One day, your morning cup of coffee is a great idea for your health. The next, it has too many negative health risks. Even the savviest of consumers can easily become confused amid constantly evolving research and the loud personal opinions of prominent people.
And when food marketing is thrown into the mix, the black and whites get even greyer. Packaging with words like ‘organic’ or ‘light’ purposely gives us the impression it has a nutritious product to sell, when in reality there’s little to formally define what those terms mean, according to the Huffington Post.
To help clear up some of the confusion, we asked a group of nutrition experts to dish on the healthy eating concepts we’re most commonly misusing. Here are seven of the worst offenders:
Detox: “If I could erase one word from the dietary dictionary it would be ‘detox’ says Monica Reinagel, HuffPost blogger and author of. Nutrition Diva’s Secrets for A Healthy Diet The idea that certain foods or nutrients will speed up or enhance your body’s detoxification process is just silly. The best way to help your body get the toxins out is to put fewer in.”
Good Foods and Bad Foods: “I don’t like saying there are good foods and bad foods – It’s so judgmental! I’m not saying french fries aren’t loaded with calories, fat and sodium, or ice cream isn’t rich in calories, fat and sugar, but saying they’re ‘bad’ foods invokes guilt on those who enjoy these comfort foods,” says Elisa Zied, author of Younger Next Week Eating and enjoying food – even foods that aren’t the most nutritious shouldn’t ever be done with guilt or shame. Eating should be one of the great pleasures of life! And if you learn to eat with pleasure, you may even feel more satisfied with less food.”
Clean: “Everything is all about ‘clean’ foods, a ‘clean’ diet, but there is absolutely no definition of what ‘clean eating’ means. Many athletes refer to ‘clean’ as eating natural, wholesome, real foods and fewer processed options. I think that makes sense, but I don’t know why we need to call it ‘clean’ instead of healthy eating. I’m starting to see marketers say their processed products are made with ‘clean’ ingredients, so to me this is just a meaningless term,” reports Julie Upton.
Low-Carb: “The one that gets to me the most is when people tell me they eat ‘low-carb’, or [say] ‘I don’t eat sugar.’ I always ask, ‘What does that mean for you?’ I constantly find myself explaining that carbs are in multiple food groups. There are grams of carbohydrates (aka. sugar) in bread and bread products and fruits, but also in other foods that you may not think of as having grams of carbs, like unsweetened yoghurt and vegetables. Once I explain the basics of food science, the ‘low-carb’ proclamation that so many claim to adhere to is not accurate,” says Marjorie Nolan, a national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Diabetics.
Fruit Has Too Much Sugar: “While fruit does indeed contain natural sugar, it comes along with great nutrition, such as vitamin C and fibre. One of my favourite fruits is grapes. They are (around 100) calories for a cup and are loaded with antioxidants and vitamin K. It’s natural to enjoy sweet foods – so getting a natural sugar fix from fruit rather than candy is smart. Aim for two cups or two pieces of fruit per day,” says Dawn Jackson author of The Flexitarian Diet.
Breakfast Is The Most Important Meal Of The Day: “NOT! All meals are important for different reasons. Each one plays a role in keeping you energized and at the top of your game,” says Joy Bauer a health and nutrition expert.
Made With Simple Ingredients “This is popular with brands that say things like ‘made with ingredients you can see and pronounce.’ We all know what simple means, but ‘simple’ is now a marketing buzzword showing up on supermarket shelves. The ‘simple’ foods have a more wholesome look and may make you believe that you’re buying something that’s better for you and your family, Julie Upton adds.
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