Drop that spoon! Everyone deserves the occasional indulgence, but before you dig in there are a handful of foods you should steer clear of to avoid damaging effects on your body, skin, and waistline. Here, experts weigh in on foods to push off your plate for good.
That store-bought frosting from a tub might taste great on cakes and cookies, but it’s packed with problems. “It’s one of the only items in the grocery store that still has trans fats, which are terrible for your health and waistline,” says Melina Jampolis, MD, physician nutrition expert and coauthor of The Calendar Diet. “Trans fat raises bad cholesterol, lowers good cholesterol, and causes inflammation, which can lead to belly fat and diseases ranging from heart disease to diabetes.” On top of that, tub frosting is loaded with sugar, and high-sugar diets contribute to premature wrinkles. Yikes.
2. Processed Baked Goods
So convenient, so tasty (if we’re being honest here), but so not worth it. Those pre-packaged mini muffins, doughnuts, and dessert cakes will add tons of calories and loads of unwanted sugar to your diet, plus they aren’t easy to digest. “These foods are bad on so many levels, because they are filled with high sugar content and preservatives for a longer shelf-life — they can literally sit there forever,” says Dr. Tanzi. “Sugar increases inflammation in the skin, which on top of irritating acne and rosacea, can make you look puffy and bloated. Skip the wrapped stuff and grab fresh fruit for a sweet fix instead.
Dietitians and doctors all agree: Soda should be nixed from your diet completely. “One can of soda is like a can of water with 10 packets of sugar in it,” says nutritionist Bonnie Taub-Dix, MA, RD, CDN, and director and owner of BTD Nutrition Consultants, LLC. “The recommended amount of daily sugar for a woman is about six teaspoons or 24 grams, and soda has way more than that.” Good old fashion H2O is still your best option. If you want to jazz it up, add a slice of fresh fruit for flavor.
4. Sugary Cereal
A bowl of Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops, or Cap’n Crunch might taste like nostalgia, but it’ll wreak some havoc with its high amount of inflammation-causing sugar and gluten content. “For some people with sensitive skin, gluten can exacerbate breakouts, leading to increased redness and, yes, more breakouts,” says Dr. Tanzi. Opt for low-sugar, gluten-free options like Rice Chex and Corn Flakes.
5. Stick Margarine
Choose a small amount of regular butter or soft spread over stick-shaped margarine when topping foods or baking, says Taub-Dix. “Margarine is usually loaded with trans fat,” she says. Don’t forget that stick margarine is found in plenty of pastries, crackers, snack foods, and even microwave popcorn, so limit intake to keep cholesterol levels in check.