Unhealthy Foods

close up of chicken sandwich on a woman's hand

Do you know what foods are unhealthy? 

The most common unhealthy foods include highly-processed items such as fast foods and snack foods. That’s because highly-processed foods tend to be low in nutrients (vitamins, minerals and antioxidants) and high in empty calories. This is because they contain high levels of unhealthy fats, sodium and sugar.

Examples of processed foods include:

  • Chips
  • Cookies
  • Cakes
  • Sugar cereals

Avoid sodium, added sugar, and excess fat

For optimal heart health, the American Heart Association recommends you:

  • Consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, with an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 milligrams daily for people with high blood pressure.
  • Consume no more than 6 teaspoons or 100 calories of added sugar a day for most women. Keep the consumption of saturated fat to less than 7% of your daily calories and avoid trans-fats.

How to avoid unhealthy food

Here are a few tips on how to stay away from food that is bad for you:

  1. Limit the number of processed foods that you eat.
  2. Avoid or limit sodium from these common foods that add the most sodium to your diet such as sandwiches, burgers, tacos, rice, pasta and grain dishes, pizza, meat, poultry and seafood dishes, and soups.
  3. Read food labels and avoid items that are high in saturated fats, sodium, and added sugars.
  4. Plan ahead and prepare healthy snacks and meals at home made from whole, fresh foods such as fruits and vegetables.
  5. Choose lean meats fish and seafood and plant-based proteins.
  6. Don’t skip meals. This can lead to snacking on unhealthy foods because you’re hungry.