Thursday, July 29, 2010

When Healthy Food is Really Junk Food

As a Fitness Professional let me tell you a secret as to why you are still hanging on to a few pounds.

Normally prior to meeting with clients or early in our training stages I have them keep a food log for me to get an idea of what their diet and lifestyle is like.

A certain percentage of them will brag to me about how they eat a very healthy diet and are excited to show me their food journals.

Well guess what? Most of those vary ones are not eating a healthy diet and I'll tell you why.

I am actually going to use a page from Ryan D.'s food log. It's a typical entry in his log and he's fine with me sharing this with you since he's come a long way from these "healthy" days. For those of you who know the Ryan I am talking about, he's a big guy, with a big appetite, and often people approach him in the gym for advice simply because of his physique.

3 egg whites, scrambled
2 slices of toast (when asked this was white bread)
Orange juice

Kelloggs All Bran Bar or Nutri-grain bar

Low Fat wheat crust pepperoni pizza (From Frozen) or 2 Whoppers

Salad (prepackaged)
Ranch dressing
Tim Horton's large double-double

BBQ'd steak
Potato with melted cheese

Cap'n Crunch Cereal with skim milk

Let's look at the good things on this list. Ryan was eating many meals throughout the day which is great. He was also having a big breakfast. Now the thought of eating eggs makes me ill, but this was Ryan's favourite form of morning protein. So after giving him my thoughts on why I thought he shouldn't eat eggs, I went on to tell him if he was going to continue eating eggs that he was throwing away the main protein (the yokes) by eating only the whites. His reason for tossing the yokes was for cholesterol reasons. When he learned that is where all the nutrients were and asked why he was afraid of cholesterol from eggs but not the cholesterol from chicken (and other meats) he was left with a lot to think about.

Next let's look at the granola bars. This is another area that puts people in a false sense of belief that they are eating healthy. These sugary snacks are full of UNhealthy ingredients! Take a look at the filling: HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, CORN SYRUP, BLUEBERRY PUREE CONCENTRATE, GLYCERIN, SUGAR, WATER, SODIUM ALGINATE, MODIFIED CORN STARCH, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, CITRIC ACID, METHYLCELLULOSE, CALCIUM PHOSPHATE, MALIC ACID, RED #40, BLUE #1.
This is just the filling! The ingredients list in this product and in most of his foods were incredibly long and unhealthy!
It's hard when foods are sold to us as a health food but are really nothing more than glorified junk food. Especially when one is trying to eat better and lose weight. So again I encourage you to read the labels and not to believe the hype. Just because you are told it's good for you doesn't mean that it is. Just as foods with various health check labels. People will see the symbol and believe they are being told the truth that these foods are great for you. Yet I've seen them on the most sugary, fatty foods out there! Read your labels, not the pretty packaging or what the commercials have promoted.

His lunch again was a long list of foods he couldn't even pronounce or identify. Frozen pizzas can be some of the worst stuff out there for you. You are so much better off to make your own with fresh veggies on top.

Look over his day he also consumed more coffee than he needed in his diet, and coffee at nigh is never a good thing.

As bodybuilder he needed to clean up his diet and have better sources of protein. He also needed bigger better meals. Now this is another thread entirely and I don't want to get off topic. I do want to point out that certain foods that are sold to you on the premise that they are health foods and are helping you get fit and stay healthy are not always true.

Ryan believed that granola bars were good for him and a great snack on the go. That his low fat frozen pizzas were healthy. That his Burger King burgers were great because they were 'flame broiled' and not fried. The amounts caffeine were keeping him pumped up and fueled. I thought it was cute that here there was this big body builder munching on Cap'n Crunch cereal for a night time snack. However, the ingredients in that was sugar, more sugar, food dyes, and preservatives. Again sold as a health food because the vitamins and minerals it contains along with corn.

 I am thrilled to say Ryan's diet has come a long way! He feels better and his energy level  has increased from healthy foods instead of coffee, which he now only has in the morning. He makes his own granola bars once a month from whole grains, nuts and seeds along with protein powder which all his gym friends love. Ryan D.also makes his own pizzas and salads now. Substituting his high fat ranch dressing with a simple olive oil and balsamic vinegar mix.

He still likes his evening cereal in front of  the TV but now is enjoying healthy cereals with almond milk.
Way to go Ryan, and thanks for letting us use you in this thread!!

Remember because it says healthy on the label doesn't mean it's not junk!

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