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Healthy Diet Checklist: Top 10 Foods To Avoid

Every day that you wake up, you have a choice to make. You need to decide what – and what not – to put into your body.  Too many people take this decision lightly, eating whatever they happen to stumble across as their day progresses along. This is an unfortunate situation because the very foods…

Foods to avoid

Every day that you wake up, you have a choice to make. You need to decide what – and what not – to put into your body.  Too many people take this decision lightly, eating whatever they happen to stumble across as their day progresses along.

This is an unfortunate situation because the very foods you put into your body on a day to day basis will have a profound influence on not only how you feel, but how you function as well.

Doctor examining  patient obesity on light background

YOU can choose to take control of your health, or let your health slip through your fingertips.

People in today’s world are too quick to turn to modern medicine for whatever health problem they face believing there’s a solution to fix it.

In reality that’s not always the case.

In most cases, if you lead a life of eating poor food choices, while neglecting a healthy diet, you will start to suffer from a lack of energy, experience health problems, and possibly even diseases that modern medicine simply cannot cure entirely.

The great news is…

YOU have the power. YOU can choose to take control of your health, or let your health slip through your fingertips.

Many people are now starting to realize just how important their nutrition is in the big picture but the unfortunate fact is often they miss out on some of the biggest issues that need to be tended to, like which foods to avoid.

In our weight-conscious society, we’re focusing heavily on our total calorie intakes as well as how many carbs and dietary fats we consume.  We tally our calorie and macronutrient intake at the end of each day, hoping we’ve hit our targets for what some weight loss formula has spit out at us.

And while this can help you get to a healthy weight, it’s not doing much to ensuring maximum health overall.  To really live your best life ever, you need to take it one step further.

Often, it helps to approach the situation from an alternate angle. Rather than looking at things you should be eating, consider what you shouldn’t.  If you can remove all the problem and offending foods in your diet plan – foods that are digging you deeper into the health problem hole, you’ll be taking a giant leap forward. You can eat all the healthy foods you want to, but if you are putting these damaging foods into your system, you will still be playing damage control. This is why understanding which foods to avoid is of paramount importance!

I have a list of 10 foods you absolutely MUST avoid.  In the video below, I take you through what those 10 foods are and why you must avoid them.

Top 10 Foods to AVOID

I’m going to take you through 10 of the foods that you want to avoid at all costs so that you can achieve the healthy diet you are looking for. As you’ll come to see, many of these have some common traits and characteristics that make it easy to see why they need to be removed from your diet plan.

Food #1 To Avoid – Burnt Food

Foods To Avoid

Avoid Burnt Food – Burnt food has a higher level of carcinogens that can increase the rate of cancer formation

When I say burnt food, what immediately comes to mind?  Eating some black, crusty piece of toast that leaves much to be desired taste-wise? Or perhaps you think back to roasting marshmallows as a kid and purposely sticking yours into the fire pit to get that black coating.

Whatever the case may be, burnt food is something that you want to pay close attention to because it can really do a number on your health.

What about cooked food?
Before we speak about burnt food, let’s first talk about cooked food.  Cooked food isn’t exactly ideal for your body either. While not nearly as bad as burnt food is, when you eat conventionally cooked food, you are getting a less nutritious version of what that food was to begin with.

Take steamed vegetables for instance. During this process of steaming, you will be losing some of the nutrients that were naturally found in the vegetables, this you would otherwise get if you had taken them in raw.

While I’m not suggesting you go eating raw beef or chicken as of course that poses its own set of health risks, I do want you to know that when it comes to fruits and vegetables, raw is best.

Let’s get back to burnt food…

When you burn – or char any food, you are causing chemical reactions to be taking place. Slowly this food is decomposing and is turning to ash.  If you were to let that piece of toast continue to burn, provided it did not catch on fire, eventually you’d just have a giant pile of ash in the toaster or on your pan (if using an oven).

Ash is basically the end line for all organic matter.  Whether it’s from a plant (a fruit or vegetable), a grain, or a piece of meat, all organic foods will end up as ash if left to burn long enough. And what’s ash?  It’s a substance that is devoid of everything your body needs. It has no moisture, no nutrients, and no more calorie value as well (no, eating ash is not a viable fat loss solution!).

The more burnt your food is, the more nutrients you have lost.  Remember that next time you grab that burnt piece of toast and rush off to work.

But that’s not all. In addition to reducing food to a nutritionally devoid substance, burnt food also has a higher level of carcinogens as well. While you might feel like you read that everything can lead to cancer, the rate of carcinogen production in food goes up dramatically when this burning process takes place.  This is especially the case with meat.  As the meat is cooked at very high temperatures, it produces something called heterocylic amines (HCA’s) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH’s). Both of these can increase the rate of cancer formation.

So how can you steer clear of these issues? Try these tips:

  •      When you do need to cook, steam your food and try and do so as quickly as possible.
  •      Avoid any smoked meats such as ham, bacon, or smoked salmon
  •      Avoid using excessive heat such as when you roast, grill, or toast your food
  •      Clean your grill after each use
  •      If you are served food that is chargrilled, scrape off the outer coating to remove the problem layer
  •      Rub your meats with chili powder or paprika, which may lower the HCA production up to 70%

No matter how much you may love that slightly burnt taste to your foods, do your best to avoid it.

Food #2 To Avoid – Dyed Foods

Foods to avoid - Avoid Dyed Foods

Avoid Dyed Foods – To identify dyed food, look on the ingredient label for a color followed by number, i.e., Red 3

Now we come to our next problem offender – dyed foods.

Most of us can remember back to our childhood years where our parents mixed us up a pitcher of Kool-Aid that rapidly formed a radioactive colored liquid.

This is what you want to avoid.  While you may not be drinking this beverage in your adult years, there’s a good chance you’re taking in food dyes from some other source.

Take a look at that BCAA product you’re drinking for instance.  Nine times out of ten, it’s bright orange, sky blue, or lime green.

Food dyes are making their way into far too many products we consume on a day to day basis and our body simply can’t break these down.

If you look at fat cells of those who are constantly exposed to food dye’s, you’ll come to find them residing in these cells untouched. The body is storing them as it does not utilize them in any way.

Three of the most commonly used food dyes include Yellow 5, Yellow 6, as well as Red 40, all of which contain benzidine and 4-aminobiphenyl, compounds that can be linked to increased rate of cancer formation.

Any time you look on an ingredient label and see that the food has a substance that is basically a color followed by a number, that’s your sign to put that food back onto the shelf.

Food dyes are especially problematic for children as more foods for kids contain these dyes which can lead to issues such as hyperactivity and learning impairment. As much as your kids may love to eat those brightly colored foods they need to steer clear of them.

Instead, try feeding your children fruits and vegetables that are naturally bright in color.

Food #3 To Avoid – Preservatives

Another of the items to add on your hit-list to avoid if you want to optimize your health is preservatives.  Just like with food dyes, your body is not going to be breaking down preservatives either.  If you take a look inside fat cells, you’ll often find high amounts of preservative substances unless active effect is taken to control it.

So what’s so bad about preservatives? The big problem is that they slow down the rotting process. Now, for a farmer or grocer who wants his or her fruits or vegetables to stay vibrant for as long as possible to increase revenue, this is a very good thing. For your body, it is not.

Digestion is a form of decomposition – your body is essentially breaking down food, just as it does when the rotting process takes place.  But when these preservatives are added, the entire breakdown process is slowed down.  And I’m not talking about the good slowing of digestion like you get when you consume dietary fiber to control blood sugar.

I’m talking slowing the digestion process down in a way that makes it harder for your body to get access to the nutrients it needs while also wreaking havoc on the internal environment of your digestive tract.

These preservatives are going to deplete your natural level of probiotics, which reside in the gut and help keep your immune system health and strong, while also assisting with the digestion process.

Eat too many preservatives and these good bacteria will die off and you’ll be left feeling unwell, possibly ill, and not taking in all the nutrients you should be from the foods that you eat.

A healthy diet is one that is preservative free – or as close to it as possible.

Food #4 To Avod – GMO’s

Foods to avoid - Avoid GMO Foods

Avoid foods with GMO’s – There has been a substantial increase of chronic illnesses and food allergies since the introduction of GMO foods.

GMO’s, which stands for genetically modified organism (foods) is another big problem in today’s society.  Food manufacturers love GMO’s because they can virtually make the food do anything. They want it to taste a certain way?  Done.  They want it to look a certain way? That’s easy to accomplish as well.

For your internal system however, these GMO’s are slowly killing you.

Just as the preservatives reduce your natural probiotics, so do GMO’s. As these probiotics slowly begin to die off, you open up your immune system  to invading bacteria, viruses, and the like.

Essentially, you are inviting problems into your ‘house’ – being your body.

When GMO’s were first introduced back in 1996, the total percentage of those with three or more chronic health illnesses skyrocketed from 7 to 13% over a 9 year time span.  In addition, more and more people started reporting food allergies that were never there before.

You will want to do everything you can to avoid GMO foods.

Food #5 To Avoid – Hydrogenated Fats

What’s next on your hit list?

Let’s talk about hydrogenated fats, also sometimes referred to as ‘trans’ fats.

These fats are a man-made fat that is created when an additional hydrogen atom is added onto the chain of a fatty acid.

Why do this?

Once again, it helps with preservation.  Food manufactures who use hydrogenated fats often benefit from increased shelf-lives of their food products as well as it can help to increase the texture for those who eat it.  This means people enjoy the food more, leading to them purchasing more product.

At the end of the day, the food companies are not out for your best health interests. They are out to make a buck, simple as that. They will do whatever they can to put more money in their pockets, even if it comes at the expense of your health.

This is why getting good at reading nutritional panels is important. If you see the term hydrogenated or even ‘partially hydrogenated’, it’s time to steer clear of whatever food you are looking at.

Those who consume these types of fats will be at a higher risk for conditions such as obesity, heart disease, accelerated aging, as well as increased levels of oxidation taking place inside the body.

There is absolutely no need for these types of fats in your diet, so avoid them completely.

What foods are they most often found in?

Here are some of the biggest culprits.

  •      Doughnuts and other fried pastries
  •      Baked goods such as cakes, pie crusts, biscuits and cookies
  •      Crackers and some granola bars
  •      Stick margarines
  •      Frozen pizza crusts

Food manufactures do need to list trans fats on their nutritional label, so take a quick peek and you’ll soon know if the food you’re considering contains it.

Food #6 To Avoid – Simple Sugars

Foods To Avoid - Avoid Foods Containing Excessive Amounts Of Sugar

Avoid Foods Containing Excessive Amounts Of Sugar – Consuming too much sugar not only leads to weight gain, it can also lead to healthy problems such as diabetes.

Now we come to one of the most prevalent foods that people are eating in their diets that you must avoid at all costs – simple sugars.

Simple sugars, whether in sugar form or simply processed foods are major problem foods.

When a food contains a high degree of simple sugars, it’ll cause the blood sugar levels in your body to spike rapidly, which then means it’s only a matter of time before your pancreas releases a high dose of the hormone insulin to normalize the blood sugar again.

As this process takes place, the insulin removes the sugar and moves it to storage. That storage? Your body fat cells.

Unless you have just finished an intense exercise session and have muscle glycogen storage available (the storage for carbohydrates in muscle tissues), you are going not be gaining body fat.

And it’s not just fat gain that’s a big problem. Over time, this constant strain on your pancreas to release insulin can cause it to start to malfunction. Furthermore, your cells will slowly start becoming less sensitive to insulin, which only exacerbates the situation. Before you know it, you’re stuck with type 2 diabetes.

And let’s not forget the tooth decay that comes with simple sugars or the hyperactivity that can occur, especially in children when sugar is given.

Of particular importance, pay attention to any sort of fructose in your diet as well. While fructose from fruit is a perfectly healthy form of natural sugar, fructose in the form of high fructose corn syrup, which is often added to snack foods or soft drinks will quickly lead to fat gain.  The body only has a small storage reserve for fructose in the liver (as it does not move into the bloodstream but rather straight to the liver) and once this storage is filled up, the remaining fructose being consumed will get deposited as body fat unless it’s needed for immediate use.

Soft drinks, energy drinks, and any snack foods containing high fructose corn syrup are a one-way track to gaining unwanted body fat.

Be sure that you are also paying attention to any code words for sugar as well. It lurks in so many foods that you need to educate yourself.  Other names for sugar include:

  •      Agave nectar
  •      Molasses
  •      Can sugar
  •      Confectioner’s sugar
  •      Date sugar
  •      Icing sugar
  •      Maltodextrin
  •      Refiner’s syrup
  •      Brown sugar
  •      Caramel
  •      Corn syrup
  •      Glucose
  •      Grape sugar
  •      Maltose
  •      Rice syrup
  •      Sucrose
  •      Malt syrup
  •      Honey
  •      Fruit juice concentrate
  •      Dextrose
  •      Beet sugar
  •      Maple syrup
  •      Lactose
  •      Ethyl maltol
  •      Corn syrup solids
  •      Carob syrup

If you see these on an ingredient list, put that food back and keep moving along.  Some of the hidden sources of sugar to be on the lookout for include sauces and condiments, dairy products, processed meats, bread, beverages, salad dressings, breakfast cereals, and frozen meals.

These are just a few of the foods that you may find sugar lurking in.  Once you start reading your nutritional labels, you’ll soon find just how many everyday products you are consuming that are loaded with excess sugar.

Food #7 To Avoid – Alcohol

Drinks To Avoid - Avoid Alcohol

Avoid Alcohol – Alcohol is a source of empty calories at 7 calories per gram – almost twice as many as what’s found in proteins or carbohydrates

Now, as much as you may love going out on a Friday night with your friends for a few drinks, if you really want to ensure optimal health, you will want to rethink that game plan.

Alcohol is a toxin for the body and every time you put it into your system, all other process stop. Whether this is the protein synthesis taking place that helps you build more lean muscle mass or it’s the fat oxidation that was taking place, helping you get to a healthy weight.

Alcohol must be oxidized off completely before any of these processes can resume. So whenever you drink that beer, glass of wine, or mixed drink, think of it as taking a break from your healthy diet plan.

That’s not all. Alcohol also places strain on your liver, which over time, can lead to serious health concerns when consumed often enough.  Let’s not forget about the fact alcohol impairs your judgment. Whether this means potentially putting you in physical danger if you decide to drive home after a night of too many drinks or danger thanks to impaired judgment of the best foods to eat while drinking, no matter how you look at it, drinking is dangerous. And even more remarkably, it’s still completely legal.

Alcohol is also a source of empty calories and at 7 calories per gram – almost twice as many as what’s found in proteins or carbohydrates, it can cause weight gain very rapidly.

While one glass of wine here and there may not be the end of the world, if you are really looking for maximum bio optimization, you are best off avoiding alcohol entirely.

Food #8 To Avoid – Prescription Drugs

Avoid Prescription Drugs

Avoid Prescription Drugs – Most RX drugs have side effects that can spur on other health issues leading you to take more drugs for the side effects

Which now brings us to prescription drugs. We briefly spoke about this in the introduction, but relying on prescription based drugs (or drugs of any kind) to address your health is a bad move.

Sure, they may help treat the symptoms over the short term, but long term use of drugs just sets you up for multiple health problems down the road.

For instance, you may take one drug for years to help control symptoms related to a condition you are dealing with. But, after using that drug for a long period of time, you are then faced with a whole new set of symptoms related to that drug.

Now you need another drug to help deal with those symptoms.  It’s a never ending cycle that once started, can be hard to break free from.

Of course there is a time and place where certain drugs may be needed but they should only be used under the direct supervision of a physician.

Food #9 To Avoid – Pesticides

Foods To Avoid - Avoid Foods Containing Pesticides

Avoid Foods Containing Pesticides – Simply put, pesticides, fungacides and herbicides is like suicide to your gut, destroying all the good bacteria, which is responsible for a healthy immune system

Along with preservatives, pesticides are another big no-no that you’ll want to get out of your diet along with herbicides and fungicides as well.  These substances are being used on so much of the fresh produce and foods we eat today in effort to kill the bugs that may be getting onto those foods.

And while this may seem like a good thing, consider the fact that if it’s killing those bugs, what is it doing for your internal system? They’re also going to kill off the good bacteria that you have residing in your gut.  Those probiotics once again.

You’ll notice a trend here that many of these problem foods are those that are interfering with the naturally occurring probiotic bacteria living in your body. These probiotics are responsible for up to 70% of your immune system, so if they start dying off, you are left much weaker because of it.

Remember that your immune system is the first line of defense that protects your body against invading bacteria and viruses.

If that defense system is down, it’s basically a free for all for anything that wants to come in.

It’s important that you avoid these at all costs.  Now, you might be thinking – what about those bugs? Shouldn’t you avoid those?

You should as well. This is why it’s important to buy organic, locally grown produce to avoid the use of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides, while also keeping your food free of those unwanted bugs.

Especially when buying the ‘dirty dozen’, which refers to the fruits and vegetables that contain the highest level of pesticides, you’ll want to go organic.

This includes:

  •      Apples
  •      Celery
  •      Cherry Tomatoes
  •      Cucumbers
  •      Grapes
  •      Nectarines
  •      Peaches
  •      Potatoes
  •      Snap Peas
  •      Spinach
  •      Strawberries
  •      Sweet Bell Peppers

Outside of this, going organic is always a wise move, however if your budget is limited, the above choices are where you want to put your focus in terms of what you do or do not buy organic.

Food #10 To Avoid – Anything That Makes You Feel Bad

Finally, the last thing that you’ll want to consider removing from your diet is anything that makes you feel bad.  Now, you might immediately think this is way too general, but hear me out.

You are the master of your body. My goal by the end of this course is that you come to learn your body inside and out. You discover what does it good and what may be putting your health in jeopardy.

You can only do this if you are paying close attention to your day to day well-being. I want you to start keeping yourself open to listening to your body’s signals.

Ask yourself questions like:

  •      How do I feel after eating certain foods? Do I feel energized or tired and weak?  Or, do I get
    a burst of energy only to be followed by a serious crash that keeps me feeling miserable for hours to come?
  •      Do certain foods cause me to break-out or suffer from gas, bloating, or indigestion?
  •      Do I seem more prone to weight gain after consuming certain types of foods?
  •      Do I feel more stuffed up – suffering from congestion after meals that contain one particular type of food?
  •      Does my mood change when I eat certain types of foods? What about my concentration and focus?

All of these involve feedback that your body may be sending you that you need to start paying more attention to.

If you do feel like a particular food may be causing you issues, you need to address that food itself. This means eliminating that food on its own and keeping the rest of your diet the same. As you do this, watch for change. Does removing it relieve the issue?

If you take away too many things at once, it can be hard to know what was the problem food. Before you know it, you may have cut out foods that you don’t necessarily need to.

Just because a food is considered to be healthy by the standards I’ve listed above (it isn’t one of the above 9 offenders) doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good food for you.

You need to look at your own biochemistry and make that call. Some people for instance can’t tolerate dairy. Even organic dairy products give them problems.  For others, it might be oats.  Oats leave them bloated and feeling unwell.

Once you pinpoint a particular food is causing you issues, keep it out of your diet for good. You’ve now just learned some very important information about yourself that you can use in the future.

So there you have it – your guide to building a healthy diet and optimizing your well-being. If you can keep all of the above stated items off your healthy diet checklist, you will be feeling – and looking better in no time. Now that you understand the top 10 foods to avoid you may also be interested in readig about low calorie snacks.

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  1. mark kaiser on December 19, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    that is a pretty long list-you make excellent points to reconsider our food choices

  2. Claudette Houde on December 19, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    Maple sirup is a good sugar, as long as, like anything else, we don’t abuse!
    Very different than white sugar!

  3. Neda Escarrega on January 21, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    Nice Article-I learned about Rich’s adventures about a year ago after stumbling upon his story through a raw food forum. Funny to read this while sipping on a Ginger Pu-erh at my local tea shop. Love the video trailer-what’s packed into that smoothie btw?! -George

  4. www.ucgbc.Org on June 20, 2018 at 3:53 am

    Thanks to the wonderful manual

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