Processed junk foods are everywhere, full of sugar, salt and fat, they can have devastating effects on your health - but what are the real worst foods to eat?  

That's not to say that the foods featured on this list are things you should never eat again, but if you want to follow a healthy diet then try to keep your intake of these 10 foods to a minimum.

1. Cheesy fries

It’s no secret that fries are high in salt, fat and calories, and adding large amounts of cheese to this already unhealthy food makes this a terrible recipe for your health. A regular portion of fries contains around 420 calories. Throw in 100g of cheddar cheese on top of this, and you will be adding a further 400 calories and 35g of fat to the fries.

2. Fried desserts

Anything deep fried is a poor health choice, and coating a dessert that is already high in sugar and fat in batter is something you should avoid. Fried foods can clog up your arteries which can, over time lead to heart attacks, strokes and diabetes . Don’t think this doesn’t apply to pineapple and banana fritters too. Just because they are fruit, they have still been cooked in batter and will also be swimming in a sugary syrup.

3. Cereals

Many of us start our day with a bowl of cereal, but in some cases, this breakfast choice can actually contain many harmful ingredients.

Some breakfast cereals (specifically those aimed at children) contain preservatives to make them last longer, artificial dyes, flavourings and high amounts of sugar. An article published in the Journal of American Dietetic Association found that cereals marketed at children contained more: sodium, carbohydrates, sugar and calories per gram than those not marketed to children. Where possible, try to stick to cereals that are high in fibre and low in sugar.

4. Pork scratchings (pork rind or crackle)

Perhaps unsurprisingly, deep fried pig skin covered in salt makes it onto our list of the 10 worst foods to eat. If you’ve ever had a bag of pork scratchings, then you might have had the pleasure of finding a piece that still has a few hairs on it. Pig hair is usually removed by burning the skin quickly before it’s cut up and cooked in the hot fat, but occasionally, some hair remains on the skin.

5. Fizzy drinks

Although they are technically not a food, fizzy drinks still rightly deserve a place on the unhealthy food list. The health implications of regular consumption of fizzy drinks include heart disease, tooth decay and osteoporosis. Fizzy drinks also contain enormous amounts of hidden sugar , with the average can of coke containing 10 teaspoons. Even diet drinks that seem more healthy should generally be avoided as although they might be lower in calories than full-fat versions, they still contain artificial sweeteners which can rot tooth enamel over time.

6. Processed meats

Processed meats have been modified to contain nitrates and other chemical additives to help preserve the meat for longer and enhance the colour. Some processed meats such as sausages are also made up leftover, unwanted parts of animals, mixed up with high amounts of salt and fat. Consuming processed meat can also cause health risks including high blood pressure, heart disease and some forms of cancer.

7. Frozen meals

Although frozen ready meals might be a convenient choice, they offer little in the way of nutritional value. To turn something that sits in your freezer for months on end into an edible meal, manufacturers add in high levels of preservatives and sodium to the food. Rather than filling your freezer with shop bought ready meals, batch make your own homemade alternatives and freeze the individual portions.

8. Chicken nuggets

Don’t be fooled into thinking that chicken nuggets are a healthy food choice because they contain chicken. The truth is, chicken nuggets rarely contain only chicken breast, with manufacturers mixing the meat with bulking agents and leftover bits of carcass (the average nugget contains 50 per cent more fat and carbs than protein.) Instead of eating the deep fried nuggets, make your own healthy chicken nuggets at home by using a lean chicken breast cut into pieces and coated in breadcrumbs.

9. Canned soups

A seemingly innocent addition to this list, canned soups are not as bad for your health as some of the other foods featured in this top 10, but they do contain high amounts of salt. Made correctly, soup can provide a hearty and healthy meal packed full of vitamins and other goodness so if you want to eat soup, then stick to making your own . That way you know exactly what is going into it and won’t fall into the high salt trap of the canned varieties.

10. Doughnuts

Although you might love doughnuts, in the long term, your heart won’t. Doughnuts are fried, so you consume high amounts of saturated and trans fats when you eat the treat. Doughnuts also class as empty calories, as the snack itself is high in calories and sugar (a chocolate iced doughnut contains 350 calories) but low in nutritional value. So it won’t be long before your reaching for another doughnut… or two.