The struggle to eat healthy in order to improve your life in general is real. Every day it feels like there's a new "superfood" that the internet is freaking out over, and between this and fad diets showing up left, right and center, it can get pretty overwhelming.
Thankfully, this is why there are nutritionists out there, like Miami-based clinical nutritionist Dr. Michael Forman. Dr. Forman took the time to outline several foods that, while technically considered "healthy," can still be problematic in too big a dose.
1) Whole Wheat Bread
"Whole wheat bread is one of the most potentially inflammatory foods in existence since the gluten used in today's wheat bread is virtually indigestible by most people," says Dr. Forman. "It's amazing how much better people feel when they just stop eating it."
2) Brown Sugar
"Brown sugar is just like the white stuff; it's a refined sugar that immediately hits your bloodstream and demands insulin as a response. This promotes inflammation by irritating insulin resistance, one of the factors in almost every health problem," explains Dr. Forman.
3) Agave Syrup
Agave syrup, according to Dr. Forman, is very close to high fructose corn syrup (a sweetener used in things like soft drinks and is DEFINITELY not healthy). If you're trying to lose weight, it's best to stay away.
4) Non-Organic Chicken
"They are kept in small cages, shot up with antibiotics and growth hormones and fed unnatural foods for chickens," says Dr. Forman. You can usually avoid this problem by opting for local, farm-raised chicken.
5) Pasteurized Eggs
"They have been treated with antibiotics, pasteurization, and other processes that make them last," explains Dr. Forman. Again, much like the chicken, buying local is usually a much better solution.
6) Whole Wheat Pasta
Pasta of any kind is high in empty calories, and whole wheat pasta can even raise your bloody sugar levels just as high as the regular kind does, which means you'll retain fat much more easily. In short, keep your pasta intake in moderation.
The foods just get more surprising from here...
7) Flavored Yogurt
We get it, plain yogurt starts to feel like a homework assignment after you eat it for too long. Unfortunately, most flavored yogurts have a ton of sugar added to them for the flavor, which more or less defeats the purpose.
8) Pre-packaged Salads
Now, there's nothing wrong with buying lettuce that comes in a box as opposed to in a full head: in fact, it's often more cost-effective. However, as soon as you start adding things like croutons, bacon bits and dressing, the nutritional value starts to vanish.
9) Energy/Protein Bars
These can be great in a pinch, but they are often LOADED with sugar and fat, not to mention artificial ingredients no one can pronounce. Not only that, but how often has one of these things ever actually made you feel full? Yeah, that's what I thought.
10) Veggie Chips
By the time the drying and salting process is done with these things, any nutritional elements of the vegetables used to make them are gone. It's really no better than just eating potato chips.
11) Processed Deli Meats
Turkey is a great source of lean protein, especially if you roast it yourself or get it from a butcher shop. However, avoid the pre-packaged stuff at all costs, as those are loaded with sodium and preservatives, none of which are good for you.
Couscous is basically just tiny pasta, so you're not getting any health benefits from it that you wouldn't get from a plate of spaghetti. Opt for quinoa if you're looking for a healthy grain.
13) Rice Cakes
They're an airy and light snack, but in terms of carb-to-weight ratio, rice cakes are high. They also contain lots of sodium and lack fiber, so again, you're eating empty calories and consuming more carbs.