Monday, 7 August 2017

14 Supposedly Healthy Foods That Dietitians Never Eat

Think registered dietitians eat all those stereotypical health foods you hear about? Not quite. It's not because they have bad intentions or gorge themselves on ice cream while they force kale on their clients. They just know that some foods aren't as healthy as they seem. Here are some big ones that dietitians smartly avoid:
1. Cleanse juices. While some people swear that cleanse diets (i.e., the short-term eating plans that restrict food and often permit only juice) help to clear out the systems and rejuvenate the body, "there is really no such physiological phenomenon as a 'cleanse,' " says registered dietitian Mindy Haar, Ph.D., the director of program development at the New York Institute of Technology in New York City. It doesn't help that these juices are often full of sugars and void of the filling fiber you'd get from eating whole fruits. P.S.: Those juices get expensive.

2. Reduced-fat peanut butter. When food makers remove an ingredient, they tend to add another, says registered dietitian Emily Hein from The Heart Hospital at Baylor Regional Medical Center in Plano, Texas. Peanut butter is supposed to be a spread made from ground up peanuts, which are naturally high in fat. When the fat comes out, sodium and sugar go in. Hein says to eat a single portion of the full-fat natural stuff instead. (The fewer ingredients on the label, the better.)

3. Turkey burgers. They're not necessarily lower in fat or healthier than beef burgers, says Emily Rubin, a registered dietitian at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital's division of gastroenterology in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Ground turkey can contain dark meat and skin, which are high in saturated fats and may even contain more fats than lean ground beef. It's why Rubin uses 93 percent lean beef to make burgers.

4. Protein powder. "The majority of American women get twice as much protein as they actually need," Haar says. Even if you're super active and work out a lot, your usual intake of protein is probably plenty, Haar says.

5. Cereals made with natural sugars. They sound healthier than the sugary cereals you weren't allowed to eat as a kid. But sugar or syrup derived from natural foods like fruit is not the same as eating actual fruit, which satisfies your sweet tooth and fills you up, and provides a wide array of essential vitamins and minerals, says registered dietitian Judy Wylie-Rosett, Ed.D, a professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, NY. Besides, when you concentrate the sugar from any food source, it becomes refined sugar, which is notorious for adding empty calories to your diet.

6. Gluten-free pretzels. Unless you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, there's really no reason to avoid gluten, Hein says. Most gluten-free products – including snack foods and baked goods — have the same amount (and sometimes more) of calories and fat as their gluten-containing counterparts. Stick to one serving size if you do treat yourself.

7. Low-fat crackers: Studies show that people grossly overeat foods labeled "low fat" — they underestimate the number of calories those foods contain and reward themselves for making "healthy" decisions by eating a little bit more, says Brian Wansink, Ph.D., director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab in Ithaca, NY, and author of SLIM BY DESIGN: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life. If you really feel better about eating low-fat foods, Wansink says to take your best guess of how many calories are in any given serving, and double that — that estimate will be much more accurate.

8. High-fiber bars. They're glorified candy bars with a long list of ingredients, including many found in straight-up sweets, and some (like chicory root, inulin, sugar alcohols like sorbitol, xylitol, mannitol) can cause gas, diarrhea, and bloating, says Lori Welstead, M.S., a registered dietitian at the University of Chicago Medicine in Chicago, Illinois. She says to opt for real foods that are naturally high in fiber, like veggies, beans, nuts, seeds, fruits, and whole grains like brown rice.

9. Sugar-free salad dressing. When food makers remove sugar, they may add fat for taste or carbs that ultimately break back down into sugar when you digest them, Welstead says. Include some naturally sweet ingredients such as corn, carrots, beets, or cherry tomatoes, and you won't miss the sugar when you dress your salad with straight-up olive oil and vinegar.

10. Frozen diet meals. Many promise to help you lose weight, and it's no wonder — have you seen those miniscule portions?! Welstead says boxed meals tend to be full of artificial ingredients and sodium that can cause your body to retain water and ultimately make you look bloated. She suggests cooking wholesome meals in bulk and freeze them. Use single-serving containers so you can conveniently reheat a meal for one — it's bound to be healthier than the who-knows-what that's sitting in your grocer's freezer section.

11. Diet sodas and sugar-free drinks. Better than regular soda? Maybe. But they contribute nothing beneficial to your diet and may contain artificial chemicals suspected to increase food cravings, Welstead says.

12. Smoothies. Many have upward of 400 calories and 50 grams of sugar(!). And unlike, say, a chicken sandwich on whole grain bread, you don't even get to bite into it, which can be much less satisfying than chewing the same number of calories, Rubin says.

13. Veggie chips. "We're all just kidding ourselves if we avoid potato chips in favor of veggie chips because the word 'veggie' sounds healthy," Rubin says. The first ingredients listed on the packages of veggie chips are usually potato (or potato flour) and oil, so potato chips and veggie chips are basically the same thing.

14. Fruit-flavored yogurts. While fruit and yogurt sound like two divinely healthy foods, fruit-flavored yogurts are loaded with sugar, says Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani, Ph.D., a registered dietitian and associate professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Go for plain yogurt and add whole fruit for a much healthier mix in.

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