Not all calories are created equal, and while we know the best ones can be found in fresh, whole foods like fruits, veggies, and lean proteins, when it comes to navigating the grocery store, it helps to know which foods we should definitely avoid. We asked a few nutritionists and a registered dietitian to tell us which foods they believe are the worst for women to eat; read on for their picks.
- Dairy: It's "the number one thing I tell my clients to stop eating," says nutritionist and author of The Beauty Detox Solution Kimberly Snyder. Besides being a common food allergy, Kim says dairy can leave acidic residue in the body, which can weaken bones. "Nature did not intend for humans to drink the milk of another species, and into adulthood at that! When we go against nature's law, trouble always ensues." Kimberly says she encourages clients to seek out the nutrition they would get from dairy, such as calcium, from plant foods instead.
- Refined carbs: Stay away from these ingredients, advises nutritionist Melissa Costello, author of the Karma Chow Ultimate Cookbook. "They do nothing to feed us nutritionally or spiritually," Melissa says. "They drain us of our life force, and women need to have their life force and their energy as they are such an important part of the day-to-day of life!"
- Foods with hidden sugars: It's not just blatantly sweet processed foods you should avoid. Added sugar is everywhere, even in items you'd least expect, like refined bread products, gravies, and condiments. Try to avoid foods that may be hiding sugar, advises registered dietitian Erin Palinski, a spokesperson for ZICO Coconut Water, because too much simple sugar in your diet can "elevate insulin levels, leading to increased storage of dangerous belly fat, elevated triglyceride levels, and even leptin resistance, which can increase the risk for obesity as well as certain cancers, specifically breast cancer." Erin reminds us to read all nutrition labels, choose whole-grain bread, and choose drinks sweetened with natural sugars (like 100 percent fruit juice or coconut water) to help reduce the amount of sugar in our diets.
- Foods with artificial additives: These additives "are just pollution" to your body, says registered dietitian and author of S.A.S.S. Yourself Slim Cynthia Sass, so stick to whole foods instead. "When we eat real, whole foods, the nutrients they provide go to work, to either perform a function or become a structural part of your tissues, from your muscles and bone to skin, immune cells, etc.," she says.