Every week there seems to be a new health trend emerging in the U.S. Some are sensible while others are just ludicrous. In a recent report, the HuffPost highlighted and debunked a number of fads including the appetite suppressing lollipop and sunscreen pills, but what about the trends that are less obviously bad for your health.
When it comes to healthy eating, experts have touted several foods and trends that might not be as benign as we are made to believe. A new report by Reader’s Digest is highlighting a number of these “healthy” food habits that are worth ditching. Here are seven of those fads:
1. Cutting out fat. There has been controversy on this topic. While saturated fats are said to be bad for your health, many people are cutting out all fats from their diets – including healthy fats. Erin Palinski-Wade, author of “Belly Fat Diet for Dummies” pointed out monounsaturated fats found in foods like almonds and avocado, and omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, offered numerous health benefits and should be consumed within moderation.
2. Cholesterol in food. It was previously thought egg yolks, which are high in dietary cholesterol, could cause a spike in blood cholesterol but this has since been disproved. “We now know that dietary cholesterol has little impact on blood cholesterol levels,” Palinski-Wade said.
3. Eating diet products and processed “healthy” food. Do not be fooled by misleading food labels. Diet products such as light salad dressing and low fat yoghurt are not healthier food choices. Many of these products that have had the fat removed have been crammed with sugar and other preservatives to enhance the flavor. “Large amounts of added sugar in the diet may be even more damaging to health than excessive dietary fat,” Palinski-Wade said.
4. Cutting out gluten. Going gluten free is all the rage at the moment, but while many people think it is healthier to cut this from their diets, it might have the opposite effect (unless you suffer from celiac disease). Many healthy foods like rye, wheat, and barley contain gluten and, unless you have a confirmed allergy, Palinski-Wade said there is no point to avoid these foods.
5. Downing sports drinks. Unless you are training for hours like an elite endurance athlete, reaching for that sports drink is not worth it. Most of these beverages are high in carbohydrates and sugars and chances are you do not need them. “Reaching for sports drinks unnecessarily can lead to consuming excess calories, sugars, and in some cases chemicals from artificial sweeteners,” noted Despina Hyde Gandhi, a registered dietitian at NYU Langone’s Weight Management Program.
6. Following a raw food diet. While eating certain foods raw can be healthier, there is a misconception that cooking vegetables destroys nutrients. Foods can be more easily digested when cooked and it is safer to eat. “One big drawback is that this [raw food] diet is difficult to maintain — think eating out, eating as a guest in someone’s home — and may lead to nutrient deficiencies due to the restrictive nature,” Gandhi said.
7. Cutting out food groups. Over the years there have been numerous diets encouraging a person to consume just one food, such as the cabbage soup diet, or advising that whole food groups such as carbohydrates be cut out completely. None of these recommendations have any long-term health benefits. “Any time you cut out an entire food group you will be missing out on important nutrients that your body needs,” Gandhi said.