October 1, 2020 | by Coach Laura

We hear this a lot when we sit down with someone and ask about their nutrition, “ I eat pretty healthy”. This is a very vague statement with lots of room for interpretations. 

Don’t get me wrong, anyone trying to change their eating habits from non nutritious foods to nutrient dense foods is winning. But the food industry has really screwed our vision of what healthy eating really is. Cheerios says they are “heart healthy”??! Really….are you really healthy with all the processed ingredients, high carbs and sugars? We have to be our own detectives when it comes to defining health. And no, that doesn’t mean turn to Google MD. There is a lot of information out there.  It should come down to simple, uncomplicated measures. Like- eat whole foods, shop the perimeter of the store and buy food without labels. Yes, there are always going to be those circumstances that call for frozen veggies or canned beans. But if you can get a majority of your foods that don’t have other ingredients or that were processed in a plant, then you will have more control over your health than the next person.

Here are a 4 myths when it comes to “eating healthy”-

Eating sugar free foods- Food companies know sweet foods sell. But they also want to hit the masses that have diabetes, or other health conditions that can’t have sugar. So they use chemically made sugar alternatives.

Diet sodas- Contrary to popular beliefs, diet sodas are NOT healthy. Not just for the crazy ingredients but also for the reason above; they use chemically made sugar alternatives. 

Let’s visit the subject of artificial sweeteners for a moment, are they good or bad for you? Let’s review some facts about these sweeteners. The FDA has approved five artificial sweeteners: saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame, and sucralose. These products change the way we taste food. The sweeteners are far more potent than table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. Even a very small amount will produce a sweet taste comparable to that of sugar, without comparable calories. Overstimulation of sugar receptors from frequent use of these hyper-intense sweeteners may limit tolerance for more complex tastes, explains Dr. Ludwig, an obesity and weight loss specialist at Harvard-affiliated Boston Children’s Hospital. That means people who routinely use artificial sweeteners may start to find less intensely sweet foods, such as fruit, less appealing and unsweet foods, such as vegetables, downright awful. 

So you think you can just give up diet soda, easy peasy.  There are studies to contradict that. A study on rats suggested that artificial sweeteners may be addictive, like sugar. Rats were exposed to cocaine, then given a choice between cocaine and saccharine, a majority of the rats chose the saccharin.

Other health concerns about these sweeteners are that they contribute to the very thing they are suppose to help prevent. Daily consumption of diet drinks was associated with 36% greater risk for metabolic syndrome and a whopping 67% increased risk for type 2 diabetes…???!!!

There has also been a link of artificial sweeteners used in diet soda linked to dementia and stroke. In one study of 3,000 adults who had filled out diet surveys and determined their incidence of stroke or dementia over a 10 year period,  it was found that compared with people who said they didn’t consume diet drinks to those that had at least one per day, suffered 3 times more strokes and were 3 times more likely to develop dementia. 

If you drink a lot of diet soda or use artificial sweeteners in your coffee or eat foods made with them, I encourage you to do some more research into them and learn more. If anything, I hope this gives you a reason to pause or maybe consume in moderation. Drinking water wouldn’t be such a bad thing, right?

Fruit juices- One might think because it is supposed to be made from fruit it’s healthy, but boxed or bottled fruit juices contain a lot of added sugars. Places like Jamba juice that sell their smoothies are high in sugars. Yeah, it’s made with fruits and veggies but drinking one of those gives you around 30-60g of sugar. That’s way more sugar than what you should have in a day. Balancing your fruits and veggies help your body digest them and use the nutrients throughout the day and won’t spike your blood sugar, so you won’t have a horrible crash a couple hours later. 

This brings up an interesting question, what is the difference between added vs natural sugars? An important distinction among sugars as they pertain to your health is whether they occur naturally in foods such as fruits, veggies and dairy or whether they are added sugars that are added to foods and beverages during manufacturing, processing or preparation. Sugary beverages are the greatest source of added sugars in the diet, followed by sweets and grains.Though both are metabolized in your body the same way, consuming natural sugars from fruits isn’t linked to negative health effects. The amount of natural sugar from the fruit is modest and has fiber and other healthful nutrients. Whereas your body does not benefit from eating added sugars. A high intake of added sugars is linked to an increased risk of weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. In short, it is best to limit all sources of added sugar to within recommended intake levels.  So how much sugar should you be eating in the day? Men should have no more than 9 tsps (36g) of added sugar per day, and women should not have more than 6 tsps (25g) per day. 

Eating a salad – This is great, right? Yes…BUT not when you add in all the extras, like croutons or a side of bread and drench it in ranch or creamy dressing. Salads are an awesome way of eating vegetables! As for the dressing, the best thing is to make it yourself. Mixing olive or avocado oil, lemon and some garlic or salt and pepper can make a quick and delicious dressing. Anytime you can make the food yourself will always be the best.

Eating healthy takes work, and it helps to have a professional by your side, to help you weed through what’s true and not true. Having a roadmap that is individualized to your goals will ensure you stay on track and stay motivated. We have amazing coaches that can help you with your nutrition and fitness. If you are not seeing the results you want or feel stuck, talk with us today! Schedule a free intro and let us help you on your health journey.

Let’s talk!

Wishing you health and happiness,

  ~ Coach Laura