5 Unhealthy Foods And Healthy Substitutes

Five Unhealthy Foods And Healthy Substitutes

When we talk about living healthily, one of the ways to achieve this is by eating well.  By this, I mean eating the right food and avoiding certain foods.  Sometimes our meals may be healthy, but other things we eat, maybe snacks or desserts, are unhealthy.  The truth, though, is that most of these unhealthy snacks and desserts are tastier than their healthy alternative.  Many of us get carried away by the sweetness of unhealthy food.  Try not to though, for your health’s sake.  These snacks and desserts should be avoided, or at least reduced.

In this article, we’ll talk about 5 Unhealthy Foods And Healthy Substitutes , we will be looking at some common unhealthy foods and suggest better, healthier alternatives.  Although these alternatives may not be sweeter or tastier, they will certainly be better for your health.

5 Healthy Substitutes for Unhealthy Foods

1. Honey instead of sugar:

Honey vs. sugar: Differences, benefits, and disadvantages

Honey and refined sugar are about the same as far as calories are concerned.  A smaller amount of honey is required, however, to achieve the same sweetness as sugar.

The sweetness in sugar is obtained by a 1:1 bond between fructose and glucose, producing sucrose.  Honey contains water, fructose and glucose.  The ratio between the fructose and glucose varies according to the type plants from which the bees take nectar to make honey.  A high ratio fructose honey will have less effect on your blood sugar level, giving you a lower ‘sugar hit’.

Note:  It is still necessary for you to moderate your intake, even if you substitute honey for sugar.  Too much honey, or any fructose (mostly in the form of fruits) contained in food may also lead to some liver complications.

2. Unsaturated fat instead of saturated fat:

Just like carbohydrate and protein, fat is an important macronutrient that plays an essential role in many aspects of human health.  There have, however, been many differences of opinion as to which type of fat is better and how fats should be consumed.  Much research still points to unsaturated fat as the most suitable fat for the body.  Unsaturated fat contains less cholesterol and as no health complications, unlike saturated fat which can cause heart complication and encourage obesity.  Now that you know about the effects of saturated fat, let’s look at some food that we should avoid that contain this kind of fat.

  • Coconut
  • Palm oil

pink and brown ice cream with thick cream cascading, wafer, in glass stemmed bowl - darker brown background

  • Full fat milk, cream and ice cream
  • Fatty meat
  • Butter or ghee

Although most of the food above is food that we cannot and will not do without, due to our addictions and preferences, the need to consider one’s health should be paramount.  If we must consume this food, it should be eaten in low quantity, moderation and less often than you normally would.

Now let’s replace this food with food containing unsaturated fat:

tall olive oil bottle, bulbous at bottom with tall narrow stem, containing deep yellow oil, green olives in white dish on left, black olives on white dish on right - white background

  • Oils – sunflower, soybean, corn (this can be used in cooking and frying as well)
  • Cold-water fish
  • Seeds
  • Oils – rapeseed, olive, peanut, sesame
  • Avocado
  • Nuts – almonds, peanuts, brazils

3. Skimmed milk instead of evaporated, condensed or sweetened milk:

World Milk Day: Skimmed vs toned milk: What's the difference?

Let’s take a look at all these types of milk so we can see why your best option might be skimmed milk.

  • skimmed milk: skimmed milk is whole milk with almost all of its fat removed, having only 0.1% – 0.3%.  This makes it a suitable milk to have if you intend to watch your weight, cholesterol level, etc.
  • evaporated milk (unsweetened) : this milk is a shelf-stable milk that has had about 60% of its water removed in order to enrich its sweetness.  Evaporated milk is mostly added to cereals and oatmeal to enhance their taste.  There is more fat (cholesterol) contained in evaporated milk compared to whole milk.  If you are trying to avoid diabetes, high blood sugar, and obesity, refraining or reducing the intake of this type of milk would be a good idea.
  • condensed or sweetened milk: condensed milk is almost the same as evaporated milk.  The only difference is that condensed milk has had 45% of its sugar added after heating and almost 65% of its water content will have evaporated.  Therefore it not only contains as much fat as evaporated, but also more sugar.

Although there are many other forms of diary milk, these are the most often used.  With the above information, we can see that the only form of milk that has no unsaturated or saturated fat content is the skimmed milk.  Therefore, if you are looking for a healthy milk to consume, you should start taking skimmed milk.  It can prevent or reduce your chances of heart related disease, obesity, diabetes and high blood sugar.

4. Smoothies, fruit juice instead of carbonated drinks, alcohols:

5 Healthy Drink Alternatives To Alcohol - Betony Kitchen

It can be very difficult to accept, but carbonated drinks, caffeinated drinks, and alcoholic drinks can do more harm than good to your body system.

Let’s start with alcohol.  According to an article published on Healthline, there are many physical side effects associated with taking alcohol.  Taken in large quantity, it may affect the endocrine gland.  It may cause inflammation in the liver and can also have negative side effects on the central nervous system.  But another important thing we should know about alcohol is that it is very addictive.  Like nicotine and other addictive substances, the effect of alcohol may not be seen from the outside of the body.  Internally, these substances are real and can damage the internal organs.

Next we’ll talk about carbonated drink.  Carbonated drinks are the most consumed type of drink throughout the world.  Carbonated drinks are, as the name implies, drinks that contain carbon gas, which is normally used in the preservation of the drink.  Categories of carbonated drink can vary from energy drinks, soft drinks, and many others.  A lot of people take carbonated drinks at least twice a day, every day of their lives.  As with alcohol, let’s see the effects of carbonated drinks.

One thing you should know about carbonated drinks is that they often contain a lot of sugar, some more than others.  This sugar content makes them unhealthy.  Too much intake of carbonated drink can cause a serious increase in blood sugar level, may lead to weight gain and obesity and can give you toothache and decay.  On the other hand, fruit juice/fruit blends and smoothies contain natural fruit sugar (fructose).  This sugar is metabolised in the liver to produce energy and may keep the blood sugar level more even.

5. Whole wheat bread instead of white bread:

White or brown bread | Warriors Martial Arts

Whole wheat bread and white flour bread are all breads.  But let’s look at why whole wheat bread is better in terms of nutrition.  Here’s a link to an article published in the Insider.com, later reviewed by Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, nutrition and wellness expert with a private practice based in New York City.  Whole wheat bread is made from all components of the grain kernel, the bran, the germ, and the endosperm.  White bread is made from refined flour and only retains the endosperm.  This usually makes whole wheat bread healthier than white bread because it contains more fibre and fewer calories.  If you have a digestive health condition, white bread might be easier on your stomach because the lower fibre content.


I know it is easy to read this article and then move back to your old ways, although please don’t!  It will take serious determination and courage but put our suggestions into practice and you will definitely benefit.  Your health should be taken seriously, and if you are able to keep your diet healthier then you should take the opportunity.  These changes may positively affect us, and we can achieve a healthy life if we want to.  You can also speak to a food therapist, nutritionist or doctor to get more guidance on eating and living well.

You may also like to read our recent article; Eat Well And You Will Feel Happier: Change Your Diet To Lift Your Mood

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