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20 Healthy Foods You Should Eat Only in Moderation

When it comes to food, you really can have too much of a good thing. These foods can be healthy, but only when you don’t overdo it.

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Yes, it’s healthy but…

There’s no better surprise than finding out that one of your favorite foods is as healthy as it is delicious. However, some of the most healthy foods are good only in moderation and can actually be unhealthy when eaten in excess.

Avocado also refers to the Avocado tree's fruit, which is botanically a large berry containing a single seed. Avocados are very nutritious and contain a wide variety of nutrients.haireena/Shutterstock

Avocado

Are you addicted to avocado recipes? There’s been a huge increase in avocado sales in the past few years, so you aren’t alone. Avocados are a rich source of healthy monounsaturated fats, which help to improve hair, skin, and nail health and to lower cholesterol. However, consuming too many fats of any kind is never a good idea, and many Americans are unaware of avocado’s surprisingly high-calorie count, about 250 per fruit. Here are 17 surprisingly unhealthy foods you should avoid.

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Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is a sweet and indulgent treat that turns out to be good for your health. Filled with antioxidants and heart-healthy components, dark chocolate is proven to help lower the risk of heart disease over time. Make sure to be discerning when choosing a bar, because chocolates on supermarket shelves are filled with sugar and calories.

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Nuts

Nuts are an extraordinary source of healthy fats, which can be beneficial for maintaining a healthy heart. Despite the benefits, nuts are 80 percent fat and high in calories. Adding a few handfuls to your daily diet to replace unhealthy fats is ideal, like a sprinkle over healthy main dish salads, but eating too many can add unnecessary calories and be detrimental to your diet.

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Canned Tuna

Canned tuna is a convenient and tasty addition to a healthy diet. High in protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, this fish can be eaten by itself or easily added to sandwiches and salads for a healthy lunch. However, when eaten in excess it can account for high levels of mercury, which is particularly hazardous for pregnant women because of the health risks it poses to the unborn baby.

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Peanut Butter

Although peanut butter is a healthy source of fats and helps create a feeling of satiation, it is also high in calories and can be high in sugar. The creamy spread is packed with powerful vitamins and minerals but should be eaten in moderation. Look for a variety without added sugar, especially if you’re packing a PB&J for your child’s lunch. Here are 10 unhealthy ingredients that are hiding in your kid’s lunch

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Soy

Soy can be a healthy alternative to meat—it’s high in protein, making it a nice substitute for people trying to eat a vegetarian diet. However, there’s some evidence that soy can act as an estrogen in the body; getting too much might worsen some hormonal disorders. The research is still early on this possible link, but in the meantime you can stay safe by consuming the bean—in all it’s forms, such as tofu, soy sauce, soy milk, tempeh—in moderation. On the flip side, here are 33 healthy foods that are way more nutritious than you thought.  

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Cheese

Cheese (along with most dairy products) is a good source of calcium and protein, which can promote healthy bone development and heart strength. However, eating cheese piled high onto a pizza or melted into a cheesy potluck appetizer is detrimental to your health and actually cancels out any health benefits. Make sure to eat cheese in moderation, and select varieties that are lower in sodium and fat. Or just check out the healthiest cheeses you should eat.  

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Red Meat

Red meat is a delicious source of protein that can help to build healthy bones and muscle. However, some studies say that eating too much red meat, particularly cuts high in saturated fat, can lead to cardiovascular disease, cancer and an increased risk of mortality. For best results, eat red meat in moderation, and limit your intake to one or two days per week. Here are 13 foods that cardiologists never eat

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Chicken

Chicken is often thought of as the dieter’s meat, used to make low-calorie dinners. It’s low in saturated fat and it provides a healthy source of proteins, vitamins, and minerals, all of which is beneficial for those of us trying to cut calories. However, America is the home of factory-farmed chickens, which are often pumped with antibiotics that can be dangerous to humans. Consider looking for brands or local farmers that minimize the use of antibiotics.

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Frozen Diet Meals

Frozen diet meals are a convenient solution to healthy eating on the go or when you don’t have time to make a heart-healthy supper at home. However, most frozen packaged meals are high in sodium and low in calories. The low-calorie count leaves us feeling hungry and unsatiated, which fails to promote a long-lasting and healthy lifestyle change. 

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Bottled Green Juices

All-natural green juices are a healthy way to get the daily doses of fruit and vegetables that most of us forget about. However, most bottled green juices are extraordinarily high in sugar, which can reverse any of the health benefits that natural versions promise. Be discerning when selecting a juice, and make sure to keep an eye on the amount of sugar in each bottle. This is how you can decode food labels to always know what you’re about to eat

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Red Wine

Who doesn’t love kicking back after a long day with a glass of red wine? The best part, this boozy beverage can help to lower cholesterol and protect your heart. However, alcohol in any form can be unhealthy. When consumed in excess, red wine can lead to abuse and health problems, reversing any health benefits that might be present in moderate consumption.

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White Potatoes

Potatoes are among the most versatile vegetables you can eat. You can serve them mashed, as French fries, as salty chips, and baked. Sure, potatoes are tasty, but this is one vegetable you do not want to overeat, especially when you’re probably eating them in one of their many altered forms with plenty of toppings (hello, loaded mashed potatoes with bacon!). Here are 20 other foods that are seriously not worth the calories.

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Sweet Potatoes

If you got on the sweet potato bandwagon to avoid eating too many white potatoes, you may want to start reconsidering how many sweet potatoes you eat and strive to eat them in moderation. These root vegetables are higher in carbohydrates and calories.

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Yams

There has been much confusion about what is a yam and what is a sweet potato, but they’re not members of the same botanical family.  According to Mascha Davis, a registered dietitian nutritionist with a master’s degree in public health, yams are higher in calories, but as long as you don’t eat these root veggies in excessive amounts, you’re unlikely to gain weight or have negative health effects. Moderation is key!

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Carrots

A bunny’s favorite food can have some serious health benefits to us humans, but that’s only if eaten in moderation. Carrots (and typically, all vegetables in general) are high in fiber, which Davis says helps slow down sugar absorption. But, carrots tend to skew higher in calories and sugar. The sugar in carrots is sucrose, which is what you would buy at the grocery store and call table sugar. Table sugar can lead to negative effects like high blood sugar and even tooth decay. So always eat these orange veggies in moderation.

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Beets

Another root vegetable that is higher in carbohydrates and sugar is beets. For those with certain medical conditions, like if you’re prone to kidney stones, for example, eating beets in moderation is probably smart as this root veggie (and its greens!) can also be high in oxalates. Check out these 12 ways you get tricked into overeating.

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Peas

When you were a child, having to eat peas may have been the worst thing ever. As it turns out, though, you probably should eat them in moderation. Peas are rich in nutrients that your body needs, but they are also high in carbohydrates, and the calories can add up quickly, says registered dietitian Amanda Baker Lemein. “We need to consider starchy vegetables a food we have to watch portions on, similarly to how we think of other carbohydrate-rich foods.” Lemein says that the only “unlimited” foods to eat are non-starchy vegetables. Those include artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, and cauliflower.

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Corn

Sweet corn might make eating vegetables more enjoyable, but that sweetness means sugar—the catalyst to weight gain, so be sure to eat corn in moderation. “Sugar unbalances your hormones, including insulin and cortisol, which signals your body to store calories as fat. Hence the weight gain,” says Kyrin Dunston, MD, author of Cracking the Bikini Code: 6 Secrets to Permanent Weight Loss Success. Be sure you also know the secrets that food manufacturers won’t tell you that can seriously change the way you eat.

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Pumpkin

Sugar always seems to sneak into your meals when you’re trying to eat healthy, so it would make sense to eat vegetables low in sugar, right? Well, maybe not. Even though pumpkin is low in sugar, some pumpkin recipes can still be high in calories. Strictly speaking, pumpkin is a fruit, but it is often called a vegetable—and is healthiest when treated like one and eaten in moderation. Now, take a look at these 17 healthy foods that are dangerous to overeat.