Most foods, even sugary treats and cheese-covered junk, are fine to have once in awhile — but there are some things that definitely shouldn't be a part of an everyday diet. People are rethinking these not-so-healthy foods, but, of course, it's not as easy as just quitting your favorite snack. Here are some foods you should probably avoid, and the #struggles of real people giving them up.
There are plenty of people who drink soda daily, but there's increasing evidence that, instead of being a regular staple, soda should be a rare treat. The biggest problem with sugary soft drinks is the high sugar content. "The calories in regular soda are coming entirely from added sugar, and you're not getting any value in terms of vitamins or minerals, or even good quality carbohydrates," Lona Sandon an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, told CNN in 2015.
But what about diet soda? Well, it doesn't have any of the calories, but CNN reports that, even without the sugar there are potential negatives associated with drinking diet sodas: "diet drinks have many of the same health risks as regular soft drinks, including tooth decay and bone thinning, and they've also been linked to heart disease and depression in women." But quitting soda can be hard, we know.
2. Microwave popcorn
It turns out that delicious bags of artificially flavored, microwaveable popcorn can actually be kind of terrible for you. Diacetyl, a substance that gives microwave popcorn its buttery flavor, has been linked to a deadly lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans or "popcorn lung." In 2007, ABC News reported that, while the disease is typically diagnosed in workers who manufactured microwave popcorn, it was also popular for casual snackers to inhale diacetyl by cooking popcorn in their own homes. Since then, many popcorn brands have dropped the ingredient from their product. Before you cook up a bag of microwave popcorn, check the ingredients. Or better yet, do it on the stove. Of course, even the scariest health warnings can't stop some popcorn lovers from making their extra-butter flavor microwave popcorn.
3. Fast food
Fast food burgers, fries and nuggets may be cheap and tasty, but eating fast food on the reg can wreak havoc on your body. According to a report from the World Health Organization, "an increase in the consumption of ultra-processed foods, including fast food" has lead to a global rise in obesity in wealthy countries. According to the American Heart Association, fast foods high in saturated fats, sugar and salt can contribute to raising your blood pressure and cholesterol. And it's easy to get tricked by fast food menus: According to the AHA, "even a salad that may seem healthy is just a few dollops of fatty dressing away from being bad for your heart."
However, like with all guilty pleasures, quitting fast food is easier said than done.
4. Energy drinks
Like soda, energy drinks can have tons of sugar, which can lead to health problems and tooth decay, but energy drinks come with the added risk of caffeine. Sure, every once in awhile you need a jolt, but drinking multiple energy drinks a day can have dangerous consequences. According to U.S. News & World Report, caffeine-filled energy drinks "have been linked to heart and neurological problems" and drinking more than one a day can "quickly put someone over" the recommended daily limit of 400 milligrams of caffeine.
But for people who rely on energy drinks to keep their eyes open at work or school, quitting is tough.
5. White bread
Yup, refined white bread may be pillowy and soft but it's also lacking in fiber and "nutrients like vitamin B, calcium and iron, which tend to be lost in the white flour refining process," BBC reports. Factory-made loaves of white bread may also have additives and preservatives — yet another reason why you should probably rethink eating a sandwich on white every day for lunch. But white bread also tastes like a sugar cloud, so we get you.