Catching up on sleep during the weekend? Avoiding eating fat? To boost energy and make “healthier” decisions these activities might seem like the right approach, but it turns out they can sabotage healthy goals. For example, many avoid eating fat because they believe it leads to heart disease and other potential health issues, but it turns out eating fat may not be bad! In fact, many people are losing weight and experiencing a lot of health benefits from being on a high fat, low carb diet. Just ask readers who have read the Body Reboot book and are on a high fat, low carb diet known as the ketogenic diet. In addition to avoiding fat, there are other habits that at worst can backfire and harm a body. Below are 7 “healthy” habits that really aren’t healthy.
As we briefly mentioned above, you shouldn’t be afraid of fat. Inc. discusses how fat has many benefits and that “low fat” snacks aren’t all that healthy. Try eating eggs, avocados, and other keto friendly foods instead!
For years fat was public health enemy number one, with doctors and nutritionists warning that your love of bacon and cheese was going to give you a heart attack. But the scientific consensus has changed radically.
“The continuation of a food policy recommending high-carbohydrate, low-fat, low-calorie intakes as ‘healthy eating' is fatally flawed. Our populations for almost 40 years have been subjected to an uncontrolled global experiment that has gone drastically wrong,” professor Iain Bloom told the Guardian.
The new recommendation is to stress less about the amount of fat you're eating and more about avoiding processed foods in favor of whole ones. Avocados and fish are packed with fat, but they're wildly healthier than chemically manipulated “low fat” snacks.
Sleeping in on the weekends
Sure, sleeping in during the weekend is great, but Woman’s Day says that’s not always a great idea. You’re better off sticking to a regular sleep schedule. Otherwise, you can feel off and not be as productive. Plus, getting proper sleep is much healthier than thinking you can catch up on a week’s worth of sleep in one weekend alone.
Guilty? You're not alone. Many indulge in this seemingly innocuous habit, or use the strategy as an attempt to catch up on a weekday sleep deficit. But it isn't doing your health any good, and may even compel you to overeat and be more exhausted during the workweek. “As luxurious as it feels to indulge in extra hours of sleep on weekends, it throws off your schedule and may disrupt your regular circadian rhythm,” cautions plant-based dietitian Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, author ofThe Vegiterranean Diet andThe Complete Idiot's Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition. “Try being consistent with sleep and wake times on all the days of the week.” For some shut-eye help, check out our favorite surefire ways to fall asleep.
Using too many artificial sweeteners
Some artificial sweeteners are okay to have, especially if you’re on a low carb, high-fat diet. However, Best Health mentions that drinking too many drinks and foods with artificial sweeteners can cause problems with your metabolism and aren’t that good for you.
A study in the August 2008 issue of Obesity found that normal-weight participants who drank more than 21 cans of diet pop containing aspartame per week had over double the risk of becoming overweight than those who used no sweeteners. Sharon Fowler, one of the study’s authors and a faculty associate in clinical epidemiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, says, “Artificial sweeteners have been associated with increased weight gain in rodents, and in two large studies, daily intake of diet sodas was linked with an increased risk of metabolic syndrome [a group of symptoms related to cardiovascular disease and diabetes].”
Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, medical director of the Bariatric Medical Institute in Ottawa, contends that none of these studies has shown a causal relationship between sweeteners and obesity. Among the theories are a psychological effect-people replace the “saved” calories with high-fat foods-and a biological effect, where sweeteners “trick” the brain so people feel less satiated and consume more calories.
Hiding from the sun
Getting too much sun can result in being sunburned, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid the sun altogether. Inc. argues that you need vitamin D to help regulate your sleep and enhance your mood.
Sunburns remain bad, and for both aesthetic and health reasons, you don't want to turn into one of those leathery orange super tanners. But getting too little sunlight (especially in the fall and winter) is actually more of an issue for most folks living in non-tropical regions than too much.
Exposure to sunlight help your body synthesize vitamin D, which can assist in the prevention of some cancers, and also helps regulate your sleep and brighten your mood. Plus, reams of research shows that even small doses of time in nature, not only gets you off your butt, but can boost concentration and help you be more productive as well.
So don't skip the sunscreen or bake on the beach for hours at noon, but don't let worries about sun damage keep you indoors all day either.
Taking a multivitamin
Multivitamins aren’t necessarily harmful, but Insider argues that they may not be that helpful. Being deficient in nutrients means you need to eat the right foods so that you aren’t. A multivitamin isn’t necessarily going to fix deficiencies.
Roughly 40% of Americans take a daily multivitamin, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unfortunately, they don't appear to making us any healthier.
A trio of studies published in 2013 found no evidence that supplements could prevent or slow down chronic conditions like heart disease and cancer among people who are well-nourished (like most Americans).
In an editorial published alongside those studies, a group of doctors also addressed multivitamins specifically, writing that there's “no substantial health benefit” to taking them.
If you think that you might be deficient in any nutrients, talk to a doctor before you buy vitamins.
Greatist also says that multiple studies have noted that vitamins may not even do anything and aren’t necessarily all that healthy to take regularly:
Multiple studies have shown that taking vitamins (in pill form) may not have any positive effect on long-term health. Researchers have surveyed the nonexistent (or even potentially harmful) ties of vitamin E and C supplements with heart disease, cancer, and cancer treatment. Plus, most people get all the vitamins they need from their food, and substituting pills for whole foods may mean missing out on the benefits from other compounds found in the natural sources.
Working out too hard
Are you working out non-stop at the gym? Woman’s Day says that may not be that great of an idea because it can put stress on your body. Not only that but if you decide to go on the ketogenic diet, you may experience the keto flu (which essentially means you’re not getting enough electrolytes and that you’re pushing yourself too hard).
Turns out, more, more, more can add up to less, less, less. “It's a big misconception that more is always better when it comes to exercising. Yes, we should all be active and doing some exercise three to fives times a week, but going hard every day [isn't the answer]. Killing yourself on the Stairmaster for an hour a day isn't going to help you lose any weight or increase your cardiovascular system. By doing this you may be stressing your body out more and cause your cortisol levels to rise and keep your body in an ‘oh crap' stage,” states fitness instructor Desirae Smith at TruFusion in Las Vegas. “You are better off doing high-intensity workouts and varying the type of exercise you do. Remember, taking a rest day will do the body good.” If you've got 15 minutes to spare, try this slim-down workout and bust a crazy-awesome sweat in less time than it takes to catch up on the day's cutest viral cat videos.
Obsessing about the scale
It’s great to get excited about losing weight, but that doesn’t mean you have to weigh yourself every day. Inc mentions that there are other benefits rather than just losing weight. Pay attention to how you feel and the inches you lose, rather than only depend on a number on the scale.
Of course being aware of your body, energy levels, and overall feeling of fitness is key to staying healthy. But that's really not the same thing as obsessing over the number that appears on your scale, Dr. Carly Stewart points out on Lifehacker. “Using the scale is not the best way to track the progress of a healthy diet and exercise,” she insists.
Why? “The scale treats both fat and muscle the same way – a pound of fat is the same as a pound of muscle. If you're strengthening your muscles during your exercise regimen, you might actually see a small amount of weight gain rather than weight loss, which is not a bad thing. A better way to track the progress of diet and exercise is to monitor how you feel and how you look,” Stewart explains.
There are a lot of healthy habits that are really healthy, and we discuss how to make better decisions in the Body Reboot book. Eating a diet that’s high in fat (yes, fat!) has many health benefits and it’s a habit worth applying. Want a free book? All you have to do is help us cover shipping and visit this page to get your free copy today!
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Discover how to activate your body's “Reboot Switch” that flips on a fat burning inferno so you can finally get healthy and achieve your weight loss goals!