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5 “Healthy” Foods that Actually Aren’t

5 “Healthy” Foods that Actually Aren’t

You exercise. You get enough sleep. You eat healthy.

So why aren’t you losing any weight?

The blame may be due, at least in part, to your diet. Especially if you are being unfairly duped by these five not-so-healthy health foods.

1. Granola

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Granola

    Surprising, right? Often regarded as the archetype of healthy breakfast food, granola can be a serious belt-buster. While it does have nutritional value (coming from nuts and seeds), these benefits are overshadowed by high calories, sugar, and fats. Its health is only further diminished when chocolate chips or yogurt are added. Additionally, pay attention to the tricky serving size: usually, it’s as little as ¼ a cup!

    This doesn’t mean that granola is evil. The key is to carefully read the ingredients and avoid mixes with corn syrup or other artificial additives. Keep your helpings small and don’t pair it with yogurt or milk.

    2. Frozen dinners

    fozen dinner

      Yes, they are convenient. And yes, some of them carry “lean” or “healthy” in their name. But oftentimes, these little guys are jam-packed full of sodium and sketchy preservatives to keep them edible for longer (yikes!). Since many are low in fat and calories, they leave you feeling unsatisfied and predispose you to eating more afterwards. Additionally, maintaining a diet that is extremely low in calories will affect your metabolism, which makes controlling your weight much more difficult.

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      In today’s busy world, however, I know frozen dinners seem like the only option. Fortunately, there are some great options (like black bean burgers or organic frozen meals). Take time to carefully read the ingredients, watch out for the sodium content, and choose options with lots of vegetables.

      3. Multigrain

      Cheerios

        Those tricky marketers are trying to fool the public into thinking that “multigrain” means “whole grain.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t. In fact, any manufacturer can stamp “multigrain” onto any product made with different kinds of grains—including refined or bleached ones. This extends to foods labeled “whole grain” as well: whole grain doesn’t necessarily mean 100% whole grain.

        Once again, check the ingredient list (see a pattern here?). Double check for 100% whole wheat, oats, etc. Avoid the words: refined, bleached, or enriched.

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        4. Smoothies

        smoothies

          I don’t mean the homemade, 100% fruit and veggie ones (although, choosing the wrong ingredients can negate health benefits and they are often unsatisfying). I’m talking about the premade, sugar bombs you find at places like Smoothie King. You think you are making a smart choice, but drinking your lunch isn’t the best idea. While the fruits and veggies found in these smoothies are healthy, they are disguised by sugar or fatty creams. Also, you still run into the problem of liquid meals simply not being as filling.

          If you are not ready to give up smoothies, opt for making your own. This is the best way to ensure that your drink isn’t weighed down by sugars. Use locally grown fruits and veggies; if you are looking for a creamier smoothie, use yogurt instead of cream or whole milk. Also, keep your portions small and augment your diet with actual food.

          5. Diet soda

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          diet drinks

            Diet soda isn’t good for you. This isn’t exactly a secret, but it still surprises people. What it lacks in calories it makes up for in artificial sweeteners that are shown to increase belly fat and mess with your metabolism. Also, they pretty much have no nutritional factor at all so you are drinking useless, empty calories. Not to mention the fact that certain studies link diet sodas to higher rates of depression.

            If you are addicted, start by making the switch to other carbonated drink options like club soda. Eventually, it’s wise to limit yourself to water or other drink options that actually offer some nutritional benefits.

            Remember…

            These are just five of the many food options out there pretending like they are healthy. Manufacturers know that consumers are leaning toward healthier foods and so they try to fool you with every trick in the book—“low fat,” “zero calorie,” etc. The important thing is to always, always, always read the ingredients. But remember: the occasional smoothie or diet coke is fine (we all have our cravings), just don’t make them a habit. Consume these foods in moderation, strive to make healthy choices otherwise, and no longer allow yourself be fooled by labels.

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            Last Updated on May 22, 2019

            10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

            10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

            There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

            One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

            In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

            Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

            1. Cat Camel Stretch

            Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

            Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

            Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

            Here’s a video to guide you through:

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            2. Go for a Walk or a Run

            This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

            Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

            The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

            Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

            Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

            3. Jumping Jacks

            Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

            Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

            4. Abductor Side Lifts

            Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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            Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

            5. Balancing Table Pose

            This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

            Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

            ablab

              6. Leg Squats

              Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

              Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

              The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

              7. Push Ups

              You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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              An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

              Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

              This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

              8. Bicycle Crunches

              There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

              Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

              9. Lunges

              Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

              Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

              This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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              10. Bicep Curls

              You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

              Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

              Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

              Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

              Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

              These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

              You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

              Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

              More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

              Reference

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