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Cami Loving, YMCA health and wellness director, saidmuffins are high in carbohydrates. She said, eating high amounts of sugar first thing in the morning can spike the body’s blood sugar levels, which will result in a mid-morning crash. Crystal Balas, YMCA certified nutritional consultant, said cut out the muffin and swap it for a fried egg and whole grain toast.
Selecting healthy foods is a top priority when maintaining a nutritious diet. However, what if some of the foods a lot of people have said are healthy, were in fact not so good after all. Cami Loving, health and wellness director and Crystal Balas, certified nutritional consultant, both of Illinois Valley YMCA in Peru, recently compiled a list of unhealthy foods and exercise regimens that people commonly mistake for being healthy. Their list is as follows: Muffins A warm, plump muffin picked from the platter may seem like a fast, nutritious choice for “on-the-go.” However, Loving said the pastry cakes are high in carbohydrates. She said, eating high amounts of sugar first thing in the morning can spike the body’s blood sugar levels, which will result in a mid-morning crash. Balas said cut out the muffin and swap it for a fried egg and whole grain toast. This option provides fewer calories, fat and carbohydrates. It also will prevent a case of the mid-morning crash. Reduced-fat or low-fat foods Reading “reduced-fat” and “low-fat” advertisements on food labels can make shoppers automatically assume it’s a healthy choice. Loving and Balas recommend staying away from these options. Loving used reduced-fat peanut butter as an example to tell why it can be unhealthy. While standard peanut butter contains a lot of fat, it is considered “healthy” fat that bodies use for energy, she said. Choosing “reduced-fat” peanut butter reduces the healthy fat that’s good for the body. “Low-fat” or “reduced-fat” foods also can be high in sugar and provide the same number of calories as standard foods. Loving and Balas suggest staying away from reduced-fat and ‘low-fat labels altogether and moderate food portions to limit calorie intake. Spot training In order to successfully spot train, a person has to start with being fit all over in order to get results, according to Loving. Spot training does not achieve long-term goals, she said. “You can’t say, ‘I want six-pack abs and I’m going to the gym and doing 5,000 crunches,’” she said. The best way to lose weight in a particular area is to lose weight all over. Once that is established, concentrate on toning a specific area. Balas said you can only firm and tone muscle, not fat. Cardio is needed to burn fat away, in order for the toned muscle to shine through. Fruit Juices Label’s that say “contains 100 percent fruit juice” may sound healthy and tempting, but in fact can be misleading. Aside from V-8 V-Fusion juice, Loving said all fruit juices are “nothing but sugar.” Most juices contain added sugar in the form of fructose, altogether making the juice’s sugar levels as high as some soft drinks. Loving suggests grabbing an apple or other fruit instead of drinking the juice. The actual fruit will provide sugars that won’t weigh down the body first thing in the morning. Balas said fruit also provides a good source of fiber and gives the satisfaction of chewing. “Apple a day is really good for you, for a lot of reasons,” she said. Granola Although it may contain nuts, oats and dried fruit, the health factor in granola is misleading. Cereal and breakfast bars made from granola contain a surprising amount of sugar and calories, according to Loving. It’s another food that can set the body up for a mid-morning crash. Balas suggested substituting granola for a handful of almonds. “You want to make sure you eat in good portions,” she said. One serving includes 20-28 almonds. Balas said almonds will keep the body feeling fuller longer. Repeating same exercise daily The biggest problem Loving sees in the gym is people working the same exercise routine everyday. “They come in and do the same five machines they do all the time, everyday,” she said. Changing up the daily routine will give the best results, she said. “It also keeps you from being bored,” said Balas. “You have to have a variety of exercises in your routine, so you don’t get so bored easily. If you get bored, you quit.” Loving added that working the same muscle groups two days in a row will deliver poor results. She recommended giving muscles at least 48 hours to rest, heal and become stronger. Multigrain bread While whole grain bread has been found to reduced the risk of heart disease and provide a good source of iron and fiber, people tend to think multigrain bread gives the same results. “People think multigrain and whole wheat phrases are good for them, but they mean nothing,” said Loving. “Multigrain could mean it’s half white flour and half wheat flour.” She said to look for labels that say “whole grain,” whether is bread, rolls or buns. “There are a lot of things out there that look brown and healthy ... but it needs to say 100 percent whole grain.” she said. Margarine or fake butter Margarine and fake butter are among many processed foods which contain little to no nutrition, according to Balas. “If the body doesn’t recognize it as food, it won’t know what to do with it,” she said. “You have to learn how to eat food the way your body is going to recognize it as food.” Balas and Loving recommend staying away from margarine and oil products like “Oleo” and “I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter.” They said “the real stuff” is the best choice. Use real butter in small moderation to control calorie intake. Protein bars Protein bars are low in fiber, full of carbohydrates and contain other unhealthy preservatives, according to Loving. She suggests tossing the bar and fixing two eggs with toast. “You’ll get enough daily protein from the meal compared to the bars,” she said. The eggs and toast will also fight hunger for a longer period of time. The last word St. Margaret’s Hospital’s dietitians Jennifer Gunness and Elizabeth Baker said to stay from fad diets altogether. Although there always seems to be someone new claiming to have lost 10-20 pounds in one month after using a fad diet, most are misleading and can be dangerous, according to Gunness and Baker. Examples of these diets include: the fast food diet, the lemonade diet, the Starbucks diet and the rice diet. Gunness said a person can lose weight on the diets, however dieters tend to gain the weight back immediately when they go off the diet. She said most of the weight lost is only water weight. “They just aren’t realistic diets to maintain,” she said. Baker suggested focusing on a diet that will be easy to maintain long term such as incorporating more fruits and vegetables, substituting sugary drinks with water and eating moderate portions. “Making these small changes will lead to an overall healthier lifestyle,” she said. Baker and Gunness suggested visiting choosemyplate.gov to find ways to improve a diet and look at foods and habits to avoid.
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