What to avoid
The healthiest diets limit ultra-processed foods, red and processed meats, salt, unhealthy fats, added sugars, and white flour. But the typical American diet? It's heavy on all of them.
Why we overeat
In 2019, a study by researcher Kevin Hall made headlines when it reported that ultra-processed foods led people to overeat and gain weight. Hall and others are still trying to figure out what makes us overdo it.
Junk food 101
Highly processed foods are calorie-dense, easy to chew and swallow, low in fiber, and engineered to grab your tastebuds’ attention. What does that mean for you? Here's the backstory on a landmark 2019 ultra-processed foods study.
Want to learn more about how to reduce your risk of disease?
Heart disease, type 2 diabetes, many cancers...the list goes on. Here's how eating healthy can cut your risk of disease.
Refined grains & added sugars
Do sugary drinks lead to weight gain?
Are you eating too many refined carbs?
What to know as companies cut added sugars
Should you avoid carbs at all costs?
Saturated fats show up in red meats, cheese, butter, coconut oil, fatty sweets, etc. They raise LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, a major risk factor for heart disease. Replace them with the "good" (unsaturated) fats, which lower bad cholesterol.
The big picture
What's the evidence? From LDL cholesterol to heart attacks and strokes, here's how too much saturated fat harms the heart.The sat-fat science
The bad fats
Some headlines suggest that foods high in saturated fats are harmless or even healthful. Spoiler: they're not.Get the facts
The good fats
Say hello to oils, nuts, seeds, fatty fish, and soy. They all offer more of the good (unsaturated) fats.How good fats help
The Salt Wars
Why we need to eat less salt (but haven't)
Salts of the earth
Our guide to salts
How much diet and exercise can lower your blood pressure
Red and processed meat
Salty processed meats like ham, bacon, and hot dogs increase the risk of colorectal cancer. Even unprocessed red meat may pose a risk. And red meat does your heart no favors.
Additives & contaminants
From additives like aspartame to dyes, we tell you which are safe and which are risky. Plus: contaminants in food.
Be a savvy shopper
Want to minimize foods high in saturated fat, salt, and refined carbs? Our brand-name guides highlight the best (and worst) of supermarket staples like cereals, plant milks, yogurt, snacks, frozen entrées, and more.
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