When it comes to being healthy, most people have goals. It may be to lose a little weight, to reduce the risk of heart disease, to improve blood sugar or gain strength, or just to feel comfortable in a bathing suit. And even with people who don’t have health and fitness goals, there’s not really anyone out there intentionally setting out to sabotage their health.
But what too many people don’t realize is that some of the very things they think are healthy habits are not only not good for them, but they may be totally counterproductive. Whether it’s from media falsehoods, marketing schemes, or psychological manipulation, there may be a handful of unhealthy habits that you probably think are good for you. To help you discover the truth behind the falsehoods, we’ve rounded up a few “healthy” habits that may actually be working against you and your goals.
Going Low Fat
Americans are taught that fat is the enemy of health. Fat is blamed for extra pounds, for muffin tops, and for the dimples that appear on your thighs. Yet, the body needs healthy fats, like those found in nuts, fish, and avocados, to be able to absorb other nutrients and minerals. And that means fat is not the bad guy. In fact, going low-fat is. From yogurt to salad dressings, items labeled low-fat, fat-free, or even just “lite” often have just as much sugar as their full fat counterparts. People are also likely to consume more calories when eating low-fat items. This could be because they’re not as filling or because people overeat, believing their food options are healthier. The important thing to remember is not to eat less fat, but to just stick to healthier fats.
Drinking Enhanced Water
One of the first things people do when trying to live healthier is start drinking more water. After all, all the body’s systems need water and most Americans are walking around dehydrated. Unfortunately, a lot of people who have trouble drinking enough water throughout the day think that a viable solution is opting for flavored waters that make the drink a little tastier. But drinking enhanced water is not the solution. These infused waters have more than just fruit flavoring added, and also have a lot of sugar. So instead of buying pre-made flavored water, make your own by using real fruit and herbs to infuse your water. Not only is it healthier, but it will save you money in the long run.
Avoiding the Sun
While it’s smart to protect yourself against harmful UV rays, avoiding the sun altogether is never the answer. Natural sunlight allows the body to produce an ample about of vitamin D, which is necessary for calcium absorption and bone strength, and also helps fight depression. Of course, spending time in the sun and staying healthy means using sunscreen to keep your skin safe. But because vitamin D absorption can be blocked by sunscreen, give yourself about 10 minutes to catch some rays before you lather it on. Your body will thank you.
Eating Flavored Yogurt
Yogurt is commonly found in refrigerators and grocery carts of the health conscious, but not all of it is as healthy as people think. Any flavored yogurt, including the fruit-filled picks and Greek options, isn’t really that good for you. Sure, it still has high levels of calcium and may have live probiotics, but flavored yogurts are filled with sugars and calories. Some single servings contain as much as 47 grams of sugar, which isn’t doing your body, or your waist line, any good. Instead of opting for the sweet stuff, get plain, full-fat yogurt and sweeten it up with inclusions like fresh fruit and honey.
Busting Out Cardio Every Day
When it comes to working out, more is not always better. Doing cardio everyday doesn’t give your body a chance to rest and rebuild, which makes you more prone to injury and burnout. Instead of hitting the treadmill or Zumba class daily, combine those workout sessions with days dedicated to strength training, yoga, and active rest days. By mixing up your fitness routine, you end up burning more fat and gaining lean muscle, giving you the results you want, but can never seem to reach.