Worst Foods to Eat and What to Have Instead

One of the easiest ways to improve your diet is to learn how to identify the most unhealthy foods to eat — and how to replace them with better options.

However, viewing foods through a lens of “good” or “bad” can make decisions even harder, says Brogan Taylor, RD, registered dietitian at Banner Health in Phoenix, Arizona.

If it were as easy as knowing which foods were good or bad for our health, most people wouldn’t still be eating them, she says. Many of the most addictive (and unhealthy) foods are a tempting combination of carbs and fat — along with some added sugar, salt, or both — that are designed to keep us munching.

Here are 10 commonly consumed foods and drinks that Taylor and other experts recommend limiting:

  • Processed meats like bacon, hot dogs, and cold cuts
  • Sodas
  • White bread
  • French fries
  • Fast food burgers
  • Donuts
  • Processed cheese
  • Potato chips
  • Processed snack foods
  • Alcohol

When it comes to “the worst” foods, though, Taylor doesn’t forbid anything, but instead works with her clients to find long-term solutions for decreasing or replacing those foods. She encourages her clients to eat more of certain things — items packed with nutrients such as fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds, and lean proteins. Focusing on the positive can help decrease the amount of low-nutrient food they consume, she says.

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