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Food Myths that May Destroy your Diet Routine

Over the years, some foods that were presumed to be healthy have been found to actually contain a lot of ingredients or components that could destroy your nutrition regimen. Sit back and read as we explore the food myths and could potentially destroy your diet routine, and without you knowing it!

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Suzanne Brume is a new writer in the Bella Naija family! Suzanne is a Nigerian health and fitness writer based in New York, who believes we’re each stuck with one body for life, so we need to treat our bodies well so we can be proud to be in them for years to come.

Over the years, some foods that were presumed to be healthy have been found to actually contain a lot of ingredients or components that could destroy your nutrition regimen.

Smoothies: Usually, when we go into a restaurant and see a smoothie on the menu, we automatically assume that it is healthy. In reality, a regular smoothie could generally contain the same amount of calories and sugar as a slice of cake. Restaurants are beginning to use syrups in place of some fresh fruits, and include a lot of sugar in the contents. Although this defeats the purpose of having a healthy snack option, most patrons are unaware and so they continue to advertise them as ‘healthy’. But not all smoothies are bad. The best way to ensure that you’re having a healthy smoothie is to ask the waiters what they use to make them. Ensure that it is only fresh fruits and low fat yoghurt, not syrups. Other options are to make your own smoothies at home (since nothing beats adding the exact ingredients you want) or have them prepare it in front of you.

Protein bars: When manufacturers advertise their protein bars, they usually don’t mention that they have an excessive amount of calories. In fact, some protein bars are just glorified candy bars. And of course, because of the sugar content in a candy bar, you’ll get the rush of energy you need to carry on with your day or exercise, but you’re essentially wrecking your nutrition program by getting your energy by simply adding more calories to your diet. But if you’re trying to build muscles, you do need additional protein outside of your daily food consumption because your protein requirements are higher than the average individual. In this case, your best option is to weed out the bad protein bars by simply reading the labels and sticking to options with simple ingredients like nuts and fruits. All that corn syrup and artificial sweeteners can get pretty confusing.

Coffee: For the average working individual, coffee is a necessary evil. Without it, our normal daily operation would be in jeopardy. And since most people don’t particularly love black coffee, we tend to trying to sweeten it up with a ton of flavoring and cream. An example of this is the whipped cream we so love to abundantly fill our coffee with. But hold it! If you are trying to monitor the amount of calories you consume in a day, filling your coffee with lots of flavoring and cream is simply adding a ton of empty calories to your day. Empty calories are calories that don’t really give you any nutritional value. The best way to control empty calories in our coffee is to simply restrict ourselves to black coffee or just add in sugar and low fat milk. Milk serves much more of a purpose than cream.

Salads: Salads are the most popular food consumed by anyone trying to restrict their caloric intake. Most people I have spoken to consider salads the ultimate diet food. The problem with salads is that barely anyone likes to eat plain greens and so we end up filling it up with other additives to give it some flavor. These additives may be filling your meal with more calories than you would have consumed if you ate a regular plate of rice. Some examples of these additives are meat, salad dressing, and bacon bits. Rather than fill your salad with these, it may be easier to eat regular food and simply control your portions, or use greens that have some flavor like spinach. And rather than fill your salad with mayonnaise, opt for other low calorie salad dressings like balsamic vinaigrette.

Diet Soda: A lot of individuals focus on their food intake when trying to maintain a healthy diet, but forget to consider their fluid intake as well. Diet soda is popularly known as a ‘healthy’ replacement for regular soda, and so people tend not to pay too much attention to what it does or does not contain. In reality, diet soda may contain only a few less calories than regular soda. Additionally, the artificial sweetener used in diet soda has been a cause for concern in recent studies because they may increase an individual’s yearning for sweet food like cakes and candy. The best alternative for regular soda is flavored water and all-natural juices.

Please leave a comment if you have questions on any more food myths or for other alternatives to the food myths listed here.

Photo Credit: www.photl.com

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Suzanne also blogs about practical health and fitness at http://eightsandweights.blogspot.com. For regular fitness tips, follow her on twitter at @eightsnweights.

Suzanne Brume is a fitness blogger and yoga enthusiast who strives to live a healthier lifestyle and helps others do the same. She blogs consistently at Eights and Weights (www.eightsandweights.com), and gives tips and demonstrations on Twitter (@eightsnweights) and Instagram (@eightsnweights). She is always open for fitness questions!

27 Comments

  1. brooks

    June 29, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    abegggggggiiiii

  2. chisom

    June 29, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    This is true. I love the fact that this article was written so that a lot of people who have been misguided would resume the right path. I have a blog dedicated also to health matters.

  3. RMG

    June 29, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    ‘ve always said it.just eat reasonable portions of anything you desire,and balance the diet,kapeesh!calorie this calorie that,too many problems involved in almost everything we eat!

  4. Randeep Khaund

    June 29, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Great article Suzanne! Chocolate or peanut butter based protein bars are also
    a big no-no. A regular Cliff bar is a great source of protein before strength
    training.

  5. THE AMAKA

    June 29, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    woah! love this.
    funny thing is I’m eating a salad right now with ranch dressing, and croûtons.
    lol

  6. abla

    June 29, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    How about beans? Heard its better to eat beans or moi moi or other proteinous food instead of rice and other carbs!!! Well, for those who want to loose weight…

  7. Suzanne Brume

    June 29, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    Thanks for your feedback!
    Abla, people say eat more beans because it’s higher in protein than rice, but a lot of people don’t know beans does contain carbs too. Carbs are pretty important for energy and overall organ health so they’re not bad. Just manage your portions is what I’d say.

  8. oju

    June 29, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    will managing portions be like sticking to 1cup of rice for instance…cause i hear there’s a 1 cup rule that restricts carbs like rice and garri to about 250calories only…

  9. Jeremy

    June 30, 2010 at 2:29 am

    Artificial sweeteners in diet sodas create a negative hormonal response in the body that increases fat storing hormone production and increases cravings for more sweets and refined carbohydrates in the time period after consuming the diet drink.

  10. Swtheart

    June 30, 2010 at 8:28 am

    She is very right about the salad there…. imagine trying to lose weight by eating salad with salad cream,lol!

  11. THE AMAKA

    June 30, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    MAN!!! Imma just stick to brown sugar from now on.
    LOL.

  12. Suzanne Brume

    June 30, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Oju, using the ‘cup’ strategy allows people to calculate how many calories they consume in food. But exactly how many cups you eat should be based on the total number of calories you want to consume that day. I like this website http://caloriecount.about.com/cc/calories-burned.php for help with how many calories your body needs per day to function properly.

  13. ifie

    July 1, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    hey guys…..please can someone recommend a good toning lotion for me?….i’ve bin using amway products for the past one yr and i just discovered that my knees,feet and hands re darker than the rest of my body….i’ld really appreciate your recommendations

  14. Nneka

    July 1, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    lol. Nice take Suzanne. I surely am an offender in the Salads department.lol. Too much honey mustard dressing and beef pieces *sign* Just to yummy to resist……I almost freaked out the first time I met someone who actually counts every single calorie she consumes everday . HOW?

    That’s just too much info for me. I bing too much on chocolate so my calorie book will not look pwetty at all.

  15. Ib

    July 1, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    We need to know about gari, pounded yam, fufu, yam porridge, ewa agoyin and the likes because thats what nigerians eat. Salad, smooties and coffees is not a regular naija diet. Someone needs to come tell us about our own food and which ones to avoid.

    Biko. It amazes to see Nigerians wailing when someone dies at 55. The age expectancy of a Nigerian is about 45 years old!. To break it down, A 45-50 year nigerian is the equivalent of a 72 year old briton. Its easy to believe when you think about our way of life i.e daily stress, diet, responsibilities, exercise, access to affordable medical care and advice.

    Its scary stuff.

  16. Hottie

    July 2, 2010 at 3:51 am

    Ib I’m behind you on this one. How many calories is a stick of suya or a calabash of fura de nono? Ah s- wethin..Salad? Who is she?lol

  17. Suzanne Brume

    July 2, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Lol… you guys a hilarious. Maybe in future articles, we can dive deeper into Nigerian food. But here are just a few points:
    Garri contains approx 330 calories per cup, one medium boiled yam contains about 400 calories. Because our Nigerian food is so starchy, portion control is very important. We need the carbs for energy, but there’s no need to stack our plates like we’re dying tomorrow. Also, with the soup we eat, to keep it healthier, we should limit the variety of meat we put in. We don’t need goat, chicken, beef, and fish in the same pot of soup.
    Thanks for the feedback guys! Keep it coming.

  18. olivia

    July 12, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    Please can i know things i should do to have a flat tummy, including food to eat too.

  19. ugo

    July 13, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    Suzanne, thanks for this.. very nice

    @olivia, i think you should avoid foods with a high glycaemic index (GI). foods with high GI’s are generally the whites like white bread, white rice, our beloved garri, etc… where you can, they say opt for browns (rice, bread, sugar), etc… eat wholegrains, and all that good stuff. you can find more on the net. and ofcourse, you can tone your tummy by sit-ups and a variety of exercises. again, there’s plenty on the web

  20. vickky

    July 15, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    @ib, you are not correct when you state that a 45-50 yr old nigerian is equivalent to a 72 yr old briton. Actually, the life expectancy is an average of ages at death. This ranges from those kids who die from diarrhoea, malaria in infancy, to those (ladies) who die from unsafe abortions and complications of childbirth. include also the males who die from road traffic accidents, robberies, police interventions and other forms of violence. In a nutshell, our life expectancy is lower because a large proportion of our population die at young ages…….usually from entirely preventable causes.

    Please do not interprete our life expectancy to mean that we should all expect to drop dead once we hit 50yrs. A lot of nigerians still live to ripe old ages. my grandad just passed on at 116yrs. I kid you not. Please dont scare people or regard old school folk as the living dead.

    Suzanne, keep up the good work.

  21. Qees

    July 16, 2010 at 10:10 am

    I hope they have started manufacturing BROWN garri o 🙁

  22. africhika

    July 19, 2010 at 11:03 am

    this article is right on! i’ve been a health nut myself since age 12. i’m 24.
    i don’t do smoothies. i make my own juice at home with spinach, apples, carrots
    and blueberries. my salad is spinach with fruits. for dressing,i mix lemon juice
    and extra virgin olive oil. i eat fish, no other meats.
    i’ve tried educating other nigerians on healthy food but
    many don’t want to listen. nice article!

  23. africhika

    July 19, 2010 at 11:06 am

    i know some people who use oatmeal to make fufu, which is an excellent
    option. instead of all the other starchy stuff like potato flakes or plantain flour
    or garri.

  24. champstar

    November 17, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    I am also a writer in the same niche “diet solutions”, i must say i found your article to be quite informative. People try to eat healthy daily but out of ignorance end up eating it the wrong way. This is A must read for everyone.

  25. Black Hat SEO

    February 24, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    black hat seo forum with a twist, man i love SEO

  26. Salvador Broadway

    April 2, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Wow ! Extraordinary job! i would like to read your post oftentimes.Its make me to clench more information. Thank You !

  27. Doris

    May 20, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    How many calories in cow foot?

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