7 Processed Foods That Are Ruining Our HealthProcessed foods are popular because they're convenient, even though we all know junk food is bad for us. Families with children are particularly susceptible to the lure of processed foods because they are so pressed for time. But while they're fine on occasion, the easy, cheap calories in processed foods are damaging our health and it's best to avoid them whenever possible. Here's a look at 7 of the very worst offenders.
Margarine 1. Margarine
Think of stick margarine as a big block of trans fat - hydrogenated oil helps liquid oils to be solid at room temperature, and is a key ingredient in margarine. Trans fat adversely affects both good and bad cholesterol, not to mention increasing triglycerides, lipoprotein, and inflammation. For buttery goodness, go with the real thing, or opt for a flavorful olive oil.
Check out this recipe for herbed compound butter
Blended Coffee Drinks 2. Blended Coffee Drinks
A grande vanilla frappuccino from Starbucks without whipped cream has 300 calories. The same amount of black coffee has five calories. Better to get your caffeine fix without getting your sweets fix. But if you must feed your sweet tooth, you would actually get less calories from drinking a cup of coffee and eating some fudge.
Check out the 10 most expensive ways to enjoy coffee
Microwave Popcorn3. Microwave Popcorn
Popcorn is often touted as a healthy snack option, but beware since lots of name-brand microwave popcorn is actually full of trans fat - Pop Secret brand has 5 grams of trans fat per serving (even more than margarine). Microwave popcorn can also be packed with sodium. Don't skip the popcorn all together, but consider buying a plain variety and adding your own flavors, or reading the label very carefully before you buy.
Check out this recipe for healthier popcorn
Related: The top 5 foods that will make you gain weight
Grocery Store Cookies4. Grocery Store Cookies
Sugary and loaded with fat, these high-calorie cookies aren't completely awful for you if you stick to the serving size. Three cookies come in around 160 calories (or over 50 calories each) with about 8 grams of fat. But the thing is, are you really only going to eat three chocolate chip cookies?
Check out this recipe for oatmeal cranberry cookies
Frozen Dinners5. Frozen Dinners
Not all frozen dinners are created equal, and the processed food industry is rife with "health washing." or marketing unhealthy foods as healthy alternatives. Keep in mind that many brands serve up salty, fatty dishes, and "healthier" options may have questionable additives and ingredients, or compensate for a loss of other flavors with loads of sodium.
Check out this guide for what to look for in a healthy frozen meal
Just 2 slices of bologna have over 600mg of sodium which is over 20 percent of the recommended daily value. Even worse is that bologna is most often marketed to kids. Steer clear of this salty, preservative-filled mystery meat.
Check out this recipe for roast turkey instead
Related: 12 healthy snacks that hold the sugar but keep it sweet
Non-Dairy Creamer7. Non-Dairy Creamer
Made with partially hydrogenated oil, most non-dairy creamers contain trans fat. The label will tell you otherwise, but only because the serving size is miniscule - 1 teaspoon. I'd need at least 10 teaspoons for my morning coffee! Stick to alternative milks like soy and nut if you can't have dairy.
- By Elizabeth Stark and Brian Campbell
Follow Elizabeth and Brian on Babble
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