The food industry can be sneaky. This means that you need to stay informed on how you’re fueling your body. In the era of viral pins and hashtags, read on to sort through which health foods are not in your best interest and which wholesome alternatives are not-so-healthy after all. In fact, there are some healthy foods that are actually bad for you. Here are nine health food trends to avoid.
Health Food Trends to Avoid
1. Gluten-Free Foods
Although less than one percent of the American population has celiac disease, gluten-free foods have become popular because they somehow sound less processed. However, gluten-free items are made of corn, oat and rice flours and generally have an even higher caloric count than their whole-wheat counterparts. They contain just as much sodium, added sugar and saturated fat, and, furthermore, the nutrients and fiber get stripped away during processing.
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2. Antioxidant Super Foods
Instagram may showcase certain antioxidant-rich foods as the cure you’ve always needed, but don’t let “magic” foods dominate your diet. While health foods such as the acai fruit, avocados and matcha powder may boast superior antioxidants and detox properties, they are also chock full of sugars and fats and are best in small doses. The acai fruit and matcha have more antioxidant properties than other fruits, such as pomegranates and blueberries, but they also contain more carbohydrates and calories per gram. Similarly, avocados are packed with vitamins, potassium, antioxidants and monosaturated fats, but they are also generally high in fat content. One serving size of avocado should only be a quarter of an avocado. Sometimes you really can have too much of a good thing.
3. Agave Syrup Health Food Trend
Extracted from the Agave tequila plant, Agave syrup is often seen as more natural than zero-calorie sweeteners. In reality, it contains twenty to forty percent more fructose than regular sugar. Moreover, Agave nectar syrups are often highly processed and more similar to high-fructose corn syrup. Although the Agave syrup does not raise blood sugar, but this is because it goes straight to the liver after it is absorbed, which can tax the liver.
4. Oat And Almond Milk
As more people adopt dairy-free diets, almond milk has become a popular non-dairy alternative since it is low in calories. While it is a good source of calcium and vitamin D, it is really low in protein, with only one or two grams per serving. In addition, oat milk, the newest non-dairy trend, often includes high amounts of added sugars and additives to indulge the flavor. Avoid flavored versions of oat or almond milks such as chocolate and vanilla, and check the ingredient list before you buy a brand.
5. Turkey, Veggie and Plant-Based Burgers
You might as well enjoy that burger you’ve been craving because the alternatives aren’t as healthy as you might think. Turkey burgers can contain even higher levels of salt and fat than red meat for a whopping total of 850 calories. If you think vegetarian burgers are any better, consider that they are often filled with a variety of dubious ingredients such as processed soy protein, canola oil, caramel coloring and xanthan gum. Plant-based burgers may be all the rage but many contain pea protein, which unless organic, contains loads of harmful pesticides (which you won’t find on the label). Either indulge in the burger, or stick to healthier substitutes for red meat such as beans, lentils, eggs, dairy, fermented soy, nuts and seeds.
6. Veggie Chips
It may be appealing to pack your nutrients into your fun foods, but veggie chips are often so heavily processed that the nutrients and fiber have been stripped away. Moreover, they are fried in saturated and trans fats, meaning that they contain the same number of calories as regular potato chips. Veggie sticks, similarly, often contain an excess of sodium and sunflower oil. They are deceptively colored by only a minuscule amount of spinach or carrot powder.
7. Fruit and Veggie Juices
Although it would sound ideal to consolidate your daily veggies into a single glass, you are better off preparing the real deal. The definition of juice is a concentrated form of sugar. Consider that there are only 13 grams of sugar in one orange but 22 grams of in one eight-ounce glass of orange juice. Moreover, juices lack the fiber found naturally in fruits and veggies. This is important for gut health and for controlling blood sugar and hunger levels. Thus, juices digest quickly and enter the bloodstream. Vegetable juices are also similar in their sugar content to fruit juices. Often fruits like apples are added for a sweeter taste. Also, make sure your fruits and vegetables are organic. Otherwise they are loaded with pesticides.
8. Probiotic Granola Bars and Smoothies
Granola bars, protein powders and ready-made smoothies are now advertised as a convenient way to consume probiotics, which are helpful in digestion. However, these products often contain an unnecessary amount of added sugar and sodium. Stick to more direct and authentic sources for probiotics, such as Greek yogurt and sauerkraut.
9. Low-Fat Foods
Yes, you were right – it is, indeed, too good to be true. Fat-free foods contain more calories and sugar than regular foods. The caloric count of fat-free or reduced-fat peanut butter, for instance, often parallels that of regular peanut butter. What the product lacks in fat, it makes up for with lots of sugar.
On the other hand, a moderate intake of fat is beneficial. Cheese, although high in saturated fat, is high in protein and calcium. Moreover, the fat in condiments can help you take advantage of the nutrients from your food. A little healthy fat in regular mayo helps you absorb key nutrients like vitamins A, D, E and K. Light mayo also contains additional sugar and additives. Likewise, salad dressings containing healthy fats help your body absorb the fat-soluble vitamins present in green vegetables. However, steer clear of commercial salad dressings that are full of unhealthy oils, preservatives and sugars. Instead choose simple dressings such as extra virgin olive oil, vinegar or Dijon mustard.
Health Food Trends To Avoid Conclusion
I hope this article has shed some light on some of the ingredients in your diet and that you will start to check out labels before purchasing. Bon appetit!
– Christina Como
Sources: Shape.com, WomensHealthMag.com, Prevention.com, EatThis.com, Healthline.com, RadioMD.com
You may like to read more Health and Fitness posts from Christy like How To Reduce Your Risk Of Osteoporosis With Exercise and How To Feel Fit and Fab at Forty and Beyond.
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