Four Easy Tips for Healthier Food Choices: Deconstructing Diet Myths
When it comes to clean eating, choosing healthy options can be confusing. Popular diets often contradict science, and some will do more harm than good. Whether you want to lose weight or just want to make healthier choices, here are some points to keep in mind.
Low-Fat or Fat-Free Isn’t Always Best
The next time you’re tempted by low-fat yogurt or fat-free chocolates, look at the nutrition information. Often, the manufacturers have had the fat removed and replaced it with sugar. Extra sugars are turned into fat, so you’re not doing yourself any favors. Skip the marketing buzzwords and make your choices based on the back of the package, on the nutritional label.
Be Wary of Low-Carb Fads
Carbohydrates are essential to proper brain function, digestion, insulin regulation and a host of other body systems. They’re not the evil contaminants some diet gurus claim them to be. The real concern with carbs is avoiding refined carbohydrates. Eating a moderate amount of whole grains at breakfast, for example, will give you long-term, lasting energy, fiber and essential nutrients. Eating refined carbs, like bleached flour and processed sugar, will give you next to no nutrition and a burst of energy you will crash from in an hour. Choose complex carbohydrates over processed, don’t cut them out all together.
Avoid Diet Stagnation
Some popular diets encourage you to eat from a limited menu for long periods of time. Considering the wealth of nutrients available in nearly all fruits and veggies, there’s little reason to let your diet stagnate. To get all the nutrients you need, change up your choices. Eat plenty of dark, leafy greens, bright stoplight peppers, mushrooms and carrots. Choose a variety of nuts and seeds to top your salads or mix in yogurt. Experiment with berries in smoothies or as a snack to see which you like best. Variety in your diet is essential to nutrition and avoiding boredom with your food.
Your body runs on water. Without enough of it, your digestion will suffer, your immune system will tank and you will not feel well in general. Carry a bottle with you and drink from it often, whenever you feel the slightest thirst. Drinking H2O instead of soda or coffee will also help you cut calories. With this in mind, there is no reason to chug a gallon or more a day to ‘flush toxins’ or any such similar nonsense. Only drink huge volumes if you are working out and sweating heavily. Water intoxication can be deadly.
Fad diets and weird advice will always be popular, but making good choices and using common sense are far more likely to get you to your goals. If you’re following a good diet and exercise program and still aren’t seeing results, an appointment with your doctor is in order.