Summer means a lot of things: tanning, day parties, bikinis, vacations and a lot of food at BBQ’s, cookouts, and/or a boozy brunch. Unfortunately, a lot of these food options probably aren’t conducive to your bikini and vacation plans. Lucky for you (as opposed to my clients who go on their honeymoons never to return *ahem*), you have me. Here are some of my best food swaps for the summer so you can stick to your fitness goals but still enjoy yourself.
So instead of…
1. Ice Cream
Make banana soft serve with frozen bananas in a food processor. You also have the option to add in peanut butter if you want a nuttier taste—and I’ll even let you keep all your toppings.
2. Hot Dogs
Go for chicken or turkey dogs instead of pork or beef (it’s way leaner), and if you want the extra credit, do a naked dog and nix the bun. Go crazy on the mustard, be careful with the ketchup, and ditch the mayo completely.
The easiest thing to do is to lose one or both buns. If you’re eating out, maybe places will do a lettuce wrap instead of the buns (if you’re in a city with In-n-Out, the protein-style burgers are my jam). This way you could split a serving of fries without the carb overload.
Be a bougie betch and pick sparkling water. Throw in a slice or two of lime/lemon and you get all the fizz, with none of the sugar (even the fake one in diet sodas, they’re equally bad for you).
5. Chips And Dip
Okay, this is a rough one. Swap corn chips for bean chips for added fiber and protein, and stick to salsa and yogurt dips. Steer clear of like… those 7-layer dips (I know that you know that already sounds crazy, girl), buffalo chicken dips, artichoke dips, spinach dips, etc. I mean, you know those are full of fat. Just because they have a vegetable in the name does not mean you can eat it; their main ingredients are mayo and cream.
6. Popcorn Shrimp
Ok, so I don’t know if this is summer food to anyone, but I love me some popcorn shrimp, so I’ll just add it to this list. Popcorn shrimp would be fine if we can stop at like, five pieces, but who can really do that? Instead of this breaded diet grenade, grill up some well-seasoned shrimp and focus on making super flavorful dips for your shrimp instead, such as a spicy chili-lime dipping sauce made with lime juice, chopped peppers, salt and ground pepper.
I have never met a margarita I didn’t drink (this is not limited to summertime, btw). But here’s the thing: a margarita is a sugar bomb. So my thing is, do a super-skinny margarita. I add tequila, a lot of fresh lime juice (fresh is key) and an optional splash of agave nectar (I skip this). I cut up jalapeños into my margarita as well.
Making these healthy food swaps will slowly become second nature over time; the key is to stay consistent with your changes and make the best choices for your body and fitness journey. It’s all about balance and keeping nutrition first. So many times we focus on food and it’s either all or nothing: either we’re super strict and don’t even eat at the family BBQ or we’re going in and trying to eat off Aunt Edna’s plate. Remember that the main objective of these social gatherings is time with family and friends—it’s not really about the food. Make the most nourishing aspect of any of these events about the time with people you love. Food will always be there, this isn’t your last supper. This way, you get to eat a little and still feel hot enough to change into your bikini.
Images: Valerian KOo, Peter Secan, Louis Hansel, bradley, Sean McClintock, Anthony Espinosa, tanialee Gonzalez / Unsplash
Hey, it’s me. The girl who tries terrible fad diets and writes about them. You may remember me from the time I ate Halo Top ice cream and nothing else for a week. Or the time I accidentally set off a war in the Whole30 community. Or you don’t understand either of those references and are just here today to learn about the confusing and scientifically unfounded lifestyle that is Food Combining. Regardless, welcome.
A few weeks ago I found myself at a happy hour discussing, what else, fad diets. Usually once people hear that this is something I do willingly, they start throwing out wild suggestions that only lead me to believe that they are hoping I die in the process of attempting. May I present to you, a shortlist of diets that have been suggested to me by friends and strangers alike:
- The Potato Diet in which you eat, you guessed it, plain cooked potatoes and nothing else
- That insane Vogue diet that circulated Twitter and allows you an entire bottle of wine, three hardboiled eggs, and one steak a day (still not off the table tbh)
- The sushi and Jamba Juice diet, which is less a fad diet and more the very real eating habits of my suburban Californian high school self
- “Just like…eggs?” – a man who wasn’t even involved in the conversation but had to stop and offer his two cents
- “Vegan!!” – any Vegan in a two mile radius
But this particular happy hour was different, because a woman there offered up a viable and interesting option that I actually hadn’t heard of before: Food Combining. In its essence, Food Combining is driven by the principle that the less energy your body exerts on digestion, the better. To achieve that, the goal is to eat food in a certain order or in certain combinations to aid digestion and promote weight loss, better nutrient abruption, increased energy levels, and various other benefits.
While the origins of Food Combining are a little cloudy, like most modern wellness trends it can be traced back to the Ayurvedic medicine practices of ancient India. Shout out to the ancient Indians for providing 90% of my subject matter. I can never thank you enough for the Golden Milk.
Food Combining reemerged into public consciousness in the mid-1800s and then again later in the early 1900s, rebranded at those times as Tropology and the Hay diet, respectively. But no matter what you call it, the sentiment is the same: different foods should be combined in different ways for optimal digestion.
It became immediately clear in my initial research that scientists do not agree with the logic behind Food Combining. The theory is this: different enzymes in your intestines digest different food groups, so by eating those groups separately you are creating the most optimal digestive environment. If you were to combine those groups, the digestive process would take longer, giving the food in your stomach time to rot or ferment, which leads to bloating. It’s not the most insane thing I’ve ever heard, but that probably shouldn’t be the litmus for effective diet practices.
It turns out digestion is an incredibly complicated scientific process that can’t just be hacked by eating foods in certain orders. In fact, digestion starts in the mouth, which kind of negates the entire idea that all the food you eat is sitting wholly untouched in your gut waiting to turn you into Violet Beauregarde if those enzymes don’t get working ASAP.
All that being said, just because Food Combining’s principles may not be entirely based in scientific reason doesn’t make the diet unhealthy by nature. In fact, I found it to be helpful for kickstarting a cleanse that I’ve been trying, and failing, to get after for weeks now. At its heart, Food Combining is just a process that promotes clean eating and mindfulness, because you have to think exceptionally hard before you eat anything. It wasn’t so much that I found myself unable to eat things I wanted, just that I had to plan when I could do so effectively. In fact, I had to create an Excel sheet just so I could plan out my meals, which, tragically, is my most efficient use of Excel to date.
I would like to make it clear that even after 10 days, I am not an expert here. In fact, I think I merely scratched the surface of what I believe to be the Titanic-sized iceberg that is Food Combining. If you are someone who follows it religiously or, better yet, grasps anything beyond the basics, you’re probably going to be annoyed from here on out. My sincerest apologies.
There are many nuanced rules to this diet that, to be completely honest, I do not understand. While there are many articles about why Food Combining doesn’t actually make sense, there are very few that offer hard and stringent rules to follow. I am but a simple girl looking for a Buzzfeed list of recipes to follow, but no such thing existed, apparently. So without any official (reputable) source to go off of, I found myself cobbling together bits and pieces from various blogs, one poorly designed website, and information shared with me by the woman who turned me onto Food Combining in the first place. This, combined with a general sense of disregard for anything that would complicate my life more than necessary, led to 10 fairly regimented days of vegetable-laden salads with varying bits of protein, because previous fad diet endeavors have left me with what I now believe to be a pathological fear of ingesting carbs.
The first thing you need to understand about Food Combining is the food groups, which are broken out as follows:
- Protein – any meat (red or otherwise), dairy, or eggs
- Starches/Carbohydrates – any kind of grain, bread, legume, pasta, or starchy vegetable like potatoes, squash, and corn
- Neutral Vegetables – pretty much any vegetable that isn’t a starch
- Fresh fruit – self-explanatory perhaps, but this encompasses all fruits
There is much dissent amongst the Food Combining community about where certain foods belong—the one with the greatest effect on my daily life being avocados. After much deliberation and a little bit of self-interested research, I decided avocados were neutral. It was a controversial move, but I stand by it, because a vegetable sandwich without any kind of dairy or avocado attached to it is a sad site to behold.
From there, you have one cardinal rule that you must follow: you cannot mix protein (meat, eggs, dairy) with carbs (all the things you love). Ever. There are about 100 other limitations or regulations stemming from that, but this mantra is the foundation upon which your new life is built.
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After ample research, I landed on a few other rules that I thought gave me an authentic enough experience for the sake of this experiment. So for the past week and a half, these are the guidelines that have dictated my life:
No combining carbs/starches and proteins: This is the single phrase you will find yourself repeating ad nauseam to friends, family, and coworkers when they inevitably ask what half-cocked diet you’ve decided to take up this time.
Fruit on an empty stomach only: Fruit takes the least amount of time to digest and thus should be eaten first, lest you fall victim to bloating.
You must wait three hours between meals when switching food groups: No one offered any real logic here, so I’m going to go ahead and assume it’s because the enzymes are tired.
But if you do get hungry between meals, eat neutral vegetables: Apparently the enzymes are never too tired to digest a leafy green composed of nearly 70% water.
Drink lots of water, but not while you’re actually eating: Hydration is a pillar of most diets, but what’s wild about Food Combining is you’re not actually allowed to drink anything during meals. The idea is that doing so will dilute the enzymes and stall digestion. So guess what happens when you eat something exceptionally spicy at the beginning of a meal?? You suffer.
No nuts/legumes in the first week: Both of these groups have long digestive periods, so most followers of Food Combining recommend forgoing them during your first week as your body adapts to its new lifestyle.
Start every meal with some kind of raw vegetable/leafy green: This supposedly kickstarts the enzymes and/or wakes them up from their nap. Idk.
No added sugar: The digestive period of sugar was never mentioned, but I think this aligns more to the general idea of eating healthy than anything else.
A couple of blogs also recommended that you pair your regimen with Intermittent Fasting, something that I attempted with varying degrees of success throughout the 10 days. Sometimes you’re on top of your sh*t, and sometimes you go to a work dinner and the entrees don’t even arrive until 9:00pm. Sue me.
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Days 1 – 3
The only way I can describe the onset of this experience was overwhelming. If you were to have come across me while I was researching this diet, you’d probably have thought I was studying for a test. I had notebooks out. Word docs up. More tabs than I’m comfortable with open on my computer. I was manically highlighting things without reason. It was like finals week all over again, but without the Adderall or sense of impending doom. But once I took a step back and really thought about it, I realized that Food Combining was less a diet and more of a lifestyle. That sentence in itself makes my skin crawl, but bear with me here.
Food Combining isn’t meant to restrict what you can eat, rather it’s just there to make you think about what you’re eating. By slowing down and actually recognizing each individual ingredient, I found I was able make better decisions than if I had just ordered something at a restaurant and assumed it was all healthy. It was tedious, but….rewarding? I don’t even know who I am anymore.
Day 4 – 7
The enlightened wisdom of days 1–3 slowly waned as I realized that I hated salads without cheese. Food Combining isn’t a fan of premade dressing and highly recommends a combo of olive oil and lemon juice, which while light and refreshing, isn’t exactly packed with flavor. But then it was like God heard my cries for help and threw down a single olive branch in the form of this list that I found online of neutral cheeses.
Listen, I know this website looks like it was created on a word processor in 1998. I know that some of the info on it directly contradicts rules that I’d already established for myself above. And I know that you shouldn’t blindly trust things you read on the internet, but none of that mattered. Suddenly I could have feta on my salads and ricotta on my avocado toast, and I was a woman renewed.
Day 8 – 10
After my first week, the routine of Food Combining was so completely ingrained in me that I didn’t even realize I was still following it. I had abandoned the Excel spreadsheet long ago, and no longer eagerly counted down the seconds until noon when Intermittent Fasting allowed me my first meal. The sight of the rampant baked goods in my office didn’t send a painful jolt through my chest like they had a mere few days ago. I was drinking water without setting reminders for myself to do so. In short, I was behaving in the ways that I think a functional human being might, and it felt good.
But then, on the eve of my last night, disaster struck in the form of a fancy work dinner at a fancy Italian restaurant full of fancy pasta and fancy desserts and the social expectation that you eat those things to avoid looking like an asshole.
Food Combining is a proponent of moderation, and so I thought, why not? I’ve worked hard, I’ve been diligent, what’s the issue with one little bowl of pasta, even though I had a meat entrée on the way? What could one tiny dessert hurt, after already having combined the cursed carbs and protein? What could possibly happen to me and my pristine, temple-like body at this point?
Uh, everything could happen, it turns out. I learned this on the drive home, at which point my stomach expanded to what I can only describe as a second trimester level of bloat. I waddled into my apartment and threw myself onto my bed, immediately passing out from what I’m assuming was the over-exertion of my sad stomach enzymes. I woke the next morning to find myself still in terrible shape, and dug out the loosest possible outfit to wear to work. I continued to feel like sh*t for the rest of the day, eventually going to bed without dinner because the thought of eating anything at all made me nauseous.
While I’d been lulled into a false sense of security by the serenity of my new routine, in the end Food Combining ended up being like every other lifestyle/diet I’ve tried thus far. Sure, you feel great in the moment, but one misstep sends you on a downward spiral of shame and despair that leaves you feeling slightly betrayed and with a lingering sense of guilt.
Over the 10 days I tried Food Combining, I lost about five pounds. Over the course of a single Italian dinner, I gained two of them back. Nearly half my progress, erased by a moment of weakness. This isn’t an experience exclusive to Food Combining, but indicative of the fallout of any drastic lifestyle diet. You feel invincible during the highs, but you have to remember that there will be lows. The honest truth is that most of these regimens are not sustainable. You know what is? A healthy lifestyle of moderation and exercise. That’s it. That’s the secret.
Eat healthy. Be active. Treat yourself on occasion. Don’t rely on scientific hacks to fool your body into weight loss. Your enzymes know what they’re doing without your help, I promise. But most importantly, be kind to your body. It endures all the stupid sh*t you inflict upon it on a daily basis, the least you can do is put up with a little weight fluctuation here and there.
Have any fad diet ideas that eclipse the stunning suggestions above? Leave them in the comments section and maybe I’ll find myself feeling brave enough to try them out in the future.
Images: Giphy (2); Amy Shamblen / Unsplash; dietstartstomorrow / Instagram
If you’re reading this, then you’re probably curious about or already following the oh-so-popular Keto diet. By eating very few carbs, a moderate amount of protein, and a lot of fat, your body goes into a metabolic state of ketosis. WTF is ketosis? Basically, it’s when fat ~magically~ transforms into a form of fuel called ketones to add some pep in your step and melt off that muffin top (I paraphrase)—and people all over the world are swearing by it. Here are a few of the best keto-friendly products, snacks, and supplements that will help you burn fat and gain energy.
Bulletproof Cold Brew Coffee With Collagen Protein
You already know we had to kick off this list with bulletproof coffee. This cold brew bulletproof coffee is made with collagen protein, butter from grass-fed cows, and NO sugar. At 5 net carbs, this product is equal to two cups of coffee, so it’s the perfect thing way to kick off your morning.
ONNIT MCT Oil
Feeling crazy and want to make bulletproof coffee yourself? You can always make it on your own with guilt-free coffee, grass-fed butter, and a quality MCT oil, like holistic health pro and amazing life coach Aubrey Marcus’s ONNIT MCT Oil. It’s way more potent than regular coconut oil, with almost 13g of medium chain triglycerides (fatty acids) designed to jump start ketosis.
Perfect Keto Bars
Perfect Keto Bars have less than 3 grams of carbs and twice as much fat in them as protein (almost 20g fat compared to 10g protein), which literally makes them the *perfect keto bars*. They don’t taste like sh*t, even though there’s no added sugar or chemicals–just coconut oil, almond and cacao butter, sea salt, and a few other high-quality ingredients to give you the energy you need in the AM, or after a workout.
WrawP Coconut Wraps
Just because Keto limits your carb intake doesn’t mean your life has to suck. WrawP makes a few different flavored wraps made out of organic young coconuts and psyllium husk (the Curry flavor is my absolute fave) so you can still live a little. Cash in nine of your daily 20g carbs at breakfast by making a cheesy breakfast scramble wrap with eggs and avocado. F*ck, now I’m hungry.
BROC SPROUT 2
Veggies are sketchy territory on the Keto diet, because they’re typically high-carb. Broccoli is one of the most low-carb veggies out there, making it the perfect natural supplement for Keto athletes, gym-goers, and health nuts. BROC SPROUT 2 capsules are made from 100% broccoli sprout and help to produce Sulforaphane in the body which causes your cells to boost your immune system, brain, and physical power. Yay, broccoli!
Dastony Macadamia Nut Butter
Macadamia nuts are low in carbs (1 net gram), high in fat (21g), and super good for you. Swap out higher-carb nuts like peanuts, almonds, and pistachios for these babies as an easy, filling snack or condiment by blending them until they’re creamy and spreadable. Macadamia nuts and nut butter are definitely more expensive than your typical peanut butter so prepare to shell out a couple of bucks, but it’s worth it. Dastony makes macadamia nut butter, brazil nut butter, and other awesome nut butter flavors in 8 oz or GALLON tubs.
Love chips, but can’t eat Pringles anymore? No problem! Parm Crisps are chips made from 100% cheese. They come in Pizza, Jalapeño, Sesame, and Original flavors so you can satisfy all of your taste buds. Zero carbs and an equal mix of protein and fat, these cheesy snacks will keep you sane when you’re craving unhealthy, non-keto friendly chips.
Lily’s Sweets Dark Chocolate Chips
Lily’s Sweets chocolate is a personal favorite for like 1,000,000 reasons. It’s fair trade, non-GMO, naturally sweetened, and SO delicious. If you bake your own keto treats and want to add healthy, no-sugar-added chocolate, these are the chocolate chips you want to use in your recipe. Lily’s Sweets also makes incredible milk and dark chocolate bars for when you’re too lazy to bake and just want to sit on the couch and snack on something sweet (try the caramelized & salted milk chocolate bar…or don’t and let me have them all, please and thank you).
Images: Sara Dubler / Unsplash; Bulletproof; ONNIT; Perfect Keto; WrawP; BROC SPROUT 2; Dastony; Walmart; Lily’s Sweets
Betches may receive a portion of revenue if you click a link and purchase a product or service. The links are independently placed and do not influence editorial content
You just woke up. You’re tired. You’re starving. You don’t want to go out and buy breakfast because you’re a betch on a budget. Here are a couple of healthy breakfast ideas that are decently healthy and easy to make when you’re feeling super lazy (read: hungover) in the morning.
Got eggs in the fridge? Check. Got some produce that’s about to go bad in a couple of days that you don’t actually plan on using in the elaborate dinner you found on Pinterest and wanted to make? Check. Whip a couple of eggs, chop up veggies of your choice, mix them together in a pan, and enjoy your healthy breakfast. Top with salsa or avocado or hot sauce if you’re feeling crazy.
So this isn’t exactly something you’d make in the morning, but it takes no time to take this pre-made meal out of the fridge in the morning, so it counts, right? K. Before you go to bed at night, grab a mason jar out of the cabinet and fill it with rolled oats, milk of your choice, and other ingredients that you like. You can add honey, peanut butter, almond butter, dark chocolate chips, coconut flakes—whatever your little heart desires. Put it in the fridge to “cook” overnight and you’ve got yourself a delicious jar of overnight oats ready to eat in the morning.
Smoothies are the ultimate lazy meal hack. They’re super healthy and incredibly easy to make. Literally all you have to do is throw a bunch of ingredients from your fridge into a blender, turn it on, then drink up. Spinach, banana, apple, blueberries, ginger, carrot, cucumber, lemon—there are so many great combinations of fruits and veggies that taste great together. The possibilities are endless, but all of them will leave you feeling good, strong, and ready to kick ass (until lunch).
Yogurt & Fruit Parfait
Start off with either full-fat milk yogurt, Greek yogurt, coconut milk yogurt, or cashewgurt (yes, that’s a real thing—no personal questions, please). The choice is yours. Depending on how big your appetite is, get a bowl or a cup and alternate layers of yogurt, berries, and granola to create an Instagrammable parfait.
Avocado toast is one of my all-time favorite healthy breakfast options because it’s SO DELICIOUS and ready to eat in 5 minutes. While the bread of your preference is toasting (I prefer soft quinoa, multigrain, or gluten-free bread), mash up half of an avocado. Spread the avo once the bread is toasty. (I feel like I shouldn’t have to explain this to you.) I usually top mine with sesame seeds, hemp seeds, turmeric, lime juice, and Himalayan pink salt. You can top yours however you want. I’ll allow it.
It’s important to start your day off right with the right meal. Even if you barely have any energy to make it happen, it’s still possible. All you need are a few good ingredients and the energy to get out of bed, stand up for a few minutes to whip one of these meals together, and eat.
Over the last few years, women have become significant consumers of protein supplements. We used to think this stuff was just for dumb jocks and meathead bodybuilders that have huge pecs and little dicks, but then IG models started promoting Protein World and Women’s Best on their feed, and the whole game changed. It’s important to know the facts before putting something into your body, but it’s easy to get tricked by social media. It is a fact that adequate protein is ESSENTIAL to maintaining and building muscle mass (aka: that *ss), and these days, every girl is on the quest to get a Kar-Jenner body (sans surgery). But… do you REALLY need protein powder?
Honestly… probably not. So remove that protein powder from your Amazon cart, and buy that hot pink vibrator instead. You’ve earned it.
The USDA states that healthy protein requirements are 0.8g of protein for every two lbs, or one kilogram, of body weight. This is also the amount of protein you need to sustain or increase muscle mass. Unless you are a strict vegetarian or vegan, the typical American diet will probably put you at or above daily protein requirements. Let’s say a woman weighs 150lbs. That’s roughly 75kgs, so she needs like 75g protein a day (I’m rounding up 0.8g to 1g, like Mrs. Gardner in fifth grade used to teach me to do). For reference, an 8 oz filet of chicken breast is 70g of protein. According to The New York Times, the average American consumes roughly 100g of protein a day. If you add protein powder, you’re consuming around 30g in addition to that.
And get this…because nothing in life is fair, the body doesn’t store additional protein like it does fat. Our bodies actually get rid of excess protein through urination. So all that protein powder is going to do is increase the amount of valuable sh*t that you’re peeing out. You’re literally pissing money. Also, if you’re consuming more calories than you need, even in the form of protein, it’s just gonna get converted to fat. So that’s that on that.
With modern food technology, we literally get protein in everything. They add that it to so many foods now, you would think it’s f*cking hot sauce. Bread and noodles will have protein in them. There’s peanut butter with extra protein. It’s easy to believe we need to chug a shake after every workout just because your fave influencer is getting paid to pose with it, but unless you spend all day eating fruits and vegetables or not eating at all (in that case, please seek help!), you’re probably already getting enough protein for those booty gains.
Images: Shutterstock; Giphy
Living a healthy lifestyle during the holidays should honestly count as an Olympic sport. For many people, Thanksgiving is the beginning of the end, diet-wise. You feel like there’s basically no hope after you’ve eaten an entire bird, your body weight in stuffing, and pumpkin pie is seeping out of your pores. That’s why we had nutrition expert Max Lugavere on our Diet Starts Tomorrow podcast to give us some tips on getting through the holidays without wreaking havoc on your body. Here are some of our highlights from our chat with Lugavere, but to get all his advice, listen to our podcast linked below.
- How our food has become less nutritious overtime
- You’re more likely to be hangry and overeat when you chose to eat processed foods
- The optimal amount of protein to consume is probably double the recommended amount
- You can burn calories by eating protein
- Why rats in New York City are becoming type two diabetic
- Why Lugavere does not believe in the “five small meals a day” method
- Lugavere lives by the motto that “Your next meal is another opportunity to turn it all around.” So yeah, diet really does start tomorrow if you want it to
- How to stretch your stomach to fit more food on Thanksgiving
- Remind yourself as Lugavere does, it’s about progress, not perfection
Hear the full Diet Starts Tomorrow episode above. To connect with Max Lugavere, check out his Instagram, podcast, and best selling book.
Images: Yakynina Anastasia / Unsplash
If you’ve ever Googled anything related to your health, you’ve probably been bombarded by a billion articles claiming a variety of useless diagnoses. So, when you read one article that says that soy will kill you and another one that says it can decrease your risk of cancer, you’re probably like, “WTF?” With all these contradictory health claims, who can you believe? You’re right to be skeptical. As much as we love to waste hours scrolling through random stuff on our phones, the internet is filled with a bunch of people who think they’re experts but definitely are not. We’re talking to you, Becky—you’re not a fitness guru just because you love post-workout selfies. Also, a lot of things in science are still unknown (duh). Plus, studies can be funded by food companies and therefore can have inherent biases.
Basically what I’m trying to say is:
Good news: scientists are aware of this. In fact, they’ve even published some super helpful articles about the influence of contradictory health claims and information on consumers. Their conclusions? That there was wasn’t enough empirical evidence to clearly say anything, but people seem like they may be a little confused. No duh.
That being said, here are some of the most popular “health claims” that have totally contradictory science and therefore should be taken with a grain of salt.
Claim 1: Soy Is Bad For You
Soy is literally in everything. No, not just if you’re vegan or vegetarian, it’s literally in everything unless you, like, grow your own plants and raise your own cattle. It’s fed to most livestock, so you indirectly consume it that way, plus soy protein isolate and other processed versions are put in most protein bars, powders, and snacks.
According to this Harvard briefing (so, like, probably legit), soy is fine as long as you don’t eat too much of it. But that begs the question: how much is too much? It may improve your heart or it may cause weirdly high levels of estrogen. It may reduce the risk of breast cancer but it also may increase the risk of cancer. It also may slow down your metabolism by messing up your thyroid. SOS someone please tell me if it’s bad to be eating so much tofu.
Claim 2: Carbs Are The Devil
Often vilified, carbs have become more popular recently with the grain bowl revolution and the whole “not demonizing food” movement. On the other hand, being keto or paleo is super #trendy, both of which avoid carbs. So, should we never eat a cupcake again? Or can we go full Mean Girls and eat all the carbs to lose weight?
Seriously though, I’m really confused if gluten is going to, like, kill me or if it’s just a harmless ingredient in my breakfast cereal. Someone please LMK because the internet had no answers. Some people say carbs are great, specifically in whole-grain items. Others claim high-carb diets are terrible for you. IDK man. I just want a cookie.
Claim 3: Caffeine Will Kill You
I think I drink maybe eight cups of coffee a day (this is not an exaggeration), so I would really like someone to find out, once and for all, if this habit will kill me. Or if in fact, it’s actually great for my metabolism. According to the Mayo Clinic, more than four cups a day is not ideal. And coffee is not at all particularly beneficial to your health. If you want to know all the potential ways your coffee habit may kill you, check out this deeply terrifying collection of studies. BRB got to figure out how to cut my coffee habit. But wait—now, get confused further by checking out this list of all the benefits of drinking coffee.
Claim 4: You Should Limit Dairy Intake
When we were little, the popular idea was that kids should drink milk every day so they can have strong bones and what not. Like a billion celebrities did Got Milk ads so they could sport that iconic milk ‘stache. Now, little kids drink almond and oat milk because dairy is apparently going to kill us all. However, some recent studies have found that dairy isn’t actually that bad for us. Other doctors try to argue that it is bad for you. Are we all giving ourselves osteoporosis from calcium deficiencies? This is really starting to stress me out, NGL.
Claim 5: Red Wine Is Good For Your Heart
This seems like something that everyone just wants to be true so they can justify blacking out while watching The Bachelor ordering a glass at dinner for their heart health. Does wine *actually* benefit us? The Mayo Clinic seems to think that moderate amounts do help your heart. But Harvard health seems to think the evidence is weak. So…pick your favorite hospital? DGAF and drink a whole bottle anyway? Great plan.
Anyway, since no one knows if this stuff is true or not, go get yourself a nice fat slice of like, mocha cheesecake. Live your best life because clearly, no one knows if anything is good or bad for you. Plus like, who cares? Diets are boring. Do you think when you’re 90 you’re going to be like “damn wish I had eaten more broccoli.” No way. You will def be happy you ate that goddamn slice of cheesecake.
For more diet and health tips, listen to our podcast, Diet Starts Tomorrow!
Images: Giphy (3)
It isn’t an Illuminati secret that sugar is pretty terrible for you. Like, yeah, the occasional artisan Fair Trade organic dark chocolate bar or cranberry vodka is one thing. But if you’re filling your body with a lot of sugar between one and 18 times per day, you’re setting yourself up for a lifetime of health problems. Here are some of the sneaky things sugar is doing to your body that are like, less than desirable.
1. It’s Giving You Acne
Yes, it really is. According to Healthline, “sugary foods quickly spike blood sugar and insulin levels, causing increasing androgen secretion, oil production, and inflammation, all of which play a role in acne development.” Cool! Even neater, there were studies done in rural communities that don’t have access to Hershey’s bars and Starbursts and, guess what? The people had, like, NO ACNE in comparison to urban, high-income areas. Hmm. The more you know.
2. It’s Making You Gain Weight
Color me shocked. WebMD (my source of daily anxiety) says that people who drink sugar-sweetened beverages tend to weigh more than those who don’t. WebMD states, “One study even found that people who increased their sugar intake gained about 1.7 pounds in less than two months” which, wtf. I guess I can’t keep rewarding myself for getting through another workout with Thin Mints? Then again, correlation does not imply causation. Thanks, AP Psych, for helping me justify my sh*tty life choices.
3. It’s Making You Eat More
Fun fact: sugar actually leaves you craving more, regardless of how many Skittles you eat. According to an Australian study, refined sugar intake was associated with “an inability to realize you’re full.” I mean, the same thing happens to me after I eat a box of tacos while blackout, but who am I to argue with science? Because you aren’t eating anything your body actually NEEDS when you’re stuffing ice cream or cake into your face, your body wants to keep eating. So, in addition to making you gain weight because, like, it’s sugar, it’s also making you gain weight because you want more food.
4. It’s Giving You Wrinkles
YEP. In addition to f*cking up your skin with zits, sugar is also adding crow’s feet and folds to your face. Thanks to some v fancy reactions between sugar and protein in your body, diets high in sugar can actually cause your skin to age faster. Sugar can produce AGEs: Advanced Glycation End products (what a CONVENIENT ACRONYM). Those can damage collagen and elastin, which are legit the two things you need to keep your skin looking like it did when you were 21. Rather than looking like a slowly deflating beach ball.
5. It’s Making You A Junkie
Sad and true. Although it isn’t exactly heroin, sugar can trigger dopamine in the same way hard drugs can, making it really hard to stop eating AND leading to literal withdrawals. According to Prevention magazine, “In rat studies looking at sugar addiction, when animals binge on the sweet stuff, they experience chattering teeth, tremors, shakes, and anxiety when it’s taken away.” Wow, that’s not at all terrifying.
This is your brain on sugar:
6. It’s Making You Sad
This one is kind of shocking, considering how OUTSTANDING I feel when inhaling a Heath Bar. However, studies have linked high sugar intake to a greater risk of depression. Why? Science nerds that are busy ruining everything delicious have found that blood sugar swings and “neurotransmitter dysregulation” seem to be directly related to depression in both men and women. Guess I can’t actually fix all my probs by re-watching The Notebook four times with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.
7. It’s Making Your Back Hurt
Yah, so like, in addition to aging you prematurely with wrinkles and sadness, sugar is also making your joints hurt. Why? Sugar can cause inflammation in your body, making your elbows and knees ache. Consuming lots of sugar can up your chances of developing arthritis. So if you’re really into bending down, walking, or general movement without pain, sugar is not the answer.
So, all in all, sugar is pretty awful for you when you make it an integral part of your diet. However, a dessert here and there isn’t going to kill you or make your back explode or result in you being covered in acne head to toe. Just remember that sugar in moderation is fine, but don’t be treating yourself to cakes twice a day. K? Kisses.
Images: Unsplash/Noah Buscher; Giphy (8)