Unwholesome And Unhealthy: The Worst Junk Foods

Junk food has its name for a reason, but still, people find themselves drawn to an indulgence every once in a while. Some junk food isn’t even worth a cheat meal, though. From highly processed corn dogs to synthetic coffee creamers, these are some of the worst junk foods available.

French Fries Are Linked to Inflammation

curly-fries
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French fries are a crowd pleaser and one of the most popular junk foods around. While they may seem like the perfect snack or side, they should be consumed as infrequently as possible.

That’s because deep-fried foods like french fries have been linked to inflammation and impaired artery function. This can have a negative impact on your heart health and more. Plus, they’re extremely high in calories and fat, but have little nutritional benefits.

Frappuccinos Don’t Fill You Up Like Meals Do

frappuccino
Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

There are plenty of sugary coffee drinks out there, but frappuccinos are among the most unhealthy. They contain more sugar than many other coffee drinks to compensate for the ice that’s blended into it.

Not to mention the whipped cream and extra caramel or chocolate sauce drizzled over the top. A Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino has over 500 calories and 65 carbs that are almost all from sugar. Even worse, drinking these calories doesn’t fill you up the way eating them would, leading to overconsumption.

Deep-Fried Onions Are Full Of Unhealthy Fats

blooming-onion
Oliver Tsang/South China Morning Post via Getty Images
Oliver Tsang/South China Morning Post via Getty Images

One of Outback Steakhouse’s standout menu items is its famous Bloomin’ Onion. These deep-fried onions are a classic, but they’re also full of calories and unhealthy fats. One of these appetizers contains almost 2,000 calories, which is a full day’s worth for many individuals.

They also have a stunning 154 grams of fat, including trans fats. Trans fats have been found to contribute to stomach fat, obesity, heart disease, and inflammation. Even a small portion of this snack can throw off a diet.

Energy Drinks Can Corrode Teeth

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Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

Energy drinks are known for being full of questionable ingredients. They have high levels of caffeine that can be harmful when consumed in excess, especially over time. To top it off, they also contain either a ton of sugar or artificial sweeteners.

In case that wasn’t bothersome enough, energy drinks are also terrible for your teeth. A study by the University of Maryland found energy drinks to be 11% more corrosive on teeth than soda!

Pop-Tarts Have Three Types Of Unhealthy Sugar

po-tarts
Newscast/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Newscast/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

While Pop-Tarts are a quick and delicious breakfast, they aren’t great when it comes to your health. For one, they are highly processed and contain little in the way of nutritional benefits.

What they do contain is a large amount of sugar that includes refined white sugar, corn syrup, and high fructose corn syrup. Eating high amounts of fructose has been linked to certain diseases, like heart disease and diabetes. Consider this food an indulgent treat, not a daily breakfast.

Milkshakes Can Contribute To Insulin Resistance

Content Pixie/Unsplash
Content Pixie/Unsplash

Milkshakes are a delicious dessert, but it’s easier now than ever to overdo it. Back in the day, milkshakes came in smaller sizes and were often shared. Now, one person can order a milkshake as part of their meal and it will be in a much larger container.

For instance, an Oreo milkshake from Burger King contains more than 700 calories and 121 carbs, most of which are from sugar! Consuming all of that sugar in a short amount of time can contribute to insulin resistance and other health problems.

Some Sausage And Bacon Contains Carcinogens

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Bacon and sausage are some of the most processed types of meat and often contain high levels of saturated fat, plus advanced glycation end products (AGEs). AGEs are inflammatory compounds that form when these meats are exposed to high heat.

Some bacon and sausage brands also contain nitrates and nitrites, which can become carcinogenic nitrosamines when put in high temperatures. Opt for brands that don’t contain these ingredients and cook them at a moderate temperature.

Some Coffee Creamers Are Loaded With Synthetic Additives

Alex Boyd/Unsplash
Alex Boyd/Unsplash

Coffee may seem like a low-calorie way to start the day, but that can go right out the window if you add the wrong kind of creamer to it. Many coffee creamers are full of questionable ingredients.

These can include sugar, soybean oil, and synthetic additives like mono and diglycerides. A good rule of thumb is the longer it lasts, the more preservatives it has. It’d be better to opt for the natural stuff.

Some Cereals Contain BHT And BHA

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Cereals have gotten a bad rap more recently due to their high sugar content and refined grains. Some brands have switched to whole grains but are still sugary and contain other questionable ingredients.

Some varieties contain Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) and Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA). These ingredients are possibly carcinogenic, which is why they are banned in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the UK, and several countries in Europe. Be sure to check the ingredients list on your cereal.

BBQ Sauce Contains Unhealthy Sweeteners

Jessica Christian/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images
Jessica Christian/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Condiments can be sneaky because they don’t seem very bad for you, but they can be the most unhealthy parts of certain meals. Take BBQ sauce for instance. It can make a normally sugar-free meal full of artificial sweetness.

For example, a serving of Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Barbecue Sauce contains 15 grams of sugar. You may as well pour sugar packets right onto your meat. It also contains high fructose corn syrup, which has been linked to increased risk of heart disease.

Pancake Syrup Doesn’t Even Contain Real Maple

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When selecting a syrup to pour over your pancakes, be sure to check the ingredients list. Many top brands, such as Aunt Jemima and Mrs. Butterworth, don’t even contain maple syrup.

Instead, they are made to look and taste like maple but with cheaper ingredients. They are often loaded with high fructose corn syrup and caramel coloring, both of which can be harmful to health. If you’re going to have a sugary syrup, at least be sure there aren’t other questionable ingredients.

Restaurant Desserts Can Be High In Sodium

Devarya Ruparelia/Unsplash
Devarya Ruparelia/Unsplash

Restaurant desserts may seem like a healthier choice because their price point insinuates that they have high-quality ingredients. Even if they are made from scratch, they can still be less healthy than the cheap stuff at the grocery store.

Many restaurant desserts are made to be extra decadent, which means copious amounts of sugar, fat, and salt! For instance, California Pizza Kitchen’s butter cake has 640 milligrams of sodium! Many diners don’t even think about the sodium content in desserts.

Frosting Is Made With Chemicals

Owen Bruce/Unsplash
Owen Bruce/Unsplash

It may seem like the worst thing about frosting is the high sugar content. After all, it’s basically creamy sugar, right? Wrong. Frosting has various ingredients that could be harmful to your health.

This includes titanium dioxide and caramel color, both of which are possible carcinogens. It also contains propylene glycol, which researchers have linked to poor kidney health. Opt for a healthier brand or make frosting homemade to be sure it has a healthier ingredient list.

Sports Drinks Contain Artificial Dyes

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Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

It’s well known that sports drinks can be counterintuitive since they contain high amounts of sugar. Even the sugar-free variations can contain questionable artificial sweeteners, making them just as unhealthy. However, there is another reason to question sports drinks.

They use artificial dyes to make their color match the flavor. While it’s important to replace electrolytes, it shouldn’t come with the price of potentially harmful ingredients. Instead, opt for a natural electrolyte supplement to add to water.

DQ Blizzards Have More Than Half A Day’s Worth Of Calories

Andrew Burton/Getty Images
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Dairy Queen took the concept of a milkshake to the next level with their popular Blizzards. These treats are softer than ice cream, but still thick enough to need a spoon.

Getting all of that sweet creaminess means loading their Blizzards up with a ton of unhealthy ingredients, like partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. As a result, these sweets have a ton of calories and even contain trans fats. A large Royal Reese’s Brownie Blizzard Treat contains 1,510 calories!

Corn Dogs Are Highly Processed

Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Have you ever wondered what exactly is in a hot dog? The answer is a paste-like meat made from meat trimmings. It’s no wondered that heavily processed meats as these are linked to an increased risk of colon cancer.

Corn dogs take the unhealthy impact of hot dogs a step further by wrapping them in cornmeal batter and deep-frying it. Between the high-fat oils and processed meat, corn dogs are just as indulgent as many desserts!

Frozen Pizza Has A Ton Of Questionable Ingredients

A Goodfella's pizza, made by Northern Foods Plc., is display
Suzanne Plunkett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Suzanne Plunkett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Pizza is known for not being very healthy, but some variations seem like they aren’t that bad. Frozen pizzas make it easier to portion control and stick to a normal amount of calories for one meal.

Still, they contain plenty of other ingredients that make you better off ordering pizza. For instance, Red Baron’s cheese pizza contains L-Cysteine hydrochloride, ammonium sulfate, BHT, and BHA. To top it off, there are also 720 milligrams of sodium per serving!

Cheesecake Is High In Fat And Calories

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post via Getty Images
Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Cheesecake combines two high-fat foods: cheese and cake. It is essentially high amounts of cream and sugar molded into a super indulgent dessert. Even the original cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory contains over 800 calories.

All of the other flavors are over 1,000 with additions like sauce, chocolate, nuts, and more. The original flavor also contains 58 grams of fat. Even if you were to share it with someone, that’s still a lot per person.

Cinnamon Rolls Have An Excessive Amount Of Carbs

cinnamon-bun
Cinnabon
Cinnabon

Cinnamon rolls are a classic breakfast staple, but they are much too indulgent to be a healthy part of a balanced diet. A Cinnabon roll contains almost 900 calories, while their Caramel Pecanbon has another 200 calories added on!

Calories aren’t a bad thing so long as the food is nutrient-dense, but that’s where cinnamon rolls fall flat. More than half of the 146 carbs in a Caramel Pecanbon come from added sugar!

Some Diet Ice Creams Contain Polysorbate 80

Anjelika Gretskaia/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Anjelika Gretskaia/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Like many diet foods, diet ice cream isn’t necessarily all it’s cracked up to be. Being able to eat an entire pint of ice cream without going over your calorie quota may seem like a dream. However, there is more to consider than calorie, fat, and even sugar content.

Many diet ice creams rely on polysorbate 80 to get that creamy feel without the calories. However, this ingredient may cause low-grade inflammation, according to researchers at Georgia State University.