Fat Free or Sugar Free Foods
Fat free and sugar free foods look like a good option when trying to eat healthy, after all, too much sugar and too much fat can lead to health problems and weight gain. However, these foods are not all they’re cracked up to be. They’re typically full of processed foods and artificial sweeteners that can actually make it more difficult to lose weight and have their own array of health problems attached to them.
Gluten Free Foods
Eating gluten free is entirely unnecessary for anyone who does not suffer from a gluten allergy or gluten-related disease. This means that gluten is good for approximately 93% of the American population. Most of the alternative flours and ingredients used in these products contain just as much if not more carbohydrates as wheat without any of the nutritional benefits that wheat based products provide.
Diet Soda or Juice
Diet sodas and juices boast zero calories so they seem like a good idea at face value. Unfortunately, they are sweetened with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame. These actually dull the senses because they are so sweet and cause the body to crave even more sweetness. In addition, they still trigger insulin which can lead to weight gain over time.
It’s recently come to light that soy may be doing more harm than good when added to diets, particularly when it’s overly processed. Soy contains isoflavins that act as phytoestrogens, or transmitters that react with estrogen receptors in the body but are not estrogen. This means that, over time, too much soy can actually disrupt endocrine function and interfere with normal hormones. It has also been seen that too much soy can interfere with thyroid function by inhibiting peroxidase.
Sushi is a food that can be very healthy or very harmful depending on the way it’s eaten. Rolls that contain mayo based sauces, imitation crab, and cream cheese completely negate any benefit taken from the fish, seaweed, and rice in the sushi. In addition, although tuna is a healthier choice nutrition-wise, sushi fans still need to be on the lookout for mercury which is very prevalent in tuna and can cause vision problems, memory loss, headaches, and hair loss.
Veggie chips seem like a great way to have a fun, healthy snack, but the fact is: they aren’t that healthy. Although they have less calories and more nutrients than the average potato chip, most veggie chips are still very high in fat and sodium content. They also tend to have a psychological effect on consumer who feel that more of them can be eaten because they are healthier.
Granola bars are another tricky food that seem like they might be healthy because they have some healthy ingredients. Granola, by itself, is very healthy. When it’s mixed with sugars and candies and every little thing to make it taste better, it’s no longer a healthy snack, but a calorie bomb with no real nutritional value.
Beware of the twiggy, flaky cereals in the organic section of the supermarket. Just because it has a nice organic, whole grain, or high fiber label does not by any means make it healthy. Many of these cereals still have massive amounts of sugar and ingredient lists a mile long. When looking for a healthy cereal, it should have less that 6g of sugar and a very short ingredient list.
Quinoa Pasta or Chips
Quinoa on its own is an incredibly nutritious, healthy food that’s full of fiber and protein and should by no means be avoided when trying to revamp a diet. When processed into chips or pasta, however, quinoa loses much of its nutritional value making these products no healthier than regular potato chips or pasta. Some brands of quinoa chips are so processed that they have literally zero fiber. This is another food that turns into a psychological pit where it seems okay to eat a lot of it because it’s healthy.
Vegan desserts and baked goods are great for those who suffer from dairy allergies or avoid animal products on an ethical basis, but not so great for those who think they’re a great way to have your cake and eat it too. These products are still packed with sugar and many of the alternative ingredients are even less healthy than those found in non-vegan deserts and baked goods. A vegan cookie is still just a cookie at the end of the day.
Rice cakes are a dieting relic leftover from the no-fat diet era. Although plain rice cakes are low-calorie and have a low-fat content, they have very little nutritional benefit at all, so they’re still just empty calories. In addition, flavored rice cakes can pack a wallop on the calorie and artificial flavoring scale, making them just as unhealthy as any other snack food, but with the familiar psychological pitfall of feeling like its okay to eat unlimited amounts of them.
Frozen Veggie Burgers
Frozen veggie burgers that are found in grocery stores are typically super processed and are usually made from soy and processed wheat. As discussed earlier, there are many issues that can be related to too much soy and over processed soy. In addition, if the veggie burgers are not organic, consumers run the risk of hexane contamination. Hexane is produced during the refining process and is a major air pollutant as well as toxin.
Bottled Fruit/Vegetable Mixes
Bottled fruit and vegetable mixes seem like a great way to get in those servings of fruits and vegetables that can be so hard to add to a diet. Unfortunately, store bought juices like this are often high calorie, packed with sugar, and have preservatives in them. It’s a better idea to just invest in a juicer and make these types of juices at home from fresh fruits and veggies to avoid all the excess ingredients
Frozen Diet Meals
Frozen diet meals are a fast and seemingly healthy way to get needed nutrients and watch calories at the same time. Unfortunately, these meals typically have far too few calories to qualify as a meal. This leaves the consumer hungry and causes the metabolic rate to slow over time because not enough calories are being consumed. In addition, these meals don’t provided much in the way of nutrients because they lack fruits, vegetables, and grains, and they usually have too much sodium to add flavor.
With the current over exposure to diet plans, healthy foods and magic solutions for weight loss, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and confused. It’s always important to properly research foods and not just fall for marketing ploys that taut the benefits of certain diets or perfect foods. Always read nutritional labels and be sure to understand what they labels mean, and remember that the fresher something is the better it probably is.