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How to 7 foods you think are healthy but arent

These 7 foods are filled with good-for-you vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting phytochemicals. Are you getting enough of them?

If you want to get the most nutritional bang for your buck, the best deals are "superfoods." These nutritional superstars are far more plentiful in nutrients than they are in calories and research has shown they deliver health benefits. Your superfood consumption probably already includes many nutrient powerhouses—like bananas, eggs and broccoli—and maybe even some exotic ones (acai, anyone?).

But what about the power-packed foods filled with good-for-you vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting phytochemicals you aren't eating? Here are 7 of the healthiest foods that you should be eating but probably aren't (or at least aren't getting enough of).

1. Watercress

This unassuming green makes the top of the list of nutrient-dense foods you are probably not eating enough of. In this CDC report, watercress scored a perfect 100 for nutrient density—beating out spinach, collard greens and kale. This means that it was found to have the most nutrition for the lowest calories. The versatile green has a mild taste and can be enjoyed raw in a salad or sauteed in a stir fry. Try it in our healthy watercress recipes.

2. Sardines

Sardines are one of the best sources of heart-healthy, mood-boosting omega-3 fats, and they're packed with vitamin D. And because sardines are small and low on the food chain, they don't harbor lots of toxins as bigger fish can, and they also make a great sustainable seafood choice.

3. Pomegranate

This vibrant fruit is chock–full of antioxidants, natural chemicals found in plants that mop up harmful free radicals, which damage tissues and may contribute to a variety of chronic conditions, such as heart disease, Alzheimer's and cancer. If you're new to whole pomegranate, here is The Best Way to Seed a Whole Pomegranate.

Don't have time to prepare the fruit? You can get many of the same benefits from drinking a glass of pomegranate juice. Don't pass up an opportunity to enjoy the fruit itself, however—the tart and sweet taste is unique and wonderful. A 1-cup serving of juice has 150 calories and 1/2 cup of pomegranate seeds has only 72 calories and 4 grams of fiber.

Unhealthy foods are one of the major reasons people fall sick, gain an alarming amount of weight and have weight gain issues. Jumia Travel , the leading online travel agency, shares 7 foods you think are healthy but actually aren’t. Please don’t be fooled by these misleading healthy foods.

Drinking soda often, increases your risk of heart attack, stroke and prostate cancer; it also makes you eat more which can lead to obesity. You would think diet soda is better but it’s potentially worse. The artificial sweeteners in diet soda fool your body into thinking you’re eating real food, disrupts the body’s natural ability to regulate calorie intake and cause a spike in your insulin levels (because these sweeteners are actually much sweeter than actual sugar) which can lead to obesity, diabetes and heart problems.

Packaged Meat

Packaged meats are usually loaded with salt and preservatives, as a result they are basically a well-packaged sodium-saturated disaster. It’s best to avoid them and opt for fresh meat. However, if you need to buy packaged meat choose brands that don’t have more than 350mg of sodium per 2 oz serving.

Sports Drinks

These are basically just sugar, water and artificial food colouring in a bottle. Consistent consumption of sports drinks, especially for an average person who doesn’t participate in high intensity workouts, can lead to gradual weight gain over time, raise sugar levels and increase the risk of stroke and heart disease. For those who do basic exercises involving the treadmill, to burn off a few extra calories, sports drinks are not advisable because you are likely drinking more calories than you are burning off. Drinking water will be a far better alternative.

Skim/Low-Fat Milk

While rejoicing about the fact that skim milk has less fat, it’s important to also mourn the fact that as the milk is being rid of fat, it’s also being rid of its essential vitamins ( as well as its texture and flavor). Skim milk ‘skims’ are whole lot of the factors that make whole milk healthy.

This might come as a shock but margarine is more or less the synthetic substitute of butter. It is basically an invention of chemists that involves a lot of chemical processing and the addition of synthetic vitamins, antioxidants and trans-fats (which increases bad cholesterol in the body).

Wheat Bread

Wheat bread is great and healthy when it’s actually wheat bread. Most wheat-bread products aren’t a hundred percent whole wheat. It mostly white bread with a little wheat flour mixed in. Endeavour to buy wheat bread only when you are sure you can trust the source to give you 100% whole wheat bread.

Flavoured Soy Milk

Unsweetened or plain soy milk is the best choice for enjoying the low in cholesterol, high protein and potassium benefits of soy milk. Flavoured soy milk have far too much sugar and unnecessary calories added to it to make it tasty.

Unhealthy foods are one of the major reasons people fall sick, gain an alarming amount of weight and have weight gain issues. Jumia Travel , the leading online travel agency, shares 7 foods you think are healthy but actually aren’t. Please don’t be fooled by these misleading healthy foods.

Drinking soda often, increases your risk of heart attack, stroke and prostate cancer; it also makes you eat more which can lead to obesity. You would think diet soda is better but it’s potentially worse. The artificial sweeteners in diet soda fool your body into thinking you’re eating real food, disrupts the body’s natural ability to regulate calorie intake and cause a spike in your insulin levels (because these sweeteners are actually much sweeter than actual sugar) which can lead to obesity, diabetes and heart problems.

Packaged Meat

Packaged meats are usually loaded with salt and preservatives, as a result they are basically a well-packaged sodium-saturated disaster. It’s best to avoid them and opt for fresh meat. However, if you need to buy packaged meat choose brands that don’t have more than 350mg of sodium per 2 oz serving.

Sports Drinks

These are basically just sugar, water and artificial food colouring in a bottle. Consistent consumption of sports drinks, especially for an average person who doesn’t participate in high intensity workouts, can lead to gradual weight gain over time, raise sugar levels and increase the risk of stroke and heart disease. For those who do basic exercises involving the treadmill, to burn off a few extra calories, sports drinks are not advisable because you are likely drinking more calories than you are burning off. Drinking water will be a far better alternative.

Skim/Low-Fat Milk

While rejoicing about the fact that skim milk has less fat, it’s important to also mourn the fact that as the milk is being rid of fat, it’s also being rid of its essential vitamins ( as well as its texture and flavor). Skim milk ‘skims’ are whole lot of the factors that make whole milk healthy.

This might come as a shock but margarine is more or less the synthetic substitute of butter. It is basically an invention of chemists that involves a lot of chemical processing and the addition of synthetic vitamins, antioxidants and trans-fats (which increases bad cholesterol in the body).

Wheat Bread

Wheat bread is great and healthy when it’s actually wheat bread. Most wheat-bread products aren’t a hundred percent whole wheat. It mostly white bread with a little wheat flour mixed in. Endeavour to buy wheat bread only when you are sure you can trust the source to give you 100% whole wheat bread.

Flavoured Soy Milk

Unsweetened or plain soy milk is the best choice for enjoying the low in cholesterol, high protein and potassium benefits of soy milk. Flavoured soy milk have far too much sugar and unnecessary calories added to it to make it tasty.

How to 7 foods you think are healthy but arent

There are many foods you think are healthy but aren’t. When you’re trying to eat well, you will often swap unhealthy foods for a better alternative. But just because they’re better than your previous diet doesn’t mean that they’re still good for you. Here are some foods you think are healthy but aren’t …

1 Low Fat

How to 7 foods you think are healthy but arent

Some of the foods you think are healthy but aren’t is anything labelled ‘low-fat’. This is really just a clever marketing ploy to make you think you’re buying something healthy. The problem is that reducing the fat content also reduces the flavor, so manufacturers add sugar to replace it. So overall you’re not actually improving your diet, but swapping one unhealthy ingredient for another.

2 Fruit Juice & Smoothies

How to 7 foods you think are healthy but arent

Ready-made smoothies have become very popular for breakfast or snacks. But in spite of the high fruit content, they may not be as good for you as you think. Smoothies can be high in calories because so much fruit is used to make them, and they may also have added sugar. You should also avoid drinking too much fruit juice, as you get the sugars without the fiber from eating the whole fruit.

3 Salad

How to 7 foods you think are healthy but arent

Salad has to be healthy, right, with all those leaves and vegetables? Well, some salads can be pretty high in calories. Add ingredients like cheese, mayonnaise, avocado, croutons, bacon, and eggs, and your healthy salad has just become rather high in calories. Be especially cautious when eating out.

4 Bread

How to 7 foods you think are healthy but arent

Whole-grain or brown bread may seem like a healthy food, but read the label carefully. Many contain mainly refined flour, with some whole grains added. If you want to be sure that you are eating the healthiest bread, look for whole grain or whole wheat as the first ingredient in the list. Also avoid bread with ingredients like corn syrup or artificial sweeteners.

5 Diet Sodas

How to 7 foods you think are healthy but arent

Have you swapped your usual soda for the diet version? You’re not actually doing yourself any favors, especially if you then drink more soda because you’re buying the diet version. No soda is really good for you, and artificial sweeteners may actually make you put weight on. Drink plain water instead, and save sodas for an occasional treat.

6 Nuts

How to 7 foods you think are healthy but arent

Nuts are a healthy food, right? Well, like many things, they are – provided you eat them in moderation, nuts are a good part of a healthy diet, especially as a source of protein for vegetarians. However, they are high in fat, and as they’re small it’s easy to eat them by the handful. By all means eat nuts, but be careful not to eat too many of them.

7 Cereal

How to 7 foods you think are healthy but arent

Do you start your day with cereal? This may be a quick option, but not necessarily a healthy one. Most cereals are very high in sugar, and even ‘healthy’ ones like bran cereals can be just as sugary as the brands marketed at kids. Plus you’re adding milk, so you could be consuming quite a lot of calories.

These are just some of the foods that are not as healthy as you might expect. The best bet is to limit prepared foods in your diet, and make as many of your meals as you can from the basic ingredients. How good is your diet – where do you think you could improve it?

Unhealthy foods are one of the major reasons people fall sick, gain an alarming amount of weight and have weight gain issues. Jumia Travel, the leading online travel agency, shares 7 foods you think are healthy but actually aren’t. Please don’t be fooled by these misleading healthy foods.

How to 7 foods you think are healthy but arent

Drinking soda often, increases your risk of heart attack, stroke and prostate cancer; it also makes you eat more which can lead to obesity. You would think diet soda is better but it’s potentially worse. The artificial sweeteners in diet soda fool your body into thinking you’re eating real food, disrupts the body’s natural ability to regulate calorie intake and cause a spike in your insulin levels (because these sweeteners are actually much sweeter than actual sugar) which can lead to obesity, diabetes and heart problems.

Packaged Meat

Packaged meats are usually loaded with salt and preservatives, as a result they are basically a well-packaged sodium-saturated disaster. It’s best to avoid them and opt for fresh meat. However, if you need to buy packaged meat choose brands that don’t have more than 350mg of sodium per 2 oz serving.

Sports Drinks

These are basically just sugar, water and artificial food colouring in a bottle. Consistent consumption of sports drinks, especially for an average person who doesn’t participate in high intensity workouts, can lead to gradual weight gain over time, raise sugar levels and increase the risk of stroke and heart disease. For those who do basic exercises involving the treadmill etc. to burn off a few extra calories, sports drinks are not advisable because you are likely drinking more calories than you are burning off. Drinking water will be a far better alternative.

Skim/Low-Fat Milk

While rejoicing about the fact that skim milk has less fat, it’s important to also mourn the fact that as the milk is being rid of fat, it’s also being rid of its essential vitamins ( as well as its texture and flavor). Skim milk ‘skims’ are whole lot of the factors that make whole milk healthy.

This might come as a shock but margarine is more or less the synthetic substitute of butter. It is basically an invention of chemists that involves a lot of chemical processing and the addition of synthetic vitamins, antioxidants and trans-fats (which increases bad cholesterol in the body).

Wheat Bread

Wheat bread is great and healthy when it’s actually wheat bread. Most wheat-bread products aren’t a hundred percent whole wheat. It mostly white bread with a little wheat flour mixed in. Endeavour to buy wheat bread only when you are sure you can trust the source to give you 100% whole wheat bread.

Flavoured Soy Milk

Unsweetened or plain soy milk is the best choice for enjoying the low in cholesterol, high protein and potassium benefits of soy milk. Flavoured soy milk have far too much sugar and unnecessary calories added to it to make it tasty.

How to 7 foods you think are healthy but arent

Jumia Travel , the leading online travel agency, shares 7 foods you think are healthy but actually aren’t. Please don’t be fooled by these misleading healthy foods.

Diet Soda
Drinking soda often, increases your risk of heart attack, stroke and prostate cancer; it also makes you eat more which can lead to obesity. You would think diet soda is better but it’s potentially worse. The artificial sweeteners in diet soda fool your body into thinking you’re eating real food, disrupts the body’s natural ability to regulate calorie intake and cause a spike in your insulin levels (because these sweeteners are actually much sweeter than actual sugar) which can lead to obesity, diabetes and heart problems.

Packaged Meat
Packaged meats are usually loaded with salt and preservatives, as a result they are basically a well-packaged sodium-saturated disaster. It’s best to avoid them and opt for fresh meat. However, if you need to buy packaged meat choose brands that don’t have more than 350mg of sodium per 2 oz serving.

Sports Drinks
These are basically just sugar, water and artificial food colouring in a bottle. Consistent consumption of sports drinks, especially for an average person who doesn’t participate in high intensity workouts, can lead to gradual weight gain over time, raise sugar levels and increase the risk of stroke and heart disease. For those who do basic exercises involving the treadmill etc. to burn off a few extra calories, sports drinks are not advisable because you are likely drinking more calories than you are burning off. Drinking water will be a far better alternative.

Skim/Low-Fat Milk
While rejoicing about the fact that skim milk has less fat, it’s important to also mourn the fact that as the milk is being rid of fat, it’s also being rid of its essential vitamins ( as well as its texture and flavor). Skim milk ‘skims’ are whole lot of the factors that make whole milk healthy.

Margarine
This might come as a shock but margarine is more or less the synthetic substitute of butter. It is basically an invention of chemists that involves a lot of chemical processing and the addition of synthetic vitamins, antioxidants and trans-fats (which increases bad cholesterol in the body).

Wheat Bread
Wheat bread is great and healthy when it’s actually wheat bread. Most wheat-bread products aren’t a hundred percent whole wheat. It mostly white bread with a little wheat flour mixed in. Endeavour to buy wheat bread only when you are sure you can trust the source to give you 100% whole wheat bread.

Flavoured Soy Milk
Unsweetened or plain soy milk is the best choice for enjoying the low in cholesterol, high protein and potassium benefits of soy milk. Flavoured soy milk have far too much sugar and unnecessary calories added to it to make it tasty.

Unhealthy foods are one of the major reasons people fall sick, gain an alarming amount of weight and have weight gain issues. Jumia Travel, the leading online travel agency, shares 7 foods you think are healthy but actually aren’t. Please don’t be fooled by these misleading healthy foods.

Drinking soda often, increases your risk of heart attack, stroke and prostate cancer; it also makes you eat more which can lead to obesity. You would think diet soda is better but it’s potentially worse. The artificial sweeteners in diet soda fool your body into thinking you’re eating real food, disrupts the body’s natural ability to regulate calorie intake and cause a spike in your insulin levels (because these sweeteners are actually much sweeter than actual sugar) which can lead to obesity, diabetes and heart problems.

Packaged Meat

Packaged meats are usually loaded with salt and preservatives, as a result they are basically a well-packaged sodium-saturated disaster. It’s best to avoid them and opt for fresh meat. However, if you need to buy packaged meat choose brands that don’t have more than 350mg of sodium per 2 oz serving.

Sports Drinks

These are basically just sugar, water and artificial food colouring in a bottle. Consistent consumption of sports drinks, especially for an average person who doesn’t participate in high intensity workouts, can lead to gradual weight gain over time, raise sugar levels and increase the risk of stroke and heart disease. For those who do basic exercises involving the treadmill etc. to burn off a few extra calories, sports drinks are not advisable because you are likely drinking more calories than you are burning off. Drinking water will be a far better alternative.

Skim/Low-Fat Milk

While rejoicing about the fact that skim milk has less fat, it’s important to also mourn the fact that as the milk is being rid of fat, it’s also being rid of its essential vitamins ( as well as its texture and flavor). Skim milk ‘skims’ are whole lot of the factors that make whole milk healthy.

This might come as a shock but margarine is more or less the synthetic substitute of butter. It is basically an invention of chemists that involves a lot of chemical processing and the addition of synthetic vitamins, antioxidants and trans-fats (which increases bad cholesterol in the body).

Wheat Bread

Wheat bread is great and healthy when it’s actually wheat bread. Most wheat-bread products aren’t a hundred percent whole wheat. It mostly white bread with a little wheat flour mixed in. Endeavour to buy wheat bread only when you are sure you can trust the source to give you 100% whole wheat bread.

Flavoured Soy Milk

Unsweetened or plain soy milk is the best choice for enjoying the low in cholesterol, high protein and potassium benefits of soy milk. Flavoured soy milk have far too much sugar and unnecessary calories added to it to make it tasty.

How to 7 foods you think are healthy but arent

Unhealthy foods are one of the major reasons people fall sick, gain an alarming amount of weight and have weight gain issues. Jumia Travel, the leading online travel agency, shares 7 foods you think are healthy but actually aren’t. Please don’t be fooled by these misleading healthy foods.

Diet Soda

Drinking soda often, increases your risk of heart attack, stroke and prostate cancer; it also makes you eat more which can lead to obesity. You would think diet soda is better but it’s potentially worse. The artificial sweeteners in diet soda fool your body into thinking you’re eating real food, disrupts the body’s natural ability to regulate calorie intake and cause a spike in your insulin levels (because these sweeteners are actually much sweeter than actual sugar) which can lead to obesity, diabetes and heart problems.

Packaged Meat

Packaged meats are usually loaded with salt and preservatives, as a result they are basically a well-packaged sodium-saturated disaster. It’s best to avoid them and opt for fresh meat. However, if you need to buy packaged meat choose brands that don’t have more than 350mg of sodium per 2 oz serving.

Sports Drinks

These are basically just sugar, water and artificial food colouring in a bottle. Consistent consumption of sports drinks, especially for an average person who doesn’t participate in high intensity workouts, can lead to gradual weight gain over time, raise sugar levels and increase the risk of stroke and heart disease.

For those who do basic exercises involving the treadmill etc. to burn off a few extra calories, sports drinks are not advisable because you are likely drinking more calories than you are burning off. Drinking water will be a far better alternative.

Skim/Low-Fat Milk

While rejoicing about the fact that skim milk has less fat, it’s important to also mourn the fact that as the milk is being rid of fat, it’s also being rid of its essential vitamins ( as well as its texture and flavor). Skim milk ‘skims’ are whole lot of the factors that make whole milk healthy.

Margarine

This might come as a shock but margarine is more or less the synthetic substitute of butter. It is basically an invention of chemists that involves a lot of chemical processing and the addition of synthetic vitamins, antioxidants and trans-fats (which increases bad cholesterol in the body).

Wheat Bread

Wheat bread is great and healthy when it’s actually wheat bread. Most wheat-bread products aren’t a hundred percent whole wheat. It is mostly white bread with a little wheat flour mixed in. Endeavour to buy wheat bread only when you are sure you can trust the source to give you 100% whole wheat bread.

Flavoured Soy Milk

Unsweetened or plain soy milk is the best choice for enjoying the low in cholesterol, high protein and potassium benefits of soy milk. Flavoured soy milk have far too much sugar and unnecessary calories added to it to make it tasty.

How to 7 foods you think are healthy but arent

No matter how hard we try to eat healthily, we can often fall into the trap of eating things that we think are good for us – but actually aren’t.

I know it can seem like you can’t eat anything but it really is very simple – home and fresh made is key. Cooking and preparing food yourself means that you control what goes into it, and it’s okay to enjoy a variety of foods that are shop bought or from restaurants and takeaways.

Here are nine foods that you may think are healthy – but actually aren’t.

1. Yoghurt

This is a tricky one as the yoghurt is a great source of protein, calcium, potassium and a number of vitamins and minerals, but the aisle is a minefield of flavoured, low-fat, Greek and Greek-style options, many which have either high amounts of saturated fat or sugar.

Never choose pre-flavoured yoghurt as this will be high in sugar. Instead, opt for plain varieties that have no more than 5g sugar and 3g sat fat per 100g. Soya alternatives are a good option, but be wary of varieties made from coconut milk as they are very high in saturated fat.

How to 7 foods you think are healthy but arent

2. Bagels and Wraps

These are often mistaken for a better alternative to bread and therefore you may feel you can consume more than you would slices of your favourite loaf. However, comparing white for white and wheat for wheat, they are no lower in calories and often lack the protein and fibre that bread provides.

Any form of bread, bagel or wrap should be consumed in moderation and wholewheat options consumed. Just don’t kid yourself that your daily bagel with cream cheese and salmon is calorie free!

3. Salad (Dressings)

How to 7 foods you think are healthy but arent

You have a bowl full of nutritious, colourful ingredients but the moment you pour that salad dressing over it, your healthy meal has just been covered in fat or salt. Instead, make your own from balsamic or lemon juice and save yourself the calories.

Many high street eateries sell salads with their own pot of dressing but as you can see here they usually have more fat than the meal itself. And as per above, don’t be fooled by ‘low’ options for shop bought bottled dressings.

4. ‘Low Fat/Calorie/Sugar’

There is still a big misconception about these foods – they are not better for you! In fact they are usually full of more salt, sugar and hidden ingredients in order to replace the favour that has been lost by removing fat and other key macros.

You are much better off cooking healthy meals from scratch and eating everything in moderation than consuming these foods. I’d much rather have a full fat version less often and enjoy it!

The same goes for your diet drink or anything that says ‘sugar-free’. The replacements are worse than the sugar and many are known to increase your appetite!

5. Cereal

Most shop bought cereals are high in sugar – this includes packet-to-bowl porridge and oats too. Instead, buy oats and make up your own porridge. The same goes for granola and muesli – most of us don’t have time to make our own so ensure you are checking the labels for nutritional values.

The same goes for salt too. In fact some well-known brands have more salt per bowl than a packet of crisps!

How to 7 foods you think are healthy but arent

6. Energy & Protein Bars

Personally I think most shop-bought protein bars taste like dust but if you do find that they help keep you full and stop you snacking on digestives then make sure you check the ingredients as for most brands the high protein intake comes with just as high a sugar value.

7. Butter Alternatives

Margarine is better for you than butter right? Well, no. It may seem like it has a lower fat content because it’s made from olive oil but margarine and olive spreads are manufactured in factories and are full of chemicals.

Did you know the yellow colour of spreads are manufactured to make it look like butter? Stick to the real stuff and consume in moderation.

8. Soups (Shop and Canned)

How to 7 foods you think are healthy but arent

Some high street eatery soups contain more salt and sugar than your recommended daily intake and canned options are just as bad. Soup is so easy to make and you can do it in batches and freeze it for quick, healthy meals without the high sodium consumption.

9. Vegetable Chip/Crisp Alternatives

Just because your beetroot crisps or sweet potato fries are made from vegetables, it doesn’t mean they haven’t been cooked in just as much fat as the regular potato. If you prefer the flavour then go for it, but don’t kid yourself that you’re saving calories by taking this option.

All you need to do is eat these in moderation and be aware of what really goes in them. Kidding yourself that food is healthy when it’s full of sugar, fat and salt is just going to do you more harm than good and lead you to put on more weight than you lose.

When it comes to healthy eating, knowledge is key so you can make smart decisions.

How to 7 foods you think are healthy but arent

“Reduced fat” peanut butter? “Enriched” flour? Sure, those sound healthy, but the poor nutrient quality of so many “health” foods has been masterfully obscured by clever advertising.

Let’s look at 8 of the top foods that you might think are healthy, but aren’t.

Dairy products such as milk and cheese have been touted as “great sources of calcium” and an important part of a healthy, balanced diet. But because of the types of dairy cows we use, how they are raised, and how dairy is now processed –it is not a health food.

Dairy is highly inflammatory, meaning it provokes an immune response in your body. Inflammation can lead to serious conditions such as heart disease and autoimmune disease. The body’s immune response to dairy can manifest in symptoms including digestive issues, such as gas and bloating, skin disorders, and even behavioral problems like Autism Spectrum Disorder. Additionally, conventional dairy cows are injected with bovine growth hormone to increase milk production, which leads to infections that need to be treated with antibiotics. All of the hormones and medications that are given to the cows make their way into the milk, cheese, butter, and yogurt, and eventually into your body.

For more information about the dangers of dairy and non-dairy sources of calcium check out my article here.

Refined flour is almost as bad as sugar! It has no nutritive value at all. The word “enriched” on a package tells you that a food has been stripped of its nutrient content during processing, so much so that the manufacturer had to add something back in.

Whole grain bread may seem like the healthier option. In reality, any grains can be harmful. Because they contain digestion inhibitors, they can cause gut imbalances, such as SIBO and yeast overgrowth, and damage to the gut lining. For more information on the problems with grains, read this article.

Cereal, even “healthy” cereal, is junk food! It’s a combination of several problematic foods that add up to one unhealthy breakfast. Cereal is grain-based, full of sugar, and usually eaten with milk. Kids’ cereals especially have been shown to contain as much sugar as cookies.

If you want a breakfast that will actually fuel you throughout the day instead of just giving you a sugar high, try a green juice or smoothie. I like to see how many nutrient-packed green vegetables I can sneak into my meals each day, and a green smoothie is the perfect vehicle.

Speaking of juice…

I’m a big fan of homemade juice, but processed, store-bought juice is practically sugar water. When juice is extracted from a fruit, all that wonderful fiber that regulates how fast that sugar is absorbed into your bloodstream is left behind. The result is sugar that, despite its origin, looks no different to your body than table sugar. Juice contains all the calories of the fruit in a much easier to eat package, allowing you to consume much more than you need quickly. Without the fiber to activate your body’s satiety signals, juice isn’t going to fill you up. Add to that the fact that store bought juices are usually primarily apple juice and don’t contain any green vegetables.

Skip the store-bought juice. Either make your own, or better yet eat whole fruits and veggies!

“Fat-Free” and “Reduced Fat” food labels perpetuate the myths that one, if something contains fat it is therefore bad for you, and two, if a food is fat-free it’s healthy. Unfortunately it’s not that simple.

Fat is a very important part of your diet, and your body needs it to survive. It’s vital that you get healthy fat from sources like whole plant foods, such as coconut, avocado, and nuts and seeds. Taking the fat out of something like a nut butter means it’s going to be replaced with something else, such as sugar. Removing a component of any food just means you’re processing it more. Quite often, fat-free foods are more calorie- and sugar-dense than the original food.

Include healthy fats in your diet. Excluding fat from your diet will only lead to imbalance and disease later on.

I certainly do not advocate that anyone eat gluten, however there is a myth that as long as a food is gluten-free, it’s healthy. If you’ve given up gluten but are still experiencing symptoms, it could be that you are relying too heavily on processed gluten-free foods that still contain lots of harmful ingredients, like soy, eggs, dairy, and other grains like corn. In fact, gluten-free foods are often more processed than their gluten-containing counterparts! Additionally, many foods that are technically gluten-free cross-react with gluten, meaning they provoke a similar immune response in your body.

Remember, just because something is gluten-free doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Stick to whole, unprocessed foods as your best defense!

Soy is in practically everything. You can find it in milk substitutes, dressings and sauces, chocolate, body products, cakes, crackers, and of course, infant formula. It’s also used as animal feed, so it’s present in your meat products if you aren’t buying grass-fed or pasture-raised. Soy products like tofu are considered the quintessential “health foods,” but are they really?

Just as people who are sensitive to gluten sometimes rely too heavily on gluten-free products, many vegetarians rely too heavily on soy products as meat alternatives. This is one of the biggest mistakes I see from day to day. Whether or not you are a vegetarian, soy is not something you should consider a health food. Many people are sensitive to soy, and by producing an immune response it damages the gut lining and promotes disease. Soy also contains chemical compounds called isoflavones that mimic estrogen. Too much estrogen has been linked to reproductive problems and breast cancer. Additionally, 90% of the soy used in processed food in the United States is GMO.

Soy is ubiquitous in the Standard American Diet, especially in the form of soy lecithin, an emulsifier that is added to many processed foods. Soy lecithin is an extremely processed food additive and is best avoided. That’s easier to do on a whole foods diet. The less processed a food is, the less you need to worry about its ingredients.

You probably grew up thinking corn is healthy. However, like gluten, corn is not easily digested and causes lots of damage to the gut lining. Additionally, 90% of corn is GMO, and due to cross-pollination by wind, that remaining 10% isn’t guaranteed to be non-GMO. Because corn is highly inflammatory for so many people and provides little nutritive value, it’s best avoided.

Like soy, corn is in seemingly everything in the form of additives such as high fructose corn syrup, and in conventional, grain-fed meat. Quality matters–always buy grass-fed or pasture-raised meat products, and ditch anything made with corn syrup.

Your best bet when trying to eat healthy is to consume unrefined whole foods. Advertising confuses the issue of nutrition when it comes to processed food, making unsubstantiated health claims to sell a product. Identify and avoid foods to which you are sensitive and prepare your own meals to ensure that you are eating the most nutritious and protective diet. For some great recipes, visit my blog or sign up for my newsletter!