Eating Healthy: Top 10 Health Food Myths
If you’re going to great lengths to eat a healthy diet and not seeing results, it may well be your healthy diet to blame. As it happens, many seemingly healthy foods may be health food myths. Here are ten of the worst foods for your diet, and some better choices.
- Coconut Oil – Research has yet to determine whether coconut oil has the same benefits as olive oil, or whether coconut oil can help you burn fat. What we do know is that coconut oil contains a lot of saturated fat, which is associated with heart disease. That’s not to say you shouldn’t use coconut oil, but use it sparingly and be sure to measure carefully.
- Sushi – Fish contains Omega-3 fatty acids, which are very good for you, but sushi is made primarily of rice. In order to get the recommended amount of fish, you’ll be gorging on rice. If you prefer tempura with mayo, and you’re no better off than if you had chosen a burger and fries. Enjoy a bit of sushi, but have it with a salad. Or go one better with a skinny roll with avocado, cucumber, or sprouts.
- Dried Fruit – Fruit is good for you. Dried fruit, not so much. Dried fruit contains little protein or fat, and no water, which means it won’t satisfy your hunger. Besides, the sugar content is concentrated, and some brands actually add more sugar. Opt for fresh or frozen fruit instead.
- Wraps – Wraps are thought to be healthier than a similar sandwich, but contain 350 calories, about the same as a bagel. Whole grain bread is about 100 calories per slice, making it better than a wrap, with an added fiber bonus.
- Corn – Corn on the cob is a summer staple, but at 600 calories per cup, it’s not doing you any favors. Also, corn is technically a grain, not a vegetable. Enjoy corn occasionally, but swap it for cucumbers, celery, or carrots as often as possible for a lower calorie, more nutrient dense crunch.
Many companies have begun using words and phrases such as, healthy, low-fat, all natural, lite, and many more as a way of advertising and marketing. It is important to learn how to read labels and how to spot health food myths in advertising.
- Anything gluten-free – Gluten free diets have become increasingly popular, but unless you suffer from celiac disease, gluten-free foods can sabotage your diet. The gluten-free diet trend (for those without Celiacs) is another example of health food myths. Much of the texture and flavor of many foods comes from gluten and when the gluten is removed, it must be replaced to make the food palatable. Gluten is most often replaced by fat, sugar, and starch. Opt for whole or less-processed foods and check labels carefully.
- Yogurt – Plain yogurt with live cultures is a healthy snack, but most commercial varieties of yogurt are packed with sugar, fructose, or artificial sweeteners. Fructose and artificial sweeteners in particular have been shown to leave you hungry, as well as going directly to the liver to be converted into fat. Choose unsweetened yogurt made with coconut milk or plain Greek yogurt and add a handful of fresh or frozen berries. Not only will you consume less sugar, you’ll get extra fiber and nutrients.
- Smoothies – Smoothies can be one of the healthiest things you can drink, or no better than a milkshake, depending on what is in it. Many commercially bought smoothies are high in calories and sugar, but low in fiber. Make your own with almond or coconut milk, chia or flax seed, vegetables, fruit and a scoop of protein powder for a beverage packed with nutrition, but without the sugar.
- Salad – Salad can be a nutritious power house, until you add some candied nuts, dried berries, and creamy dressing, then you end up with as many calories as dessert. Skip the high calories add-ons and substitute a quality lean protein and healthy fat, such as avocado. Swap the dressing for vinegar or lemon and extra virgin olive oil.
- Granola – With oats, seeds, and nuts, what’s not to love? To make the granola requires honey, fat, and oil. A serving of granola is a mere ¼ cup. Unless you measure carefully and stick to a serving, you could easily consume hundreds of calories without realizing it. Instead, choose a whole grain cereal with plenty of fiber and no added sugar.
A Final Word About Health Food Myths and Your Body
The NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress ResponseSM is a network of the body’s natural protection against the excessive burden stress can play in harming the biological equilibrium. The NEM’s structure is consisted of a web that comprises of various systems in our body such as the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system is largely responsible for the behaviours in our body that occur without thought, such as breathing, the heartbeat and digestion. In combination with the overarching systems existing in our form, the NEM’s model takes into account specific organ functionality in its response to environmental toxins and stress. One such organ is our heart, which is an organ that is susceptible to our dietary influences. It is essential that we pay attention to the foods and drinks we consume as they all play a direct role in the health of our hearts, foods highly saturated in fat content in coconut oils is an example of the need for dietary restraints. As not only does it directly affect the condition of our hearts but it can play a role in overburdening the NEM’s stress response structure, and lead to other bodily functions improperly working.
Learning to identify common health food myths will enable you to make healthy dietary decisions. A diet rich in nutrient dense foods is vital to achieving optimal health. Fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, lean meats and fish is what our bodies need most.