In fact, the HSPH found that regularly consuming processed meats increases the risk of heart disease by more than 40% (7). However, that wasn’t the biggest surprise: it also raised participant’s risk of type 2 diabetes by nearly 20%! Consuming 50g of these “meat” products (the equivalent of one hot dog) per day actually increases the risk of diabetes by more than 50%.
Stick to organic meats, seafood, and vegetable proteins that require some level of preparation (8). Cook and refrigerate your meals ahead of time so you don’t find yourself reaching for unhealthy options in a hurry. For those times when you are in a bit of a crunch, there are healthy jerky and other to-go protein options (9).
3. Frozen Meals
Flash-frozen fruits and vegetables definitely have benefits, when done right. It allows you to enjoy the full nutritional benefits year-round without worrying about expiration dates or preservatives (10). Frozen meals, however, are a completely different story.
Microwaving food doesn’t exactly do much to keep food appetizing. To make up for it, manufacturers have to add some pretty unnatural ingredients (11). The average frozen dinner contains more sodium, fat, and preservatives than one person should consume in a day. Anything with a sauce – even gravy – is bound to be full of glucose-raising carbs (12).
4. Soft Drinks
There are few food or drink items that contain as much sugar in as small of a package as soda (13 ). It’s basically liquid sugar with an average of around 39 grams in a single 12 oz can (14). Considering that the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends no more than 38 grams per day for an adult male, it’s bad news all around.
Studies show that drinking two of these sugar bombs a day doubles your risk of diabetes (15). Thinking of switching to diet? The same study found that drinking diet soda didn’t make a difference in risk levels. The artificial sweeteners in diet soda products are just as bad for you in the long run (13 ).