Saturday, September 12, 2015

13 Foods to Kick Out of the Kitchen Forever

If you think your cabinets are stocked with mostly good-for-you foods, you may want to take a second look.

Many Americans’ kitchens are loaded with innocent-looking cans, containers and tubs that are filled with nutrient-void, chemical-laden fare. The worst part is, these dietary devils are often hard to spot, have serious implications on health and impede weight loss goals.

But fear not! We’ve come up with a list of things you should toss today and offer up some similar, safer and more nutritious things to replace them.


These classic spreads look innocent enough, but they are really just pieces of fruit smothered in sugar and juice that have been shoved inside a jar. One tablespoon carries just under 10 grams of sugar and 60 calories and, let’s be honest, who ever uses just one? Top peanut butter sandwiches with fresh pieces of fruit like banana and strawberries to get a similar taste with none of the added sugar. This tactic will help ward off blood sugar fluctuations that can cause insulin spikes and put hunger into overdrive, derailing your weight loss efforts.


Often loaded with various vitamins and calcium, a bowl of cereal can be quite the trickster. Despite the alphabet of nutrients listed on the side of the box, sweetened varieties—often modeled after cookies or loaded with marshmallows—are not at all good for you. Get the wholesome nutrients for a fraction of the calories and sugar by switching to steel-cut oats. Top your bowl with nuts and fresh fruit to add some crunch and sweetness, and keep hunger at bay all morning long.


If you think these flimsy blankets of carbohydrates are better for you than bread, you’re not alone; it’s a common misconception. But if you take a closer look at the nutrition label, you’ll find that many varieties are loaded with calories and gross chemicals like L-cysteine, a “dough conditioner” made from human hair and poultry feathers. Yuck! Not to mention, wraps are also loaded with soybean oil and hydrogenated oils— it’s what makes them so pliable and bendy. Toss them to the curb and and restock your shelves with whole grain, high fructose corn syrup-free bread. Need replacement suggestions? Check out our exclusive guide to the 10 Best Brand Name Breads for Weight Loss.


“Soda, both diet and regular, have absolutely no nutritional benefits and may even have serious health implications,” says Gina Consalvo, MA, RD, LDN, a Pennsylvania-based registered dietitian. “Not only are they loaded with empty calories, harmful preservatives, sugar or artificial sweeteners, they also have dangerous artificial coloring derived from coal-tar. The coloring has been linked to allergic reactions, fatigue, asthma, skin rashes, hyperactivity, headaches and even cancer,” explains Consalvo. But that’s not even the worst part. “To prevent mold growth in the cans and bottles, makers add the preservative potassium benzoate (a known carcinogen linked to thyroid damage, leukemia and other cancers) into the can.” Consalvo suggests eliminating soda and drinking water, seltzer or low-fat milk instead.


What do coffee creamer and sunblock have in common? They both contain titanium dioxide. Used as a ultraviolet radiation blocker in many sunscreens, the same chemical is responsible for giving creamer its white coloring. A review published earlier this year in the journal Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management explained that the additive has been proven to cause liver and tissue damage in mice, and may have health implications in humans as well. The reason it is still found in so many foods? The Joint Food and Agriculture Organizations of the United Nations and World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives hasn’t reviewed it’s safety since 1969. Our advice? Don’t wait for them to look into it, just nix it from your kitchen, stat! Still not convinced? “In addition to titanium dioxide, coffee creamer is usually packed with partially hydrogenated oils (trans fat), artificial sweeteners, carrageenan, artificial coloring and other harmful additives,” adds Consalvo.

White Bread
and Bagels

Many of us grew up eating white bread and bagels, so we understand that they may hold a special place in your heart. But these starchy grains are anything but healthy. Made with enriched flour instead of healthy whole grains, they are void of the belly-filling fiber that boosts satiety and keeps blood sugar stable. What’s worse, refined white-flour foods like these are linked to heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Plus, they lead to weight gain and make it more difficult to lose weight, too.

On the other hand, research confirms that eating whole grains can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and hypertension. So after you toss out the junk, replace it with organic whole grain breads and mini-sized bagels, which are less calorie-dense than their larger counterparts.


Pretzels are basically nutrient-stripped carbs covered in blood pressure-raising salt, so are you really all that shocked they made this list? They offer no health benefits and lack any ingredient that will help keep you full or satisfied.

Fruit Snacks
and Gummies

“They might have a ‘fat-free’ label on the front, but these snacks are anything but kid-friendly,” warns Lisa Moskovitz, R.D., founder of The NY Nutrition Group. “Void of any nutrition whatsoever, all they offer are empty calories that can lead to weight gain, cavity-causing sugar and enough chemical preservatives to last a lifetime.” That sugar Moskovitz mentions? It’s usually high-fructose corn syrup, which researchers recently discovered isn’t as satiating as real sugar. Translation: your little one will still have a rumbly tummy after noshing on these snacks. Keep them out of your kitchen and out of your kid’s lunch box. If you want a treat every now and then, rely on these 10 Best Junk Foods for Weight Loss; they're the best you can find on the supermarket shelves for an occasional splurge.


Americans typically eat only one-third of the recommended daily intake, so you may be surprised to hear us knock any form of vegetable. Unfortunately, we’ve got to go there. Why? Some veggies of this variety are stored in cans that are laced with BPA, an industrial chemical used in various food and beverages containers. “There is a lot of controversy around BPA,” says Consalvo. “It is thought to pose some health risks in fetuses, infants and young children's brain development.” She notes that there are many brands that are now using BPA-free cans and hard plastics, but we suggest going with fresh or frozen veggies, which tend to be healthier and free of salt and preservatives, too.

White Rice
and Pasta

We know white rice and pastas are typically household staples, but they really shouldn’t be. Similar to white bread, these types foods have been stripped of their nutrients, fiber and antioxidants, making them nothing more than empty calories often covered in sugar-laden sauces and fatty add-ins like meat and cheese. It may take some getting used to, but whole-grain varieties—rich in filling good-for-your nutrients—are well worth it. Look for brown and wild rice and whole-grain pastas that are free of any ingredients you can’t pronounce. If you just can't part with white rice, change how you're cooking it. You can Cut Rice's Calories in Half with This Cooking Trick.


Yes, they are high in protein and make for a quick and easy snack, but they are also loaded with preservatives and tons of fat, sodium and calories. Throw out the bag of nuggets and restock your freezer with an ETNT heat-and-eat favorite, Cedarlane Garden Vegetable Enchiladas. With only a 140 calories and 3 grams of fat a pop, these Mexican-inspired snacks offers up 20 percent of your daily calcium and nine grams of muscle-building protein.


You know that light yellow color that makes margarine look almost indistinguishable from butter when laid side by side? Well, it’s far from natural. In fact, without all the additives, margarine is actually an appetite-crushing shade of grey—yuck! As if that weren’t bad enough, many brands add propylene glycol, the antifreeze compound, to their recipe to pile on the grease without adding calories. Research has shown that the spread may expand your waistline, increase dangerous cholesterol levels and up your heart disease risk. People have been cooking without margarine for centuries, and we suggest you continue to follow in their footsteps. (Thinking of switching to butter? Grass-fed varieties get a green light from diet experts! It's one of the 10 Surprising Foods Diet Experts Eat Every Day.)

Beef Jerky

Traditional beef jerky bags don’t belong in your kitchen unless you’re in desperate need of non-perishables before a power outage. What makes them so terrible? They contain cancer-causers called nitrates, loads of of artery-clogging saturated fat and sky-high sodium levels. Restock your cabinet with The New Primal Grass-Fed Beef Jerky or Organic Prairie Beef Jerky if you can’t totally kick the jerky habit. They are both good sources of protein and free of nitrates and artificial flavors. They are a bit more expensive, but we think it’s well worth the cash.

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