Foods that don’t live up to their reputation: what to avoid and what to keep

Nutrition is sometimes rightfully regarded as the hardest part of bodybuilding and fitness and general. When you think of it, it’s true. Training takes only 1-2 hours of your day, but proper nutrition needs to be kept throughout the entire day, except when you’re sleeping of course.

There’s food preparation, calorie counting, lots of formulas to predict your perfect macro-nutrient ratio and a constant need for self-restraint. Even if you’re one of those people that love to cook, this process of being constantly on point with your diet can become really tiresome and tedious.

If only we could speed up technology a few decades and have some kind of a device which could monitor our metabolic rate and blood glucose in real-time and alert us about when we need to eat based on our next scheduled workout session and current vitals. This technology is sure to come someday, but in the meantime, we will still need to make careful calculations and lots of times informed guesses about what our body needs.

This is certainly not easy to do with the diet trends that pop up every day, new nutritional supplements and personal trainers who are trying to sell you their own version of what you need to eat and how to train. Making the distinction between real science and the pseudoscience can be sometimes very exhausting. In our modern busy lives, no one has the time to read all the latest medical studies and prepare a week’s worth of steak, rice, and broccoli.

So, in order to save you some time and energy, we have compiled a list of the biggest offenders on the “pseudo-healthy” foods. The snacks you always thought were healthy might be the main cause for that layer of fat that’s still covering your six-pack, and the foods that you’ve so diligently avoided might not be that bad for you after all.


Purging the kitchen: “Healthy” foods to avoid

We start off with the foods which conventional knowledge deems as okay, even healthy. If we take a look back over the last fifty years, we would find that it was very often profitable for companies to market these foods as a diet food, or to be regarded as healthy when placed alongside all the other, sugar-filled foods being introduced into grocery stores. Here are the biggest offenders:

  • Yogurt is widely regarded as one of the best breakfast foods. The truth is that plain, low-fat Greek yogurt is not that bad for you, however, most of what’s available in stores are sugar-filled yogurt with some type of fruit, either in the form of chunks or resting on the bottom. The aroma used adds a lot of sugar, and every time there’s a piece of fruit at the bottom of the cup, it feels more like eating jam by the spoonful.
  • Even though juices can be incredibly delicious, they are also a great way to consume some empty calories from all the sugar in it. The majority of juices deceive the buyer the same way yogurt does – because there might be some tiny chunks of real fruit in it, then it must be healthy, the logic goes. However, juice is all the sugary part of the fruit without any of the nutrients, helpful fiber or the carbohydrates. If you plan to fast or lose fat, avoid juice and look for bone broth.
  • Granola is still popular because of its crunchy, health-conscious vibe around it. But the reality is that granola was originally developed as a high-calorie, lightweight snack that could be carried by hikers and backpackers. Modern versions of granola are filled with sweeteners and its nutrition profile is much more similar to a dessert than the high-fiber snack it’s advertised as.
  • This is more of a general advice than suggesting that you avoid a certain food. The advice is: be cautious of anything trendy. This may be hard to discern at times, but if something pops out and suddenly becomes wildly popular, being touted as a super-food, or related to a special diet, it’s most probably because someone is making huge money off it. In the last decade, chia seeds, acai berries, and cauliflower pizza have all had their turn. Each of these “superfoods” is good when consumed in moderation, but they aren’t an easy fix for your diet.

At first, it may seem that breakfast and morning snack are an easy target, but if you compare them to lunch and dinner, then it’s more likely that you’ll make mistakes in your morning nutrition. Even though most things are way better than sugary cereal or pop tarts, avoiding the processed foods is not the only way to creating a balanced, nutrient-rich breakfast. If you don’t know what to eat in the morning, try omelets, egg bakes, breakfast wraps or simply yogurt with a piece of fresh fruit.

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