In this year's episode of "New Year, New Me", there are tons of people wanting to achieve a healthier lifestyle. Of course, aside from lifting weights and spending hours on the treadmill, you should also watch your diet closely. But it's not as easy as you think. There are a number of foods out there that may seem healthy, but in reality, they are just filled with as much sugar and as much empty carbs as a pack of chips. If you want to know which food items nutritionists want you to toss, read on:
Smoothies are sneaky. They are deceptively high in calories and they aren't necessarily filling - they would just cause you to consume more in the long run.
According to Jen Flachbart, M.S., R.D.N, if you are making smoothies at home, "watch out for the ingredients. Some smoothies can end up having over 400 calories while sneaking in a lot of added sugar—even if that sugar is in the form of honey, agave, or maple syrup, it still counts as added sugar!"
Flavored Instant Oatmeal
Flavored instant oatmeal can be a convenient breakfast because it's easy to make, but if you look at the ingredients list, sugar is the second ingredient listed after oats. A packet of instant oatmeal may equate to about 3 teaspoons of sugar. Kara Lydon, R.D., L.D.N., R.Y.T., author of
Nourish Your Namaste and The Foodie Dietitian Blog says that the better way is to "ditch the instant oatmeal and make your own overnight oats for a quick, healthy breakfast. For ultimate control over your added sugar intake, sweeten it with real fruit or a teaspoon of maple syrup."
Meryl Pritchard, founder of Kore Kitchen,
believes that foods should be eaten in their whole form, just as they would be found in nature. Foods like cereal and bread go against that philosophy as they go through a process before they're ready for consumption. “Cereal is made using a high-pressure extruder and is so highly processed that it requires a lot of energy for your body to break it down,” Pritchard says. “And sugary cereal is just an absolute no-no; sugar and flour are the most damaging to your colon. Most bread contains gluten, and as we all know, we don’t produce the enzyme that breaks down the gluten protein found in wheat. So it’s difficult for all of us to digest, whether we show obvious signs of it or not. Bread and cereals are also very dehydrating for your body and can cause constipation. This makes you feel tired and slows you down during the day.”
Hate it to break it to you, but yogurt is another food item that contains a lot of added sugar. An average flavored yogurt has around 30 grams or more. Pritchard
suggests finding a sugar-free alternative instead. “We make our own coconut yogurt at Kore Kitchen, which is dairy free, and coconut contains natural sugar, so it doesn't need any added sugar—especially when we pair it with fresh fruits and superfoods!", she added.
Most people think that all sushi is healthy because it's made with fish and they assume rice is low-fat.
According to Lauren Harris-Pincus, M.S., R.D.N., owner of Nutrition Starring You, "there are dramatic differences in calories among the variety of menu items. A shrimp tempura roll can pack over 500 calories, nearly as many calories as a Big Mac." If you still want to keep consuming sushi but want a healthier option, she suggests asking for brown rice and choosing rolls with more fish and veggies and fewer crunchies and sauces.