What are the foods to avoid and never eat?

What are the foods to avoid and never eat? post thumbnail image

If you’ve been following me for a while now you know that I don’t like to categorize, especially in terms of nutrition, what is beneficial and what is harmful.

Balance and variety are two concepts that I will repeat over and over until you have them well marked in your mind .

Proportions of the single dish, vegetables in abundance, whole grains, proteins and healthy fats, no excesses : these are the general indications that I offer every time we talk about healthy nutrition, the same ones that are suggested by scientific societies and guidelines.

However, every day we are bombarded with information of all kinds and sources, and distinguishing valid ones from those that have the same scientific basis as fried air can also become very complicated for a layman.

Even with the knowledge necessary to eat at their best, there remains the danger of being overwhelmed by crafty food marketing campaigns: on the other hand, the ultimate goal of companies is to sell their product, even if it is right to mention their increasing attention to the real needs of the population in the formulation of food.

It becomes all too easy to get confused about which foods we can define as healthy and which are not.

How important are the methods of farming and cultivation, transport, storage and cooking

We have learned that the more food is consumed as it is, the better it will be for our health.

Buying fish, fruit and vegetables at the market, meat from a trusted butcher, eggs, cheese and milk from the farmer and whole grain flours from a mill should be everyone’s favorite choice in an ideal world .

Joining a local produce buying group can be a good solution (and certainly more feasible than the previous one).

But the reality is that on Saturday mornings most of the city’s population find themselves in the chaos of parking lots, special offers and unmissable promotions of the various shopping centers to do “ big shopping ”.

It therefore becomes necessary to learn how to navigate the supermarket shelves, to try to put the equivalent of a healthy diet in our shopping carts.

Of course, one must take into account an inevitable fact : a tomato sold in neat plastic trays will never have the same characteristics (nutritional, texture, taste and smell) as one just picked from the plant, and so for most products.

Technology has evolved a lot in recent decades and allows us to have foods that retain the same characteristics as fresh ones, or almost. Globalization makes South American oranges available to us at lower costs than Sicilian ones.

But at what price?

Unfortunately, the price is given by a nutritional content in many cases decreased compared to local or non-preserved products: let’s see how much this can affect our diet.

The substances that interest us in food and which can undergo variations based on various factors are macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, fats), micronutrients (vitamins and mineral salts), fibers and phytochemicals (flavonoids, carotenoids) ..).

Macronutrients can vary mainly due to farming and farming methods. Type of land, cultivation and harvesting times in agriculture determine some differences: an example is the difference in the carbohydrate content of a fruit in relation to its ripeness (an apple picked at the right time will be sweeter than an unripe one, due to its higher sugar content).

The types of breeding and the feed used can determine differences in the quality of fats and in the final organoleptic characteristics of foods, as in the case of fish, meat, eggs and milk.

The different types of storage do not particularly affect the original macronutrient contents. However, the intake of fats or sugars of products preserved in oil or in water (in cans), or the percentage of water in dried foods, will vary.

Transport has little effect while cooking can make nutrients more digestible, as in the case of egg proteins (soft-boiled or scrambled egg) or potato carbohydrates.

Fibers vary mainly due to the preparation methods: for example, a fruit and vegetable centrifuge breaks up the fibers, reducing the work for us and our digestive system (and the consequent benefit from their intake). The extracts completely remove the fiber from the final product.

The contents of vitamins, mineral salts and phytochemicals change a lot starting from the cultivation methods (traditional or organic), the harvest times, the breeding methods and animal feed, the treatment of the products (such as pasteurization), conservation (freezing, modified atmosphere ..) and the cooking method.

In particular, the content of many vitamins (especially vitamin C) decreases with the passage of time due to exposure to heat and air, while the mineral salts are dispersed when boiled in water.

In some cases cooking proves to be positive in activating some protective components, such as lycopene in the peel of tomatoes, but it destroys vitamin C, or allows to eliminate some antinutrients, such as phytates of legumes and cereals. p>

What to do then?

The best is to choose foods preferring those less processed , coming from supply chain short or km zero , alternate the types of preparation and consumption of cooked and raw foods and in any case choose little aggressive cooking methods, such as stewing and steaming.

Is it true that the vegan and raw food diets allow you to eat healthier foods?

If we had to summarize the indications on the diet as much as possible, the two main ones could be the consumption of many vegetables and foods that have undergone as few technological processes as possible: so on the spot, apparently perfect answers are veganism and / or raw food.

Without going into the merits of the ethical convictions underlying these absolutely legitimate choices, it must be said that being vegan or raw food does not ensure healthiness and health.

There are a lot of highly processed products allowed in vegan diets , such as protein substitutes. But even french fries are vegan, yet they are definitely not healthy.

So also in this case, the focus must be on the search for quality, reading the labels and taking in all the nutrients necessary for a healthy diet.

In the case of raw food the question becomes more complicated because the danger is to eliminate entire categories of foods, that is all those cooked over 40 degrees: to eliminate pasteurized milk, many cheeses, many meats and vegetables that cannot be eaten raw, cereals and legumes.

So be careful in choosing particular dietary regimes that are best for us.

10 foods to avoid and which alternatives to choose

Below is a list of 10 types of products that you easily come across when you go shopping at the supermarket and that we can confidently declare ” bad foods ”absolutely to be avoided, and why I consider them such.

Consuming these products sporadically (where by sporadic I mean a frequency calculated on the month and not on the week) and on special occasions, for a healthy person it is not a particular problem, if for the rest of the time the food is balanced.

However, remember that you always have a choice: for this reason I have also reported some ideas to replace these foods with healthy alternatives.

Juices and sugary drinks

To avoid : fruit juices, syrups for fruit flavored drinks or tea. Sugar is the main ingredient: we can easily do without it. Not to mention that being liquids, it is absorbed much more easily and quickly than solid food, increasing the risk of insulin resistance and related diseases such as obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Instead, consume: centrifuged, extracts or 100% fruit juices, you can also find them in the supermarket. Better still if you prepare them at home with fresh ingredients and consume them on the spot, in order to maintain the vitamin content of fruit and vegetables.

Candies and snacks, sweets and snacks

To avoid: candy and sweet snacks, packaged sweets and snacks. Here, too, the sugar content is very high, but there is also an important share of fats, almost never healthy, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.


Consume instead: fresh or dried fruit, dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa. The sugars in this case will be those naturally present in food but their absorption will be modulated by the presence of fibers. Chocolate and nuts also contain healthy fats and also a certain percentage of protein (in the case of nuts and chocolate).

Fruit flavored yoghurt

To avoid: fruit yoghurt or any yoghurt with the indication “yoghurt a ..” or “yoghurt flavored ..” on the label. Let’s not get confused: it’s all about sugar and flavorings.

Instead, consume: natural white yogurt (not the same as “creamy”!) to which we will add fresh fruit, dark chocolate flakes with more than 70% cocoa, dried fruit or cereals depending on personal preference.

Sugar-rich breakfast bars and cereals

To avoid : breakfast cereals and bars that look “healthy” but are full of unknown ingredients and are abundant in sugar.


Instead, consume: cereals in the versions with little or no sugar among the ingredients, perhaps whole. Compare nutrition labels. Or plain oats, to which you can add dried fruit and dark chocolate or fresh or dried fruit such as raisins, blueberries or raspberries.

Did you know that bars can also be made at home? All you need is baking paper and the ingredients (whole grains, dried or dried fruit, chocolate, honey ..). You don’t even have to turn on the stove.

Potato chips and savory snacks

To avoid : French fries, popcorn in bags and salty snacks as an aperitif, where the salt and fat content far exceeds health recommendations, resulting in an increased risk of hypertension and cardiovascular diseases.

Consume instead: homemade popcorn, unsalted dried fruit, crunchy raw vegetables.

You don’t have to be saddened by the idea of ​​raw vegetables, have you ever heard of pinzimonio? The difference is that the amount of salt is up to you, and it will be much better than a packaged product.

Mayonnaise, ketchup, nuts and seasonings

To avoid : sauces like mayonnaise, ketchup, seasonings and nuts, a riot of salt, sugar and glutamate.

Instead, consume: oil flavored with herbs and spices, sauce made with yogurt, vegetable broth or meat … to make a simple broth you just need an onion, a carrot and a courgette: if you let it reduce on the fire you can freeze it in cubes and store it in the freezer to use it if necessary instead of the packaged one.

Ready-made gravies and sauces

To avoid : ready sauces. Whatever is in it, the quality will never be that of a fresh product, and the preservative content (even sugar and salt are used for this purpose) is always decent.

Instead, consume: homemade sauces. The ideal would be to revive the customs of grandmothers! But since in the city it is difficult to have a patio with a giant bowl where to mash the tomato and not everyone has an uncle who ships the jars of homemade sauce from the south, try to find alternatives: a tomato sauce can be easily made by cutting tomatoes fresh and lightly tossing them in a pan.

Even pesto can be made quickly at home by blending a little basil from the market, pine nuts, extra virgin olive oil, Grana and Pecorino. You can do it.

Stringy cheeses

To avoid : stringy cheeses. They are anything but cheese, which they contain in minimal percentages.

Consume instead: come on, in this case there is no “healthy” version; cheeses can be eaten trying to limit them to 2-3 weekly portions as a main course. Rather, if you want to prepare a homemade hamburger, take a semi-fat cheese of your choice and cut it into thin slices, so that it melts a little while cooking.

Ready meals, breaded, frozen, pre-fried

To avoid: ready meals, frozen ready meals, breaded and pre-fried. Often they are preparations with lower quality ingredients than fresh ones, rich in fats, salt and various additives: checking the labels is a must if you want to find valid products and consume them consciously.


Consume instead: here there is not much escape, the alternative is cooking. Even a dish prepared sucks compared to its equivalent “ready and frozen”, it will be always better in the home version. The advantage of being able to choose the ingredients (better oil for fried food, soups made with fresh vegetables ..) is indisputable.

Fizzy drinks, alcohol and energy drinks

To avoid : carbonated and non-carbonated drinks (soft drinks) and energizers (energy drinks), alcoholic preparations. Sugar, alcohol, artificial colors and additives of all kinds: do I need to tell you more?


Instead, consume: carbonated water with fresh fruit (lemon, lime, orange, but also other fruit or mint), iced tea brewed without sugar, shaken coffee without sugar. Alcohol is to be avoided, but if you really can’t give up, prefer a good glass of red wine during the meal.

Eat healthy does not mean depriving yourself of taste or giving up opportunities. Nutrition is the platform on which you build your health, your well-being, your future. You may not know it, but many things depend on your food choices that apparently seem distant to you.

You can empower your body and mind by choosing a healthy and correct diet that helps you achieve your goals.

You can get an idea of ​​how this delicate mechanism works by watching the video lesson ” The timing of nutrition ” which explains what, how and when to eat.

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