5 healthy eating habits you may as well not bother with
For most of us, the holiday season is a time of food and booze fuelled excess. After weeks of gorging on turkey, chocolates, cheese boards, and various beige buffet items, the turn of the new year is the perfect time to start your new “healthy” diet. And unsurprisingly, exercising more, losing weight, and eating healthily are the top 3 New Years resolutions of 2018. But be warned, when it comes to eating healthy, all isn’t what it seems. Here are 5 healthy eating habits that aren’t all they're cracked up to be.
For some strange reason, gluten has become a bit of a taboo word in the world of nutrition, with more and more people cutting it from their diets in an effort to live a healthier lifestyle.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat and various other grains that acts as a sort of glue, holding them together and helping maintain their shape. Unless you have been diagnosed with celiac disease (an allergy to gluten) then cutting gluten out of your diet is a total waste of time.
According to Dr. Caroline Apovian from the Boston Medical Center, unnecessarily cutting gluten from your diet could actually do more harm than good. Processed gluten-free products are usually high in sugar, preservatives, and other nasty ingredients, so they certainly aren’t any healthier than their regular counterparts.
Gluten-free products are also eye-wateringly expensive (a small loaf of bread can cost around £3), and they don’t tend to taste that great either. So save your stomach and your wallet, and ditch the gluten-free diet.
According to the NHS, there is no official definition of a “superfood”, so, despite all the hype, munching down a bunch of expensive fruits like Acai and Goji Berries isn’t going to turn you into some sort of vision of health.
A “superfood” is essentially anything with a good amount of vitamins, nutrients, or antioxidants; all of which can be found in lots of run-of-the mill foods with price tags that don’t leave a sour taste in your mouth.
According to researchers, a 28g of dried Goji Berries contains 140% of our daily Vitamin A requirements; sounds pretty decent, right? The thing is, so do oranges, and carrots, which actually contain less calories.
Acai berries are nothing to shout home about either. A glass of Acai juice contains around 75mg of Potassium, the same as you’d get from one bite (yes, one bite) of a banana. And in terms of antioxidants, you’d actually be better off sipping a glass of red wine.
So leave the expensive “superfoods” at the checkout; a healthy balanced diet made up of “normal” fruits and veggies is a much smarter option in our books... Perhaps you can use that money you’ve saved on a nice bottle of red?
From juice cleanses, to “teatoxes” the internet is full of hundreds of so-called “detox” diets, claiming to cleanse our bodies, cleaning our systems of toxins. A detox diet usually entails eating little or no solid food for a period of time, usually ranging from a couple of days to a week.
Now, we have a couple of things to say about these diets...
A) THEY SOUND BLOODY TERRIBLE. Imagine the torture of watching all your colleagues enjoying their lunch when all you’ve consumed in the last 3 days has been in liquid form!? No. Thank. You.
B) Unless you have a medical condition, your liver and kidneys are perfectly capable of removing any toxins by themselves, and you're not going to get rid of any more by going on a detox diet.
Only eating "low-fat" foods
This one’s a bit of a mind boggler. If you’re watching the waistline, or even just trying to eat healthily, then you’d think that choosing the “low-fat” version of a food is the winning choice. Well, perhaps not…
The trouble is, removing fat from foods also often removes a lot of the taste, so manufacturers make up for this by increasing the amount of sugar, which ironically isn’t very healthy at all! There’s also a bit of an issue when it comes to portion sizes, as “low-fat” foods tend to be less filling, so we’re likely to eat more than we would the full-fat version.
That's not to say that all low-fat foods are the devil, but we would, however, urge you to always check the labels, and do a quick comparison with the full-fat version to make sure you’re not being misled!
According to the NHS, most people get all the vitamins they need from their food. So unless you’re literally living off an all-beige diet, then taking multivitamins is most likely a waste of time and money.
But surely an extra boost has got to be good? Actually no, rather the opposite. It won’t boost your immune system or give you more energy. In fact, overloading your body with vitamins can actually have harmful effects.
The only exception here is Vitamin D. Due to the UK’s “questionable” climate, the lack of sunlight during the winter months does put some of us at risk of Vitamin D deficiency, especially if you spend a lot of time indoors. Vitamin D is included in many multivitamin supplements, but you’re far better off just taking it on its own - it’s a lot cheaper this way too!