If you're trying to eat better, be aware that some foods are more hype than healthy. Methodist Health System helps you separate fact from fiction when it comes to your diet, including these seven so-called "healthy" foods and the use of detoxes and cleanses.
Touted as the miracle ingredient for cooking and homemade beauty treatments, this oil is actually incredibly high in saturated fat. There are dozens of studies that associate too much saturated fat with heart disease, so if you must ingest an oil, opt for canola or olive instead. (Psst: It's still ok to use it as a hair conditioner).
Basically it's just water with sugar in it. At 46 calories per cup, you are much better off hydrating with good, old-fashioned water. But what about all the electrolytes, you ask? You'll actually get more potassium from a banana or a potato — both of which also contain way more vitamins and minerals.
If a food has naturally occurring healthy fat, like peanuts, food processors have to replace the fat with something else when they remove it. What's usually added? Sugar, refined carbs, food dyes, chemicals, and preservatives. So when peanut butter, which should only have one to two ingredients (peanuts and/or salt), becomes a reduced-fat version it gains a lot of added junk and loses its natural ability to help you feel full and satisfied. Don't fear fat, and remember that just because a food is lower in fat does not mean it isn’t fattening.
Calorie-free “diet” drinks
Beware of anything that says “diet” or “sugar-free.” These diet drinks (ahem, calling all Diet Coke addicts) contain artificial sweeteners, and the reason they are calorie-free is because your body does not register the sweetener as real food. Artificial sweeteners are hundreds of times sweeter than regular sugar and increase your desire for sweet foods. They also leave your body feeling unsatisfied because it wasn't provided with any actual calories or nutrition. Anything that was synthesized in a lab does not belong in your drink.
The more work you put into preparing your food, the better it must be, right? Wrong. The actual act of chewing an apple signals your brain that you are are eating, and therefore you'll get those helpful cues when it's time to stop. Plus chewing requires energy, which bumps up your metabolism. When you blend produce, you also lose its most important nutrient: fiber.
Here's another example of removing a food's nutrition. Yolks help you absorb fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A and D that are found in eggs, and recent studies have found that eating a few egg yolks a week don't raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
The ultimate health food ... that's also full of calories, fat, and sugar. That's why store-bought granola tastes so good! If you absolutely must have that crunch, make your own at home so you can control what goes in it.
Detoxes and cleanses
Despite their popularity and all those celeb endorsements, there is little, if any, evidence to support all the claims that detoxes and cleanses make. Some of these fads even do more harm than good.
Thanks to the kidneys and liver, our bodies actually detox 24 hours a day, so cleansing your colon could end up throwing off the good bacteria in your gut. Despite what juice companies say, these organs don't need to "rest" in order to keep doing their best.
Detox or "weight loss" teas are especially scary. Some have been associated with aplastic anemia and liver toxicity, and the FDA has warned against using them, as the supplement industry is not regulated like prescription drugs.
Drastically cutting calories will certainly make you lose weight, but you'll be loading up on sugar and missing out on protein. Not consuming enough protein can lead to loss of muscle mass and ultimately a slower metabolism. Expect any weight you lost (which was mostly water anyway) to come right back once you start eating real food again, and to put on more fat.
Don't forget about the importance of exercise, which revs your metabolism and naturally detoxes your body through sweat. Look to Methodist Health System for all the ways you can get healthy (like finally getting a primary care physician), and remember to resist food fads when it's time for a nosh.