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40 Foods To Avoid After 40

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With age and getting older than 40 comes the slowing down of our metabolisms and the deterioration of our joints. As a result, our systems need more attention and care to keep everything healthy and working the way it should be.

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Unfortunately, the foods we loved as kids and naughty foods indulged in once in a while can really affect your health later on and expand waistlines more than you ever expected. While some things are not terrible in moderation, these foods might do you more harm than good as you get older than 40.

Hot Dogs

From barbecues to camping and sports games, there is nothing more delicious that a tasty hot dog loaded with ketchup, mustard and relish. You might question what is bad about meat and bread but the answer lies in the fact that the meat in a hotdog is really anything but meat.

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Hotdogs are processed and they contain high levels of sodium and fat which are not good for the body. In studies, hotdogs have been linked to higher risks or stomach cancer, diabetes and heart disease. These issues are more commonly seen in people over 40 so risks should be kept at a minimum.

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Sugar-free Candy

When it comes to satisfying your sweet tooth, you may argue that sugar-free candy is better than the real thing that is absolutely packed with unhealthy sugars and preservatives. However. The sugar-free alternative isn’t much better and instead of containing all types of sugars, they are instead filled with extra fat to make them taste good without compromising on the sweetness.

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Artificial sweeteners have been known to cause digestive problems in many people and after 40, you need to keep a healthy gut. Instead of choosing candy, choose fruits like mango, pineapple or strawberries which contain natural sugar. 

Fried Chicken

You may be devastated to see fried chicken on this list but unfortunately, it’s not surprising that it is actually really bad for you. Even though the chicken contains nutrients and protein, this is all totally cancelled out by the fatty oils used in cooking at high-temperatures.

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In addition, frying chicken at this high temperature can create cancer causing carcinogens and make people over 40 very much at risk. In a healthy alternative, breaded baked chicken breasts contain much less oil, have healthy fats and a good amount of protein. You also won’t see the effect of the oil on your skin.

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Canned Soup

If you’re on a diet or simply just love soup, of course a very easy way to eat it is out of a can and heated up either on the stove or in a microwave. However, canned soups are packed with sodium which makes them more tasty.

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When you get older, it is much harder to filter out salt from your body, no matter how much water you drink. Consuming high sodium foods like canned soups can be bad for the gut, will implement water retention and can make you gain weight in the long run. In addition, high levels of sodium have also been linked to heart problems and osteoporosis. 

Cookies

Who doesn’t love a cookie? Whether you eat it on it’s own or dunked in milk, there really is nothing better than a warm, gooey chocolate chip cookie. Sadly, with all their deliciousness, cookies contain so much sugar to the point that it can really affect your skin, make you break out and develop wrinkles quicker.

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In addition, packaged cookies are made with refined sugar, refined wheat flour and added fats, all components which the body finds very hard to break down and digest, leading you to gain weight quickly. Try and stay away from cookies as one usually leads to many.

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Gluten-Free Bread

Unless you have an allergy to gluten, you should try and stay away from gluten free bread. Not that there is anything unhealthy about gluten-free bread and products, but for most people bread contains important nutrients that are crucial for ageing.

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The fiber that is loaded into regular, healthy bread helps to promote digestive and colon health that is really important to have as we get older. Make sure that you are buying bread that is all natural and not loaded with preservatives and colors that are not beneficial to the body and can eventually do more harm than good.  

Coffee Ice Cream

Of all the inventive and delicious varieties of ice cream, coffee does sound like one of the least bad options, but this isn’t the case. Aside from the masses of milk and sugar loaded into ice cream, adding coffee flavor comes from caffeine and it can actually disrupt your sleep schedule.

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Especially if you are having coffee ice cream as an after dinner snack, you might find yourself not being able to sleep until the early hours. Considering we need six to eight hours of sleep to function at full capacity, this would seriously hinder healthy rest.

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Sports Drinks

Sports drinks are advertised to keep you energized and hydrated and are full of electrolytes. For athletes, they work effectively to keep this all in balance but for the rest of us, they are really unhealthy and full of sugar. In general they are high in calories from sugar and you can even drink up to 300 calories of them.

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Sugar is one of the main catalysts in speeding up the ageing process so it is better to avoid these energy drinks. To stay hydrated, drink plenty of water, it will keep you going and your skin looking hydrated and fresh.

Margarine

When people think of dieting and losing weight, they automatically go for the lower calorie food option thinking that it’s the healthier one and lower in fat but it’s not necessarily the better option. While margarine may be better than butter, it is also a source of hydrogenated oil and trans fat, two things that increase risk of heart problems and high cholesterol which can creep up very easily with age.

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Cooking with alternatives including coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil and rapeseed oil is a much healthier option and keeps the body healthy and reaping the nutrients from these healthy fats. 

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Donuts

Sweet and soft, donuts are one of the naughtiest treats we all love, but they are also among the unhealthiest. They contain plenty of sugar, refined flour, and added fats and are extremely high in calories meaning they can make you gain weight very easily.

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Too much sugar can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, insulin resistance and metabolic problems, all which can be fatal after 40. One donut has the same amount of fat as three cookies, that is 3 times the amount of sugar in a cookie as well. Donuts contain one quarter of all the saturated fat you’re supposed to eat in a day.

Pasta

Pasta might seem like a good and easy carbohydrate to incorporate into your meals but is in fact the opposite. Foods like pasta and white bread are carb-heavy foods which have a high glycemic index and spike your blood sugar quickly.

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As people over 40 are at risk of developing diabetes from their unhealthy diets, these kind of carbs are not conducive to keeping people healthy and at their peak. Blood sugar spikes can also damage skin and increase the speed of ageing. Instead, whole wheat alternatives will keep your diet at a balance, giving you both healthy carbs and fibers.  

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Hot Sauce

Who doesn’t love some flavor with their food? Especially when keeping healthy, the best way to make your meal more enticing is to make it spicy and flavorful. However, one of the unhealthy ways to do this is by adding store bought hot sauce.

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It might not seem that bad, but it has very high levels of sodium, sugar and preservatives. In addition, hot sauce may exacerbate hot flushes that are caused by menopause in women. Either make a spicy sauce for your meals at home where you can control exactly what goes into them, or opt for seasoning like tumeric, zaatar and other healthy spices. 

Almond Milk

The nut milks might have become super popular over the last few years and advertised as a healthy alternative to cows milk, but it doesn’t work for everyone. Of course, if you have gastro problems when drinking milk you need an alternative, but for the most part, consuming cow’s milk as you age is really important for the body.

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Almond milk does not provide the high levels of calcium that cow’s milk does. A lack of calcium in the body can increase the chances of osteoporosis, a problem that is common in ageing people. 

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Hamburgers

Thrown on the barbecue with some cheese, hamburgers really are so delicious, but unsurprisingly they’re not the best for you. This is not because of the meat itself, but instead by the way they are cooked. The grilling process of the hamburgers creates compounds that promote glycation in the skin.

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This in turn gives you a dull complexion and creates wrinkles. In addition, making your own hamburgers at home in the oven are a much healthier option that grilling or even eating one at a restaurant. In this case they contain plenty of sodium and unhealthy fats to make them taste better.

Iced Coffee

Although you might not expect to see iced coffee on this list, it is not a great drink for those who are over 40. It’s not actually because of the caffeine, but rather the way you drink it. Iced coffee requires a straw to drink it and the repetitive facial movements of sucking in your face and lips affects the elasticity in your skin.

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This then increases the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles around your mouth. After 40 people need to be careful with their skin, it loses the youthful appearance and it is very easy to develop lines.  

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Powdered Peanut Butter

Powdered peanut butter seems healthy as it removes all of the oil and fats but leaves you with the delicious taste of peanut butter, but it actually doesn’t have health benefits. Of course, many of the generic brand peanut butters contain so much sugar and fat, but the pure peanut butter that is made of 100% peanuts is actually healthy.

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The oils and fats in pure peanut butter have many health benefits and are great for your hair and skin. After 40, you need to preserve both your skin and hair and peanut butter can be a great addition to your diet. 

Egg Whites

People eat egg whites as they don’t want to consume the high cholesterol that comes from egg yolks. In addition, egg whites have a lot less calories than full eggs. However, when you leave out the egg whites, you might not be getting more cholesterol, but you are also missing out the most nutritious part, the B12.

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B12 supports bone health, helps with red blood cell formation, gives you an energy boost and improves your mood. When you get older the body finds it harder to absorb B12 so it is important to get it whenever possible. 

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Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is low-fat and is considered to be a great source of calcium and helps to prevent osteoporosis and can even regulate blood pressure. However, people don’t realize that it is also very high in sodium and has around 800 mg in one serving.

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As we age, we need to cut down on our sodium intake as it can lead to increase your risk of stroke, heart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer and kidney disease. After 40, you need to monitor how much sodium you consume and cottage cheese would be too much for one day’s consumption. 

Bacon

For breakfast, in a sandwich or in a burger, you can’t deny that bacon is completely delicious, but all that deliciousness comes at a great cost. Bacon is absolutely packed with saturated fat and sodium.

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Saturated fats are something you really want to stay away from as it can cause inflammation in the body which can eventually lead to arthritis flare-ups, heart problems and high cholesterol which can result in heart disease and strokes. Bacon is also one of the fattiest and high calorie meats and eating enough of it can cause you to gain weight very easily.

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Excessive Alcohol

While they say everything in moderation is ok, there is a fine line of how much is too much. This goes for alcohol and drinking too much can have a significant impact upon your health. After 40, alcohol is something many people enjoy to unwind and relax, not just to get drunk as you would in your 20s.

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Excessive drinking can lead to liver problems, alcohol poisoning, functionality decrease and this all can lead to osteoporosis and signs of aging on the skin. Unfortunately, drinking excessively over a long period of time can lead to death.

Diet Soda

It might sound like a good alternative to drinking regular soda that is packed with sugar and preservatives, but diet soda can have other effects that just aren’t good for you either. The elimination of the sugar in the soda comes with the replacement with artificial sweeteners.

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These artificial sweeteners have been claimed to increase your risk of cancer and harm your blood sugar and gut health. In addition, they can also lead to early signs of aging, like fine lines and wrinkles. In general, after 40 it is much more beneficial for your health and appearance to drink water over anything else.

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Bagels

What is better than having a bagel spread for a Sunday brunch? While those warm bagels packed with cream cheese and lox are calling your name, think twice about how much you are eating them. Generally, bagels lack vitamins, minerals and fiber.

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When getting older, fiber is crucial in your diet so it is better to eat wholewheat bread than bagels. Without the fiber, the carbohydrates in bagels digest quickly and convert to sugar which can then be converted to fat too. The average deli bagel can have up to 350 calories and 50 to 60 grams of carbohydrates which is equivalent to four slices of bread.

Veggie Burgers

Veggie burgers are usually advertised as a healthy alternative to a hamburger and a way to cut down your cholesterol. While they aren’t as bad as consuming a hamburger, they have other downsides that aren’t great for you after you hit 40.

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Beef patties are loaded with vitamin B12, something that spikes energy and is a crucial vitamin for ageing. In addition, many of the veggie burgers are processed with unhealthy preservatives and the flavor comes from massive amounts of sodium. Sometimes it is better to stick with a healthy beef patty.

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Butter Popcorn

Popcorn is often found on lists for healthy and low calorie snack, so one would assume that butter popcorn would fall under this category too. However, this is completely incorrect and butter popcorn is completely different from the all natural popcorn kernels that you can make at home.

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When you add butter into the mix, it becomes a snack that is full of unhealthy fats which can easily clog your arteries. The more butter that is added, the less healthy popcorn becomes and you’re actually better off eating a candy bar.

Beef Jerky

Beef jerky is another snack that is regularly seen on lists of healthy snacks due to its high protein and low carbohydrate, gluten free and sugar free. In this case, people who are trying to stay off carbs will eat beef jerky instead and still lose weight. However, beef jerky is highly processed and is full of sodium which can increase your risk of cancer.

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In addition, excessive consumption of meat is heavily linked to high cholesterol and heart disease, two major catalysts in the deterioration of health as you get older. Many beef jerky brands on the market are not pure beef and these are the ones to specifically stay away from.

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Protein Bars

Protein bars are the easiest thing to grab when you’re on-the-go and need an afternoon pick-me-up. They are tasty and often get you energized for a while, but they also have many bad components that won’t keep you healthy after 40.

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Generally, they are a really bad snack for getting protein and most bars come with less than 10 grams. Protein bars are also packed with sugar and are no better than eating a candy bar. They’re bad for your skin, your heart and generally they give your body zero benefits.

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce isn’t just for drowning your sushi in, it’s also a great condiment for almost anything and great for cooking. However, soy sauce unfortunately contains a hefty amount of sodium and will definitely up your sodium intake if you’re eating it regularly.

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A single tablespoon of soy sauce has over 800mg of sodium, not only does it make you extremely thirsty and will promote dehydration but it also dries out your skin. After 40, you need to keep your skin hydrated and fresh to prevent lines and sagging.

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Frozen Pizza

Frozen pizza’s are usually a staple for families and professionals who don’t have time to come home and prepare a full, fresh meal. Most frozen pizzas are very high in calories, sugar and sodium.

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Considering they are premade and frozen, they are highly processed and the cheese is unhealthy, as is the amount of salt and sugar in the base and tomato sauce. In addition, any meat toppings added contain low amounts of protein and high quantities of preservatives and salt. Some varieties of frozen pizza can have as much as 40% of your daily fat intake.

Tuna Fish

You might be surprised to find tuna fish on this list as it is considered to be a healthy food and a great source of protein, but those reasons aren’t why it has made this list. In fact, tuna is very high in mercury and when you consume too much of it, it can lead to all sorts of problems including cognitive decline.

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Considering you need to upkeep your cognitive abilities after 40, eating too much tuna can hinder things. While skipjack tuna is ok to eat a few times a week, try to avoid albacore, yellowfin and bigeye tuna.

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Coffee Creamer

Plain black coffee contains barely any calories, but when you start adding coffee creamers and sugars the calorie count can really add up and make you gain weight easily.

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In addition, many brands of coffee creamer contain titanium dioxide which is used as a whitening agent in foods and studies have shown it is linked to memory loss in later life. Coffee creamer can contain more than 1 gram of trans fat per tablespoon and you shouldn’t consume more than 2 grams in a day making it very unhealthy.

Ice

Ice is just frozen water so what could possible be bad about it? Well it turns out that those who have a habit of crunching on ice are in trouble and it can actually be very destructive. Chewing on ice can strain your teeth and can easily break down the enamel.

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The breaking down of enamel happens naturally when we get older and speeding up the process can make you lose your teeth at a much younger age than expected. It’s not just the enamel which can be a problem, but it is also a problem in terms of teeth chipping and cracking. 

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Deli Meat

Deli meat might seem like a low calorie way to consume meat, but is actually extremely bad for your health. Much like other processed meats, deli meat contains a huge amount of sodium not to mention preservatives containing nitrates which have been linked to cancers.

The amount of sodium in one small serving of deli meat ranges from 310 to 480 milligrams. Continuously eating this much sodium can increase the risk of high blood pressure, a major cause of heart disease and stroke. After 40, a much better alternative is to eat freshly roasted and sliced turkey, chicken, or roast beef.

Butter

Whether it is spread on toast or used in recipes, butter can make anything creamy and delicious, but unfortunately it isn’t the best for you to eat. It is high in calories and fat, as well as saturated fats which is the kind that leads to all sorts of heart problems.

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Eating a lot of butter can contribute to weight gain and could raise levels of cholesterol. Butter should be avoided when possible or eaten in moderation. Healthier alternatives include olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish.  

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American Cheese 

So many kids in America grew up on this cheese, but can it even be classified as cheese at all? While cheese can provide a great source of calcium, American cheese is so highly processed that it barely contains any nutrients at all.

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Most American cheeses contain less than 50% of actual cheese and the rest of the ingredients include all kinds of preservatives and additives. American cheese is filled with vegetable oils which could be putting you at risk for clogged arteries and obesity. Sticking to fresh cheeses that have a short sell by date is a much healthier option. 

Breakfast Pastries

The smell and taste of breakfast pastries are second to none. They are warm, delicious and flaky and not many people can say no to them. However, they are not nutritious or healthy and don’t give your day the beneficial kickstart that it needs.

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The pastries are full of saturated and trans fats, not to mention plenty of sugar to make them sweet. After 40, your skin can sag and you need to keep it healthy and unhealthy oils in breakfast pastries won’t do it any favors. Eating healthy oatmeal and fruit or eggs is a much better way to start your day. 

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Pickles

Pickles can be addicting as they provide both sweet and salt and most people believe they are much healthier than eating a bag of potato chips as they are fat-free and low in calories . However, people don’t actually consider that the brine used to soak the pickles in is packed with sodium and removes a lot of the nutrition out of the cucumbers.

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Just two small spears of pickles contain around 600mg in sodium which is more than one-quarter of the daily recommended limit. High sodium foods have also been linked to stomach cancer. 

White Chocolate

While dark chocolate contains antioxidants and can be a healthy snack, the same can’t be said for white chocolate. It is low in cocoa and filled with cream and sugar, not to mention fact that it can clog your arteries and harm your heart health.

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Consuming white chocolate on a regular basis is bad for your health and can easily lead to weight gain and tooth decay. Put simply, a 3-ounce white chocolate bar contains 458 calories and 27.28 grams of fat, of which 16.5 grams are saturated. 

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Ribeye Steak

Eating a steak is a treat and ribeye steaks are so delicious and although they contain lots of protein, they are not the healthiest of meat. Ribeye steaks are very fatty and not a lean piece of meat and this fat can seriously affect your heart health.

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There is also some bad fat in ribeye steak including saturated fat and trans fat which can increase your cholesterol levels. If you want to eat steak, it’s better to have a leaner cut that doesn’t contain any fat. When you consume the fat in a steak, it cancels out the healthy properties and hinders your health after 40.     

White Bread

White bread contains highly-processed flour and is packed with additives. It has little nutritional value as the grains are refined and is low in fiber. The low fiber and protein in white bread slows digestion which leads to blood sugar rising rapidly and then crashing which makes you crave bad sugars.

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At this point, excess insulin is released into the bloodstream to push the sugar into the cell which makes it harder to control blood-glucose levels. For people over 40 who have to be careful with diabetes, white bread should be avoided at all costs and whole-grain breads should be consumed instead. 

Read more: a diet for every type of person

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