Clean eating can be challenging. Nowadays, we have access to so many foods that it’s hard to tell which ones are actually healthy. Many times, manufacturers use misleading labels to market their products and trick customers. Unless you grow your own food, you can never know what goes onto your plate. For this reason, it’s crucial to read food labels and choose whole, natural products. Organic fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish, and whole grains are your best choice.
Feeling confused? Avoid these so-called “healthy” foods that make you fat:
Margarine is marketed as a healthy substitute for butter. Even though it’s cholesterol-free, it contains trans fats that affect cardiovascular health. Actually, margarine is just a mix of chemicals and refined oils. It has little or no nutritional value, and packs a ton of empty calories. Studies have shown that swapping margarine for butter may reduce the risk of heart disease and high cholesterol.
Many dieters replace sugar with agave nectar, maple syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, and other natural sweeteners. However, just because these products are natural, it doesn’t mean they’re healthy.
Packed with fructose and HFCS (high-fructose corn syrup), agave syrup is worse than sugar. These carbs go straight to your liver where they are stored as fat. In the long run, they may cause liver damage, obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and insulin resistance. If you have a sweet tooth, use stevia instead of sugar.
Breakfast cereals are advertised as a healthy choice for kids and grownups. Nothing could be further from the truth. These grains are heavily processed and contain little fiber. Manufacturers also add sugar, preservatives, and synthetic flavors to make them more appealing. Breakfast cereals are no different than candy.
Whole grains, on the other hand, have no sugar added and boast large amounts of fiber. This helps keep your blood glucose levels stable and increases satiety.
Protein and fat loss go hand in hand. Thus, it makes sense to eat high-protein foods. Unfortunately, protein bars are nothing but junk food in disguise. They’re loaded with sugar and empty calories, and may contain harmful additives. Some brands boast over 600 calories per serving.
To increase your protein intake, eat real food. Lean meat, fish, eggs, chia seeds, nuts, and legumes are much healthier and nutritious. You can also sip on protein shakes, which are low in carbs and calories.