When you want to start eating healthier or are interested in choosing a diet plan, things can quickly get confusing. The internet is full of “eat this, not that” articles backed up by professionals who argue that their diet or definition of “healthy” is correct. Paleo dieters swear by the benefits of eating higher quantities of animal protein, while vegetarians argue that a meat-free diet leads to a healthier lifestyle and reduces the risk of chronic illness.
Nutritionists, dietitians, health coaches, and fitness gurus all have their own definition of healthy, and research on the health, weight loss, and fitness industries is varied enough to back up almost every claim. Differing opinions, contradictory research, and the latest diet fads make it almost impossible for an average person to tell what’s actually healthy and what’s just part of the latest diet craze. To start, turn to the basics by learning about those diet foods that most people perceive as healthy, but aren’t.
1. Protein bars
You probably think you’re pretty smart when you pull out an energy bar rather than indulge in morning donuts at the office. Before you get too smug, keep in mind that many protein bars have a nutritional profile similar to that of a candy bar. Seriously. While their packaging makes them look healthy with lofty claims about whole-grain content, organic certifications, and high levels of pure protein, many protein bars are packed sugar. Some bars have an ingredient list of over 50 ingredients and upwards of 30 grams of sugar, which is more than the sugar content in some candy bars. Read the label and choose bars that have low sugar content and minimal ingredients.