Four Misleading Food Trends You Should Know About

Health trends play a major role within our society and have become a huge influence on our buying decisions. Take “superfoods,” for example; acai, kale, quinoa, maqui berries, etc; every year a new one emerges, and we go crazy for it. It’s not like these superfoods didn’t exist before, but as a result of successful consumer marketing, we are made to believe that we need these foods in order to be healthy. Same goes for other trends;  juice cleanses, crossfit, diet pills, etc.

While some health trends, like superfoods, are really good for us, there are many others that are misleading or just downright false. And with so many trends that now exist, it’s becoming harder and harder to decipher which health trends are truly healthy and which ones are not. 

Below are a few of these unhealthy “health” trends that you should be aware of: 

  1. Olive Oil is the Healthiest Oil. Olive oil has been highly recognized as a staple ingredient in ones cooking due to the rise in popularity of the Mediterranean diet. While there are great benefits to olive oil, such as a good balance of omega-3/omega-6, what most people don’t realize is that these benefits are only found when the oil is consumed raw. Olive oil has one of the lowest smoke points, which means that when subjected to a small amount of heat, the chemical structure of the oil begins to change and is altered from something healthy to something very toxic. So, olive oil should only ever be consumed raw and never cooked. I recommend limiting the amount of oil in ones diet altogether, but if you do want to use oil to cook with, find oils that have high heat points; avocado oil and coconut oil are among the best options, in my opinion.
  2. Fruit is Bad. Have you ever heard someone explain that they are eating healthier, and part of that included cutting out fruits to avoid sugar? Maybe you have even done this yourself? This comes from the idea that all sugar is bad sugar, no matter the source. However, this is not entirely true. Sugar from natural and whole sources (i.e. fruits and berries) are not the same as refined sugars (e.g. cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners). When you consume sugars from whole sources like fruits and berries, you also consume the healthy fiber within them. This fiber helps to slow the digestion of sugar within the body, taking less toll on your liver and preventing drastic spikes in insulin or blood sugar. Not to mention you are also getting vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients that help support a healthy body when you eat fruit! Refined sugars, on the other hand, have little to no fiber or nutrients, because they have all been stripped away in the manufacturing process. So, without fiber, the body is unable to digest the sugars more slowly, leading to stress on the kidneys that can lead to insulin resistance, diabetes, and weight gain down the road. So, the bottom line is that while you should avoid processed sugars (e.g. cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners) and products like juice, where the fibers have been removed, fruits are a healthy addition to your diet and should not be avoided! Fun tip: Eat the whole kiwi – yes, skin included. The skin is edible, and that is where the fiber is!
  3. Breakfast is the Healthiest Meal of the Day. This is still a widely believed concept, but it doesn’t apply to everyone. First, this idea encourages us to eat, even if we are not hungry. We’ve all met those people that are not big on breakfast and can get by with a cup of coffee until lunch, and this is okay! We shouldn’t force our bodies to eat, simply because society tells us we need to. Instead we should practice “mindful eating,” the practice of listening to our bodies and eating when we are hungry. The concept of mindful eating goes a little deeper than that, so I encourage you to look into it for yourself, but the point is that we should be listening to our bodies and not forcing ourselves to eat simply because of a societal timeline for meals. Second, this idea of having to eat breakfast is more of a luxury and less of a necessity. We didn’t always have the luxury of having food in the fridge or stores with pre-made items we could grab-and-go. We survived on eating when food was available to us, and then we also spent time preparing it ourselves. So, this concept of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, is not how our bodies evolved. We ate when we were hungry and if there was food available, meaning that sometimes we would have to fast before we were able to eat. The take away here is that for some breakfast might still be critical to kickstart your day, but for others it might not be needed at all, and that fasting or missing meals can be okay. Listen to your own body, and decide for yourself what works best. 
  4. Use Juice Cleanses to Detox and Lose Weight. The concept of of a juice cleanse is what I find to be misleading, not necessarily the consumption of fresh juice (which is a controversial topic that still needs more research, but we won’t get into that). The idea of juice cleansing is to help detox your body and lose weight, and is usually accompanied by the suggestion to only consume certain juices for an average of 3 days to 2 weeks. Will you lose weight? Yes. Will you feel better? It is highly likely. So, why is this on the list as an unhealthy trend, you ask? Because these practices do not encompass health, in my opinion. You will lose weight because you are not eating a lot, and you will most likely feel better because you have eliminated a lot of crap from your diet. However, and this is a strong message I want to convey, depriving your body of certain things is not a way to be healthy, even for a cleanse. Your body needs certain nutrients to thrive and function. In addition, a cleanse promotes the message of a “quick fix” when it comes to your health, and that is simply not how being healthy works. You can’t expect to do a cleanse like this every few months and automatically be healthy. A healthy lifestyle should encompass healthy practices that you follow on a daily basis. The bottom line here is that juice cleanses, and any “cleanse” really, sends the wrong message of health and deprives your body of healthy fats, fibers, and other nutrients that your body needs to thrive. 

There are many trends out there that I know are not on the list, but these are the ones I most regularly get asked about, so I hope it helps you not only think differently about these trends, but also encourages you to do your own research on trends in the future, and promote healthy changes long-term.

Even if something is healthy, please understand that there is never a cure all or stand-alone means towards achieving overall health. Like I mentioned earlier, a healthy lifestyle should encompass healthy practices that you follow on a daily basis. There is no hard and fast rule, no miracle ingredients, and no quick solutions when it comes to your health, so trends that are truly healthy should only act as a supplement to your overall healthy lifestyle. 

Stay healthy friends.

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About the author

Sommer Chaka is a certified holistic nutritionist. She believes that by consuming a whole foods plant based diet, you can prevent, cure, and even reverse some of our most deadly diseases like cancer and heart disease.

She has a passion for food and helps teach others how to create flavor-packed meals that are quick and simple. Allowing you to create a happy healthy lifestyle and reach your goals.

She is available for consultations. Contact her at (832) 414-6362.

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