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EduKational Health Article

foods to avoid

Foods That Are Considered Bad For Your Health (Avoid Them)

T here is a lot of conflicting information avaialble about which foods are healthy, and which are not. Any food eaten in excess can be 'bad' for you.

Here is a list of foods, in no particular order, that are generally accepted as being very unhealthy.

If you want to maintain a healthy weight and avoid chronic disease, then you should avoid these foods completely. Click the links below to read more information.

Sugary Drinks

sugary drinks

Added sugar is the single worst ingredient in the modern diet.

However, some sources of sugar are worse than others, and sugary drinks one of the worst.

The brain doesn't 'register' calories from sugar in drink as food and, therefore, the brain does not receive 'satiety' or feelings of sufficient food intake; because of this people don't automatically compensate by eating less of other foods instead, and end up drastically increasing their total calorie intake.

Eating large amounts of sugar can bring on insulin resistance in the body and is strongly linked to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. It is also associated with various serious diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Sugary drinks are one of the most fattening aspect of the modern diet, and drinking them in large amounts can lead to fat gain and obesity.

Alternatives: Drink water, soda water, coffee or tea instead. Adding a slice of lemon to water or soda water can add some taste if you don't like it plain.

Most Fruit Juices

fruit juice

Packaged Fruit juice is often assumed to be healthy, but this is a mistake because many fruit juices are actually little more than fruit-flavored sugar water.

It is true that the juice contains some antioxidants and vitamin C, but this must be weighed against the large amount of liquid sugar (In fact, fruit juice often contains just as much sugar as a sugary drink like Coke or Pepsi, and sometimes even more).

There are some fruit juices that have been shown to have health benefits despite the sugar content, such as pomegrenate juice and blueberry juice.

These should, however, only be considered as supplements to a diet, not thirst quenching drinks for every day.

Alternatives: Drink water instead. Try adding a slice of lemon or lime to plain water.

Most Pizzas


Pizza is one of the world's most popular junk foods.

This is not surprising, as it tastes good to our palate and is extremely convenient to eat.

The problem is that most commercially prepared pizzas are mostly made with very unhealthy ingredients.

Pizza dough is made from highly refined wheat flour. The meat and other ingredients on them is usually highly processed. Because of the ingredients used Pizza generally is extremely high in calories.

Alternatives: Homemade pizzas can be very healthy, as long as you choose wholesome ingredients. Some pizza restaurants use healthier ingredients; although it is probably best to avoid them.

White Bread

white bread

Bread is generally made from wheat, which contains the protein gluten, for this reason, all wheat-based breads are a bad idea for people who have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

However, most commercial breads are unhealthy, even for people who do tolerate gluten because the great majority of them are made from refined wheat, which is low in essential nutrients (empty calories). Commercial breads also contain large amounts of sugar and leads to rapid spikes in blood sugar.

Alternatives: Whole grain bread is also definitely better (or "less bad") than white bread.

Industrial Vegetable Oils

vegetable oil

In the last 100 years or so, people have increased their consumption of added fats.

However, this is entirely explained by a drastic increase in the consumption of refined vegetable oils, such as soybean oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil and canola oil.

These oils are very high in omega-6 fatty acids, which humans never consumed in such large amounts before.

There are many serious concerns with these oils. They are highly sensitive to oxidation and cause increased oxidative stress in the body. They have also been linked to increased risk of cancer.

Alternatives: Use healthier fats like coconut oil, butter, extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil instead.



Margarine used to be considered a healthy alternative to butter.

Fortunately, most people have now realized that this is far from being true.

Margarine is a highly processed pseudo-food that has been engineered to look and taste like butter.

It is loaded with artificial ingredients, and is usually made with industrial vegetable oils that have been hydrogenated to make them more solid. This increases their trans fat content significantly.

Keep in mind that manufacturers are allowed to label their products with "no trans fat" as long as it contains less than 0.5 grams per serving, which is still a significant amount.

Alternatives: Use real butter instead, preferably from grass-fed cows.

Pastries, Biscuits (Cookies), and Cakes


Most pastries, cookies and cakes are extremely unhealthy.

They are generally made with refined sugar, refined wheat flour and added fats, which are often disturbingly unhealthy fats like shortening that is high in trans fats.

Pastries, cookies and cakes are without doubt some of the worst things that you can eat. They have almost no essential nutrients, but contain loads of calories and unhealthy ingredients.

Alternatives: Eat fresh fruit instead.

French Fries and Potato Chips

french fries

Whole, white potatoes are very healthy.

However, the same can NOT be said of the products that are made from them, such as French fries (chips) and potato chips (crisps).

These foods are very high in calories, and, because of the manufacturing process, lots of fats and salt. French fries and potato chips contain carbohydrates in the form of starches. Potatoes, which are a common food processed into chips, have among the highest starch content of any food. Any time you are consuming carbohydrates, you are consuming foods that increase your blood sugar. Several studies link consumption of french fries and potato chips with weight gain.

These foods may also contain large amounts of acrylamides, carcinogenic substances that form when potatoes are fried, baked or roasted.

Alternatives: Potatoes are best consumed boiled, not fried. If you need something crunchy to replace potato chips, try baby carrots or nuts.

Gluten-Free Junk Foods


Gluten-free is all the rage these days.

People think gluten-free means healthier (it doesn't always), and food marketers think those people will pay more for foods with a gluten-free label (they often do). This, in turn, has contributed to the massive growth of the gluten-free market.

The problem with many gluten-free diets, is that people replace the gluten-containing foods with processed junk foods that happen to be gluten-free.

These gluten-free replacement products are often high in sugar, unhealthy oils and refined grains like corn starch or tapioca starch. These refined starches lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar, and are extremely low in essential nutrients.

See our article on "Gluten - The Facts"

Alternatives: Choose foods that are naturally gluten-free, like unprocessed plants and animal foods. Gluten-free junk food is still junk food.

"Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments."

Bethenny Frankel

Low-Fat Yogurt


Natural Yogurt can be very healthy when eaten as part of a balanced diet.

Unfortunately, most yogurts found in the grocery store are extremely bad for you.

They are frequently low in fat, but have a high sugar content to make up for the lack of taste that the removed fats provided.

Put simply, the yogurt has had the healthy, natural dairy fats removed, only to be replaced with something much, much worse.

Additionally, many yogurts don't actually contain probiotic bacteria, as generally believed because they are often pasteurized after fermentation, which kills all the bacteria.

Alternatives: Choose regular, natural full-fat yogurt that contains live or active cultures (probiotics).

Low-Carb Junk Foods

iced cream

Low-carb diets are very popular, and have been for many years now.

There are plenty of real foods that you can eat on a low-carb diet, most of which are very healthy.

However, this is not true of processed low-carb replacement products, such as low-carb candy bars and meal replacements.

These are generally highly processed foods that contain very little actual nutrition, just a bunch of artificial ingredients mixed together and then sold as food.

Alternatives: If you're on a low-carb diet, eat foods that are naturally low in carbs, for example Broccoli, Cauliflower, Mushrooms, Peppers, Chard or collard greens, Asparagus, Spinach, Green beans, Leeks or onions, Tomatoes, Brussel sprouts, Avocado, Turnips, Cabbage.

Remember: Low-carb junk food is still junk food.

Ice Cream

iced cream

Ice cream is one of the most delicious foods on the planet.

Unfortunately, it is also one of the unhealthiest as most commercial ice cream is full of added sugar.

Ice cream is also high in calories, and it is very easy to eat excessive amounts. Eating it for dessert is even worse, because then you're adding it all on top of your total calorie intake.

Alternatives: It is possible to make your own ice cream using healthier ingredients and significantly less (or no) sugar.

Chocolate (Candy) Bars

chocolate bar

Chocolate bars are extremely unhealthy.

They are high in sugar, refined wheat flour and processed fats. They are also very low in essential nutrients.

Processed foods like chocolate bars are generally made to be super tasty (so you eat more), and have been designed so that it's very easy to eat them quickly.

A chocolate bar may taste good and cause some short-term satiety, but you'll be hungry again very quickly because of the way these high-sugar treats are metabolized.

Alternatives: Eat a piece of fruit instead, or a piece of real high-cocoa dark chocolate.

Processed Meat

processed meat

Even though unprocessed meat can be healthy and nutritious, the same is NOT true for processed meats.

Studies show that people who eat processed meats have a higher risk of many serious diseases, including colon cancer, type-2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Most of these studies are observational in nature, so they cannot prove that the processed meat caused the diseases.

However, the statistical link is strong and consistent among research studies worldwide.

The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies processed meats as a class 1 carcinogen (carcinogen - Cancer causing agent), and classifies red meat, such as beef, lamb and pork as a ‘probable’ cause of cancer.
On the advice of its International Agency for Research on Cancer, WHO is suggesting the public to either avoid eating processed meat or eating less.

Alternatives: If you want to eat bacon, sausages, pepperoni and other "processed" meats, then choose wisely and try to buy them locally from sellers who don't add a lot of unhealthy ingredients. Quality counts.

Processed Cheese

processed cheese

Natural cheeses eaten as part of a balanced diet are healthy.

Cheese is loaded with nutrients, and a single slice of cheese may contain all the same nutrients as an entire glass of milk.

However, processed cheese products are nothing like regular cheese. They are mostly made with filler ingredients that are combined and made to have a similar look and texture as natural cheese.

Naturally made cheese is healthy, but processed cheese is not.

Read food packaging labels, and make sure that the cheese you're eating is actually cheese.

Alternatives: Eat real cheese instead.

Most Fast Food Meals

no junk food

Generally speaking, "fast food" chains serve only junk foods.

The majority of the food they offer is mass-produced, highly processed junk food with very little nutritional value.

Fast food outlets are convenient (deliberately so) and are often very cheap, but keep in mind that junk food costs you twice; this is because for every penny you save there, the chances are that it's going to cost you much more in the future in terms of poor health. Poor health is expensive.

Alternatives: Fortunately, all sorts of healthy fast food places have started to appear. Chipotle is one great example.

High-Calorie “Coffee” Drinks

coffee drink

Coffee has been lauded and demonized in equal measure over the years.

It is actually very healthy, and loaded with antioxidants.

Studies have shown that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of serious diseases, like type-2 diabetes and Parkinson's disease.

Unfortunately, sometimes unhealth stuff added to coffee turns this beverage into harmful sludge.

If your "coffee" has lots of artificial creamer and sweetners, or added sugars, then it is NOT good for you.

It is flavoured liquid, empty calories, and will be just as unhealthy as any other sugar-sweetened beverage.

Alternatives: Drink moderate amounts of plain coffee instead. Black is best, but small amounts of fresh cream or full-fat milk are fine as well.

Foods High in Added Sugar, Refined Grains and Vegetable Oils

One of the most important things you can do to eat more healthily, is to read labels.

It is important to avoid (or at least minimize) foods that contain:

  • Added sugar (and high fructose corn syrup).
  • Refined grains like white flour.
  • Industrial vegetable oils.
  • Artificial trans-fats.

These are some of the unhealthiest (and most common) ingredients in the modern diet.

The importance of reading labels can not be overstated, and this applies to all foods, even so-called health foods.

Most Highly Processed pre-packaged Foods

By far the simplest way to eat healthy, is to avoid processed foods as much as possible.

Put simply, if it looks like it was made in a factory, then it's probably bad for you.

A good rule to remember is that real food doesn't need an ingredients list, because real food IS the ingredient.

What can we ordinary people do?

EduKational Restaurant recommends all people become 'Intelligent Eaters' in order to take control of their health by making educated decisions gained by learning from only honest Doctors and dietitians.

Intelligent Eaters should only take notice of honest peer reviewed information. They must refuse to be taken in by health fraud scams and the health frauds put forward by the dishonest, greedy food manufacturers and those dishonest clinicians in their pay.

See our article on health scams at: Cartoon illustration.







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