When it comes to nutrition, there is a lot of information floating around out there and things can get a bit confusing. Chances are, you've made at least one of these nutrition mistakes in your journey to eat healthy. Read on to find out the most common nutrition mistakes everyone makes.
Eating fake foods
We've all seen fake foods in the grocery store, but have you thought about just what exactly they are made of? From soy cheese, to vegetarian chicken breasts, these food impostors are all highly processed and not good for you. If you are cutting out a certain food from your diet, then just cut out the food... don't replace it with fake foods. Did we learn nothing from Crisco and margarine? (The feature image is vegan soy chicken... not appetizing at all!)
Drinking fruit juices
Most store bought fruit juices contain a lot of extra ingredients that you don't need. Plus, it's easy to drink a lot of fruit juice and consume too many calories. If you must have that glass of orange juice in the morning, try squeezing your own fresh instead, and limit your juice intake to that one glass each day.
Not all fat is created equal, and in fact, our bodies require fat in order to function properly, whether it be powering our brain, or manufacturing new life. Fat is very important, especially getting the right kinds of fat. If you've completely (or almost completely) cut out fats from your diet, try adding back whole foods with healthy fats. Foods with healthy fats include fish, organic whole milk, eggs, olive oil, avocado, and nuts.
Not eating enough protein
Most people do not get enough protein in their diets. Protein is essential for building muscle, and can help increase fat burning, and help keep you fuller longer. Protein has also been found to be especially important for those who are physically active on a regular basis. Recent health science indicates that we should be getting about 1 gram of protein per pound per day.
Relying on package labels
Food companies have always been clever about their packaging. The trend recently has been to make sure words like "natural," "all vegetarian fed," or "no hormones added" etc appear prominently on labels. Most of us don't realize that the word natural isn't regulated. A food company can pretty much label anything as natural. The "no hormones added" label is usually found on pork, but did you know that it's illegal in the U.S. to use hormones in pigs that will be sold for human consumption? My favorite by far is the "all vegetarian fed" label found on "free range" eggs. Chickens are naturally omnivorous, so if they really were allowed to roam free, they would not be vegetarians.
The only package label you should rely on is the ingredients label. If there is anything on that ingredients label that you wouldn't have in your own fridge or pantry, put it back. Labels should contain easily identified actual whole foods like whole milk, eggs, honey, chicken ... you get the point. Nothing that sounds like you would need a lab coat to see it in it's native habitat.
Eating organic snack foods
Just because those crackers are organic doesn't mean that they're good for you. Food companies just love it when we let our guard down and let highly processed foods into our kitchen just because it says organic on the label.
Eating a certain number of meals a day because someone told you to
The best way to plan your meals for the day is based on how you feel. If you feel like you're famished between meals, you may want to increase the number of meals you have each day. If, instead, you feel too full if you eat more than three meals, then only eat three meals. What works for someone else may not be what works for you. Listen to your body.
Not eating fruit because it has sugar
I think we've all heard at least one person say they don't eat fruit because it has sugar in it. Sure, fruit has sugar in it, but it's natural sugar combined with fiber and healthy enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. If you're trying to avoid sugar, avoid the processed kind and keep the fruit in your diet.
Never eating "junk" food
A healthy diet is one that includes all types of foods, even the junk foods in moderation. Study after study has shown that diets that restrict certain food groups completely don't work. If you feel like you are depriving yourself, you're less likely to stick with healthy eating. So, allow yourself a (very) little bit of junk food every now and again.
Relying on vitamins
I must admit, I used to be a vitamin junkie. But, studies have shown that the best way to get all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals your body needs is through your food. An editorial published in the Annals of Internal Medicine this week reiterates that vitamins do not help cure or prevent diseases like heart disease or cancer. So, save the money you would normally spend on vitamins, and add it to your food budget where it can actually make a difference.
Photo By: Suzette Pauwels