Common Eating Mistakes That Can Sabotage Your Health
Developing and maintaining healthy eating habits can be challenging. Time and budget constraints, along with an overabundance of conflicting information in the media, can sabotage even the most well-intentioned plan.
The fact is, there is no single way of eating that is best for everyone, nor for one person at every stage of his or her life. With that said, here are several common eating mistakes that can have negative health effects:
- Unhealthy snacks – Choosing nutritious snacks can be like navigating a minefield. While most people are aware that chips, cookies, and candy have minimal nutritional value, they less sure about selecting healthy alternatives. The best snack options incorporate a mix of lean proteins, which break down slowly and prolong the feeling of fullness, and whole-grain carbohydrates, which provide the body with an energetic boost. Some examples include almonds, low-fat yogurt with fresh fruit, sliced lean ham with whole-grain crackers, and a glass of low-fat milk and a peanut-butter sandwich.
- Mid-morning refreshments – Because the first two meals of the day are often eaten only a few hours apart, snacking in between is usually done more out of habit than hunger. There is research to back this up; some studies show that dieters who avoid nibbling between breakfast and lunch lose more weight (approximately five percent over one year) than their snacking counterparts.
- Intense hunger – Too much time in between meals (generally four hours or more) can slow the body’s metabolism and result in a precipitous drop in blood sugar that makes the brain crave high calorie foods and can significantly increase the likelihood of overeating.
- Deprivation – Contrary to popular belief, an occasional, tiny treat won’t interfere with an otherwise healthy eating plan or diet. In fact, studies show that savoring one mini indulgence every day can actually help maintain weight loss over the long term. Some options include small portions of popcorn, dark chocolate, pita chips, or cheese and crackers.
- Natural sweeteners – While the taste and caloric value are very similar, fructose (which is found in honey and many fruits and vegetables) is completely metabolized by the liver and turns to fat much faster than glucose (which is present in all starches). Excess consumption of fructose can lead to liver disease, insulin resistance, belly fat, and obesity.
The bottom line is that healthy eating should be simple. Instead of focusing on details like calories, vitamins, macronutrients, and the like, it is more important to find and eat real, unprocessed foods. Anything that looks like it was made in a factory – instead of nature – is best avoided.
If you have questions about nutrition or other health-related topics, please feel free to contact or visit South Tampa Immediate Care. No appointments are ever necessary to see a doctor at our walk-in clinic.