If certain foods didn’t lead to weight gain, diseases, and other health concerns, there would be no need for diets. Unfortunately, diets exist because we choose way too often to eat foods that are high in fat, sodium, sugar, or additives that should be in spelling bees instead of on ingredient lists.
Having a piece of cake or a soda every now and then won’t be the death of you, and it’s normal to have vices here and there. But if it happens too frequently, you’re asking for a boatload of health issues farther down the road. In some cases, favorite foods you grew up with spell disaster for your well-being, even if they are leftovers from the “good old days.” Just because your family cooked with certain ingredients or loaded up on pantry staples doesn’t mean they’re healthy for you. If you want to live a healthy lifestyle, it might be time to start avoiding these products and ingredients at the grocery store altogether. It’s not really a diet, but it is a choice that could lead to weight loss and other health benefits over time.
1. High fructose corn syrup
At one time it was trans fats, but now added sugar — specifically fructose — is the devil incarnate of the food world. However, it’s not without good reason. Sugar is basically empty calories that will provide you with 2,000 calories in a heartbeat, but leave you hunting and gathering in your pantry for more. That’s because fructose isn’t satiating — food-speak for making you feel full and helping you to voluntarily stop nibbling on everything in sight.
One of the biggest problems with sugar in your diet it how addicting it becomes. Research suggests sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine, meaning it’s a tough ingredient to cut once you’re used to it. On top of the addictive properties and the unavoidable weight gain with too much sugar in your diet, it can also cause damage to your skin, causing you to age much faster than someone who cuts down on the Skittles and soda they consume.
Another issue with cutting out sugar is that some foods sneakily have way more added sweetness than we might assume. Many foods can have more sugar than soda, especially if you’re eating more than the recommended serving size. If you’re looking to cut down on the amount of sugar you eat, keep in mind that you might experience some withdrawal symptoms. But if you’re serious about fighting your sugar cravings, it can be done.