Cutting out food groups or focusing on one particular food
You might have tried the cabbage soup diet or the grapefruit diet—but any “health” plan that recommends you sticking to one particular food or food group is not going to benefit your well-being long-term. “Any time you cut out an entire food group you will be missing out on important nutrients that your body needs,” Gandhi says. “Often times these diets are just a way of cutting calories overall. They work for a short amount of time, but ultimately feelings of deprivation can lead to overeating and regaining all of the lost weight, plus more.” Even food theories like avoiding white food are misguided, she says. “The nutrition facts panel is more important than the color!” she says. “Cauliflower, Greek yogurt, and eggs are just a few examples of white foods that are healthy.” The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says to ditch diets that allow unlimited quantities of any one food, promote combining certain foods or at certain times of the day, limit food choices, or follow rigid meal plans. The best way to be healthy is by eating a well-rounded diet from all food groups. Don’t miss the 21 food myths that are wildly untrue.
Going low on sodium
If you’ve ever had high blood pressure, you were probably told to cut down or stop consuming sodium. But a new study from Boston University that followed 2,600 people over 16 years found that a low-sodium diet didn’t actually lower blood pressure. So salt might not be the enemy after all—and actually, eating little salt might part of your healthy food habits. The study also found that people with the lowest intake of sodium (along with the highest) had a greater risk of heart disease than the people in the middle. But, that doesn’t mean you should go crazy eating processed foods that contain lots of sodium either. “In general, focusing on reducing processed foods, which tend to be rich in added sodium, and adding in more whole foods may be more effective than just focusing on counting milligrams of sodium when it comes to promoting heart health,” says Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, author of Belly Fat Diet for Dummies. Find out the 55 health myths that need to die.