Foods That Sound Healthy (But Aren’t)

Or our version of eat this, not that.

By: Alicia Cesaro

In a time where nut milks vie for a spot as the healthiest cold brew accessory and the newest superfood is publicized as frequently as a Kardashian-West scandal, navigating the supermarket aisles can be a bit uh, daunting. Especially when there’s catchphrases like organic, gluten-free and non-fat, lurking at every corner. Who knows which yogurt to even buy anymore? Or is yogurt even good for you? Especially after overhearing the girl in yoga glass exclaiming the virtues of her dairy-free lifestyle. All these questions and more filter through our heads on the daily—as we try (and sometimes fail) to make semi-healthy eating choices. Which is exactly why we turned to nutrition experts, Nicole Granato and Marissa Lippert to break down the “healthy” formula for us. The takeaway? Quality ingredients (that are as close to nature as possible) and proper portion sizes are key. Or as we’ve heard time and time again: everything in moderation, guys.

 

Their Healthy Eating MO

“Stay away from fat free foods and low calorie marketing claims. When we read these on labels it is just a way companies are trying to sell us. Being healthy is not about restricting yourself of fats and calories but eating the right ones, the good ones for your body. Any product that has been packaged and has had the calorie count lowered, fat taken out is modified and in my eyes it becomes artificial. It is the biggest lie we hear because instantly we believe it will keep up skinny; less bloated and make us feel better. Reality is eating foods rich in healthy fats that have not been modified and foods that do contain healthy calories will keep you fit, energized, glowing and healthy in the long term.” —Nicole Granato

“I think there are a lot of foods out there that are marketed as ‘healthy’ or ‘natural’ but that can have a very broad definition. Anything that’s got a distinct marketing term—like low-carb, low-fat, sugar-free, high protein etc.—I steer clear of. Packaged foods that are trending right now, like under the Paleo or gluten-free ‘health halo’ aren’t necessarily healthy. Just because a potato chip is gluten-free doesn’t give license to crunch down a zillion of them.” —Marissa Lippert

 

What to Look for on the Label

“My one rule is if don’t know what it is I usually don’t buy it. If you read a label of a product and do not know an ingredient and or cannot pronounce an ingredient, it’s probably safe to say you should not be eating it. I also always avoid products that have soy in them! That’s a big one for me. A fun experiment I like doing is go to the store and look at the ingredient list of packaged food. If there are more than 10 ingredients move on. This is a great way to start understanding how much additional salt and seasonings are in our food just to make it more appealing.

“We should mostly be paying attention to the quality of our food and not the new fad and phrases to sell us on something. I think these statements are the only ones worth looking for: Non GMO, Organic, Locally Sourced or Handcrafted.” —NG

“Small in size, awesome quality ingredients, fresh and seasonal. Done and done. [Avoid] packaged foods and marketing catch-phrases! Look for locally-sourced (ideally that names a farm or purveyor directly), pasture-raised, non-gmo, words that you recognize!” —ML

 

What to Avoid

“If you are drinking an iced tea make sure it has no added sugar, dyes or artificial additives. Stay away from carbonated beverages and water unless it is from a spring as it is highly acidic which when in your body creates inflammation, feeds diseases and weakens your digestive system. When choosing water stay away from water with added vitamins and minerals, but instead choose a water that is highly alkaline” —NG

“Green juices, tonics, smoothies, and other drinks like matcha lattes and coconut water, still need to be had in moderation. We don’t need a liter of either of them everyday… think small and you’ll never go wrong.” —ML

 

“I think we should mostly be paying attention to the quality of our food and not the new fad.”

 

“I always stay away from soy and what makes me sad is a lot of vegan products contain soy as it has been linked to infertility, menstrual issues and even cancer. Not only this but it contains high levels of phytic acid which inhibits the body’s ability to absorb important minerals like zinc, calcium, copper, iron and magnesium.

“Stay away from products that say natural as I have come to learn that natural is just as good as it not saying that. One thing I also always look out for is any filler or preservative! I don’t believe food should be intended to stay fresh beyond its natural shelf life. Like I mentioned before I always stay away from low calorie and low fat statements.

“Peanuts are the worst especially for our skin and weight management. Substitute with nuts like almonds, Brazilian nuts, pumpkin seeds and walnuts. Avoid vegetable stir-fry’s, instead try and steam or bake your vegetables with olive oil and a little bit of water! Soy Milk is absolutely the worst! Most people think they are doing themselves a favor but really soy has been linked to disorders and Is highly processed and usually contains GMO’s. Instead of soy, switch over to almond milk.” —NG

 

“If there are more than 10 ingredients move on.”

 

“Who doesn’t love a green juice or smoothie, or a big ol’ bowl of chia pudding or acai with loads of nuts, seeds, granola and fruit? Yes, in theory, all can have health benefits, but if the portion size and sugar content is off the charts, then your health value just went out the window. Being smart about how much you’re eating and what you’re purchasing (ingredient lists should be short and simple and the more whole fresh foods you’ve got going on, like the ones you’ll find on the perimeter of the grocery store, the better)—is your biggest secret weapon in the healthy eating game.” —ML

 

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