These are my top 5 ‘healthy’ foods to reduce and limit in your daily diet when it comes to seeking optimal body composition and health.
1. Whole Wheat/Grain Products
We’ve been told for some time now that by picking the ‘whole wheat, whole grain’ options in our grains we will benefit from more vital nutrients to improve our health. Truth is, we can get every nutrient we need from other food choices – we do not need whole grains in our diets!
Whole grain products are also sold to us as having a lower GI index, meaning they do not spike blood sugar levels as high as their refined alternatives. This suggests they will give us better energy levels and not be stored as body fat so easily.
Recent research shows that eating whole grains provides no significant difference to insulin sensitivity or blood sugar management than refined grains.
Skip the processed grains completely, be it whole grain or the refined versions.
2. Low Fat Products
Another popular ‘health’ food myth is that we should be avoiding fats in our quest to get healthy.
It is suggested that fat raises cholesterol levels that will block our arteries and result in a heart attack. While it is true that healthy fats do raise cholesterol, what we need to understand is that we have good levels (HDL) and bad levels (LDL) of cholesterol.
Healthy fats will actually raise the HDL which promotes an improved hormonal profile for optimal health and performance.
What recent research shows is that ‘observational evidence does not support the hypothesis that dairy fat or high dairy foods contribute to obesity, and suggest that high fat dairy consumption within typical dieting patterns is inversely associated with obesity risk’
Don’t pick the fat free or low calorie option, you will pass on the added chemicals and keep the benefits of the healthy fats.
3. Fruit Juices
Excessive fruit juice consumption is associated with increased risk of obesity.
Why, surely it is only fruit?
Unless you are drinking a ‘whole fruit’ product then chances are that it is made from a concentrate, meaning sugar, chemicals and artificial sweeteners have been added.
There is recent research to suggest that sucrose consumption without the corresponding fibre, as is commonly present in fruit juice, is associated with metabolic syndrome, liver injury and obesity.
If you are finding it difficult to lose fat yet enjoy your daily ‘fruit’ juice then perhaps it’s time to cut it out of your life! Stick to water flavoured with real fruit pieces! Try strawberry and kiwi, lemon and lime or cucumber and mint.
4. Gluten Free/Organic Processed Foods
If you suffer from celiac disease or digestive system issues such as IBS, then the research shows that a gluten free diet is ideal to reverse the effects of this disorder.
Let’s not turn gluten free into the next fad diet, as for some people, gluten free will not be the answer.
Going organic is another popular dietary choice, yet we are still unsure of any strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods. Consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotics, and that may be about it. It is not the magic cure to vibrant health, and organic cookies/cakes/biscuits are still fucking cookies/cakes/biscuits which will make you fat!
To no surprise the common ‘junk food’ manufactures are now labelling their processed products as organic or gluten free. Most of these are no better for you than the gluten containing version.
Unless you need to eat these types of diets for health implications, you will not likely see any benefits from doing so.
5. Diet / Low Calorie Drinks
Switching from a sugar sweetened drink to an artificial sweetened drink is a great first step to reduce sugar and total energy intake.
What we do know is that despite this change, many people do not see any real significant weight loss.
See diet/low calorie products as ‘empty’ products that have little effect on improving body composition and health. They are also full of chemicals/sweeteners which stress the liver and mess with metabolism, hormones and hunger/satiety levels.
Ditch the diet drinks and increase the fresh water intake instead, add a fresh squeeze of lemon/lime juice to add some taste!
credit: Faye Tomlinson – GymChat Nutritionist