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Top 10 “Healthy” Foods Busted By Real Science

Top 10  “Healthy” Foods Busted By Real Science

The world of nutrition is full of misconception, myths, and even lies. There are so many contradicting information out there that are confusing and misleading.

So how can we decide which information is fad and which one is real? The answer is science and research studies (especially those which are peer-reviewed). We should only trust information that is backed by real science and has been proven by peer-reviewed research / study.

However, are they really that healthy? Read more to learn the truth.

1. Breakfast cereals

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    This is what the majority of people are eating every single morning. And yet, it might be the worst food choice you can possible eat as breakfast. Why?

    Cereals are usually loaded with sugars and refined carbs (read here and here on why they are some of the worst and fattening ingredients in existence). They will spike your blood sugar and insulin levels, and a few hours later when your blood sugar crashes, your body will be desperate for another highly refined carbs snack. (Study)

    So what should you eat for breakfast then? You should eat something that is unprocessed and has protein and fiber in it (like eggs and vegetables).

    2. Granola

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      The real, natural granola contains some healthy ingredients like oats and nuts, however the food industry has processed it by adding sugar, oil, and other fillers.

      The processed granola contains high amount of sugar, which makes it very energy dense, and easy to over-consume (leads to obesity). (Study)

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      3. Low fat yogurt

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        Unlike the Full-fat yogurt, Low-fat yogurt has been highly processed by the food manufacturer: saturated fat has been removed, while many other stuffs (sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweetener) has been added.

        This study shows that saturated fat is actually harmless. There is also another study that shows people who ate the most high-fat dairy products were the least likely to be obese.

        So if you love yogurt, you should eat the real, full-fat yogurt (which is most probably much healthier than the highly processed low-fat yogurt).

        4. Commercial Salad Dressings

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          Salads are usually healthy meals, it contains many types of vegetables that are loaded with nutrients, antioxidants, soluble fiber, and various good stuffs.

          However, most people don’t like the taste of “just salads”, so they add dressings to improve the taste.

          The problem with most commercial dressings is that they’re made with nasty ingredients like soybean oil (which are way too high in Omega-6 fatty acids — leads to inflammation) and high fructose corn syrup.

          So, how can i improve the taste of my salad while staying healthy? Well, you can always make your own dressing (you use extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, and other spices to add taste).

          *PS: Check out this recipe that taste as good as french fries

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          5. Fruit juices

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            Fruit juice is usually very high in sugar, and has very low fiber content. Those which are sold in bottles may not even have any actual fruit content: it may just be made of water, sugar, and some flavoring additives.

            Whole fruit do contain some sugar, but it is bound within the fibrous cell walls, which slows down the release of the sugar into the bloodstream. So if you love fruit, it is better to eat whole fruit rather than drinking fruit juice.

            6. Diet soft drinks

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              How many of you think that Diet Coke is healthier than normal Coke?

              This study found that people who replace sugary soda with diet soda don’t end up weighing less after six months. The explanation is probably because even though the artificial sweeteners themselves are caloric free, they may stimulate the appetite in some people, and make them eat more of other foods. ( Read more here, here, and here )

              That being said, some people can lose weight changing their normal soda to drinking diet soda, but that’s most probably because they are also changing other things as well (such as their food intake and exercise routines).

              7. Whole wheat bread

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                You might think that whole wheat bread is healthy, and to some extent that is true. It is relatively healthier as compared to refined wheat bread (the white color one).

                But you know what, the food industry is full of scam-my marketing tricks, and the main problem with most whole grain foods are that they aren’t made with actual whole grains. The grains have been processed into very fine flour that is just as easily digestible and spikes blood sugar just as fast as refined grains (no wonder they taste as fluffy as the white bread).

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                In fact, here’s a research by Harvard University that shows the comparison of Glycemic Index of whole wheat bread as compared to regular white bread (HINT: it is high as regular white bread).

                Also, many studies show that many health problems (especially for gluten-sensitive people) are related to the consumption of whole wheat. (study, study, study)

                8. “Organic” processed food

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                  Do you realize how many items in the supermarket that are labeled as “organic”?

                  When you actually look at the ingredients labels for many of these organic, “healthy” meal replacement bars, crackers, snacks, and others; then you will learn that they aren’t that much different from the non-organic equivalents.

                  Sure, they might contain organic cane sugar instead of regular sugar… but organic sugar is just as bad as regular sugar. Your liver won’t tell the difference.

                  So, it’s better to eat whole, single ingredient foods (organic if you can afford it), but avoid organic processed foods.

                  9. Trail mixes

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                    Trail mixes usually contain dried fruits, nuts, and sometimes chocolate and grains.

                    The dried fruit usually has a lot of sugar content and the nuts are loaded with fats. For this reason, trail mixes is a very energy dense snack, which can be useful when you need a lot of energy (such as when doing intense exercise).

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                    However, if you eat it frequently while maintaining a relatively sedentary lifestyle, it will surely result in weight gain.

                    10. Processed Gluten-Free Food

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                      Gluten is a protein found in many grains, including wheat, rye, and barley. It’s found in most breads, cereals, pastas, and many processed foods.

                      Gluten-free is a term that is becoming more and more popular nowadays.

                      According to a survey in 2013, around 30% of adults in the United States say that they want to cut down or be free of gluten in their diets.

                      No wonder you can easily find many gluten-free replacement products in the supermarket around the country.

                      The problem with those foods are they are usually just as bad as their gluten containing counterparts. These foods are usually made with highly refined carbohydrates, sugar, and various chemicals.

                      If you are going to eliminate gluten, you should choose foods that are naturally gluten free (such as : Quinoa and Flaxseed), instead of processed gluten-free foods.

                      Junk food with “gluten free” on the label is still junk food.

                      After all, gluten-free foods are only needed by people who are suffering from Celiac Disease (who develop an immune reaction to gluten that damages the intestine). And only about 1% of the population suffers from Celiac Disease.

                      Beware of mainstream nutritional wisdom that are not backed by science.

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                      Last Updated on July 23, 2019

                      5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

                      5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

                      In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

                      Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut, only to get back into another one.

                      How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

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                      • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
                      • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
                      • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
                      • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
                      • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
                      • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

                      When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnation, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help. Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

                      1. Realize You’re Not Alone

                      Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths. Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

                      2. Find What Inspires You

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                      Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation. What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

                      On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem. If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

                      3. Give Yourself a Break

                      When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

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                      Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave. Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future. These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

                      4. Shake up Your Routines

                      Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

                      Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’s 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

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                      When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

                      5. Start with a Small Step

                      Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

                      Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward. Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years. On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

                      More to Help You Stay Motivated

                      Here are some resources that will help you break out of your current phase:

                      Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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