Eating “clean” has become all the rage among those who want to be healthy or lose weight. There are, however, many misconceptions about what exactly is healthy and what is not – when you’re trying to eat clean you might be better off avoiding some of these not-so-wholesome items.
Energy bars have been a staple for athletes since they were first produced, but although they do offer energy, they’re not as healthy as they might seem. Most commercial bars are highly processed, containing ingredients like High-Fructose Corn Syrup (a chemical sweetener) and Soy Lecithin (a highly-processed additive used to bind ingredients). Many people who go for energy bars are looking for a quick and healthy snack; although they are convenient, most are not as nutritious as they pretend to be.
Unless you are making your own granola you’re unlikely to know exactly what it is you’re consuming. Many health-conscious people opt for granola instead of obviously sugary and processed cereals, but a quick glance at the ingredients reveals that most granola brands are full of sugar. For those wanting to lose weight, choosing granola over seemingly non-nutritious options can result in consuming many more calories than they think.
Fat has long been blamed for a host of health issues: high cholesterol and high blood pressure, for example. Some kinds of fat, like trans fats, are indeed detrimental to your wellbeing, as they are chemically processed and foreign to our digestive systems. In general, though, food that is labelled “low fat” or “no fat” can contain heavy doses of sugar, salt and chemical fillers. Not only that, but people tend to consume more of these products under the impression that no-fat means lower in calories, leading to a vicious cycle of attempted food restriction and unmet cravings for “bad” items like full fat yoghurt or cheese.
Athletes drink sports drinks, right? True, some athletes do, but they consume them as part of a balanced diet that is tailored to their energy needs. When you’re training for three hours on the trot your body needs fast-release carbohydrates in the form of sugars, but for the average human who just enjoys the odd walk and slots for Canadian players there are many other ways of getting energy that don’t come loaded with sweeteners and colourants.
Many people subscribe to the belief that to be lean and healthy you need to eat protein. They’re not wrong, but there is a misconception that meat – any kind of meat – provides the protein you require. Deli meat, like sliced chicken or turkey, may look like an excellent, convenient choice for sandwiches or snacks, but this kind of product is almost always processed and high in salt and other additives.
The healthy “takeaway”
Whether you want to eat healthily to lose weight or keep your systems running smoothly, it’s best to consult food labels if you really want to know what you’re consuming. The healthiest option, however, might just be to eat in moderation and let go of rigid food rules that inadvertently steer you towards gimmicky products.