Health Swaps That Aren't Actually Healthy

Image courtesy of shuggilippo.com

Image courtesy of shuggilippo.com

There are quite a few health swaps that the majority of people believe to be a healthier option…but actually aren’t.

Nowadays, there’s an answer for everything and ‘health swaps’ to make you, well, healthier. But are these health swaps really all they’re cracked up to be?

A GLUTEN-FREE DIET FOR A NORMAL DIET 

Let’s set the record straight. For people with celiac disease or some sort of gluten intolerance, they have an actual reaction to gluten (basically just a wheat, barley, or rye protein) and if they don’t get rid of it in their diets, they can have severe intestinal damage. But, like with anything, many people caught wind of this new “healthy trend” and decided to adopt a gluten-free lifestyle for themselves – even though they don’t actually have gluten intolerance. Instead, these individuals are likely looking for a way to lose weight – but that might not be the result.

Stamping a food with a “gluten-free” label doesn’t make it healthier. In fact, many packaged and pre-made gluten-free foods are even higher in calories, sugar, salt, and fat – while also being lower in fiber and iron. This defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?

If you want to steer clear of gluten, opt for naturally gluten-free foods like fruit, corn, brown rice, legumes, nuts, seeds, dairy, oatmeal, and lean proteins – not pre-packaged stuff. Just like a cookie from Whole Foods doesn’t make it any healthier, a gluten-free cookie doesn’t mean it’s magically going to help you lose weight.

E-CIGARETTES FOR CIGARETTES

The overall goal is to lower smoking rates across the globe – we know the dangers of smoking cigarettes at this point. So why not promote the use of e-cigs? Aren’t they a better option than smoking a cigarette? Surely, they must be!

E-cigarettes are little battery-powered ‘cigarettes’ that deliver users a burst of flavor, nicotine, and other chemicals – supposedly without any harmful effects, like traditional cigarettes. Sure, e-cigs have fewer contaminants and dangerous chemicals than regular cigarettes, but studies are showing that using e-cigs doesn’t seem to actually help people stop smoking regular cigarettes – exactly the point of e-cigs in the first place. To top it off, many people end up smoking both e-cigs and cigarettes – which is even worse!

DIET SODA FOR A REGULAR SODA 

Saying goodbye to sugary drinks will miraculously drop pounds and leave you consuming significantly fewer calories, there’s no doubt about that. But is diet soda the answer? Studies are pointing more and more to the answer of NO! Artificial sweeteners, like the ones rampant in diet sodas, actually make you crave real sugar even more, leading to consuming even more sweets thanks to the influx of artificial sweeteners in your body. The best bet is to stop drinking sweetened drinks and any type of soda all together. Try some carbonated water with fruit slices – your own healthy and natural “soda.”

HAND SANITIZER FOR SOAP

Most people keep a little bottle of hand sanitizer in their bag or purse, or sitting on their desk at work. So why bother with regular soap and water? Well, there’s a bit of a problem with relying only on hand sanitizer. Alcohol – which is what’s present in your little bottle of Purell – kills microbes through the process of drying them out and killing them. After a while, alcohol will dry your skin out too and rid your skin of important protective oils, as well as hinder the elasticity of your skin.

FAT-FREE FOR WHOLE-FAT DAIRY PRODUCTS

No fat…it must be better, right? Actually, not so fast. There are plenty of good fats out there that actually help you get rid of that pesky belly fat. We need just the right balance of fats in our diet to do so! Fat helps slow down your digestion and make you feel full – so if you’re eating fat-free foods, your body won’t get that signal of being full and you’re likely to eat even more than you would if you were eating full-fat foods. Plus, just like with gluten-free foods, fat-free foods tend to have other things added in there to make them taste better or seem closer in texture to their full-fat counterparts. That means more carbs, sugar, and sodium, usually.

ENERGY BARS FOR SNACKS

There are some really great protein and energy bars out there, don’t get me wrong, but the vast majority seem to be glorified candy bars with words like “organic”, “healthy”, “protein”, and “energy” scamming you. Most of these energy bars are full of sugars that will surely give you a rush at first, but will then result in the dreaded sugar-crash later on. Energy bars are also often hidden with even more sugars in the form of agave syrup, rice syrup, and high fructose corn syrup. And don’t forget all those artificial sweeteners! Opt for whole, unprocessed foods instead.