1. Whole wheat/whole grain bread. I’m not going to get TOO deep into details on this one (you can pick up a copy of Wheat Belly or Grain Brain if you want to do some research on wheat), but for several reasons, I suggest avoiding wheat. First, wheat today is sprayed with Roundup unless you’re getting organic. Many people think that they’re intolerant to gluten, when in fact they’re having a reaction to the roundup ON the wheat. Scary, right? Wheat also spikes your insulin MORE than sugar. A slice of whole wheat bread has a glycemic load of 69, while Coca Cola is 63, and a Snicker’s Bar is 51. The glycemic index is a value assigned to foods based on how quickly or slowly those foods causes an increase in blood glucose levels. Blood glucose levels are above normal are toxic and can cause kidney failure, blindness, or increased cardiovascular risk. Foods low on the glycemic index release glucose slowly, while foods high on the glycemic index release glucose rapidly.
2. Dried fruit. Yes, it’s made from fruit, so it DOES have nutrients, but dried fruit is much more condensed, therefore contains more calories and is less filling than fresh fruit. Also, some dried fruit contains added sugar (why?!) to make it even sweeter. I don’t understand this lol.
3. Sports drinks. They contain a ton of calories and sugar, which the majority of the population doesn’t need. The only time I’ve ever had sports drinks was when I was doing doubles in college (aka 8 hours of volleyball a day in a hot and sweaty gym). Unless you’re exercising HARD for more than an hour, you don’t need sports drinks and can stick with water.
4. Prepared salads. It’s a salad, so it must be healthy, right?! Sadly, no. We were at TGI Friday’s this weekend and there wasn’t a single salad on the menu under 650 calories. There was one that even had 1,220 calories! In a SALAD! I DID end up ordering a salad, but I picked one of the lighter ones and asked for no candied pecans and the dressing on the side.
5. Fruit juice. This is similar to dried fruit—it’s lacking the fiber from the fruit so, drinking a cup of apple juice won’t fill you up like eating an apple will. A study lead by Qi Sun of the Harvard Medical School and published in the British Medical Journal found that
“Replacing each three servings/week of fruit juice consumption with the same amount of total or individual whole fruits, the risk of type 2 diabetes in the pooled analysis was 7% (95% confidence interval 4% to 9% lower for total whole fruits, 33% (24% to 40% lower for blueberries, 19% (14% to 24%) lower for grapes and raisins, 14% (11% to 18%) lower for apples and peas, 13% (9%-16%) lower for bananas, and 12% (8% to 17%) lower for grapefruit after adjustment for personal factors, lifestyle, and the modified alternate health eating index score. Additionally, we found that replacing fruit juice with oranges, peaches, plums, and apricots was also associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes: 18% (8% to 28%) lower for prunes, 11% (5% to 16%) lower for peaches, plums, and apricots, and 8% (4% to 12%) lower for oranges.”
6. Gluten free/sugar-free/fat-free foods. Again, anything with a label that is marketing it to be healthier for you is typically something to stay away from. In the case of these foods, often times when a company is altering the food, they have to replace/add in something to make it taste better. If fat is removed, typically sugar is added. If sugar is removed, artificial sweeteners are added. If gluten is removed, stabilizers are added. You’re better off eating the REAL FOOD. I’ll have real dark chocolate instead of sugar-free garbage. It’s more satisfying!
7. Smoothies/juices. Many smoothies are carb bombs!!! Remember when we talked about the glycemic load and the effects of certain foods on your insulin levels? Smoothies raise them like crazy! Even just a fruit smoothie, which one would think is healthy, is typically several servings of fruit, and often contains added sugar! If I really want a smoothie, I’ll make it at home and use 1-2 pieces of fruit tops, and won’t add any sugar to it. Take a look at the Jamba Juice menu to see some of the calories counts—I mean, one of the ‘healthier’ options, a medium sized Strawberry Surf Rider has 98 grams of sugar!!! It’s marketed on the website as being gluten free, no artificial preservatives, no artificial flavors, no high fructose corn syrup, 0g trans fat, and 2.5 servings of fruit, as well as real whole fruit and 100% juice. Another option, a large Peanut Butter smoothie has 980 calories and 131 grams of sugar. INSANE.
8. Yogurt. It CAN be a healthy option if you get it in its most natural state. When I have yogurt, it’s full fat and plain, and if I want it sweeter I’ll add a bit of honey or stevia myself. If you get a fat free, flavored yogurt, it’s a chemical shit storm with more sugar than ice cream. One 6 ounce serving of Dannon fruit on the bottom yogurt has 25 grams of sugar in it!! To put that in perspective, you could eat 2.5 Krispy Kreme donuts for the same amount of sugar.
“Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.” Tony Robbins