The general consensus nowadays is that fad diets, more often than not, are ineffective in helping maintain overall good health. Still, watching what we eat and getting a balanced diet is critical in keeping our bodies functioning at their best. Although (like most foods) they can be consumed in moderation, avoiding these problem items in your diet can help you lose weight and even reduce your risk of several chronic illnesses.
Processed meats include salami, sausage, hot dogs, jerky, and other meats that have undergone curing, salting, or other methods of preservation. While meat in general is an excellent source of protein, processed meats contain chemicals that can be linked to a wide variety of chronic diseases. For example, studies show a link between high processed meat consumption and an increased risk of certain types of cancer and stroke.
As an alternative, try sticking to white meat like turkey and chicken. If you have to satisfy your processed meat craving, try buying from local butchers who are less likely to include as many additives in their products.
“Reduced” or “Low” Fat Foods
Although a moderate amount of fat is healthy, most Americans consume far too much in their everyday diet. For this reason, it may seem tempting to reach for labels touting “reduced” or “low” fat. However, when fat is removed, it is often replaced with other unhealthy substitutes like added artificial sugars to maintain flavor. It is well-established that artificial sweeteners lead to an increased risk of diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
Instead of reaching for these “reduced-fat” options, try and choose foods that are naturally low in fat, like whole grains, fish, fruit and vegetables.
Frozen foods come in many seemingly healthy options, and are extremely convenient. While some frozen foods, like frozen fruit, hold onto their nutrients, most lose the “good stuff” in the preservation process to make them last. Like “reduced fat” foods, some frozen items are also pumped with artificial sugars and added sodium to improve flavor.
As an alternative, try researching meal kits or one-pot recipes that will make preparing fresh food more convenient for you. The vitamins and nutrients your body will receive will be well worth the extra effort.
The Bottom Line
The golden rule when considering your diet is to aim for as many fresh, unprocessed ingredients as possible. Still, don’t be afraid to treat yourself to that favorite dessert or snack every once in a while. Research shows that diets are much more successful in the long term if you allow yourself the occasional cheat. At the end of the day, food is our bodies’ fuel; ensure you get the most out of each of your Shred workouts by eating right.