The 20 Worst Things You Can Eat and Why

We’d advise consuming these foods as infrequently as possible

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Bagels contain on average more than 400 calories, before the cream cheese.

Every couple of years, it seems like another "groundbreaking" report is issued, proving once and for all that one food or another is either good for you, bad for you, or somewhere in between. And while the health benefits of certain foods, like red meat, will most likely be debated for all eternity, there are others, like sausage and potato chips, that nobody defends as healthy —  foods that you should probably either avoid altogether or consume very little of. Here, we’ve rounded up 20 of them.

The 20 Worst Things You Can Eat and Why (Slideshow)

It’s actually a lot more difficult than you may think to figure out whether a food item is "good" or "bad." The nutritional information on most packages doesn’t reveal as much information as it might at first appear to, and especially when it comes to fat content (oftentimes the first indicator we look at to see if a food item is healthy or not), the number on the box can sometimes mean nothing at all. The reason? There are many kinds of fat, and not all of them need to be avoided.

“Our bodies need fat in order to function properly," explains nutritionist Keri Glassman. "And that means we must eat fat each and every day. Believe it or not, fat actually helps us burn fat. It also provides us with energy, enables hormones to work properly, insulates the body from the cold, and protects our organs. The key is to remember that not all fats are created equal. The “good” fats include monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and essential fatty acids. Monounsaturated fats (olive oil, flaxseed oil, nuts) help increase the good (HDL) cholesterol and decrease bad (LDL) cholesterol. Polyunsaturated fats (corn oil, safflower oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, nuts, and grains) help reduce total cholesterol. And essential fatty acids (fatty fish such as salmon, albacore tuna, mackerel, walnuts, flax, hemp, canola oil, safflower, and sunflower oils), which are a type of polyunsaturated fat, help reduce the risk of developing blood clots, arthritis, cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure.”

"On the other end of the fat spectrum are those heart-damaging bad fats: saturated fat and trans fat,” Glassman continued. “These can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attack. Trans fats, found in packaged and processed foods, are the worst. Check labels to make sure they don’t contain partially hydrogenated oil (the main ingredient in trans fats). Consuming a lot of saturated fats such as fatty cuts of beef, fried foods, poultry skin, butter, cheese, and baked goods can lead to negative cardiovascular outcomes, as well. However, new research shows that consuming a limited amount may be okay.”

A food item can be low in fat and calories, but pumped so full of chemicals and sodium that it’s decidedly unhealthy.

When you read a nutrition label, fat content is defined as “Total Fat,” a combination of both good and bad fat. Nuts, for example, have more fat than bacon, but they’re super-high in good fat, making them much healthier.

Of course, healthy food isn’t defined by fat content alone. Calories, sugar, sodium, and how processed a particular food item is also indicate its nutritional value. A food item can be low in fat and calories, but pumped so full of chemicals and sodium that it’s decidedly unhealthy. Also, the food we put into our bodies needs to be nutrient-rich, full of the vitamins, minerals, fats, and other components of “real” food that we need to survive. That’s the definition of “healthy” food. If a food item doesn’t contain essential nutrients it’s unhealthy, even if it’s fat-free.

To compile our list, we looked at foods that not only are full of fat, calories, sodium, sugar, and/or chemicals, but also that contribute little or nothing in the way of nutrition. Sure, cheese contains protein, but when you melt three slices of it onto a burger you’re neutralizing any of its positive qualities. Eating healthy is about moderation, choosing “real” foods over fake processed ones, and portion control. It’s also about making the right decisions and educating yourself as to why some foods are healthier than others. Read on to learn not only which foods are the worst that you can eat, but why they’re so bad for you.

Sausage

Sausages (which includes everything from hot dogs to Slim Jims, bologna, and salami), by definition, are processed. When you process meat (which serves to keep it fresh longer, among other things) by smoking, curing, salting it, or preserving it via chemicals, you’re loading it up with sodium, and the meat used usually also contains a ton of saturated fat, boosting the fat and cholesterol content into the stratosphere as well. Not only does sausage contain very little in the way of nutrients, excessive consumption has also been linked to colon cancer.

Bacon

Bacon may be one of the most delicious foods on earth, but it’s also (unfortunately) horrible for you. Three slices of bacon contains about one-fifth of the suggested daily sodium allowance, but it’s also cured using nitrates and smoke, which can contribute to increased chances of cancer and heart disease. Bacon is also fried in its own fat, which is full of saturated fat and cholesterol. 

Click here for 18 more of the worst things that you can eat. 


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13 Comments

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I have always hated Bagels. Over processed American no bread.

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I'll just die now and end it all, this article sucks we are not rabbits we are carnivores we eat meat and meat has fat.

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Re: Bacon article - It's common when authors of these food nazi articles don't due proper research, or don't have knowledge of the meat processing industry for them to talk abut NITRATES in meat products. FYI nitrates are not used in the curing process. They have been banned since 1975. Sodium NITRITE is the curing agent, and after processing there can be no residual nitrite present in the finished product.

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I thought this article was good. I avoid the foods listed as much as possible. I generally eat raw or lightly cooked vegetables, fruit, lean meats, oatmeal, eggs, skim milk, soy milk and tree nuts (walnuts, almonds and pecans). I do not add sugar or salt. I boil, microwave or pressure cook everything, i.e. I never cook over an open flame (grill or broil) and I never add oil to cook something. I supplement with olive oil and Udo's oil (his proprietary organic blend of flax and other vegetable oils to achieve what he considers an optimum blend of omega 3, 6 and 9 oils. I am 64 and my blood pressure is 105/62 and my resting pulse is 43 bpm. My body fat is 11%. My HDL is 75 and my total cholesterol is 250. Cholesterol has a lot to do with ones personal genetics. My mother's cholesterol was over 300 for much of her life.

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I thought this article was good. I avoid the foods listed as much as possible. I generally eat raw or lightly cooked vegetables, fruit, lean meats, oatmeal, eggs, skim milk, soy milk and tree nuts (walnuts, almonds and pecans). I do not add sugar or salt. I boil, microwave or pressure cook everything, i.e. I never cook over an open flame (grill or broil) and I never add oil to cook something. I supplement with olive oil and Udo's oil (his proprietary organic blend of flax and other vegetable oils to achieve what he considers an optimum blend of omega 3, 6 and 9 oils. I am 64 and my blood pressure is 105/62 and my resting pulse is 43 bpm. My body fat is 11%. My HDL is 75 and my total cholesterol is 250. Cholesterol has a lot to do with ones personal genetics. My mother's cholesterol was over 300 for much of her life.

tdm-35-icon.png

I thought this article was good. I avoid the foods listed as much as possible. I generally eat raw or lightly cooked vegetables, fruit, lean meats, oatmeal, eggs, skim milk, soy milk and tree nuts (walnuts, almonds and pecans). I do not add sugar or salt. I boil, microwave or pressure cook everything, i.e. I never cook over an open flame (grill or broil) and I never add oil to cook something. I supplement with olive oil and Udo's oil (his proprietary organic blend of flax and other vegetable oils to achieve what he considers an optimum blend of omega 3, 6 and 9 oils. I am 64 and my blood pressure is 105/62 and my resting pulse is 43 bpm. My body fat is 11%. My HDL is 75 and my total cholesterol is 250. Cholesterol has a lot to do with ones personal genetics. My mother's cholesterol was over 300 for much of her life.

tdm-35-icon.png

I thought this article was good. I avoid the foods listed as much as possible. I generally eat raw or lightly cooked vegetables, fruit, lean meats, oatmeal, eggs, skim milk, soy milk and tree nuts (walnuts, almonds and pecans). I do not add sugar or salt. I boil, microwave or pressure cook everything, i.e. I never cook over an open flame (grill or broil) and I never add oil to cook something. I supplement with olive oil and Udo's oil (his proprietary organic blend of flax and other vegetable oils to achieve what he considers an optimum blend of omega 3, 6 and 9 oils. I am 64 and my blood pressure is 105/62 and my resting pulse is 43 bpm. My body fat is 11%. My HDL is 75 and my total cholesterol is 250. Cholesterol has a lot to do with ones personal genetics. My mother's cholesterol was over 300 for much of her life.

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enough already, eat sensibly in moderation, enjoy life, go away food police

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Enough already, eat sensibly, in moderation and enjoy life, go away food police.

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Testing the comment area to see if it works

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This article feels stagnant and reminds me of the 1990's
-About the only thing I agree with is non-fat isn't a good look. Your body needs it and it won't be happy until it gets it.
-Chemicals are everything. Chemicals are what makes up everything.
-Bacon, like many of the "bad" foods in this list come in better options. I know this b/c I have horrific migraines that are triggered by nitrates, nitrites and so on. I am also allergic to liquid smoke. You have to have a careful and, and not all stores have it, but there are really good choices, and high quality, center cut "bacon" (or what's called pork belly or pork side) is low in fat. About 3 to 6 grams of fat.
-It sucks that we can't rely on our doctor for good information on LDL and HDL cholesterol and we have to turn to our own reading of research. So what they aren't telling you is that within the big categories of HDL and LDL have many components and scientists are finding they don't really know what's "good" and "what's" bad. If you have a good doctor and ask about this, they probably will tell you the truth about this controversy.
-The food industry uses salt, sugar, fat and so on to hook you. But better companies are taking out the fake and "hooking" ingredients because people want that. I take a lot of barre method classes. We don't want to eat twigs and we are "yuppys" that want great bodies on the inside when we're 60.
-Lastly, the fake sugar thing. Just like using a cell phone and a microwave there's still controversy about it doing anything bad in the quantities most people eat it in. However, if you're chugging a zero calorie big gulp daily there are probably other health issues in your life and you can benefit from tender care and support to clean up the insides if that's what you want. Not everyone wants that and I'm not judging.
I'm just judging this article for it's laziness and trying to present a food group as black and white when it really comes down to brands and how much money you have to spend on to splurge on food - jimmie dean sausage even has MSG in it. (In this case the cost per pound isn't different, but few people know that.)

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Finally, an intelligent comment! This article is poorly written, confusing for the average consumer and full of errors. Moderation is the word of the day

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