A lot of us tuned in and freaked out when Jamie Oliver’s 'Sugar Rush' aired on Channel 4. And since then, there have been multiples programmes and reports explaining just how dramatically we need to trim back our sugar intake. In the spirit of keeping ourselves healthy and informed, here is a quick recap of those foods you definitely should not be eating.
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Empty calories, no nutritional benefit and too many reasons to list in one place. If you love yourself, your health and the planet, just say no to sugary drinks. To find out more, check out this comprehensive article by Harvard School of Public Health. [Photo: Rex]
Yes that means bacon, sliced and packaged salamis and hams. They are often ‘smoked’ and treated with toxic chemicals and always contain much more sodium than is healthy to eat. As if that weren’t enough of a reason, processed meat has been most closely linked to developing bowel and other cancers. Step away from the bacon and sausage butty! [Photo: Rex]
Eggs and meat from caged hens
Aside from how horribly the chickens in caged conditions are treated, their eggs are nutritionally inferior to happy chickens’ eggs. You are also more likely to consume antibiotics and other unnecessary chemicals that outdoor reared, free range chickens aren’t subjected to. [Photo: Rex]
High sugar breakfast cereal
A bowl of crunchy nut cereal may taste delicious but it truly is akin to eating a bowl of pure sugar. Watch out for fad marketing of ‘healthy’ cereals and avoid processed cereal if at all possible. [Photo: Rex]
The chemicals used to create that ‘fake’ sugary taste are as harmful as added sugar itself, with recent research pointing to it causing fat storing insulin spikes just like sugar does. Steer clear of low-sugar artificially sweetened foods, especially diet drinks and sugar-free sweets. [Photo: Rex]
A small glass of freshly squeezed juice is no bad thing but our modern habit of drinking litres of completely fibre free fruit juice is only making our teeth rot and our waistlines expand. Don’t forget that fructose is still a sugar, and removing the fibre by juicing means you consume a lot more sugar and absorb it a lot quicker. Eat an orange/apple/strawberry instead and really reap the benefits of nature’s rainbow. [Photo: Rex]
The problem with snack and cereal bars is that they are often full of added sugar so be careful, it may be easier and healthier to eat a handful of mixed roasted nuts! [Photo: Rex]
In case anyone thought eating a dried pot which turns to a ‘meal’ by adding hot water is okay… No. So much salt, so many preservatives, zero nutritional value. Make yourself a fresh stir fry if you’re really craving noodles. [Photo: Rex]
Raw fish that has not been properly prepared.
We are eating a lot more raw fish than we used to, but it’s best to be careful with raw food. One way to avoid nasty parasites is to ensure the fish is frozen to minus 20 degrees celsius before consuming it raw, which kills any potential parasite. You can find out more in the FDA report. [Photo: Rex]
Prepared food with more than 2 ingredients you can’t identify
If the packaging contains indecipherable ingredients, you probably don’t want to eat it. The chances are that it isn’t natural nor nutritious nor healthy. If you can’t prepare it from scratch then at least aim to keep it simple. [Photo: Rex]
Low fat food options
Low fat often means added sugar and salts and emulsifiers. Opt instead for healthy fats such as nuts and avocados which are good for your hair, skin and heart health, or stick with naturally prepared dairy products with all the naturally occurring fats and less of the added nasties. [Photo: Rex]
What makes margarine so spreadable is an increase in trans fats which have been proved to be harmful to health. Have a little natural, unsalted butter instead or a healthy vegetable oil like extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil. [Photo: Rex]
Shop Bought Salad Dressings
The amount of processed sugars, trans fats and artificial flavours that go into these dressings completely abolishes the nutritional benefits of the salad they’re being poured onto. Say hello to lemon juice, cold pressed extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar for a healthier option. [Photo: Rex]
Taurine, sugars, sweeteners, syrups and more. Another culprit of empty calories and negative nutritional value. Get a good night’s sleep, have a nap, and have some coffee or a banana to pick up your energy levels. [Photo: Rex]
Snack crackers, reformed meat slices, cheese made with no cheese; foods that are highly processed are never a good idea. Stick to fresh food as nature intended, prepared simply instead of packs of factory produced grocery items. [Photo: Rex]