcoholic Beverages:
Alcoholic beverages are an absolute waste when it comes to providing nutrition. We are aware of the ill effects of alcohol on our health. The calories found in alcohol are empty calories, which the body cannot use for producing energy. Your liver is forced to break down the alcohol into fatty acids, which get accumulated in the liver. Excessive exposure to alcohol causes the death of liver and brain cells. A glass of wine contains about 165 calories while a can of beer contains a little more than 150 calories (9)( 10). A serving of 1.5 ounce liquor shot of rum, vodka, gin or whiskey contains around 100 calories (11). So, have these drinks in moderation. Replace them with mineral or soda water with a dash of lemon or lime, hot or iced tea or coffee or diet soft drinks.
Fast foods taste better, but they have no nutritional value. Therefore, they are considered unhealthy, and eating them can harm your health. Mayonnaise, trans-fats, and French fries are some of the unhealthy foods you should avoid. However, there are some healthy substitutes for these foods. A healthy lifestyle is based on mindful eating and regular exercising. Hence, choose your food wisely and eat them in controlled portions to stay fit and healthy.
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