6 Foods you shouldn't eat everyday
We know that too much fat, salt and sugar are bad for us, but how does this translate to the foods we eat? We've been watching the BBC's 'The Truth About' series, and whilst there's nothing wrong with enjoying sugary, salty or fatty foods now and again, we shouldn't be indulging in them on a daily basis. Some seemingly healthy foods can actually be a bad choice, if you're going to be eating them regularly. So we decided to take a look at 6 foods you shouldn't eat everyday. Enjoy these once in a while, but don't eat them too often - balance is the key to a healthy diet and lifestyle.
#1. Smoked salmon
Who doesn't love a bit of smoked salmon, whether it's stirred through creamy pasta on your cheat day, added to scrambled eggs for a protein rich breakfast or topping an avocado bagel? Smoked salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, essential for healthy brain development, but beware. It's also very high in salt due to the smoking process, and if you buy farmed salmon, the fat content could be quite high too. Wild smoked salmon - the more expensive kind available at your local supermarket - is usually lower in fat than farmed varieties, making it a healthier choice, whilst some lightly smoked varieties contain less salt. Enjoying some smoked salmon once or twice a week is fine, but it's definitely not a good idea to add this to your diet on a daily basis.
#2. Processed meats
Sliced chorizo, parma ham, salami, bacon - processed meats are pretty tasty, due to the curing process, but they can be high in nitrites, and research shows that a diet high in processed meats can be harmful to your health. A study carried out in Europe (1) looked at the diets of just under half a million people over a 12 year period. The results revealed that those who ate more than 160g of processed meat a day had a 44% increased risk of dying compared to those who ate 20g of processed meat or less. It's not clear whether other health and lifestyle factors played a part in the results - for example, it could be that those who ate more processed meat took less exercise and ate a generally less healthy diet. But it could be the nitrites, used to preserve processed meat, and the high salt levels which are at fault, as it's thought that these could contribute to an increased risk of cancer as well as affecting your heart health.
#3. Cakes and cookies
Sugary carbs are bad news for your energy levels and your mood. Biscuits, cookies, cakes, muffins and donuts all spike your blood sugar levels, which leads to a 'crash' that could leave you feeling exhausted. Consuming too much sugar also increases your risk of obesity and diabetes, which is bad news! To enjoy more stable energy levels and prevent blood sugar spikes, aim to eat foods which release sugar slowly into the bloodstream, such as sweet potatoes and porridge with banana.
#4. 'Low-fat' options
When you spot those 'low-fat' yoghurts or other low-fat options at the supermarket on your weekly shop, it can be tempting to think you're making a healthy choice. But bear in mind that 'low-fat' often means that other things have been added, such as artificial sweeteners and other additives. You might find that you're tempted to eat more of a food when you see it's labelled as low-fat, and we believe that you should aim to avoid processed foods as much as possible. So it's better to enjoy a small serving of full-fat cheese or mayo occasionally, rather than adding low-fat versions to your diet on a daily basis.
You might think that by choosing multigrain or wholemeal bread you're making a healthy choice, but think again. In fact, multigrain bread can contain a variety of different types of refined flour, which means that it's often not a far healthier choice than white bread. Look for varieties which contain whole grain flours and watch out for high fructose corn syrup in the ingredients, which can spike your blood sugar levels. If you really have to have bread everyday, try rye or sunflower seed bread, and enjoy open sandwiches with just one slice of bread, or healthy toast toppings such as avocado.
#6. Shop-bought granola
Granola is often seen as a healthy option for breakfast, but whilst making your own with dried fruit, nuts and seeds creates a super-healthy bowl of goodness, not all supermarket varieties are created equal. Many supermarket granolas are loaded with dried fruit, added sugar or chocolate, and when you consider that a typical serving size is just 1/4 of a cup, it's easy to see how you could be consuming more fat, calories and sugar than you think. For the healthiest breakfast, make your own granola or stick to porridge with nut butter and some fruit.
Eating healthily means keeping things in balance - so whilst a cheat day now and again is a good way to ensure you don't start obsessively calorie-counting, it's important that you keep an eye on what you're eating on a daily basis. Eating foods high in sugar, salt or fat regularly could be harmful to your health, no matter how much time you're spending at the gym.
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