Summoning the self-discipline necessary to stick to a healthy diet 24/7 can feel nearly impossible. But if you can focus on avoiding the egregiously bad foods, rather than cutting out everything that falls under the very wide umbrella of "unhealthy," then you're more likely to succeed. For some insight into the former, we tapped Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN, of Nutritious Life about the select terrible-for-you foods that she avoids at all costs.
Glassman believes that "the healthiest diet is an approach to eating that fuels your body and mind and fits into your lifestyle," reads her website. She's all about "listening to your body and focusing on the diverse, delicious, healthy foods you can have, rather than what a hard-to-follow diet says you can't have." Read up on the six foods that serve no purpose in a healthy diet and lifestyle, according to Glassman.
Fat-free salad dressing
"Don't muck up your gorgeous colorful, healthy, light salad by dressing it with a not so cute bottled fat-free salad dressing. Although these dressings typically have fewer calories, they are filled with a long list of not so pretty ingredients (including sugar usually) to try and compensate for the lack of natural healthy fats. Plus, you need the fat from dressing to absorb the nutrients in the salad!"
Bright colored yogurt
"Yogurt is meant to be just two ingredients: milk and cultures, a white and creamy healthy treat. Yet, there are so many bright and colorful yogurts on the market today. These yogurts are filled with unnatural dyes and added sugars. If you want to add some bright color and flavor to your yogurt, add the real, fresh thing for the best nutrition (a variety of colored berries)."
"How animals are raised will translate into both the taste and nutritional value of your food. Chickens raised with limited space and limited diets will result in eggs with lower levels of omega-3s. Instead, opt for eggs like Pete + Gerry's, which are produced by humanely raised free-range organic chickens. Good mood, good food!"
"Just because they are zero calories does not mean they are good for your health. They are actually related to many negative health issues such as a distorted natural sense of taste, craving for sweet foods, and increased appetite."
High-fructose corn syrup
"This is a sweetener that needs a category of its own. The highly processed liquid sugar has been linked to diabetes, obesity and mood disorders," say Glassman, and can be found in dozens of foods, including soda, candy, salad dressings, bread, canned fruit, sweetened yogurt, granola bars, breakfast cereal, baked goods, condiments, and processed snacks like cookies, crackers, and chips.
Partially hydrogenated oils
"Partially hydrogenated oils mean trans fat! These are synthetic-made oils that raise your 'bad' LDL cholesterol and lower your 'good' HDL cholesterol. PHOs, found in margarine, vegetable shortening, packaged and processed foods (cookies, crackers, chips), and fried foods, are added to these foods to stop them from spoiling and giving them a longer shelf life."