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Healthy eating isn’t all about veggies. Shutterstock
Eating healthy doesn't mean you're restricted to only vegetables.
It's better to eat a well-balanced diet and enjoy everything you like in moderation.
Fruit juices are still packed with calories and not all low-fat foods are necessarily the healthier option, so it's important to be mindful of nutritional intake when eating clean.
With one-third of the world population now being overweight or obese, it is obvious that we have either not cared enough, or not been well-informed enough about how and what we should eat to stay healthy.
There are lots of facts and legends around the idea of healthy eating, but in the scope of this article, let's explore and debulk the seven most common myths that have been misleading many of us.
1. Healthy eating equals boring veggies
Try Googling "healthy eating" and what you'll see are photos of veggies all over the place, which can be depressing to many. Good news is while we all should definitely eat more vegetables, a healthy diet doesn't restrict you to only fresh organic spinach and bell peppers.
It is, in reality, far from boring. A balanced diet instead typically includes a wide range of foods in order to provide all the nutrients you need. You can still enjoy a sweet slice of chocolate cake every now and then, eat red meat, hamburgers, pizzas, cheese, and drink that Starbucks cappuccino once in a while.
Variety is welcomed. The keys are rather in moderation, nutrition, and a balance of calories in - calories out.
2. Healthy eating is expensive
There is some kernel of truth in this: a wholesome meal oftentimes costs more than a fast food meal. In fact, a majority of those attempting to cook healthy foods by themselves came to the epiphany that the numbers do not look so much better on the budget book in the end, especially within the first month or two.
It's simply hard to overlook the cost rise, but when you think about the nutrient per dollar , healthy eating is actually a lot cheaper.
The costs can, plus, be even lower if you invest some effort on planning your own meals and do grocery shopping in bulk. This sounds harder and more time consuming than it actually is, but most people get the hang of it after a while.
It may sound cliche, but if you think about the improved quality of life day in day out and the money you potentially save on medical bills, you would see healthy eating as the very best investment you can make in life.
3. Carbs are bad for you
There are dozens of "healthy diets" out there, and a bunch of them have the same requirement: to cut as much carbs out of your meals as possible.
It is important to understand, though, that not all carbs are created the same. Simple carbs like those from sugar, corn syrup and fruit juice concentrates are typically released very quickly into the bloodstream, causing a strike in blood sugar level and are thus better avoided.
Complex carbs from veggies and legumes, meanwhile, are broken down in a more stable manner, and give you sustained energy. Your body does need them to function properly. Without carbs, there wouldn't be enough glucose - the sugar that fuels our brains and all metabolic activities.
That is why energy deprived from carbs should take up to a half of your calorie intake. If you're on a 2000 calorie diet, for example, you will need about 200 to 300 grams of carbs every day.
Trying to lose weight? Keeping 50 to 150 grams of the healthy carbs in the diet is recommended. After all, scientists have recently changed their minds and are suggesting it's only fat, not carbs, that causes fat storage, at least in mice.
4. Drinking fresh juices helps you burn fat
It is a common belief that fruit and vegetable juices can aid with your weight loss by actively burning the fat.
And that's not a total myth. Some green juices are known to be low in calorie and rich in certain antioxidants that can help accelerate your metabolism and thus are associated with fat burning.
The problem is most of us are not so familiar with green juices. Fruit juices, the preferred type for their tarty and sweet flavor, meanwhile, are loaded with carbs and calories. For instance, one single serving of pineapple juice gives you 70 calories, without the added benefits of fiber like in the whole fruits to slow the sugar down.
So, if you're planning to drink more fruit juices without cutting down on any other foods, you may actually be set up for gaining instead of shedding pounds.
That said, can juices still be a part of a healthy diet? Totally yes. Don't ditch your beloved juicer just yet. Fresh juices are, as we all know, a great source of vitamins and antioxidants. Just keep it in mind to make green juices the base, and only add fruits that are low in carbs (berries, for example).
5. Low-fat means healthy
It is true that fat contains more calorie per gram than any other nutrient, and if weight loss and cardiovascular health are of your concern, some caution on fat consumption is always a good idea.
Similar to carbs, however, not all fats are created the same. There are "bad" fats that are associated with higher risks of heart diseases and strokes, and then there are "good" fats that are anti-inflammatory and help reduce cardiovascular problems. You need a good amount of those healthy fatty acids to regulate your hormones, support your muscles, feed the brain, and protect your bones.
Apparently, getting rid of the bad fats and increasing consumption of good fats is the way to go.
Now, the problem with foods labelled low-fat is that you don't always know what type of fats are reduced. Besides, to make up for the taste, low-fat products are usually made with more sugar, and you may end up with just about the same amount of calories. Which doesn't necessarily make them unhealthy, but that doesn't make them any healthier than the same foods with a normal amount of fat either.
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