Americans love snacking. One of the earlier innovations in American snack food history was the potato chip in 1853, according to the Snack Food Association, which became available in grocery stores in 1895. In the decades since then, the food industry has tempted consumers with a growing list of sweet, salty and creamy snacks. Not all of these snacks are healthy. In fact, a steady diet of some snack foods can be bad for your health.
Cakes and Cookies
Commercially baked snack cakes and cookies are high in sugar, fat and trans fats. A 29-gram serving of the average cream-filled chocolate cookie contains 140 calories and 11 percent of your recommended total fat intake for the entire day. The Nabisco website does not list the trans fat content in this product, but the trans fats lurking in your food are very unhealthy.
Commercially baked products are not the only "bad" snack foods. Even before McDonald’s opened the first fast-food restaurant in 1948, Americans snacked on hamburgers and hot dogs at drive-in restaurants. A large order of the average fast food popcorn chicken has 550 calories, 320 of which are from fat, 80 milligrams of cholesterol and 1,600 milligrams of sodium.
Even beverages may contain calories, trans fats and other unhealthy ingredients -- especially those made from ice cream. A large Chocolate chip cookie dough shake from the average ice cream parlor can contain as much as 1,690 calories, more calories than a sedentary woman needs to consume in an entire day. This same drink can contain upwards of 72 grams of fat, more than an entire day’s worth.
Battering and deep-frying turns some fairly healthy snack items into unhealthy snack foods. Battered, deep-fried mushrooms, cheese, potatoes, strips of meat and other snacks are delicious but bad for your health if consumed frequently. Some people make deep-frying snacks even unhealthier by battering and plunging candy bars and snack cakes into the hot oil.
A quick snack at home can be deceptively unhealthy. A person who makes a sandwich with refined white bread, condiments containing sodium and processed meats is not having a healthy snack. Processed lunch meats often contain a lot of fat, sodium and byproducts. Some cold cuts contain unhealthy additives. Commercially prepared snack products intended to be made at home, such as cake mixes or canned soups, often contain excess fat or salt. Microwave products are often very high in sodium, calories and fat. Adding heavy, sweetened creams, salt or butter to otherwise healthy snacks can add calories to your meal, cholesterol to your blood and inches to your waistline.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.