5 “Healthy” Foods You Should Avoid at All Costs

Article posted in: Nutrition
foods to avoid

Maybe you saw a headline in a grocery store tabloid. Or maybe you read a post a friend shared on Facebook. Or maybe your coworker told you about a friend who had this friend who said… Anyway. There are lots of varying opinions about food and what’s considered “healthy.” So if you’re on a low carb diet and looking to improve your eating habits, there are some healthy-sounding foods you should avoid. What are they?

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We’ve got the list ready for you! Check out out six healthy-sounding foods you should avoid :

1. Diet Soda

diet soda

To kick off our list foods you should avoid, we’ve got classic beverage that sounds “healthy.” Yes, diet soda is healthier than the alternative: One 12-ounce can of Pepsi contains 41 grams of sugar and one can of Diet Pepsi contains no sugar. However, information published in a 2015 Harvard Health Letter indicates diet sodas are still linked to greater calorie absorption, high blood pressure and heart trouble. Why? Diet sodas are super sweet and researchers think they increase the brain’s desire for sugar. Then, sugar substitutes like saccharine, sucralose and aspartame seem to change the bacteria in our intestines so that we absorb more calories, which in turn, also increases blood sugar. Finally, people with higher levels of bisphenol A (BPA) (a substance used to prevent corrosion in cans) in their bodies are more likely to have high blood pressure and heart trouble. Bottom line: try coffee or tea if you need a caffeine boost. If you’re craving something fizzy, try sparkling water. There are calorie-free, (naturally) fruit-flavored options that taste sweet but deliver no calories or sugar.

*Information acquired from Pepsico.com

2. Yogurt Parfaits

foods you should avoid

This one is often surprising, but nonetheless is an important item on our list of foods you should avoid. You’re in the airport. Or, you’re stuck eating fast food because you didn’t plan ahead this morning. Whatever you do, don’t get the yogurt parfait. More likely than not, the vanilla yogurt is loaded with sugar and the granola on top is also loaded with…you guessed it, sugar. You’ll be hungry again in an hour after your blood sugar crashes. For a healthier alternative with just as much deliciousness as that creamy yogurt with a sweet crunch, simply grab a full fat, plain Greek yogurt and pack your South-Beach-approved Grain-Free Granola recipe to put on top. Or, grab hard-boiled eggs, beef jerky or even an egg-and-cheese breakfast sandwich on a whole wheat English muffin. If you have time to stop at the smoothie counter for a spinach and strawberry smoothie with plain full-fat Greek yogurt, do it. You’ll benefit from its energy boost all day long.

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3. Fruit Juice

foods you should avoid

Note we said a “strawberry and spinach” smoothie above. Not a smoothie made from fruit juice. What’s the difference? When you drink fruit juice—whether in a smoothie or from a container—you’re missing out on the fiber and phytochemicals that whole fruits and veggies contain. Juice is also absorbed more rapidly which dramatically increases blood sugar and insulin levels, says a study published in BMJ (August 2013). And if all of that isn’t enough, Harvard Health says there’s evidence that drinking isn’t as satisfying as eating whole foods so people who drink juices tend to add them to diets rather than substituting them for other foods. That means you’re eating more calories every day than you need or should be. Even cold-pressed juices and pre-made, bottled drinks containing “cold-pressed juice” lack the fiber of whole fruit and can contain additional sugars or syrups, which is why many juices fall on the list of foods you should avoid. If you have to drink juice, make sure it’s 100% juice with no added sugar and cold-pressed, if possible. Always choose whole fruits if there’s an option.

4. Veggie Chips

foods you should avoid

Sure, veggie chips are healthier than the average potato chip. But most store-bought veggie chips are still salted and fried in oil and there’s nothing healthy about that. Plus, most bagged veggie chips are made from potato starch and corn flour and veggie powder provides the color. Veggie chips can be healthy. Thinly slice sweet potatoes and bake until crisp and you’ll satisfy the munchies while treating your body to vitamins A and C. Roughly chop kale, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and bake (at 275 degrees) for 20 minutes until crisp. The result is a fiber- and iron-rich snack. Herb toppings like cinnamon, cayenne pepper and Old Bay can add flavor without calories.

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5. Reduced-Fat Peanut Butter

foods you should avoid

While peanut butter does contain some saturated fat, most fat in peanut butter is monounsaturated fat, which according to Healthland, lowers cholesterol and provides nutrients to help develop and maintain your body’s cells including Vitamin E. In low fat peanut butters (and many other low fat foods), healthy fats are stripped out and artificial sweeteners are added to compensate for lost flavor. The healthiest, most-nutritious peanut butter you can buy contains two ingredients: peanuts and salt. Can’t find an affordable natural option? Buy dry-roasted peanuts and pop them in your food processor with a little sea salt.