When it comes to what’s good or bad for us, we hear so much conflicting information. You might read in the news that a certain food or practice is healthy, but then a few years later new research finds that it’s really not. No wonder we don’t always know what’s good for us! If you’re not sure if your habits are really healthy, check out this list of so-called “healthy” habits that actually aren’t so good for you.
15 “HEALTHY” HABITS THAT ARE ACTUALLY KIND OF BAD FOR YOU
Only Eating Egg Whites
If you forgo egg yolks because you think it’s healthier, listen up. Eating the whole egg actually provides more nutritional value.
Kylie Arrindell, a wellness dietitian at Houston Methodist Hospital says:
“Egg whites contain a small amount of B vitamins but, for the most part, all of the other vitamins, minerals and antioxidants found in a whole egg are lost if we’re just eating the whites … For instance, egg yolks naturally contain vitamin D. Not many foods do – it’s part of the reason a lot of Americans are vitamin D deficient – and the more you can get a naturally-occurring source of vitamins and minerals directly from food, the better.”
Having a Smoothie for Breakfast
A fruit and greens packed smoothie has got to be healthy, right? Maybe not. The thing is, when you pulverize fruits and veggies for your morning smoothie, you’re getting rid of the fiber that helps to keep you feeling full, and a lot of the beneficial nutrients, as well.
Dr. Alka Gupta, co-director of of the Integrative Health & Wellbeing Program at New York-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine says:
“The reason I usually recommend eating whole vegetables and fruits, rather than drinking them, is that the fibrous and pulpy parts contain valuable nutrients, and also serve to fill you up … Soluble and insoluble fibers are crucial for the digestive process – they ensure that we digest and absorb nutrients and sugars slowly, avoiding a quick spike in blood sugars.”
Snacking on Yogurt Cups
Sure, yogurt is healthy – but that’s natural, unsweetened yogurt. The kind that a lot of people eat (you know, the colorful flavored stuff in those little plastic cups) isn’t so good for you.
Some flavored yogurts contain more sugar in one serving than the recommended amount for the entire day. And the ones that don’t? They’re likely made with artificial sweeteners. Some artificial sweeteners are linked to cancer and other diseases and all of them have been shown to make you crave more sweet stuff.
Instead, opt for plain yogurt (or plain Greek yogurt, which has 2x the protein as regular yogurt). I know it’s hard to say goodbye to your fruit-on-the-bottom or boston cream pie midday pick-me-up, but real yogurt can taste good, too. Dress up your bowl with fruit, nuts, chia seeds, honey, cinnamon or whatever you want.
FYI: Plain yogurt can also be used as a healthier and lower-calorie alternative to dips and dressings. Just use yogurt in place of mayonnaise or sour cream in any recipe.
Overdoing It at the Gym
If you’re desperately trying to shed a few pounds before your upcoming reunion/wedding/vacation, you might think that hitting the gym every day is the answer, but overdoing it can actually set you back.
Amy Jo Overlin, MD, a sports medicine physician at Banner Health in Phoenix, AZ says:
“Overtraining can lead to overuse injuries such as muscle strains, stress fractures or tendon injuries … Plus, when you exercise too much, you may lose your motivation or simply no longer enjoy your sports or workouts.”
Many fad diets require you to cut out entire food groups. This might be something like the Keto Diet, which asks you to cut out nearly all carbs, or the Cabbage Soup Diet, which involves eating a very limited diet, primarily made up of bowls and bowls of cabbage soup.
Super restrictive diets like these often mean you’re missing out on important nutrients. Not only that, but you’ll probably get pretty hungry at some point, which can lead to binging. And while these types of diets can help you lose several pounds in a short period, pretty much everyone who’s done them will tell you that you will gain that weight back – and then some – as soon as you go back to your normal diet. Just don’t do it – it’s so not worth it.
You can definitely lose a couple of pounds doing a juice cleanse, but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Just like those weird fad diets, juice cleanses only help you lose a little weight because they’re much lower in calories than a normal diet. And, just like fad diets, you’ll likely gain the weight back after your cleanse.
Depending on your nutritional needs and what you’re consuming, juice cleanses can also lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, blood sugar spikes and even kidney problems.
It’s true that the average American eats too many carbs, but cutting them out completely isn’t the answer. Instead, try changing the kind of carb you base your diet around.
The carbs that are better for you are called whole or complex carbs. They come from natural, whole foods like:
- Whole grain bread
Whole carbs should never be completely cut out of your diet. Foods with whole carbs have lots of fiber and other nutrients. They also help you to feel full for longer.
Simple or refined carbs, on the other hand, come from processed foods like:
- Soda, candy and syrups
- White bread
- Pastries, cookies, other sweets
- Anything made with white flour
Eating too many simple carbs can lead to obesity and metabolic diseases like diabetes.
Does making the move to whole carbs seem like a lot? Start by switching out your white bread and regular pasta for whole wheat versions.
Going All in on Cardio
Just like overtraining can be harmful, so can undertraining. Specifically, ignoring strength training and only doing cardio. While cardio is very good for you (a minimum of 150 minutes of cardio per week keeps you healthy and can even help you to live longer), skipping strength training is not. It strengthens your bones and muscles, protects your joints from injury and can help you to maintain or lose weight by increasing your metabolism.
Related: 🏋 How to Stick to Your Fitness Plan🏃♀️
Sleeping in on the Weekend
I’m sure you’ve earned sleeping in on the weekends, but it’s really not good for you. Changing your sleep schedule has a negative effect on your circadian rhythm and makes it that much harder to get up on Monday morning. It can also be bad for your heart health, according to a 2107 study, which found that women who slept two or more hours later over the weekend were “more likely to have poor cardiovascular health.” The findings suggest that “catching up” on sleep on your day off won’t protect you from the harmful effects of not getting enough sleep during the week.
Michelle Albert, M.D., the study’s senior researcher and director of the NURTURE Center at University of California, San Francisco says that it’s best to get at least seven hours of sleep each night and to go to bed and wake up at about the same time every day.
Relying Too Much on Vitamins and Supplements
Supplements can help if you’re deficient in a certain vitamin but, overall, it’s best to get your nutrients from the foods you eat. That’s because your body absorbs these natural nutrients better. Also, most supplements are unnecessary.
Beth Kitchin, PhD, RDN, an assistant professor in the department of nutrition sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham says, “For the average healthy person, you probably don’t need a multivitamin, multimineral supplement.”
Chugging Diet Soda
If you drink 5 Coke Zeros a day because, “well, it’s better than drinking 5 Cokes a day,” you might not have all the facts. I already mentioned that artificial sweeteners can actually make you crave more sugar, and that includes the stuff used in diet sodas. This is why diet soda is associated with weight gain.
Avoiding the Sun at All Costs
It’s definitely smart to protect your skin from the sun with sunscreen and proper clothing, but that doesn’t mean you should never go outside! Sunlight is our primary natural source of Vitamin D, which helps to keep our bones strong. 💪🦴
How much time do you need to spend outside each day to make sure you get enough Vitamin D? It depends on a few factors, like where you live, the time of day you go outside and how much of your skin is exposed when you do. But don’t worry if there are days when you get no sun – our fat cells can store vitamin D for months, so you’ll be good if you get enough sun other days.
Overdoing It on the Hand Sanitizer
I think the Coronavirus pandemic got us all addicted to hand sanitizer. It’s become such a normal, everyday part of life. Hand sanitizer is great to carry with you when you leave home. If you can’t access soap and water to clean your hands, it’s the next best thing. But if you’ve gotten in the habit of using it all day, every day, you might want to rethink that.
Overuse can cause dry and cracked skin. Not only is that unpleasant, but dry skin can actually make you more susceptible to germs. And because it kills both bad and good bacteria, sanitizer should be used sparingly and only when really needed.
Cutting Out a Food Group Because You Think You Might Have a Sensitivity
If you’ve decided to give up gluten, dairy or another food group, it’s probably because you think you might have a sensitivity to it. It’s understandable to want to avoid unpleasant side effects, but you shouldn’t cut out entire food groups unless you’ve actually been diagnosed with a sensitivity or intolerance. You might miss out on important nutrients. Not only that, but if you eliminate them now, you won’t get a clear result when you do get tested for an intolerance.
Drinking Too Much Green Tea
While green tea is better for you than some other beverages, it still has caffeine in it. That means that drinking it to excess can cause jitteriness, anxiety or insomnia. Green tea also contains catechins, a compound that may reduce your ability to absorb iron from foods. Consuming catechins in large quantities can even lead to iron deficiency anemia, so drinking green tea all day can be detrimental for anyone who’s at risk for iron deficiency. Green tea also contains oxalates, which can contribute to kidney stones if consumed in high amounts.
HOW WE FORM HABITS – BOTH GOOD AND BAD
Whether they’re bad or good, all habits are formed the same way – through repetition. A habit is something you’ve been doing so long that it can be hard to change. Once you’ve picked up a habit, it’s second nature to you. It might even be unconscious.
Dr. Sanam Hafeez, an NYC clinical psychologist and neuropsychologist says:
“Any habit we develop is because our brain is designed to pick up on things that reward us and punish us.”
When your brain recognizes a pattern, such as a connection between action and satisfaction, it saves that information in an area of the brain called the basal ganglia. This might be why habits are so hard to break.
But they’re not impossible to break. The key is using neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to change over time – to your advantage. Yes, you can actively change your brain, and the way you think and feel along with it. This is how mental health therapies like CBT and ACT work – and how you can pick up new (hopefully better) habits.
BUILD NEW HABITS WITH A SAGE BLOSSOM MASSAGE MEMBERSHIP
So, habits, whether they’re good or bad for us, are actually pretty easy to build, if you stay committed for just a few weeks. If you’re ready to build some new, healthier habits, why not start with a Sage Blossom Massage membership?
Massage isn’t a luxury – it’s an integral part of a well-rounded wellness routine. Regular massages can help with common conditions like anxiety, depression, headaches, insomnia, injuries, nerve pain and more.
Ready to commit to building better habits? Join today.
This blog post and all content and media on www.sageblossommassage.com is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.