8 "Healthy" Foods We Avoid and Why
We aren't making this stuff up. We have watched hundreds of men and women lose thousands of pounds. We see every meal they eat and how it affects the scale every day. Doing this for four years has given us a unique perspective on how some seemingly "healthy" foods can impact how clients feel, and how their bodies respond.
When working with clients often they will ask why a food they perceive as "healthy" is not recommended or only in moderation. Here are a few of the common ones that surprise them-
Hummus- When chickpeas and other legumes are introduced in phase 3, ADAPT, many clients are surprised not to see hummus on the list. This is because it's a food many clients have difficulty moderating. The serving size is 2 tbsp and most clients can easily polish off half a tub.
Peanut Butter-First of all, peanuts are not nuts, they are legumes. That said, even when we do introduce legumes peanuts are not one of our recommended ones, nor is peanut butter.
Peanuts are grown underground and highly prone to mold and fungus. Peanuts are also high in carcinogenic compounds called aflatoxins, which are produced by the Aspergillus fungus. These Aflatoxins have been linked to liver cancer and developmental issues. They're also one of the most heavily sprayed crops worldwide.
Peanuts are also highly inflammatory as they are high in Omega 6 fats but low in Omega 3 fatty acids; When they aren't balanced in a 3:1 ratio they trigger inflammation in the body.
Dried fruit- especially dates or dried cranberries Dried fruit has all the water removed and thus the sugar becomes highly concentrated. Yes, it is "natural" but 2 medjool dates contain 32g of sugar- more than 3 Krispy Kreme glazed donuts. Also, without the water content it becomes VERY easy to overdo- you'd never eat three mangoes in a sitting but it's easy to eat a whole bag of dried mango! Dried cranberries seem innocuous as a salad topper, but they are soaked in sugar and juice to make the normally tart berries sweeter.
Juice/Green Juice. We always advise against juices, even at goal. Juicing fruits and veggies strips them of all their fiber, making them a concentrated sugar drink. Eating whole fruit is always preferable and better for stable blood sugar.
Smoothie Bars- We love a homemade smoothie using our recipes, but most smoothie bars go way overboard. Typically they use a full banana, two heaping tablespoons of almond/peanut butter and protein powder. It's a sugar, fat and calorie bomb and way too dense for one meal.
Kombucha and Coconut Water- These "healthy" drinks are also sugar bombs! Kombucha often has 9-16g per bottle, and coconut water can have over 10g per bottle. We can think of more fun ways to have sugar than that!
Low Fat Yogurt/Cheese- We avoid all cow's milk dairy as it causes an inflammatory response in the body. Cow's milk contains Alpha S1 casein, which most people have difficulty digesting, causing gut health imbalance and inflammation. Beyond that, the "low fat" variety is typically loaded with artificial thickeners and stabilizers to mimic the flavor and consistency of fat.
Keto Bars, Energy Balls. Our basic rule is, if your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize it as food, you shouldn't be eating it. Often these products are loaded with fake ingredients. Even "clean" bars like RX Bars are loaded with natural sugars usually in the form of dates or dried fruit.
Products like this are also usually behaviorally a challenge- clients reach for them instead of a meal, or worse, in addition to one. Americans tend to rely heavily on convenience foods, and we really want you to stop reaching for packages, and learn to eat more real, fresh foods.
Granola While we don't count calories or macros, when they are at an extreme we do pay attention. Gluten-free paleo granola is "clean" but a 1/2 cup has 300 calories and 24 grams of fat- and most people can't stop at a 1/2 cup!