People should avoid foods containing high amounts of sodium, refined sugars, and saturated and trans fats, according to Everyday Health. Consumers should read nutrition labels carefully to determine what ingredients are included in packaged foods, and how much. Ingredients are listed in order according to the weight they contribute to the product; meaning the ingredients with the highest amounts appear at the top of the list.
Hydrogenated oils and partially hydrogenated oils, which are categorized as trans fats, have a negative impact on both LDL and HDL cholesterol levels, states Everyday Health. These fats also increase the risk of blockage in the arteries, known as atherosclerosis, which leads to heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular disease. Trans fats should represent no more than 1 percent of a person's daily calories, and are generally found in packaged foods such as cookies, cakes and crackers.
Sugar contributes to obesity, high triglycerides and metabolic syndrome, states Everyday Health. Sugar comes in many forms and may be listed as table sugar, brown sugar, fructose, sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup. Natural sugars make a healthier option and consumers can look for products that contain molasses, maple syrup and raw sugar. Eliminating soda and sugary beverages can significantly reduce overall sugar intake.
Foods containing excessive amounts of sodium and salt can cause hypertension, which leads to stroke and heart attack, explains Everyday Health. Prepared and processed foods typically have high amounts of added sodium, including canned soups and condiments.