Health and hygiene trends come and go, but one thing remains the same: balance is the key to a good life. Fine tune yours by kicking these trendy, so-called health habits to the curb as soon as possible.
You always choose low fat
Remember when the low fat craze picked up steam in the ’90s and we all fell into a frenzy, gobbling processed carbohydrate treats like they could do no harm? And then we all got fatter, a phenomenon named “the Snackwell effect” after the popular line of low fat cookies. Foods that are naturally low-fat — think veggies, fruits, beans, lean meats — are good for you. But so are certain fats, and if you’re prone to scarfing processed, high calorie, sugary, low fat treats, your heart and hips would be happier if you ate a fatty slice of fibrous avocado or a handful of antioxidant-rich nuts, instead.
You always order salad
Once we realized low-fat diets weren’t working, the pendulum swung and carbohydrates became the new category to avoid. While it’s true that refined white carbohydrates aren’t great for anyone, we still need starchy carbs to thrive. As long as it’s not drowned in dressing, that gorgeous tuna-topped salad you eat every day for lunch is packed with goodness, but you’re better off enjoying it with a slice of whole grain bread or some high-fibre crackers on the side. A high-fibre diet is key to maintaining a healthy weight – not to mention a healthy digestive system. Not only that, but cutting out starch and fibre altogether – or bunching your daily carbs into one or two meals (i.e. salad for lunch, pasta for dinner) – creates insulin spikes that make it harder for the body to metabolize fats. Remember: low carb is good, no carb is bad. Keep your blood sugar on an even keel and include fiber-rich whole grains, beans or legumes with every meal.
You brush your teeth after every meal
Cheers to you for caring about oral hygiene. But brushing your teeth directly after a meal – or worse yet, after a fizzy or acidic drink – is a bad idea. Your teeth are already weakened by the acids created by food and drink, particularly sugary pop, and brushing immediately only drives them further into your enamel. If you want to refresh after a meal, rinse your mouth with water or chew a piece of xylitol gum. Or, simply wait 30-minutes to an hour after a meal or sweet drink and brush away.
You have a juicer and you use it
Fresh squeezed juice every morning – it sounds like a health nut’s dream, right? While it’s true that juicing squeezes all the vitamins out of fruits and veggies, it also strips them of valuable fibre – the very thing that stops them from sending your blood sugar soaring. If you must drink your produce, invest in a high-powered blender so you can ensure you’re getting the whole fruit – and drink in moderation. Fruit sugar is better than refined sugar, but as nutritionist Theresa Albert is found of saying, “calories are the driver” so be mindful. Throw some greens into those morning shakes for the healthiest results.
You use antibacterial soap
Consistent hand washing is a great habit, especially as cold and flu season begins. But there’s no evidence that antibacterial soaps are any better at killing germs than regular soap and hot water. Plus, antibacterial soaps are made with all sorts of yucky chemicals – like triclosan, a paraben also found in crop pesticides – and may increase bacterial resistance and create hormonal disruptions. Definitely keep up the hand washing, just use regular soap – or when that’s not available, a simple alcohol-based sanitizer.