Healthy Habits Which Are Not So Healthy

There’s probably no industry packed with myths and contradictions than the nutrition and health industry. aims to bring you the latest developments from around the world so that you can avoid falling in to common myths and scams.  An article by Inc. summarizes a few practices that the latest science proves wrong:

“Avoiding fat

“The continuation of a food policy recommending high-carbohydrate, low-fat, low-calorie intakes as ‘healthy eating’ is fatally flawed. Our populations for almost 40 years have been subjected to an uncontrolled global experiment that has gone drastically wrong,” professor Iain Bloom told the Guardian.

The new recommendation is to stress less about the amount of fat you’re eating and more about avoiding processed foods in favor of whole ones. Avocados and fish are packed with fat, but they’re wildly healthier than chemically manipulated “low fat” snacks.

Eating (most) protein bars

The packages of these bars usually tout them as a wonder food. Experts say otherwise. “As convenient as these may seem, most store-bought protein bars are high in calories and sugar and filled with all sorts of weird preservatives and additives. If you really want to have your protein bar (and eat it, too), try finding one with less than 5 grams of sugar and minimal ingredients,” reports MindBodyGreen.

“Many protein bars are candy bars in disguise,” agrees Muscle and Fitness.

Washing with antibacterial soap

Washing your hands regularly is a great way to reduce your chance of catching whatever bug is going around the office. Just don’t do it with antibacterial soap.

Not only is the stuff no more effective at preventing illness than regular old suds, but it might also aid in the creation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, disrupt your hormones, and make your kids more likely to develop allergies. The evidence for all that is preliminary, so don’t panic, but given the product has no real benefits, it’s better not to risk it. You probably shouldn’t overdo it with the hand sanitizer either.

Hiding from the sun

Exposure to sunlight help your body synthesize vitamin D, which can assist in the prevention of some cancers, and also helps regulate your sleep and brighten your mood. Plus, reams of research shows that even small doses of time in nature, not only gets you off your butt, but can boost concentration and help you be more productive as well.

Drinking juices and smoothies

The marketing around juice and smoothies screams that getting your fruits and vegetables in liquid form is a super healthy alternative. Doctors aren’t convinced. “Fruit juice isn’t the same as intact fruit and it has as much sugar as many classical sugar drinks. It is also absorbed very fast, so by the time it gets to your stomach your body doesn’t know whether it’s Coca-Cola or orange juice, frankly,” Susan Jebb, a Cambridge University expert on the subject explains.

What’s a better option? Once again, the best choice is to eat food in its natural form. “If you can, always choose fresh fruit and veg [over juice]. You’re going to get fiber, more nutrients and you’re likely to have fewer calories,” recommends dietician Azmina Govindj. If you’re thirsty, just drink water.

Keeping a close eye on the scale

Of course being aware of your body, energy levels, and overall feeling of fitness is key to staying healthy. But that’s really not the same thing as obsessing over the number that appears on your scale, Dr. Carly Stewart points out on Lifehacker. “Using the scale is not the best way to track the progress of a healthy diet and exercise,” she insists.

Why? “The scale treats both fat and muscle the same way – a pound of fat is the same as a pound of muscle. If you’re strengthening your muscles during your exercise regimen, you might actually see a small amount of weight gain rather than weight loss, which is not a bad thing. A better way to track the progress of diet and exercise is to monitor how you feel and how you look,” Stewart explains.”

The full article can be read here.

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