Five Things to Remove from your Diet in 2022 

It’s never a bad time to kick your diet into gear.  

For a lot of people, the ball dropping in New York City every year signifies a new health-conscious mindset. Many people set out to eat better under the guise of a new year’s resolution.   

Do you want to make that health kick stick? Instead of latching onto a trendy new diet, consider eliminating the below five foods and ingredients from your diet, foods that offer little to no redeeming qualities in the nutrition department.  

Processed meat/nitrates: A few years back, the World Health Organization (WHO) deemed process meat “carcinogenic,” meaning it has the “potential to cause cancer.”  

Processed meat is any meat that includes added chemical preservatives or has been cured, smoked, salted, dried, or canned in the name of preservation.  

The raised risk of colorectal cancer and stomach cancer have been linked to high processed meat consumption by studies in the past.  

Some processed meats include beef jerky, pepperoni, hot dogs, sausage, ham and deli meats like roast beef and turkey.  

Not sure what’s processed and what’s not? Read the label. If the item in question contains nitrates or nitrites, or says it has been cured or salted, you should probably leave it on the shelf.  

Ultra-processed foods:  Meat products aren’t the only highly processed foods staring at you from behind grocery store freezers and shelves.  

Recent studies have found that lot of the food you’ve long known to be unhealthy – like candy, potato chips, French fries and soda – are directly associated with rising obesity statistics in America thanks in part to their extraordinarily high calorie content. 

Not only that, but ultra-processed foods are thought to influence hunger hormones and cause you to overeat in a single sitting. During a 2019 study on ultra-processed diets, appetite suppressing hormones decreased in study subjects who ate ultra-processed foods, while their hunger hormones increased.  

Ultra-processed foods commonly contain substances extracted from foods, like fats, starches, and additives like artificial colorings or stabilizer substances that preserve food structure.  

Try eating more unprocessed grains, legumes, fruits, nuts, eggs and milk in 2022, and less ice cream, sweetened breakfast cereals, canned soups, prepackaged frozen meals, chocolate and white bagels with cream cheese.  

Added sugars: Food with natural sugars, like the kind found in a lot of fruits and in milk, aren’t nearly as harmful as foods loaded with added sugars, which can increase triglyceride levels and heighten your risk of heart disease.  

We most often consume sugars added during the processing of foods when we drink sugary beverages or snack on candy and other sweets. Smaller amounts of added sugars, according to, come from dairy dessert and milk products, like ice cream and sweetened yogurt.  

Added sugars are listed on nutrition labels right below total carbohydrates and dietary fiber. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting calories from added sugars to less than 10 percent of total calories per day.  

Refined grains: The bran, the germ and endosperm are the three components of a whole grain, which are rich in high, dietary fiber.  

During the milling process, the bran and germ are removed to give grains a finer texture and longer shelf life. This in turn removes most of the nutrients we seek from grains, like fiber, B vitamins, antioxidants, healthy fats, and vitamin E.  

While some producers add B vitamins and iron back to these grains to enrich them after processing, fiber, one of the pillars of any healthy diet, is not re-added.  

Some popular refined-grain foods you should cut out or cut down on this upcoming year are white flour made from refined wheat, white bread, white rice, and corn grits.  

Beer As satisfying as a glass of suds may be for some, drinking beer is difficult to justify given the many layers of harm it can cause the body. And unlike some of the other unhealthy items mentioned above, which can at least offer low levels of protein, beer is mostly void of any positive nutritional value.  

Beer is loaded with simple carbohydrates that your body processes similarly to sugar. Drinking too much of it in one sitting, or cumulatively over time, can also have seriously adverse effects on your brain, heart, liver, pancreas, and immune system.  


Photo credit: Getty Images

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