20 Processed Foods We Should All Stop Eating Today

By Aaron Love 10 months ago

Sweet Breakfast Cereal

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One of the best ways to determine whether or not something is processed too much is to inspect the ingredient list on the back of the box. You probably wouldn't be surprised to hear that the sugary cereals aimed towards children tend to be the worst for you. But don't lie, we all know you've probably had a bowl for yourself every now and then.

Soda Bottles And Cans

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You will have grown up drinking a whole array of sodas from Coca Cola and Pepsi to Arizona's and Calypso's. The problem is that almost all of them contain a long list of additives and sugars which show they're processed considerably before they reach you in their cans and bottles. You can try out some of the zero sugar varieties but really you should just cut them out.

Potato Chips

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Potato Chips are products that we all buy regularly when we go out to the stores, sometimes as part of our lunches or sometimes just as a snack. They're addictive right? Well, you wouldn't be surprised that all the potatoes have been completely processed and are unhealthy for us! They have a load of salt and fat added to them, try making your own instead!

Bread

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Bread, particularly white bread, is actually processed considerably during the process before it reaches the shelves in the stores we go to. Many companies add a number of additives that you'll find on the packaging in order to try and keep it fresher for longer periods of time. Wholemeal is slightly better for you but you could also try some baking for yourself.

Candy Bars

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You wouldn't be surprised to find that Candy Bars contain quite a lot of additives and sugars; all of this is part of quite a considerable process timeline in order for all the ingredients to be combined in to the bars we all love so much. You will already know that we shouldn't eat too many candy bars as it is, but maybe none at all would be better.

Fried Chicken

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Who doesn't love a bucket of fried chicken! You'd actually be better off, in terms of processed foods, to head to a chain like KFC to avoid so many additives (its still very unhealthy) but all of the frozen fried chicken that you might be able to buy from the stores contain a boatload of additional ingredients. Again, just make your own, it'll probably taste better!

Mashed Potato Flakes

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For some of us, mashed potato flakes are a suitable alternative to the real deal, it saves a bit of energy and even more time before we settle down to eat. Although they taste pretty similar, they don't offer the same natural flavours and nutritious values of a real potato. Just put the effort in for a little while and peel and boil and mash your own potatoes (you don't even need to peel them!).

Energy Drinks

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If you're struggling to keep yourself awake during the day, especially after a troublesome night with little sleep, you might be persuaded to open up a can of Red Bull or a Monster. The problem is that these are quite a dangerous and very unnecessary boost of caffeine and a can load of sugars that will cause you more harm than good, especially in excess.

Store Bought Granola Bars

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You might think that all those cereal and granola bars you see in the aisles at your local stores are good for you, however, they contain a load of added sugars and other unnecessary ingredient that don't really benefit us. They might claim they're great for breakfasts, but they're mostly made up of things that will leave you hungry as the day goes on.

Bacon

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Pretty much all meat you'll pull off the shelves of your supermarket will have been processed in some form or another (those that aren't fresh cuts of  meat!). And although we all love some bacon in the morning (or the evening) it actually has a load of salt and saturated fats. Neither of these, as I'm sure you can imagine, are particularly good for you!

Sausages And Hot Dogs

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It isn't just bacon that contains a load of salt and fat, but pretty much all meats you'll buy pre-packed. I know, like bacon, a lot of us enjoy throwing a couple of sausages on the grill and some of them can taste great, but in reality it probably isn't worth putting yourself at risk. Heart diseases are just one of the many conditions linked to meat preservatives.

Beef Jerky

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Beef jerky, or any jerky for that matter, might be a delicious snack for all you meat-eaters out there, but it might not be so delicious when you take a browse of all the ingredients on the packaging. During the drying out period, and in order to preserve the meat in packaging, a whole range of ingredients are placed within the product to keep it 'tasty' for our consumption.

Corned Beef

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It probably won't come as any surprise to you that the corned beef that you get from a can is actually heavily processed. All meats that are stored in cans before they are purchased have to have a load of additives and preservatives added to them in order to make sure that the meat won't go off before you start want to cook it for your meals.

Ready Meals

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I'm sure most of us don't really enjoy eating ready meals that often but you can't get away from the fact they can be really convenient for our lunches or late night meals after a long day at work. The problem is that in order to keep them cheap and available, they tend to contain an insane amount of fats and salt which as you know is no good for you!

Flavoured Nuts

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You might not regularly eat flavoured nuts, its more something you might come across when you're spending time at a kids party or something similar. The thing is, they actually taste great (honey-roasted is my favourite); but they contain way more sugars fats and salts than is worthwhile for your body. Maybe stick to the more boring plain nuts instead.

Microwave Popcorn

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Microwave popcorn can be a quick and easy way to get the feeling of being at the cinema when you're sat on the sofa, and they usually taste pretty good as well right? The problem is, when they are packaged a load of artificial flavourings and preservatives are added which aren't healthy for the body. Buy some popcorn kernels and do it yourself.

Instant Noodles

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Instant noodles, like ready meals, can be a great and efficient option for our lunches as well as the fact they're easily portable for us to carry. The problem is that these pot snacks are super processed and offer essentially no nutritional value to us when we eat them. All those carbs probably won't do you too many favours either.

Fruit Snacks

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Do you regularly feed your children those fruity snacks that are usually advertised as being healthy and great for your kids to get their fruit and veg servings for the day. The problem is that although they are made from real fruits they tend to have quite a lot of sugar added to them, or a lot of sugar present from the fruits in the first place. Just buy them an apple or a banana instead.

Butter Or Marg

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Although many of us were made to believe that margarine was healthier than butter, but it actually turns out that they contain a load of processed fats added during the production. These fats are awful as high consumption of them can actually lead to some major issues like strokes and people suffering from heart disease and cholesterol problems.

Artificial Cracker Flavors

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You might prefer some crackers instead of potato chips, but the issue doesn't really change either way. In order for food products to be flavoured in a certain way they have to have a load of additives introduced to both the interior and external surface of the food. They might taste great but you'll probably regret it in the future.

Ice Cream

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Almost all ice creams on the market contain a boat load of additives and sugars that are added throughout the production process, including all of the additional ingredients that are added to the milk and cream that would have been used to make it! You'd be able to get your hands on an ice cream maker pretty easily and it would taste so much better as well as being better for you!

Frozen Pizza

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I think we can all agree that frozen pizzas are none of our favourite meals, quite simply, they don't even half match up to how good a fresh or restaurant bought one might taste. So take in to account that they contain a load of random ingredients and consider keeping these out of your regular diet. Make your own using some fresh ingredients!

Dried Pasta

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Although pasta is actually quite a positive thing to add to your weekly diet, its still important that you don't have it everyday, keeping its usage in moderation. Too much pasta within your diet is bad enough as you don't want to be eating carbs with every meal as it is. If you must though, try introducing some alternatives like wholemeal pastas to menu.

Sweetened Yogurt

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Yogurts can be a great thing to introduce to your weekly meals, they're great when it comes to breakfasts. You can add them to granola or add them to your pancakes stack! The problem comes when you purchase the yogurts that are artificially sweetened or flavoured which contain all those nasties. Flavour them yourself with some honey or fruit (or both!).

Canned Soups

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Canned soups are another great option that we all have for our daily lunches at work or even at home if we're feeling a little lazy. Some of them are much better for us than others, especially those using a load of veg. Still though, they'll pretty much all contain a load of salt and preservatives to keep them good in the can. Buy fresh or make your own instead.

Pop Tarts

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Okay, there probably comes a time when we're probably a little old to be eating these breakfast pastries; they are aimed at our children after all! They might taste great and be a little addictive, but that's EXACTLY the problem. They tend to contain way too much sugar, close to the amount you should be eating in an entire day in some cases!

'Sugar-Free' Snacks

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This one might take you by surprise a little bit, but those healthy (or supposedly healthy snacks) might actually not be doing you any favours at all. In order to get the same taste or sweetness as normal products they'll add an alarming amount of artificial sweeteners which do you just as much harm as some of the real sugars you're trying to avoid.

Skinny Coffees

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Some of us love our caffeine fix in the morning and some of us get it by buying refrigerated coffee drinks from local stores. There are a number of these on the market and you can even get sugar-free syrups at popular chains now too. These also contain some artificial sweeteners that cause our body to struggle to understand what we are regulating.

Maple Syrup

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If you're looking to add some sweetness to your processed bacon on your (probably) processed pancakes, then you're probably going to reach for the bottle of processed maple syrup! Most syrups available on the market will have had corn syrups made up of the unhealthy sugars added to them. Get the expensive stuff, it'll be the real deal.

Cheese Dips

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We've probably all bought a cheese dip to go with our tortilla chips, or you've bought some cinema nachos with that weird squishy cheese. These dips are often full of artificial flavours and colours which create an unnerving amount of ingredients. Just melt your own cheese instead, its probably a little more expensive (and still quite unhealthy though).

Here are some "healthy" foods that actually aren't! Some smoothie bowls

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The trick with healthy smoothie bowls is that you have to do them in a certain way to actually get the health benefits - because sometimes they can easily step over the line into 'unhealthy'! To ensure a healthy smoothie bowl, you need a good balance of both fruit and veg with a portion size that doesn't overdo it. But the problem is that most of them that you grab on the go will be packed with sugar and more calories than you'd expect.

Granola

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If you thought you were eating a healthy breakfast, think again! You're much better off going for oatmeal which you can add fresh fruit or other healthy toppings too, because granola is a risky one when it comes to health. This is because a bowl of granola when it's come from packaged brands can include a lot processed oils, sugar, even sometimes chocolate chips in certain brands, as well as more calories than you'd expect!

Veggie chips

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If you switched to veggie chips thinking you were doing a little bit of good in the world when it comes to your diet, we have some bad news for you. Veggies chips claim to be made from real vegetables, but a lot of the time they'll have 'veggie powders' instead, which don't have the same nutritional value as actual vegetables. The reason they might use this powder is to give the chips that brighter color.

Agave syrup

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Agave is a popular choice as a healthier alternative to things like honey or syrup, but sadly, what it lacks in a glycemic index (which is why a lot of healthy people choose to have it) it more than makes up for in fructose. It actually has more fructose in it than white sugar does - a whopping 80/90 percent more! Another issue is that you might even be using more of it than you would regular sugar, because you think it's healthier.

Flavored yogurt

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Yogurt is a great option as a healthy snack if you're also looking for good gut health, but the issue is which yogurt you choose to have. Some are more healthy than others, and when it comes to flavored versions, this is the most likely to have a higher sugar content (because it tastes sweeter and more flavorsome!). You're better having plain Greek yogurt and adding your own fresh fruit.

Diet soda

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Most people know these days that diet soda isn't as diet friendly as it's making itself out to be, but still people opt for it over full-fat version in a bid to be a bit healthier. The best choice if you really want to be healthy is just to cut any soda out altogether. Diet sodas don't have the same high sugar content, but they do have artifical sweeteners as a replacement, which isn't good news.

Snack packs at 100 calories

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These snack packs are a fantastic idea for people who want, or need, to count their calories, and they ensure you're still allowed a sweet treat every now again while staying under your calorie allowance. The issue with these is that they're mostly full of empty calories - even though they say 100. Not only that, you're likely to eat more of them because of thinking they're less calories!

Spinach wraps

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Spinach is one of the healthiest things you can include in your diet for vitamins and minerals. The issue is when the spinach isn't freshly made on its own, and when it comes ready made in one of these wraps sold in stores. The problem with these is that there's barely any spinach left, at least in terms of nutritional value. The wraps are usually made with refined tortilla ingredients, like white flour and corn.

Sports drinks

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You should definitely only be drinking sports drinks when you're working out to complement your exercise routine, but because of this, many people think they're a healthy drink to have if you drink them alongside exercise. But sports drinks have a huge amount of calories - as well as a huge dose of sugar - so you really shouldn't be chugging them back around casual exercise.

Muffins

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This might seem an obvious one in the 'things that aren't healthy' box but these days a lot of people turn to muffins as a 'healthier' alternative to other baked goods, especially cupcakes. We're sorry to burst your muffin-shaped bubble, though, because these things are just as unhealthy. They have a ton of calories and some can actually have over a third of your recommended daily fat intake!

Snacks that are gluten-free

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There are people who of course need to eat gluten-free food for reasons that don't have to do with being healthy or losing weight, but in general, gluten-free food isn't a 'healthier alternative'. You can find the same amount of calories, sugar, fat or sodium in gluten-free snacks as you can in the regular variety, and it always pays to read the nutrition label if you want to double check!

Microwave popcorn

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None of us are sitting there with a massive bag of popcorn thinking it's a healthy snack, but there is a way you can make it worse - and that's by opting for microwave popcorn above all other varieties. This pre-packaged popcorn is extremely high in chemicals, additives, and a HUGE amount of saturated fat that your diet plan isn't going to thank you for. So you might want to choose a different movie night snack!

Dried fruit

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You're trying your best to eat more fruit, and you thought dried fruit might be a good, healthy choice. The issue with dried fruit is that the fructose in the fruit actually becomes more concentrated when it's dried which means you'll be getting a higher amount of it in smaller doses compared to fresh fruit of the same portion size. There's also the risk of some companies putting sugar on theirs!

Yogurt parfaits

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This one is a tough one to digest - pun intended - because you'd think that mixture of healthy yogurt and healthy fruit would mean an absolute winner of a snack! The issue here is pretty much the same as the smoothie bowls, where ready-made yogurt parfaits sold in stores likely have a high amount of added sugars or sweetened yogurt, compared to if you made it more healthily at home from scratch.

Blue corn tortilla chips

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A lot of people have also turned to blue corn chips as an alternative to the yellow corn chips in a bid to be a little healthier. There are some benefits of blue corn in comparison, like having more of an antioxidant content than yellow corn does, but the problem is that a lot of gets baked away during the manufacturing process. This means most blue corn chips off the shelf will be pretty much the same as processed yellow corn chips!

Frozen TV dinners

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These are extremely handy in a pinch after a long day at work, and sometimes you don't think they're too unhealthy if it's a meal that sounds acceptable, like spinach pasta maybe instead of beef and potatoes, but ultimately any frozen dinner dish is going to be very unhealthy for you, because of the amount of added sodium as well as a lot of preservatives.

Soup in a can

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Soup has always been marketed as on the healthy side, because it's chock full of vegetables, and most cans will tell you it's at least one of your five a day. But with canned soup compared to soup you'd make yourself fresh at home, you're getting a high amount of sodium as well as Bisphenol A - or BPA - which can disrupt the body. You can also expect sugar and fat in those cans, too.

Fruit cocktail from a can

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Basically, be wary of anything in a can that you can make from fresh yourself! The canned alternative to an actual fresh fruit cocktail is going to be an unhealthy choice, and that's because of the way it's preserved. Canned fruit cocktail can seem a good choice if you don't want fresh fruit to spoil, but the reason it doesn't spoil is because it's kept in syrup and sugar.

Certain fruit juices

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When you're trying to be healthy on a daily basis, you might often reach for fruit juice. That has to be healthy, right? It's fruit! Alas, if you're buying ready made fruit juices - instead of squeezing your own oranges at home - then you're likely getting a high amount of sugar content, too. Shockingly, you might actually be drinking more sugar than you would be with a can of cola...

Protein bars

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Finishing strong with this one, protein bars are often eaten by people working out or needing a 'healthy' office snack, but all you're getting with a protein bar is basically what you'd get from a candy bar when it comes to your health. Protein bars come with sugar, and some of them will also come in chocolate varieties. Not only that, a lot can have more carbohydrates than they do actual protein!