I have to admit I do love pizza.
Oh, oh, and ice cream
Thank heavens I've always seen bisquits and gravy as horrid!!!
“Foods labeled ‘fat-free’ or ‘diet’ can often contain more sugar and chemicals than their full-fat counterparts,” nutritionist Keri Glassman told us. “They end up being less satisfying and are over-consumed.”
Think of it this way: Fat is flavor, so when the fat comes out, the flavor needs to be replaced somehow, with artificial fillers, chemicals, salt and sugar. It’s always healthier to eat real foods, even if they contain fat and calories, than their chemical-laden “diet” counterparts.
The worst things you can eat and why
There was a brief time when it was believed that margarine was healthier than butter, but that’s gone out the window. The reason? Trans fats, quite possibly the worst thing you can put into your body, raise bad cholesterol, increase your risk of heart disease and stroke, and even damage the walls of blood vessels. Use a healthier fat like olive oil, or just stick with a small amount of real butter.
Sugar substitutes, like Equal, Splenda and Sweet & Low, are pure chemicals: acesulfame potassium, saccharin, sucralose, aspartame and neotame, to be exact. Because they’re devoid of sugar and calories, we tend to think we can consume as much of it as we want, but in many ways they’re unhealthier than using real, natural sugar. The fact is, we really don’t know just how much damage they’re causing. Recent research indicates that excessive consumption of artificial sweeteners can result in cardiovascular disease, weight gain, Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
If you were to buy some popping corn, add a healthy oil and a sprinkling of salt, and pop it yourself, you’d be left with a healthy (if starchy) snack. But let’s face it: Nobody actually does that. Microwave popcorn is loaded with chemicals, from the ones lining the bag to make sure oil doesn’t leak through to others that prevent the bag from catching on fire. The popcorn itself is also usually coated in preservatives, salt and partially hydrogenated oils (also known as trans fats) masquerading as butter, which is given its flavor via a chemical called diacetyl, which is toxic when inhaled. As for movie theater popcorn, it’s one of the unhealthiest things you can eat, especially when topped with that liquid “butter,” which is nothing but artificially flavored oil. Movie theater popcorn portions are also simply out of control.
Bagels are made with refined white flour, which has had all of its nutritional value processed out of it, and they contain on average upwards of 400 calories. They’re also extraordinarily dense, in some cases the equivalent of eating six slices of bread. Once you pile on the butter and cream cheese, you’re headed straight for a mid-workday nap. If you must have a bagel, choose a mini-bagel, preferably one with whole grains, and scoop out the middle.
Like sausages, deli meats are also processed, and you really wouldn’t want to see what has to be done to an actual turkey breast in order to turn it into “deli-style” turkey. It’s basically liquefied, mixed with fillers and sodium, then re-formed, with the finished product devoid of just about any nutritional value. Stick with the real stuff instead.
Toaster pastries might be convenient, but they’re also unhealthier than you might realize. The crust is made with white flour and unhealthy fats, and the filling is just pure sugar, with next to no actual fruit. Add icing and you’re looking at upwards of 10 packets of sugar per two-pack! Now that’s not a good way to start your day, is it?
Anyone who’s ever eaten a greasy slice of pizza knows that it’s unhealthy, but the extent might surprise you. One slice of New York-style pizza can contain up to 500 calories and 10 grams of saturated fat, and the numbers get even higher if you make it deep-dish, which has a much-thicker crust which is usually made with butter. Once you start adding cholesterol-laden toppings like pepperoni and sausage, the unhealthiness factor gets out of control. If you need to eat pizza, stick to thin crust, blot the oil off of it, and use the opportunity to load it up with vegetables.
Biscuits and gravy
Yes, this might be a little specific, but a biscuit topped with cream gravy, usually flecked with chunks of sausage, is basically a heart attack waiting to happen. Biscuits are usually made with shortening in order to make them light and flaky, which is a major source of trans fat, and cream gravy is basically all fat: It starts with a roux (butter mixed 50/50 with refined flour and cooked), then milk or cream is added until it’s diluted. Finally, chunks of fatty sausage are mixed in, and the whole mess gets ladled onto the biscuits. Cream gravy is also a common topping for country-fried steak, resulting in one of the unhealthiest foods man has ever produced.
Ice cream, especially the super-dense premium varieties, is the worst of both worlds: It’s heavy cream, which is full of cholesterol, mixed with boatloads of sugar (and other add-ons like brownies and cookies). While it might be tempting to down that whole pint, you might want to cut yourself off after a couple of spoonfuls.
Packaged cakes and cookies
Few foods contain more trans fats than packaged sweet cakes and cookies. The reason? The addition of partially hydrogenated oils, which help keep the food shelf-stable and moist at the same time. Lots of preservatives are also added to prevent the fat from spoiling. It all amounts to nothing short of a "Frankenfood" that is devoid of just about anything that’s natural. And that’s before we even get to the sugar and fat content!
Another specific food, but honestly, these things are so unhealthy that they’re in a class all by themselves. A Cinnabon Classic contains 880 calories and 36 grams of fat, 17 of which are saturated. By comparison, a Big Mac contains 550 calories and 29 grams of fat, 10 of which are saturated. Don’t forget that this is a dessert, however, so there are nearly 60 grams of sugar, the equivalent of nearly two cans of Coke. How about an apple?
Deep-fried foods in general
The unhealthiest type of food you can eat, by far, is anything that’s been deep-fried. Obviously, when you submerge food in fat in order to cook it, some of that fat soaks into the food, loading it up with fat and calories. Salty deep-fried foods are full of salt, and sugary deep-fried foods are also full of sugar; there’s really no middle ground here. But besides the astronomic levels of fat, calories and sodium or sugar, deep-fried foods are also extremely carcinogenic. According to recent studies, cooking foods at the high temperatures necessary for deep-fat frying caused toxic chemical compounds to form, which of course then get eaten. These compounds have been linked to several types of cancer. Deep-frying also causes foods to develop something called advanced glycation end-products, which have been linked to chronic inflammation.