In the world of healthy eating, nutritionists are the experts. They know all the latest research and best practices for fueling our bodies with the nutrients we need. But even nutritionists have their own list of healthy foods they avoid. Some of these choices may surprise you, but there are good reasons why these foods don’t make the cut for many nutrition professionals.
Low-Fat Salad Dressings
Choosing low-fat salad dressings in an effort to be health-conscious may seem like a good idea, but these products often compensate for the lack of fat with added sugars and artificial additives. Healthy fats, like those found in olive oil or avocado, are crucial for nutrient absorption. Create your own dressings using natural fats and fresh ingredients for a tastier and more nutritious option.
These convenient snacks might seem like a good way to get some fiber and protein, but they are often loaded with sugar, artificial flavors, and preservatives. Plus, they are not very filling and can leave you craving more. A better option is to make your granola bars with oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and honey or maple syrup.
While fruit juice does contain some vitamins and antioxidants, it also contains a lot of sugar and calories. One cup of orange juice has about the same amount of sugar as a can of soda. Fruit juice also lacks the fiber and other nutrients that whole fruits have.
Agave nectar is often marketed as a natural and healthy sweetener, but it is highly processed and contains more fructose than table sugar. Fructose is a type of sugar that can raise your blood triglycerides and contribute to fatty liver disease, insulin resistance, and obesity.
Fat-free yogurt might seem like a good way to get some calcium and protein without the extra calories, but it is not very good for you. Fat-free yogurt is usually made with skim milk, which has been stripped of its natural fat-soluble vitamins and minerals. It also contains added sugar, artificial sweeteners, thickeners, and stabilizers to make up for the lack of flavor and texture.
Veggie chips might sound like a healthy alternative to potato chips, but they are not much better. Veggie chips are usually made with potato starch or corn flour, which are refined carbohydrates that can spike your blood sugar and cause inflammation. They also contain a lot of oil, salt, and artificial flavors and colors. A better option is to eat raw or roasted vegetables with hummus or guacamole.
Rice cakes are low in calories and fat, but they are also low in fiber, protein, and other nutrients. Rice cakes are made with puffed rice, which has a high glycemic index and can cause your blood sugar to rise and fall quickly. This can lead to hunger, cravings, and overeating later on.
Gluten-free products are not necessarily healthier than their gluten-containing counterparts. Gluten-free products are often made with refined flour like rice flour or tapioca starch, which have little nutritional value and can raise your blood sugar levels. They also contain more fat, sugar, and additives to improve their taste and texture.
Store-bought smoothies may seem like a convenient way to get your daily dose of fruits and veggies, but many commercial options are packed with added sugars, fruit concentrates, and sweetened yogurt. Making your own smoothies at home allows you to control the ingredients and avoid unnecessary sugars. Opt for green, vegetable-based smoothies with minimal added sweeteners for a healthier option.
Diet soda might seem like a guilt-free way to enjoy a fizzy drink, but it is bad for your health. Diet soda contains artificial sweeteners like aspartame or sucralose, which can mess with your metabolism and appetite hormones. They can also alter your gut microbiome and increase your risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and stroke.
Microwave popcorn is a convenient way to enjoy a movie night snack, but it is also full of chemicals and unhealthy fats. Microwave popcorn bags are lined with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is a carcinogen that can leach into the popcorn when heated. Microwave popcorn also contains artificial butter flavoring called diacetyl, which can damage your lungs if inhaled.
Bran muffins might seem like a wholesome breakfast choice, but they are more like a dessert. Bran muffins are usually made with refined flour, sugar, oil, and eggs, which make them high in calories, fat, and carbs. They also contain very little bran, which is the only part of the wheat that has some fiber and nutrients.
Dried fruits are a good source of fiber and antioxidants, but they also have some drawbacks. Dried fruits are often coated with sugar or sulfur dioxide to preserve their color and flavor. They also have a lot of calories and carbs per serving, since the water has been removed. This can make it easy to overeat them and consume more sugar than you realize.
Energy bars might seem like a convenient way to fuel your workout or your busy day, but they are not very healthy. Energy bars are often packed with sugar, artificial sweeteners, soy protein isolate, and other processed ingredients that can cause inflammation and digestive issues. They also have a lot of calories and carbs that can spike your blood sugar and crash your energy levels.
Flavored water might seem like a refreshing way to stay hydrated, but it is not very good for you. Flavored water contains artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavors that can have negative effects on your health. They can also make you crave more sweet foods and drinks and interfere with your natural thirst signals.
Veggie burgers might seem like a healthy alternative to meat burgers, but they are not always better. Veggie burgers are often made with soy protein isolate, wheat gluten, or other highly processed ingredients that can cause allergies and inflammation. They also contain a lot of sodium, additives, and fillers to improve their taste and texture.
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