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Eating healthy on the road can be tougher on truck drivers than the rest of us. They spend countless hours at truck stops sifting through foods that display various healthy perks, or certain vitamins or additives that increase this or that (and it’s rarely true). The worst of the bunch could be simply that some foods have the image of being harmless, but actually do some real work on your body, especially if you have a few physical conditions that allows them to harm you more.
What harmless sounding foods out there can do a body bad?
We have to admit, even our resident nutritionist raised her eyebrows at some of these findings. Some of the foods that made the list are just simple things that people have enjoyed during childhood, some just have the look of “light & healthy” to them.
That’s part of the complicated information that seems to conflict with the normal tendencies of a truck driver who may have a developing heart condition, or treat themselves for some chronic conditions like diabetes or arthritis and swelling of the joints. Some foods look harmless, but can be some of the worst offenders. This is a dangerous situation for the trucking industry, which is currently battling high rates of obesity, heart disease and respiratory decline.
Have a look at this short slideshow of seemingly harmless foods that can do a body bad.
Another hyper-refined carbohydrate, grits are the small leftover pieces from corn processing. Nutritionally speaking, grits lack significant amounts of vitamins or minerals. They contain a minute amount of fiber and no essential fats. Their flavor is lacking and thus butter or heavy cream is used to make them palatable, bringing together the blood-vessel-destroying, unholy marriage of simple carbohydrates and saturated fat.
2. Sugar Sweetened Drinks
If you stop eating only one thing on this list, it should be sugar-sweetened beverages. The empty calories help pad your waistline without offering any sense of satiety or fullness. Plus, simple sugars do an excellent job of lowering your good cholesterol and increasing your triglyceride levels (two risk factors for heart disease). Drinking sugary beverages also promotes disturbances in your body's inflammatory balance, making it harder to recover from exercise and increasing your risk of numerous chronic diseases.
3. Refined and Re-Fortified Grains
Unfortunately this rules out a majority of the carbohydrates found on supermarket shelves. Refined and re-fortified grains are grain-based foods like certain breakfast cereals, pastas, and rice products that have been refined such that the naturally occurring fiber, vitamins, and minerals have been removed. Companies then replace the fiber and synthetic versions of the vitamins and minerals that were initially removed. Sometimes they cheeat and put everything back in naturally occurring ratios so that they can still claim the food contains ˜whole grains'. Just eat the real unfortified stuff in the first place.
4. Fat-Free Salad Dressing
Fat-free salad dressings are a perfect example of good food gone bad. Salad dressing is the perfect combination of vinegar (which helps control blood sugar) and plant oils (full of essential fatty acids and sometimes antioxidants). However, an irrational fear of dietary fats has forced food companies to mess around with this perfect blend. The resulting fat-free salad dressings have introduced sugar and high fructose corn syrup, un-pronounceable emulsifying agents, and other food science secrets used to make the unnatural seem natural.
5. Rice Cakes
They may have been touted as the ultimate diet food during the low-fat/no-fat craze of the late 1980s and 1990s, but don't be fooled. Rice cakes can have a glycemic index rating as high as 91 (pure glucose has a rating of 100), making it the kind of carbohydrate that will send your blood sugar on a roller coaster ride. This is bad for weight loss and for your health.
That’s all for now, truck drivers. Be smart and healthy out there on the road. There’s lots more things available in truck stops that may seem like they’re easy on your stomach and blood sugar levels that might be traps. We’ll keep updating this series as we go to tell you about more.