I see a lot of people struggling because they believe they’re eating a “healthy” diet, but are in actuality kidding themselves. While there’s endless debate as to what is or isn’t healthy, there are a few things that are generally agreed upon as not ideal for maximum fat loss and longevity.
The caveat I want to make before getting into this is that it is highly debatable as to how “bad” any particular food really is. Really, just about anything can be enjoyed in moderation without overly negative consequences. The point here is to make note of the things that people “trick” themselves into believing they can eat as much as they want to and not have any drawbacks.
The simplest diet advice comes from Jack Lalane who says “if man made it, don’t eat it.” While I wouldn’t take this too literally, it does have a lot of truth when it comes to the highly processed garbage a lot of people are eating mistakenly believing it to be healthy.
Here are a few common things people eat when trying to eat healthier that may not be such a good idea:
- Salad dressings – While most people don’t consider the salad dressings to be what makes a salad healthy, some people inadvertently think their salad is helping them get fit despite drenching it with terrible dressings. Most conventional salad dressings are filled with poor vegetable oils like soy or canola oil and/or tons of sugar. A salad topped these dressings can be just as fattening as many of the foods people are replacing with the salads. Opt instead for olive oil and vinegar, one of the few healthy salad dressings made without oils/sweeteners/perservatives, or make your own dressing with apple cider vinegar and cayenne pepper.
- Conventional Yogurt – While homemade yogurt, or even better yogurt from raw milk from a local farm, can be very nutritious, most of the stuff bought at stores is far from being a health food. They’re typically filled with tons of sugar or artificial sweeteners. I suggest using either a Greek yogurt, or purchasing a good quality organic plain yogurt (or even better kefir) and adding in your own fresh berries and/or honey.
- Whole Wheat Breads And Muffins – Wheat isn’t that much of a health food to begin with, so having something “whole wheat” doesn’t make it all that much better. While I don’t say everyone needs to avoid wheat or gluten, many people may be better off reducing it in their diet. These foods are also usually filled with added sugar, oils, and artificial ingredients not typically found in homemade bread. A better alternative is to use a sprouted grain bread like Ezekial makes if you still want wheat, or try a healthier organic rice, potato, or almond bread.
- Diet Soft Drinks – Some claim the artificial sweeteners in diet soft drinks are worse than the sugar they’re replacing. There does seem to be evidence that they indirectly lead to weight gain. I can’t say one way or another whether artificial sweeteners are that bad, but I do know every diet soft drink consumed is taking the place of something healthier like pure water, tea, or even coffee (has its health benefits). While likely fine in moderation as most things are, I would advise not overdoing it with the diet drinks.
- Conventional Soy – Conventional (as opposed to organic) soy is typically genetically modified which poses questions about the health and safety of it. All soy is also high in phytoestrogens which experts debate about their potential health consequences. Some say they’re beneficial, others say they’re harmful. I’d rather err on the side of safety and keep soy intake to a minimum and exclusively from occasionally eaten organic, whole food sources rather than the highly processed soy burgers, soy milks, soy cheeses, soy proteins, etc.