“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.” So said Carl Sagan. When you eat a cheeseburger at your local restaurant, do you ever think about the number of stars that had to align to make that happen? There’s salt that has to be mined; livestock that needs to be fed, slaughtered, and transported; eggs, wheat, and butter gathered and made to produce the buns. To make things even more complicated, tomatoes and lettuce are in season at different times of the year.
When you look at it that way, a cheeseburger may be the quintessential product of our modern, post-agrarian society. In fact, it would be largely impossible to eat one outside of it.
But modernity does have its drawbacks. Over two-thirds of the American population is now either overweight or obese, while heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women. Much of this has to do with the staple foods that have become part of the “traditional” American diet. In the following list we’ll take a look at ten of the most common foods that are extremely unhealthy.
This one might come as more of a surprise. What, after all, is particularly harmful about bagels? The reality is that an average-sized plain bagel has about 300 calories. This is the equivalent of six slices of white bread. Bagels are famously dense, meaning they pack the same amount of fat and calories into a much smaller portion of food. The good news is that bagels can still be eaten in small slices. Health specialists recommend eating one plain slice per meal (as opposed to an entire bagel) and avoiding unnecessary topics like chocolate chips.
8. Sugary Cereals
A study released by the consumer watchdog Environmental Working Group in 2011 examined the sugar content of 84 popular breakfast cereals, including Froot Loops, Apple Jacks, and Golden Crisp. What they found was that over half of the cereals (44) contained more sugar than three Chips! Ahoy cookies. Perhaps just as bad, eating cereal in the morning creates a rise in blood sugar levels that needs to be sustained throughout the day, encouraging a cycle of unhealthy eating. Whatever sweets are not converted into energy during this cycle are eventually absorbed into the body as fat. The EWG recommended healthy cereals such as Kellogg’s Mini Wheats and General Mills Cheerios, along with breakfast alternatives such as Post Shredded Wheat and Honey Bunches of Oats.