By the time you’re 30, you’ve had at least a decade making your own meal choices. Admittedly, it’s fun to eat whatever you want — but your body doesn’t process it in the same way as it used to. So, rather than waking up to a silhouette that looks unfamiliar, you should avoid these 20 foods. In doing so, you can maintain your best shape into your 30s and beyond.
20. Canned soup
You keep your canned soup on the pantry shelf for a reason: it’s so convenient to crack it open, heat it up and have a meal ready in minutes. But your favorite broths could be doing more harm than good. Check out its sodium content — how much of your recommended daily intake, 2,3000 milligrams, lurks inside of the can?
A single serving of many canned soups contains a whopping 40 percent of your recommended daily allowance of sodium. And too much sodium can spike your blood pressure, which has ties to skin aging, too. So, lay off canned soup in your 30s to preserve your skin and heart for a healthier future.
19. Fried foods
Chances are, you already know to avoid fried foods — but you might not know why you should side-step crispy chicken, fries and doughnuts. It all comes down to the fact that you have to heat oil to a high temperature in order to fry food in it. And when it reaches this level of heat, it becomes a carcinogen.
On top of that, excess fat can interfere with your thyroid’s hormone production, throwing your bodily balance off-kilter. For these reasons, experts suggest 30-somethings start to avoid deep-fried food. If you are craving something fried, however, you can make it relatively healthier by choosing to cook with coconut oil instead.
Margarine may be an alternative to butter, but don’t confuse it as a healthier option to the dairy-based spread. Margarines are made of partially-hydrogenated oils, which deliver a heaping helping of trans fats. You may have heard rumblings about these notorious types of fat before — and they deserve their bad reputation.
For one thing, trans fats have ties to heart disease, the number one cause of death internationally. In addition they can also hasten the visual signs of aging by making your skin more prone to ultraviolet radiation. This vulnerability allows the sun’s rays to get in and break down your elastin and collagen, which help keep your skin firm. By the time you’re 30, it’s best to avoid margarine to keep your skin and your heart healthy.
17. Breakfast pastries
Whether you stop for a muffin on the way to work or heat up a Pop Tart in the toaster, you’re choosing a very unhealthy start to your day — especially as you get older. Sugary confections disguised as breakfast bites can have up to a day’s worth of the sweet stuff in a single serving size.
A sugar-laden diet can adversely affect your health and life in a number of ways. Women who ingest too much of it can develop polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which has ties to infertility. And anyone who gets between 17 and 21 percent of their overall caloric intake from added sugar has a nearly 40 percent higher risk of death by heart disease.
16. Microwave popcorn
Few things are more appetizing than the smell of buttery popcorn heating in the microwave. However, now that you’re at least 30, you should stop buying the pre-buttered bags that you can cook with the press of a button. The problem with microwave popcorn — particularly the dairy-drenched variety — are the trans fats that it contains.
Trans fats can have detrimental effects on both your mental and physical health. They can cloud your memory and slow down an otherwise powerful brain. Meanwhile, they can also stall the body’s Omega-3 fatty acid production, a vital element in brain function. And trans fats can interrupt hormone production, as well. So, you’re better off skipping the buttered microwave popcorn.
The problem with this staple ingredient is that many soy-based products are genetically modified before they end up on your plate. Because of this, soy can spark inflammation. It also contains phytoestrogen, which can impair your thyroid function and cause imbalance.
It’s not just soybeans that you should look out for, either — skip the soy sauce after 30, too. A single tablespoon of it delivers 879 milligrams of sodium to your system, which will inevitably dry you out. If you do eat soy sauce, drink extra water to prevent dehydration and keep your skin from getting desiccated.
14. Farmed fish
There’s nothing like a fresh cut of fish — and we’re not just talking about taste. Experts agree that you get maximum health benefits from a pescatarian meal when it’s freshly caught from the sea. So, before you buy any fillets to bring home, be sure to ask where they came from — and when.
If you can’t pick up the freshest fish, then you should start to avoid seafood in your 30s. Farmed fish are raised in pools so cramped that they sometimes eat each other’s fecal matter. Doing so creates toxins inside of the animals — toxins that you end up eating, if you don’t choose naturally grown and recently caught fish.
13. Microwave dinners
Microwave dinners burst onto the scene in the 1950s and revolutionized evening meals for Americans across the country. They could quickly heat up a tray of food, plop down in front of the TV and dig in. Fast-forward a few decades, and you can still do the same — but that doesn’t mean you should, especially in your 30s.
Your pre-packaged dinner is likely hiding a heaping helping of sodium — up to 1,800 milligrams, in some cases. So, after eating, you’ll probably experience bloating, since salt helps the body to retain water. On top of that, some microwave meals have a high calorie content, too.
12. Drinks with straws
Whether it’s a glass of water, a jug of iced coffee or a highball cocktail, you shouldn’t be drinking through a straw once you’re 30. Think about it: what does your face do when you sip through the cylindrical tube? You wrap your lips around the straw, and pursing them repeatedly will have an effect on your face.
Specifically, repetitive movements of your facial muscles start to etch out fine lines and, as time goes on, deeper wrinkles. They’ll become even more prominent as you get older and skin starts to lose its tightness. So, stick to sipping from the side of the glass to avoid unnecessary lines on your face.
11. Sports drinks
How strenuous of a workout is required to warrant the downing of a sports drink like Gatorade? Those bottles do contain some beneficial ingredients — specifically, electrolytes such as potassium and sodium. But there is also quite a lot of sugar to be found, as well as a high calorie count.
Most workouts simply don’t warrant the deluge of calories and sugar that come with a sports drink. And, as you get older, your metabolism starts to slow down, and the body changes the way it processes these ingredients. So, skip these calorific beverages after you turn 30 to stay in better shape.
10. Bleached flour
Nowadays, you can find a slew of options on the shelf when you go to the store to buy flour. There’s whole-wheat flour, rice flour, almond flour, unbleached flour, bleached flour… and you might not know which one to choose. We can help narrow down the playing field, especially if you’re over 30: skip the bleached flour.
As it turns out, the chemical agents used to bleach this flour can hasten the aging process. Plus, in order to whiten the grain, manufacturers have put it through more processing, stripping away valuable nutrients. So, opt for flour closer to its natural state for the healthiest possible option.
9. White-bread bagels
You shouldn’t just avoid white flour after 30 — you should skip white bagels, too. This breakfast staple may be made of grains, but the body transforms it and other refined carbohydrates into sugar. After that, the sweet stuff becomes glucose, which can break down collagen and make your skin susceptible to wrinkles.
If you’re 30 or older, you can still enjoy bagels, so long as they’re made of whole grains. That way, your blood sugar levels will remain steady, thus preserving your skin’s collagen supply. Plus, whole grains help you to either maintain your weight or lose a few pounds, if that’s what you want to do.
8. Artificial sweeteners Xylitol and Sorbitol
If you’ve ever cracked into a diet soda and wondered how it could be so sweet without sugar, here’s your answer: the recipe contains an artificial sweetener. The drink may have included a sugar alcohol called Xylitol or Sorbitol, a common ingredient in sugar-free drinks and treats — such as gum.
Xylitol and Sorbitol might taste sweet, but these sugar alcohols can break down your tooth enamel. This coating on your teeth safeguards the inner layers of your dentition and maintains its pearly whiteness. You also can’t replace enamel, so once it goes, it’s gone — and you certainly don’t want that happening in your 30s.
As you age, your body needs fewer calories to keep itself running. That’s why your daily diet becomes more and more important as you age — the correct portion level is vital to keep you healthy. But not all foods help you work toward this goal, and, if you’ve ever cracked open a bag of Doritos, you’ll know this to be true.
There’s a reason why it’s so hard to eat just one portion of Doritos — these chips are designed to get you to eat a lot of them. They have a lot of flavor, but none of the seasonings prove dominant over the others. Strong flavors help you know when you’re full and done eating something — without them, you will just keep munching. So, skip the Doritos if you want to cut down on mindless snacking.
6. Salami and hot dogs
If you’re a man in your 30s and dreaming of having kids in the future, then it’ s time to stop eating hot dogs and salami. A 2014 study uncovered a link between these and other processed meats and a decreased sperm count. It had nothing to do with these products’ saturated fat, either.
In fact, previous studies had linked saturated fats to subpar sperm quality. However, more recent studies indicate that the way of processing salami and hot dog meat includes some step that adversely affects your little swimmers. Even without an understanding of precisely how this happens — scientists still aren’t certain — it’s worth skipping the processed proteins if you want to have kids any time soon.
5. Coffee creamers
Your morning doesn’t start until you’ve had your coffee, and you can happily keep that habit. What we do suggest is that you skip the coffee creamer that many people add. Many brands add titanium dioxide to their formula, a whitening agent that makes your creamer the perfect shade.
Studies on mice have shown that titanium dioxide causes liver and tissue damage — and it seems it could hurt humans, too. Some coffee creamers also disguise trans fats by renaming them hydrogenated oils on their ingredient list. Regardless of the name, this additive can impair your memory before you turn 45.
4. Sugar-free snacks
As many of us get older, we start to put on weight. If yours has concentrated around your midsection, it could be a sign that your liver function has stalled post-30. One way to restart this organ is to skip sugar-free treats, which can lower the liver’s efficiency and cause you to put on a few pounds.
You’re probably wondering why you’d avoid sugar-free snacks — treats without the sweet stuff should be good for you, right? Well, sugar-free bites that are still saccharine will have some sort of artificial sweetener to make them taste good. And these additives can impair your liver, so skip sugar-free candy, gum and other nibbles.
3. Pesticide-laden produce
Fruits and vegetables are supposed to be good for you, but your produce could be hiding a dark secret: pesticides. And, if you’ve reached 30, then your body has had all those years to build up and store these toxins. Research has shown that they can slow down your metabolism and push your hormones out of balance.
Pesticide build-up can affect sperm mobility, too, which is important for aspiring dads to know. So, opt for organic fruits and vegetables or, at the very least, go pesticide-free for the most heavily treated produce. Skip traditionally harvested strawberries, grapes, bell peppers, celery, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, peaches, spinach and apples.
2. Protein bars
You might think that reaching for a protein bar is a healthy move post-workout or early in the morning as you start your day. But the promise of a protein-rich bite comes with a lot more than you bargained for. In fact, some experts refer to them as them “glorified candy bars” because they’re so bad for you.
Some protein bars or meal-replacement bars contain upwards of 200 calories — a lot more than you need from a quick snack. Plus, they contain far too much sugar alongside those calories. So, by the time you’re 30, you’re better off avoiding this seemingly healthy but ultimately too-sweet trap.
We saved the most heartbreaking fact for last: after you turn 30, you should skip the bacon. A whopping 68 percent of the sizzling slices’ calorie content comes from fat. Worse yet, half of that fat is saturated, which means it boosts your chances of heart disease and stroke. You’ll gain weight from eating saturated fats, too.
On top of that, saturated fats can also trigger inflammation, which hastens your skin’s aging process. And then there’s nitrate, another bacon ingredient that will make you look older faster. Specifically, nitrates cause collagen and elastin to break down, and these compounds keep your skin plump and youthful. So, skip the bacon — or go for a healthier variety without nitrates and low in saturated fat.