Food

Choose Wisely

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While it’s totally unnecessary to eliminate certain foods or entire food groups in the name of health, if you have grand aspirations to eat just a little bit healthier this year, registered dietitians recommend moderating your intake of these:

Diet Soda
Soda gets a bad rep for its high sugar content, but emerging science suggests diet soda made with artificial sweeteners is no better, since the stuff may be linked to a reduced sensitivity to sweets and lead to greater cravings for them, according to registered dietitian Maya Feller. “Drinking diet soda does not seem to encourage the majority of its drinkers to make healthier choices,” she says.

Veggie Chips
Newsflash: Most veggie chip bags still contain potatoes or other starchy root vegetables that are fried, making them no better for you than regular chips, according to registered dietitian Keri Glassman. She adds that store-bought kale chips are also overhyped when it comes to their health value. “They’re a great snack option, but you can save a whole lot of money and get even more nutritional value by following a super easy kale recipe at home,” she says.

Acai Bowls
Although acai berries are rich in antioxidants that can protect against certain types of cell damage, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, acai bowls are often made with sweeteners like agave and honey, plus sugar-packed toppings like granola and fruit, Glassman says. This amounts to a bowl of sugary food nearly devoid of healthy fats and protein, she says. Meaning: It won’t satisfy you or keep you full for very long.

Protein-Enhanced Food
Contrary to popular belief, adding protein to foods like pancake mix, cookies, and cereal doesn’t make a food markedly healthier, says Glassman, because these enhanced foods aren’t so different from their original counterparts. 

Seasonal Coffee Drinks
There’s no question limited-edition lattes are delicious (and worth ordering if only for the A+ Instagram). However, Glassman warns against drinking these concoctions regularly, since they can be loaded with sugary syrups that can lead to an energy crash. To scratch your seasonal coffee itch without paying for it later, she recommends ordering an unsweetened latte flavored with cinnamon or pumpkin spice mix.