Here is my list of the five foods that I avoid because I know they will end up ageing me quicker. I am not a believer in diets where you deny yourself the food you really love. It’s just about controlling your portions and allowing naughty foods to become a weekend treat rather than the the norm. That said, the evidence on these particular foods is overwhelming and so I avoid them where possible.
Biscuits that contain Hydrogenated Fats.
It doesn’t take long to check the ingredients on a packet of biscuits to find that they may contain ‘partially hydrogenated fats’. These are dangerous because they contain trans-fats which raise our bad cholesterol levels and have other harmful effects on our system. You are better reaching for an all butter shortbread which may have a simple and natural list of ingredients rather than, for example a highly processed custard cream! Yes, the shortbread may have more saturated fat, but some saturated fat in moderation in our diet has been proven to be ok and much more preferential than the potentially harmful trans-fats.
Low Fat Crisps and snacks that contain Olestra.
Olestra is a fake fat used in low fat crisps and snacks that can be found in such brands as low-fat Doritos and fat-free Pringles. We buy them assuming we are consuming a healthier snack because it is low in fat. The problem is Olestra has been shown to bind with fat-soluble vitamins A, E, D and K and carotenoids and to eliminate them from your system. These are all substances thought to keep the immune system healthy and prevent some cancers. Not good news, so best go for potato chips cooked in natural sunflower oil, if you are really craving your crisp fix.
Cured meats such as Bacon that contain Sodium Nitrite.
It’s simple, look out for an ingredient called sodium nitrite which is used in the curing process. This is the chemical you may have read about that can cause harmful carcinogenic substances within the body which can cause damage to our cells. If you really need your bacon fix then consuming it with Vitamin C seems to help protect you from the harmful effects of cured meats.
Fizzy drinks that are packed with Sugar.
Refined sugar is your skins enemy and you can find out why by clicking here.
Consuming a sugary drink on the go, with no protein or fibre to slow down absorption into your system, can do the most harm because your body will be under the most strain to process it. Long term this could potentially cause type 2 diabetes and in the short term an immediate effect on the collagen and elastin within your skin. Diet fizzy drinks are just as bad as they are packed with artificial sweeteners and colourings. Try fruit juice with sparkling water using a 50/50 mix. To make sure it’s not bland try something like a mango and apple juice which is really tasty or pineapple perhaps? It still tastes good, you get your fizzy fix and it’s better for you as it contains no refined sugar or added chemicals.
Frozen or Microwave Ready Meals.
These meals can be full of fat, salt and sugar to hide the fact that the basic ingredients will probably be of low quality. They are inexpensive so great if you are on a budget, but the meat will be low grade and the vegetables will often be nutrient deficient after pre-cooking. Both are good reasons to stay away from these ready meals if you can. So many chefs, including Jamie Oliver in the UK, are now focusing on quick, easy and nutritious recipes that are easy to find online. We seem conditioned to think we must have a gastronomic experience every night, a lasagne or a Chinese or some restaurant type meal at home. We’d rather reach for a ready prepared version of this type of meal than our own simple creations. Sometimes simple scrambled egg on wholemeal toast with avocado can be much more nutritious than these so called frozen culinary experiences. Whats more they can be just as quick to prepare and even better they are cheap!