We all know that there are some foods we shouldn’t eat. Carbonated beverages, candy, and foods high in fat never benefit our body, regardless of how happy they might make our taste buds. Our bodies just weren’t meant to consume the incredible amounts of processed sugars, artificial colors and preservatives, and fats that modern society offers.
And there are some foods we should avoid that might surprise you. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or just eat healthier, here is a list of food you should bypass…or at least eat in moderation.
Fruit is good for you, right? Unfortunately, some of it isn’t so healthy when it’s dried. A handful of raisins or dried apricots might seem like a perfectly reasonable snack, but be careful. Some dried fruit has been packaged with added sugar and preservatives to maintain color. When you’re buying dried fruit, make sure that there aren’t any of these added ingredients that will diminish the benefits of your healthy snack.
The other thing to watch out for with dried fruit is that though it contains the same amount of calories and sugar as its fresh counterpart, most people end up eating more than a single serving. It’s easy to eat one apricot, but do you limit yourself to two pieces of dried apricot or do you take a handful? If you’re like most people, you’ll end up eating the equivalent of several pieces of fresh fruit with a small handful of dried fruit, and that’s far more calories and sugar than your body needs for a light snack.
Cream cheese on a bagel might be the perfect on-the-go breakfast, but it’s not so good for a healthy diet. Full-fat cream cheese contains 99 calories per 2 tablespoons, most of which comes from unhealthy, saturated fat. And let’s face it—who puts only 2 tablespoons on their bagel? Cream cheese is high in fat and calories but low in protein, and while it might be quick and easy it’s better to take the time to make an omelet or a bowl of oatmeal (avoid the pre-packaged kind—it’s full of sugar!) instead.
Muffins are, unfortunately, little better than icing-free cupcakes. Picking up a large muffin from the local bakery for breakfast might seem like a healthier choice than a doughnut or cinnamon roll, but cake doughnuts and muffins have the same calorie average calorie count—about 350 for a single pastry. When you think about the added fat and sugar, muffins suddenly aren’t quite the healthy breakfast you were hoping for.
Instead of picking up breakfast at the bakery or making muffins from a box, try some homemade recipes. It might take more time and effort, but making a batch of homemade, whole grain muffins with added flax, bran, or oats can turn a cupcake-sans-icing into a healthy start to your day.
If you think that eating a handful of carrots with ranch dressing is a perfectly nutritious snack, think again. The benefits of a few florets of broccoli or carrot sticks are quickly diminished by a few tablespoons of Hidden Valley ranch dressing, which has 290 mg of sodium. The American Heart Association recommends 1,500 mg of sodium per day; a full serving of ranch (2 oz.) contains almost half that amount. Taking into account the fat, calories, and lack of protein in a single serving, it might be better to go for oil and vinegar on your salad instead of ranch. Try steaming your broccoli and carrots instead of eating them raw—it will eliminate the need for ranch to wash them down.
Yogurt is actually extremely good for you—but only if you choose carefully. The mistake that many people make is thinking that every kind of yogurt on the shelf at the grocery store is equal. It’s true that yogurt contains healthy probiotics and is a good source of calcium and protein, but it can also be loaded with unnecessary sugar and fat. For example, Yoplait’s blueberry yogurt has 27 grams of sugar in every container (as opposed to some brands of nonfat that have as little as 12 grams). So when you’re choosing your flavors, make sure that the added fruit is natural (or better yet, buy plain yogurt and add your own fresh fruit) and that there isn’t a lot of added sugar.
So while you might think your eating habits are good, take a closer look at some of your favorite “healthy” and make sure they’re as nutritious as you think they are! It might just save you a few pounds and a trip to your local Hamilton dentist. Your body will thank you!
<a href=“https://plus.google.com/u/5/107838815228742631037?rel=author”>Connor Adkins</a> Connor Adkins enjoys helping people stay fit and healthy. When he’s not spending time with his wife and three children, he likes to blog for companies like Paramount Dentistry.