Let's just admit it — getting into a healthy eating routine is pretty satisfying, especially when you've found the perfect balance between eating right, working out, and indulging a little. But, with so much "clean eating" advice floating around on the internet, it can be challenging to tell which directives are wise to follow and which ones can actually do more harm than good. If you need some guidance, you should definitely stop following these nine "clean eating" rules:
1. Adhering to a gluten-free diet if you don't have medical conditions
Within the last few years, following a gluten-free diet has become a total health trend. But unless you have celiac or Crohn's disease, there's really no need to avoid gluten. In fact, many gluten-free products actually contain more calories than their glutenous counterparts, so they don't stack up to their purported health or weight-loss benefits.
2. Cutting all carbs from your diet
Carbs are a vital part of any healthy, balanced diet — they are a significant source of fuel for your body. Those who go on low-carb diets usually think that it will help them get healthier and shed a few pounds. In actuality, extremely low carb diets often lead to deficiencies in essential nutrients, like B vitamins, folate, and fiber.
3. Only living on smoothies
Many store-bought smoothies are overloaded with sugar. For a healthy smoothie, make it at home, so you know exactly what's going into it. You should be sure to include vegetables, Greek yogurt, and coconut water to get adequate nutrition. Don't be afraid to experiment as well with avocados, beets, and carrots.
4. Staying away from fruit
Though fruit contains fructose, you'd have to eat a lot of it actually to gain weight. It's important to remember that fruit contains crucial nutrients like fiber, water, vitamins, and minerals, in addition to disease-fighting antioxidants.
5. Reaching for low-calorie foods
Low-fat and low-calorie foods won't leave you feeling satisfied or full for very long. Instead, you should reach for snacks that are whole-foods based and feature both protein and fat, such as an apple with almond butter. Protein and fat, when combined, will keep you full for longer.
6. Going vegan for weight loss purposes
Many erroneously assume that switching to a vegan diet will automatically help them lose weight. But there are tons of junk foods out there that are actually vegan — potato chips, Oreos, and Cracker Jacks. Just because you follow a vegan diet doesn't mean that you're eating healthy.
7. Swearing off egg yolks
It might be tempting only to consume egg whites, but egg yolks are super healthy. They contain protein along with essential vitamins and minerals, like choline, iron, and vitamins A and D.
8. Regularly going on detox diets
Your body rids itself of toxins through urine, feces, and sweat. Because of this, detox diets don't make a whole lot of sense. In fact, your body can become deficient in valuable nutrients, negatively impacting your metabolism. Focus on eating whole foods while cutting out processed, sugary ones.
9. Not snacking
Healthy snacks every few hours can help you stay on track and make smarter eating decisions. When you go too long without food, your blood sugar levels drop, and you might find that it's more difficult trying to control cravings.
Break the rules
When it comes to following a healthy lifestyle, avoid anything that seems too extreme. Center your diet around lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains, and you'll find that you won't need to follow any bogus "clean eating" rules.
- "15 So-Called 'Healthy' Eating Habits That Are Anything But," Self, November 7, 2016.
- "The 'Clean Eating' Rules to Follow and Break," Real Simple, June 27, 2018.