These days, everyone seems to be trying to find food substitutes to make their diet healthier. However, did you know that not every ‘healthy’ substitute is good for you? Surprisingly, in some cases the foods that we choose as replacements can have some harmful effects.
Here are a few examples of popular healthy substitutes that can do you more harm than good and why you may want to avoid them.
According to recent studies, the artificial sweeteners contained within the diet version of many soft drinks could have an adverse effect on weight loss. This is because many artificial sweeteners stimulate the brain’s pleasure sensors more than natural sugars, leading to a craving for other sweet foods.
One of the main proteins found in wheat, rye and barley, gluten can create an allergic reaction in some people. For those suffering from celiac disease, a gluten-free diet can be essential to maintain a good quality of life and a healthy lifestyle.
However, recently many people have been turning to a gluten-free diet as a form of weight-loss. This approach is simply not effective, as many gluten-free versions of popular foods are higher in sugar, salt and calories than the originals.
For individuals who are lactose intolerant, soy milk can be a perfect way of absorbing the nutrients the body needs that would otherwise be obtained from cow’s milk.
Many people have started to use soy milk as a method of losing weight in a similar way to gluten-free products. While it may be true that soy milk can provide a healthy alternative to cow’s milk, studies have recently been carried out showing a possible link to an increase of estrogen in the male body. In addition to this, soy milk is sometimes sweetened and flavored with additives that are high in calories.
Although dried fruit is rich in fiber and vitamins, sulfates and sugar are often added as part of the preservation process. Fresh fruit is a much healthier option, and it also contains fewer calories.
The decision to go veggie is usually a personal choice driven by health or moral reasons. While it is true that a vegetarian diet can have enormous health benefits, the body does still require some of the proteins commonly found in meat to be healthy.
While the range of non-meat products available to help vegetarians to obtain these proteins has improved a lot in recent years, it can still be difficult to find them. As these proteins help us to feel full, a diet lacking them can cause us to eat far more than we would have done otherwise.
An essential part of breakfast for the health-conscious, granola can also be a perfect place for those pesky extra calories to hide. That’s because many varieties of granola contain added sugars and sweeteners. It may surprise you to learn that a large bowl can contain as many as 500 calories, putting it up there with the other high-calorie varieties of breakfast cereals that make dieters cringe.
While most of us already know that white pasta is full of carbohydrates, many people are turning to alternatives such as green spinach pasta as an alternative. However, the amount of spinach contained within it is often tiny, and the health benefits over plain white pasta are negligible. Whole-wheat pasta is a much better option.
It’s obvious that crisps aren’t very healthy things. Too much of any carbohydrate that’s fried and salted can’t be good for you. Although vegetable crisps are a much healthier alternative than potato ones, the slices of the vegetables they are made from are often so thin that they have hardly any nutritional value.
Margarine is now known to be pretty unhealthy stuff. Although many manufacturers remove the harmful trans-fats from margarine these days, it’s still best avoided where possible. Olive and coconut oil are great alternatives when it comes to cooking and frying.
Often consumed as a healthier alternative to snacks such as chocolate bars or crisps, energy bars aren’t necessarily any better. That’s because they can contain hidden sugars and sweeteners that are just as high in calories and just as addictive.