25 Unhealthy Foods You Need to Know: Your Ultimate Junk Food List
We’re all too aware that in today’s fast-paced world, the options for fast food and junk food seem to surround us constantly. It’s understandable that sometimes, in the rush of life, these choices become unavoidable. While these options can be convenient, they may come at a significant cost – and not just to our wallets!
I’ve compiled a list of the top 25 unhealthy foods that you should avoid, and you can jump straight to it by clicking here.
But before we dive into that list, I want to shed light on why it’s crucial to steer clear of these foods. It’s easy to skim through a list and think, “I’ll avoid these from now on,” but without understanding how these choices can impact your health, it’s challenging to make lasting changes.
The Dangers of Processed Foods
One of the biggest concerns within the realm of unhealthy foods is the prevalence of heavily processed options. Processed food often undergoes numerous refining steps that strip away essential nutrients, leaving behind a product that is not only lacking in healthful components but also teeming with artificial additives and preservatives.
These additives can include high levels of sodium, artificial sweeteners, and unhealthy trans fats, all of which are known to have detrimental effects on our health!
The Trans Fat Troublemakers
Trans fats, in particular, have garnered attention for their destructive impact on health. These artificially created fats are commonly found in many junk foods and fast-food items, extending their shelf life but also posing grave health risks.
Consuming trans fats has been associated with a heightened risk of heart disease, as they raise levels of bad cholesterol while lowering the good kind. This double whammy can lead to the development of atherosclerosis, a condition characterized by the narrowing and hardening of arteries, ultimately increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
The Digestive Disruption
Beyond the nutrient depletion, processed foods can wreak havoc on your digestive system! These highly refined products are often stripped of dietary fiber, an essential component for healthy digestion. Without an adequate intake of fiber, your digestive processes can become sluggish, leading to issues like constipation and discomfort.
BEFORE YOU READ: Keep It Realistic!
I understand that when you read this extensive list of unhealthy processed foods, it might seem impossible to completely eliminate them from your diet, and it is!
It’s important to recognize that we’re all human, and occasional cravings or indulgences are a part of life. So, don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t avoid this junk food list entirely!
But here’s the thing – while it might be challenging for you, your body doesn’t have the same luxury of choice.
You see, your body doesn’t distinguish between “sometimes” and “often” when it comes to unhealthy processed foods. It simply responds to what you feed it. Even if you can’t entirely avoid these foods, your body still has to process them, and that can put a significant strain on your digestive system.
That’s where Solluna’s Feel Good Digestive Enzymes come into play. These natural supplements are carefully formulated to support your body in breaking down and digesting various foods, including those notorious processed culprits. By providing your digestive system with the extra help it needs, you can reduce the potential discomfort and digestive distress that often accompany these unhealthy food choices.
25 Junk Foods to Keep Off Your Plate
Acidifying, chemical-laden, and loaded with either HFCS or artificial sweeteners (diet varieties), avoid all sodas at all costs. Instead, have some plain water or bring your own.
2. Fried Chicken
Made from conventional chicken laden with hormones and antibiotics, covered with gluten-containing breading and chemicals like MSG and salt, and fried in cheap, rancid oils, fried chicken is high in calories, fat, and other chemicals that can make you sick. Skip it altogether. Please, please, just never eat fried food!
3. Egg and sausage sandwich
Hormones, salt, antibiotics, and dairy make that breakfast sandwich a non-healthful choice. Instead, start your day with a Glowing Green Smoothie. You can make several and keep them in your freezer so you can always defrost one and still have one in a bind.
4. Bacon cheeseburger
Where do I begin? Fat, calories, and cholesterol are only part of the problem with bacon cheeseburgers, which also contain HFCS (in the buns and condiments), dairy, salt, hormones, and antibiotics. It’s just plain nasty. Instead, opt for a veggie burger or an avocado sandwich.
5. French fries
Talk about an unhealthy snack! Fries are simply salty, unhealthy fat bombs fried in the worst possible rancid oil. Many fast food places now offer alternatives to fries, such as a side salad (no dressing!)
Milkshakes are one of the most popular junk food examples, and for good reason! Loaded with saturated fat, added sugar, conventional dairy, and often chemicals for flavoring, milkshakes can leave you feeling sluggish and sick. Skip them and try one of the smoothie recipes inThe Beauty Detox Solution , instead.
7. Potato Chips
Potato chips are popular and might seem harmless, but they pack a punch when it comes to unhealthy eating. If you’re seeking a satisfying and healthier alternative, consider baked veggie chips or a handful of mixed nuts instead. So, the next time you reach for a bag of potato chips, think twice about the impact on your health.
8. Fish and chips
Many people select this as a “healthy” alternative to fast food, but it is anything but that. Fish serves as a sponge that mops up all of the toxic chemicals from the sea. Bread it in wheat flour (gluten) and fry it up; you’re looking at an unhealthy meal. Avoid fish unless you know where it comes from, and opt for a salad instead.
9. Pepperoni pizza
Cheese and white flour combined with nitrosamine-containing salty processed meat is toxic and unhealthy. Why not try some brown rice or quinoa pasta with tomato sauce instead?
10. Tuna melt
Tuna is a healthy food, right? Well, besides the mercury, tuna melts contain HFCS, dairy, salt, and gluten. Combined with the processed bread it comes on and possibly cheese thrown in the mix, it truly is a toxic horror. How about a veggie wrap instead?
11. Caesar salad
The salad part is okay – it’s everything else, the dressing, cheese, and croutons that are a problem. Caesar salad dressing likely contains salt, HFCS, eggs, and lots of fat. Instead, opt for a naked salad and add a squeeze of lemon some tomato, and mashed avocado for dressing.
12. Hamburger chili
The main concern with hamburger chili is the beef, which is very likely laden with hormones and antibiotics that can have harmful effects on your health. Fast food hamburgers may also contain E. coli and some pretty gross ingredients, including artificial color. Instead, have some vegetarian chili or vegetable soup.
Corn chips loaded with cheese, meat, and beans and then dipped in sour cream? Really?? Dairy, hamburgers,salt, and GMO corn are just a few of the health issues associated with this high-fat, high-calorie snack. Instead, ditch the junk food and have some vegetable sticks dipped in salsa.
14. Popcorn shrimp
Shrimp is like other fish, a dirty toxic dumping ground in the ocean for chemicals like PCBs and mercury. Take those chemicals and dip them in flour and salt, and deep fry them and you have a very unhealthy meal, particularly if you dip them in HFCS-laden cocktail or tartar sauce. If you really want fish, try some wild-caught Pacific salmon.
These sweet bits of dough contain wheat (gluten), added sugar, salt, and high-fructose corn syrup. Avoid them, avoid their harmful effects, and have a piece of fruit.
Dessert in fast food places isn’t much better than the main meal. Cheesecake is particularly bad because it not only has sugar, salt, and chemicals but also hormone-laden dairy. Avoid it, and try some yummyChia Pudding.
17. Hot dog
Talk about the ultimate junk food! Have you ever read what’s in hot dogs? They are created from “meat trimmings,” which may include organs that have been mechanically separated into a paste, blended with salt and other chemicals, and shaped into a hot dog. High in sodium, many hot dogs also contain HFCS and other unhealthy ingredients. Instead, try a veggie sandwich.
18. Teriyaki chicken
Many people believe this is a very healthy food option because it is low in fat and calories, but teriyaki chicken contains high levels of sugar, sodium, genetically modified soy, MSG, and other unhealthy chemicals. Try vegetables and brown rice instead.
19. Fish fillet sandwich
These sandwiches have the same problems as fish and chips – mercury and other chemicals, HFCS, breading, and lots of fat. Opt for a salad with some avocado or a sliced veggie burger on top.
20. Beef burrito
The biggest problem with a beef burrito is the beef and cheese. Dairy, hormones, antibiotics – they’re all in there. Instead, have a heart veggie burrito with some rice and beans (hold the cheese) if you are hungry.
Beef, chemicals in seasonings, cheese, and fried GMO corn all contribute to how unhealthy this food is. Make a taco salad with black beans and salsa instead.
22. Chicken nuggets
The mainstay of children around the world, chicken nuggets are terrible for you. First, they are made from mechanically separated conventional chicken(hormones, antibiotics) and then breaded with flour and salt (gluten), and contain copious amounts of corn byproducts. These are going to harm your kids’ health. Instead, offer them almond butter on celery sticks or a hummus sandwich.
Many parents select milk for their kids as a healthy fast food choice, and public health commercials might leave you nodding along in agreement. While it’s usually not considered junk food. However, milk is filled with hormones and antibiotics and is very difficult to digest. Instead, drink plain water.
24. Cold cut sandwich
Cold cuts have all kinds of chemicals, lots of sodium, and contaminated animal protein. They are also high in fat, and if you add cheese, dairy. Instead, have a hummus and veggie wrap.
25. Chef’s salad
Eggs, lunch meat, and fat-laden dressing make this “healthy” salad a really unhealthy choice loaded with fat, salt, added sugar, and all of the bad stuff that comes with meat. Instead, opt for a hearty green salad with some quinoa or avocado on top.
Health Costs of Fast Foods
The result of all of this fast food consumption in America is a growing obesity problem. Obesity is on the rise in all sectors and age groups, with youth obesity being of significant concern. Disease is on the rise, as well, and much of it links directly to diet. Rates of type 2 diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and heart disease have all risen as fast food has proliferated in America. A 2009 study printed in the journal Obesity examined the calorie count of the average fast food lunch. On average, the study found customers ate about 827 calories for a single meal, with chicken chains coming in at the highest count (931 calories) and sandwich chains such as Subway having the lowest calorie counts (about 750). Clearly, all of those calories are not great for your waistline, but regular readers know I always stress it’s not just about calories- many of the ingredients used in fast food meals cause the most concern.
Fast food meals are rife with all kinds of unhealthy ingredients, including High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) can be found in condiments (mayo, ketchup, mustard), soda, fries, desserts, salad dressings, and bread products. HFCS is a totally artificial sweetener that has been linked to obesity, liver scarring, and type 2 diabetes. Gluten is found in breading, buns, and other bread-like products. Gluten comes from wheat flour, and the human body is unable to process it well. Dairy in fast food meals comes in the form of milkshakes, ice cream, and cheese, that are high in saturated fat. The human body does not process dairy well and is laden with hormones and antibiotics.
Fast Food School Lunches
I think it is important to mention here that most school lunches are fast food, often paired with junk food as ‘snack foods’. The lunches, often “catered” by fast food corporations, arehigh in sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, dairy, and empty carbs. I strongly suggest parents protect their kids’ health by packing a healthful lunch rather than relying on school lunches, which are essentially fast food meals on a tray.
Healthy Eating Alternatives
In The Beauty Detox Solution, I outline ahealthy, plant-based diet with plenty of foods for energy to stay vitalized. With some planning and preparation, you can avoid all of those fast food marketing messages and eat well when you’re on the road, as well. Carry chopped veggies or raw almonds with you, and make smoothies you keep in the freezer for when you’re on the run.
In moments when you find yourself dining at a fast-food restaurant, opt for smart decisions by prioritizing vegetable or plant-based menu options. Remember, it’s not only your health that’s at stake here!
For parents, the impact of fast food and junk food extends beyond personal health—it affects your children too. Setting an example of making mindful food choices is crucial in teaching your kids to do the same. Frequent consumption of fast food is an unhealthy habit that can even lead to addiction. Avoid framing fast food as a “reward” because it instills the notion that it’s a prize, which is far from the truth.
Consistently making choices that promote your well-being serves as a valuable lesson for your children. By doing so, you’re imparting the wisdom of prioritizing health, a skill that will benefit them as they grow into healthier adults. Your efforts now will be greatly appreciated by them in the long run.