Submitted By: Amy Sercel MS RD
Edited By: Marcia Bristow MS RDN CSSD CD
While you surf the Internet you’ve probably seen this phrase multiple times.1 Sometimes it’s the title of an article posted by a supposedly health-focused website, and other times it appears as an ad in the corner of your screen. No matter what the format, the message is the same: certain foods are “bad” and avoiding them will be the magic solution for health and weight loss.
This message is ridiculous for a lot of reasons. For example, take the ad pictured above, which hints that people should avoid bananas. Bananas contain only about 100 calories, and their high fiber and potassium content make them great for keeping your heart healthy.2 Completely avoiding bananas will mean that you won’t benefit from these nutrients, and may end up eating a higher-calorie snack instead. Any suggestion to entirely avoid a food – unless it’s from a doctor, because you are allergic to that food – should be taken with a grain of salt. All foods can fit into a well-balanced meal plan.
In addition, everyone is unique! Just because a meal plan helps one person lose weight does not mean that it will work as well for you. A weight-loss program will definitely not be effective if it means you have to avoid your favorite foods! Instead, it should be individualized, based on your own goals and preferences.3
That being said, there are a few foods that you should “never” eat. This list is inspired by a blog post from Green Mountain at Fox Run.4 Keep it in mind the next time you hear that you should “never” eat something!
- Never eat food that goes against your religious or ethical beliefs.
If you keep Kosher or Halal, you should avoid foods that aren’t produced in accordance with these practices. At the same time, if you choose not to eat meat or animal products, you should avoid them. There are many nutritious alternative options to choose from.
- Never eat food that will make you sick.
If you’re served meat or chicken that hasn’t been cooked all the way through, don’t eat it! You should also avoid mushrooms that have been picked in the woods, unless they’re picked by a professional who knows they aren’t poisonous. Lastly, if it’s moldy or otherwise appears to be past its prime, you can pretty safely assume that the food has gone bad and should not be eaten!
- Never eat food you’re allergic or intolerant to.
If you are allergic or intolerant to a food, you should avoid it! As with religious or ethical restrictions, there are many nutritious alternatives that will allow you to meet your needs for any food you have to avoid. You know your body best, and if you do not feel well after eating a certain food, you should not be obligated to eat that food!
- Never eat food you don’t like.
Even if a food is considered “healthy,” if you don’t like it, you shouldn’t eat it! Eating should be fun. If you’re forcing yourself to eat something that you don’t enjoy, you might not be as satisfied with your meal, and may end up eating more later on to make up for that.
- Never eat food you don’t want.
Maybe it’s noon and everyone in your office is going out for lunch, but you just don’t feel hungry. Even though it’s technically lunchtime, you don’t have to eat! This rule applies to any situation where you just don’t feel like eating a food that you might usually like. Following your body’s hunger and appetite cues will ensure that you don’t overeat and get the most enjoyment out of your food.
As you can imagine, there are lots of exceptions to these “rules” of foods to never eat. For example, maybe you are a vegetarian except for Thanksgiving when you eat turkey with the family, are going to try steak tartare even though it’s made from raw beef, or you don’t want to offend your friend even though you really don’t like the main ingredient in the dish she is serving. In reality, it is pretty impossible to make and follow a list of foods to “never” eat. Instead of placing tight restrictions on your diet, try maintaining a mindful awareness of your hunger levels, choosing foods that will satisfy you, and recognizing when you have eaten your fill!
- 5 Foods to Never Eat | Diet Solutions. http://www.thedietsolutionprogramreviewsx.com/5-foods-to-never-eat/. Accessed July 27, 2016.
- What Are the Health Benefits of One Banana a Day? | Healthy Eating | SF Gate. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/health-benefits-one-banana-day-3316.html. Accessed July 22, 2016.
- Raynor HA, Champagne CM. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Interventions for the Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2016;116(1):129-147. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2015.10.031.
- 5 Foods You Should Never Eat. Green Mountain at Fox Run. http://www.fitwoman.com/blog/2015/03/12/foods-never-eat/. Published March 12, 2015. Accessed July 22, 2016.