6 Blind Spots That Will Sabotage Your #Fitspo Healthy Eating Efforts To Zero

Healthy eating tips

The #fitspo struggle is real. Giving up your favourite foods, counting calories and even – gasp – exercising. But even worse than the struggle is the realization that all your efforts were for naught.

Whether it’s chewing on the wrong type of salad or going on a detox, there’s plenty of supposed “healthy” eating habits that are secretly sabotaging your attempts to improve your lifestyle. Here are 6 blind spots we should be on the lookout for:

1. Ordering a salad as a ‘healthy’ alternative

Packed full of leafy greens and vitamins, you’d expect this wholesome meal to be better than your average bowl of bak chor mee. But alas, even homemade salads might not be safe. A serving of standard store bought dressing can have more fat than an average cheeseburger, and while certain “light” dressings may have less calories, they’re often packed with things like sugar.

What’s more, most people don’t look at the serving size for dressings, which is usually two tablespoons. If you can only enjoy a salad by drenching it in dressing, it might not be the healthiest lunch option.

Image credit: Eatbook

So the next time you order a salad outside, opt for eateries where you can pick and choose your ingredients. When it comes to dressing, pick ones like Balsamic Vinaigrette or Greek, over Caesar and Thousand Island. Better yet, whip up easy DIY dressings at home with ingredients such as yogurt, vinegar, olive oil and honey.

2. Going on a detox or cleansing diet

Bad news. Going on a detox diet or juice cleanse for a week isn’t going to magically erase months of sinful eating.

Conversely, you’ll be depriving yourself of essential nutrients, which ends up leaving you feeling drained and lethargic. Furthermore, sustaining yourself only on fruit juice means you’ll be getting high on a whole lot of fructose – aka sugar.

On the plus side, our body actually does a pretty good job of cleansing itself, thanks to our kidneys and liver. Rather than extreme short-term diets, help your body do its job by opting for healthier options in your daily meals, such as brown rice and veggies at the cai fan stall during lunch.

3. Believing the myth that low-fat = better

Image credit: PJ’s Fitness

When you reach for the ‘low-fat’ or ‘fat-free’ versions of naturally fatty foods, like mayo or milk, you might actually be on the losing end. Fat makes up a large part of taste, so in order to compensate, low-fat goods are often stuffed with substitutes like sugar and sodium. 

The much dreaded fat is actually an essential part of the human diet. Aside from helping your cells to function, certain vitamins such as Vitamin A and Vitamin D are fat-soluble, meaning they cannot be absorbed without fat in your diet.

Image credit: JT Home Fit

Of course, it’s also important to differentiate between kinds of fat. There’s essentially three types: unsaturated, saturated, and trans-fat.

Trans-fats: Steer clear of these bad boys. They’re found in processed foods and snacks.

Saturated fats: Found mostly in animal products, these fats should only be consumed in moderate amounts – about 5-6% of your diet.

Unsaturated fats: These fall under two groups – polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Both are healthy options found in plant products.

4. Drinking caffeine to suppress your appetite

Dieting is hungry work, and a common myth known to suppress an appetite is by drinking coffee. But while a nice latte in the morning can give you a much-needed energy boost, consuming more than 400 milligrams of caffeine a day – that’s roughly four shots of espresso – can actually be dangerous.

That’s because the extra caffeine can lead to insomnia, dehydration, digestive issues, and even an increase in cortisol, a hormone responsible for weight gain. Regular overconsumption of coffee also puts you at an increased risk of heart attacks and gout.

So the next time hunger pangs hit you at work, don’t just down another dose of black liquid. Consider one of these healthy snacks instead!

5. Choosing fresh produce over frozen

Image credit: Livestrong

When we shop for greens at the supermarket, it’s instinctive to make a beeline for the racks of ‘fresh’ produce. But studies have shown that the frozen aisle could actually be a healthier alternative.

That’s because all vegetables and fruits begin producing enzymes called trypsin and chymotrypsin right after plucking. These troublemakers cause a loss of color, flavour and nutrients. Couple that with a week or two of transport from the farm to your local supermarket, and these veggies aren’t as fresh as they’re supposed to be.

Comparatively, frozen fruits and veggies are blanched in hot steam and frozen right after harvesting – a process which deactivates the food degrading enzymes at the peak of ripeness. When hitting the frozen aisle, go for veggies like carrots, leafy greens, and broccoli, which aren’t adversely affected by the blanching process.

6. Calories vs nutrients

When people overcount their calorie intake, they tend to forcibly cut down on their food intake and ignore hunger cues. Plus, your calorie count doesn’t tell you anything about the kinds of food you’re eating. Eating 200 calories of bak kwa is considerably more sinful than 400 calories of brown rice – though the numbers might say otherwise.

Image credit: Telomere Biomedical

A better way to make real progress with your diet is to balance your nutritional intake. Foods typically fall under two main umbrellas: Macro and micronutrients.

The former includes carbs, fats and protein – found in grains, meat and eggs – which should make up the bulk of your diet. Supplement this with a good dose of micronutrients – we’re talking fruits and veggies. These’ll give you that extra kick of vitamins and antioxidants for sure.

Each of our bodies are different, so to work out an effective diet plan, it’s best to consult a qualified nutritionist or dietitian!

Learn all about health science with AECC Global

People want a shortcut to a healthy lifestyle, and nutritional news is often sensationalized before it gets verified. A quick google search will tell you if there’s any substance to the latest “health hacks” appearing on your feed.

Image credit: AECC Global

If you’re truly interested in the science behind healthy eating, AECC Global can help you pick out a course in Allied Health Sciences, which allows you to pursue a career in medical professions like dietitians and nutritionists.

When it comes to healthcare, you’ll need a degree that’s approved by regulatory bodies in Singapore, so AECC Global can help you settle the administrative aspects of picking a school too.

After picking out a university, you’ll still need to make the big move over. A large majority of the staff at AECC Global used to study overseas too, so they’ll use their own experiences to help you settle in.

Moving overseas to pursue your studies can be equal parts exciting and daunting. AECC Global will have you covered throughout your journey abroad, so take that leap and kickstart your experience in your dream university.

Learn more about Allied Health courses with AECC Global here!

This post was brought to you by AECC Global.

SJ Lin

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