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I remember when I first decided to clean up my diet as a teenager. I wanted to be slender, fit, and healthy because most of my preteen life was spent being bullied about my weight and my acne. So far, so good, right?
Like most well-meaning dieters, I immediately headed over to the local health food store and stocked up on all the foods that sounded tasty. Within a week, I was shocked to find out that I felt even worse than before.
The mistake I made was assuming that everything that's sold in a health food store would be good for you. Had I known that there were many health foods that aren't really healthy for you out on store shelves, I probably would have stuck to fruits and veggies.
After some research and reading some healthy cookbooks, my weight slowly started to fall off. Holistic health and healthy eating went hand-in-hand, and once I found the right diet, I felt a million times better.
Wondering if your lagging diet success could be due to something similar? If you've been chowing down on these foods, you might need to switch up your diet a bit.
While most health foods that aren't really healthy tend to be heavily processed, soybeans can be pretty bad for you on their own. Soybeans are best described as food that is typically not as healthy as you think.
Nutritionally, soybeans offer a lot of protein, vitamins, and health-boosting enzymes. They do make a great alternative to meat and cheese, especially in the form of seitan or tofu.
The thing with soybeans is that they should be eaten in moderation. Soybeans contain a very high amount of phytoestrogens, which can cause hormone disturbances in large quantities. Some studies have even linked soybeans to breast cancer as a result of the estrogen quantities.
Additionally, certain processed forms of soy, including soy milk, tend to be way more calorific than people think they are. If you're trying to lose weight, make sure that you're not being deceived by soy's low-calorie reputation.
Granola was the OG of health foods. Back before people knew about soy, granola was the health food that people associated with dieters, the organic lifestyle, and everything wholesome.
This was particularly true during the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Back during these decades, people said someone turned into a hippie by saying they've "gone granola."
Even today, granola is seen as a health food by the majority of Americans. However, it's also the posterchild of health foods that aren't really healthy at all.
Granola is often clogged with sugar, calorie-heavy, and overwhelmingly high in carbohydrates. This food is not good for weight loss, nor is it even good for vitamins. A typical cup of granola can top 400 calories, even before you add milk. You can do better.
Juices and Smoothies
Think you're doing well by your diet by hitting up Jamba Juice? Think again! Juices and smoothies are some of the worst things a dieter can include having in their shopping cart.
Though juices and smoothies offer a serious amount of vitamins and nutrients, they are very rarely (if ever) filling enough to satisfy peoples' food cravings.
Moreover, a typical glass of juice can have anywhere from 200 to over 400 calories. If you're talking about smoothies, you shouldn't be shocked to find out that a single Jamba Juice visit can pack as much as 1,310 calories in a single large serving.
Dieters who aren't seeing the pounds drop after a lot of hard work need to take a look at their juice intake. Chances are, they're drinking their calories away. A better idea? Eat fresh fruit.
Gluten-Free Cakes, Breads, Pasta, and Pastries
Don't get me wrong; people who have Celiac disease or other gluten intolerances should absolutely have these items in their pantries. However, if you're just a regular Joe Schmo looking to eat better, gluten-free isn't the way to be.
Most gluten-free foods will have just as much sugar and carbohydrates as regular breads and pastries. So, if you're thinking it'll help cut carbs or calories, you're wrong.
Additionally, there's some evidence that suggests that people who aren't gluten intolerant need gluten in their diets to help enhance their digestion. Don't be surprised if you're having stomach problems as a result of your new gluten-free diet.
We have all seen the number of commercials involving good-looking athletes running on forest trails. We can also clearly tell that these are products that are marketed towards people who are health-conscious. Some even have vitamins and fiber added to them!
If you look at the nutritional information on the back of those protein bar wrappers, you might be in for a very ugly surprise. Most of these bars are chock-full of saturated fat, sugars, and calories. Generally, it's better to just think of these as glorified candy bars.
I'm not going to immediately discount all yogurt as bad. Greek yogurt, for example, is an excellent source of calcium and offers a great probiotic punch. That being said, not all yogurt is equal, and some kinds of yogurt you may have been eating are downright awful for you.
Those wholesome looking cups of yogurt with fruit at the bottom are some of the most sugar-laden health foods which aren't really healthy for you at all. Aside from the heavy amounts of sugar that the "fruit" jellies tend to have, these yogurts also have a lot of artificial colors.
Nothing is quite as healthy and diet-friendly as a salad, right? Well, most of the time, this is true. Nothing is quite as nutritious as a salad filled with vegetables and fruits, drizzled with a little balsamic vinegar.
Restaurant salads, though, aren't your typical salad. Typical restaurant salads are calorie-laden messes that have lettuce alongside a pile of fried meats, croutons, cheese, and more.
Depending on what salad you're buying from a restaurant, you could be looking at a total of 2,000 calories per platter. When you're dining out, make no mistake about it. Those "full meal" salads are health foods that aren't really healthy for you at all.
If you were to listen to health gurus, you'd think that coconut water was the greatest thing since sliced pie. Admittedly, it does hydrate you and can offer some awesome micronutrients for recovering athletes.
Unfortunately, we're going to have to declare coconut water as one of the bigger secret health foods that aren't really healthy for you. Due to the fact that a single can of coconut water can carry as many 29 grams of sugar (about two grams less than a candy bar), it's one of the worse "fake health foods" on the market.
Gatorade is one of those drinks that has made a killing by advertising itself to athletes, but is it really that good for you? Well, studies say it's not—especially if you aren't actually exercising to the point that you sweat out a ton of electrolytes.
Though they are often touted as great recovery drinks, sports drinks are usually not much different than sodas. In many cases, they have the same amount of sugar and the same gross color additives.
Cereal has long been touted as a healthy way to start your day, and if you take a look at the ads on the boxes, you might also notice that most of them will talk about what a great source of fiber and vitamins they are. It couldn't possibly be that bad, right?
Newsflash: Health foods that really aren't healthy tend to have ads like that associated with them because it's known to boost sales. The cereal industry is one of the worst culprits of this, and if you knew how bad most cereal is, you probably wouldn't touch a box again.
Cereal has way too much sugar, way too many additives, and far too many GMOs to really be good for you. Additionally, the added vitamins in cereal might not even be absorbed by your body, simply due to the low quality of vitamins in them.