Diet: Healthy Foods NOT to Buy in 2017

Check out 8 healthy foods Nutritionists wish consumers would NOT buy in 2017.

Believe it or not, there are some healthy foods that “seem” nutritional, but are actually damaging to the body. Registered nutritionist, Rhiannon Lambert shares 8 nutritional and yet crucial facts. You need to know about these supposedly healthy products and their common misconceptions.

1. Gluten-free is NOT always healthier.

You’ve probably heard this song several times: Gluten is bad for you. It’s interesting how ‘gluten-free’ seems to be the most popular way to healthy lifestyle. But this is not true. What is Gluten? Gluten is a general name for a mixture of proteins found in Wheat, Rye, Barley, and other carb-based food. It is used to help products/foods maintain their shape; you can easily find it in some unhealthy foods like biscuits, crackers, cakes, and other pastries.

Gluten actually gives bread the chewy texture – because it is literally like its name – “glue” which hold food in place. Side effects include nausea, bloating, eczema, weight loss, bone and joint pain, fatigue, flatulence, and other digestive issues. But gluten-free is not always a good choice. Why? Well, most gluten-free foods are tasteless…thus the need for high level sugar, salt, and other additives to make them easy on the taste buds.

So, just because the package says gluten-free does not mean it’s healthier. And it does NOT mean you should eat them either. “Ultimately, a Gluten-free diet won’t necessarily mean you’ve chosen a healthier route when you run the risk of losing out on essential nutrients. Becoming Gluten-Free isn’t easy either…especially because Gluten is excessive and hard to cut out. It’s everywhere…frozen veggies and even in medications. Talk to a professional like dietitians or a registered nutritionist.

2. Low fat foods are NOT healthier than full fat foods

Get ready for this….Fats are really really good for you. Nope, it’s not April fool day. For whatever reason, people tend to cut out fat in their diet. The equation is ‘if you eat fat, then you get fat.’ But that is NOT true.
The food experts are saying, “Stick with unsaturated fats.” These are the types found in healthy foods like avocados and nuts. A lot of products that reads: ‘low-fat’ like yoghurt tend to have sugar added to it. As you know, when sugar is stored in the body, it changes into fat – when it is not used.

Scientific studies on high fat diets shows that:

“A high sugar and carb consumption is directly contributing to the rise in metabolic diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes, not fats. Ensuring we eat high fat diet has been proven to protect against obesity and metabolic diseases. The low-fat diets which are rich in rapidly absorbable sugars and starches have been proven to contribute to obesity, they actually deplete the body of important micronutrients (Mozaffarian et al., 2014). In 2013, Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt launched a study that concluded that it is in fact a high fat diet, low in carbohydrates that is most effective for losing weight and lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease in overweight people.”

The key is to know the difference between the healthy and unhealthy fats. Rhiannon suggests you go Mediterranean, just as one would enjoy on holiday abroad in Italy and Spain. Lots of oily fish, avocado, nuts, full fat yogurt and dashes of butter. Most of my clients remark upon differences in their waist size, blood glucose levels and cholesterol profiles following a diet containing the correct size of healthy fats and grains. The saying ‘Eat Fat To Lose Fat’ stems from this dietary balance. You do need to eat fat itself in order for your body to turn to its fat stores for energy. Fat also makes us feel satisfied, full and doesn’t have an impact on insulin levels.


A healthy diet should contain a balance of saturated fatty acids (FA), polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs).

3. Sugar has NO nutritional value

It seems like there is sugar in almost every product now. When you see ingredients like syrups, honey, granulated sugar etc, run! A better substitute is natural sugars like the fructose you see in fruit or glucose from carbs. These ones have vitamins and mineral.

Eating too much sugar can lead to several health problems including the most feared: ‘cardiovascular disease’. That is, heart diseases and stroke. Then, you have the hidden sugars like maltodextrin and oligosaccharides. Avoid this always! Even the supposedly ‘healthy’ sugars can have damaging effect on the body. So, watch out for sugars because it has no nuritional effect on the body.

4. No Shame in Carbs
There is a widespread misconception that carbs make you fat. Somebody say, “God forbid!”. Some Nigerians have gone ahead to cut out solids: Eba, fufu, pounded yam, casava, amala, etc. As a general rule of thumb, a low carbohydrate meal is healthy but the degree to which we enforce a low-carb diet is totally dependent on the life we lead. The key is to find a balance and understand exactly what carbs to embrace and those we should avoid.

Dietitians suggest you opt for grains over refined starchy items like white pasta and bread. Did you know that grains are significantly more nutritious with tons of nutrients. For instance, Quinoa, amaranth, pearl barley, bulgar wheat and spelt are great carbs – just right for the body. They are all high in fiber, which is great for your digestive system; the nutritious carbs including oats also tend to offer slow releasing energy which keeps you feeling full for a long time.

5. Fresh is NOT always superior

I am guilty of this fact because I prefer fresh produce over frozen. I do not hesitate to buy frozen veggies but my tomatoes ‘gotta’ be fresh.

Well, according to the nutritionist, frozen produce can be superior. When you consider the quality, shelf-life, and its nutritional value, it beats fresh produce hands down.

“Paying a premium for food which you believe is fresh may sound great but often the reality is that these vegetables and fruit may have been held in storage for up to a month and then they sit in the fridge at home for days before being eaten. Over time, fresh produce deteriorates, losing some of the nutrients associated. By contrast, frozen vegetables and fruit are chilled soon after harvest and retain higher levels of vitamins and antioxidants.”

6. Vegetarian diet is Not always the best

So…this may be a shocker. It seems like everyone that I’ve met or talked to, especially among the younger crowd
are becoming a vegetarian or vegan. This is less common among Nigerians cause you know that we looovvveee our meat. Vegan or vegetarian diets are not always the healthiest. The caveat is to make sure you are eating the right foods.

What is the problem with vegan diets? You can miss out on omega-3, B12, and protein. The animal products – which vegetarians don’t eat – have great micro-nutrients, including protein. A vegan can end up with high carbs and a small portion of veggies in their diets.

vegan vegetarian

But…not to say I am bashing the diet…there are some perks. If you get the diet absolutely spot on you can really reap the benefits. Some studies suggest Vegans have substantially lower death rates than meat-eaters. Research has found every 3% increase in calories from plant protein was found to reduce risk of death by 10%. The figure rises to 12% for risk of dying from heart disease.

7. Snacking IS a smart choice

I’ve heard people say that when you snack (i.e. your mouth is never still), it’s unhealthy. The belief comes from the fear that you will eat too much. But that is far from truth. If you plan to snack constantly, stay away from processed snacks like chocolate or cake which will add no nutritional value to your body. I will just drop this topic right there.

8. Protein powders CAN be dangerous

Protein powder is one of the highly consumed supplement. But a lot of people have forgotten that an average person who gets enough calories has sufficient protein for their body to break down. So, it’s impossible for your body to lack enough protein when you take in enough calories daily.

On the other hand, if you must – perhaps you exercise daily – try organic type like Pure Blend Co and SunWarrior.
The vegan protein powder blends are most popular because they are gluten-free, dairy free, and soy-free…the perfect combo!

Per nutritionist: “What is crucial though is to eat protein within an hour or so of exercising to fuel to body. If you do work out regularly, it’s important to remember the body can only metabolize a certain amount of protein at a time so over consuming protein will unnecessary and potentially damaging to your body. Studies suggest anything over a 20-30 gram protein threshold is simply converted into glucose and burned.”

Now you know the 8 nutritional facts. Let us know what other nutritional facts that are essential or other common diet misconceptions.



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    Thank you for the article jere. I’m tired of all these rules of what to eat and what not to die. It’s something that will kill somebody. I follow one golden rule – MODERATION. Eat in moderation and exercise regularly. You should be fine when you do those.