Ingredients You Should Never Use – But You Probably Are!
With all of the conflicting nutrition and diet advice out there, it can definitely be confusing when it comes to eating right and preparing healthy meals. A good starting point is to understand which ingredients to avoid using and going from there!
Read below the top ingredients you should never use:
The word “vegetable” might make you think these oils are healthy, but they are actually highly processed and devoid of much nutritional value. These oils are also high in omega-6 fatty acids, which are pro-inflammatory and we already tend to get enough omega-6s in our diet as it is. Vegetable oils to avoid include corn and soybean oil.
Use this instead: Coconut oil, avocado oil, hempseed oil, and of course olive oil are all great oils.
Fake butter like margarine are highly processed and also pro-inflammatory, plus some brands contain trans-fats which are the worst fats for your heart and your overall health.
Use this instead: The real stuff – grass-fed butter.
Artificial sweeteners are highly processed and lack any sort of any nutritional value. They may even make you crave more sugar and trigger you to eat more in the end. Plus some artificial sweeteners have been linked to stomach upset and gastro-intestinal issues such as bloating and diarrhea – yikes!
Use this instead: Real whole fruits, puree if need be.
Ever think about why flour is white? Because it’s bleached! This means that not only are you using a highly processed ingredient devoid of any nutritional value, but also adding potentially harmful chemicals to your meals as well.
Use this instead: Some of the best alternatives include coconut flour and almond flour which are also high in fiber.
Be weary of any food that is fat-free or reduced in fat because that means something is usually added in, most commonly sugar. Not only is sugar often added into fat-free dairy products, but the lack of fat makes the meal less satisfying and can make you eat more later.
Use this instead: Full-fat dairy – you’ll end up using less because it is much more flavorful and satisfying!
Processed nut butter
The only two ingredients that a jar of nut butter should contain should be nuts and salt, and maybe some sort of oil. Steer clear of nut butters that have sugar, salt, or any other ingredient listed on the label. Another giveaway that the nut butter is not healthy is if you don’t have to stir it first or refrigerate.
Use this instead: Natural nut butter that you have to stir or even better if you can grind it yourself.
Syrups are highly processed and typically contain artificial flavors, artificial coloring, high-fructose corn syrup, and have a ton of added sugar.
Use this instead: Use 100% maple syrup which is higher in flavor plus actually has some vitamins and minerals in it.
Powder based dip
Dip made from powder and water is probably one of the most processed foods you can eat. You can bet this powder is full of artificial flavorings, artificial coloring, artificial everything! All of which means highly inflammatory and devoid of any nutritional value.
Use this instead: Anything is better than this, but some easy dips include making guacamole or hummus.
Ok, you probably suspected this one was coming 😉 Pure white sugar is a terrible ingredient to use for many reasons including how it is pro-inflammatory and is a major player for most chronic diseases including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease – just to name a few.
Use this instead: Go for pureed fruits as an alternative, or at the very least use half the amount of sugar the recipe calls for.
The above are some of the most common unhealthy ingredients we should avoid using when cooking and baking meals. Try using natural alternatives, your body will thank you!
About the author: Sarah-Kate Rems is an Ivy League trained Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner licensed in California with an expertise in women’s health and preventative healthcare. She considers nutrition and exercise to be the basis of well-being and is a strong advocate for daily physical activity and maintaining a healthy diet. Sarah-Kate is also a co-founder of The Mindful Tech Lab.
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