Superfoods Week may be over, but we still have ’em on the brain! This time, it’s just in a slightly different way. In a “Hey, that’s not quite as superfood-y as we once thought” kinda way. Which is exactly how the next four foods are. Once campaigned as uber healthy foods, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) now says that you should kick these eats to the curb, as they don’t live up to their health-benefit hype.
4 Health Foods That Aren’t As Healthy As You Think
1. Acai. This berry has been touted as a “miracle fruit,” thanks to its potent anthocyanins and flavonoids — powerful antioxidants that help defend the body by neutralizing free radicals, which damage the body. No studies, however, have found that these benefits are unique to acai. Cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and blueberries all contain high levels of anthocyanins and can be purchased fresh or frozen, something that cannot be done with acai berries unless you live close to the Amazon and consume them within 24 hours of harvest. For the same health benefits, at a lower cost, spring for fresh and frozen berries at your local market.
2. Veggie Burgers. Let’s start by saying that ACE fully supports eating less meat and participating in Meatless Mondays. However, veggie burgers have made it onto ACE’s “Kick To the Curb” list because not all are created equal — those made with soy “meats” often contain soy protein isolate, a highly refined, nutrient-stripped product. Soy consumption is already unhealthily high in the U.S., and with 95 percent of the soy consumed in the U.S. being GMO (genetically modified organism), it’s best to choose vegetarian protein alternatives like beans and split peas.
3. Vegetable oils. While vegetable oils are a better alternative than animal fats like butter, which contains artery-clogging saturated fat, highly refined oils like those found in soybean, cottonseed and corn oils are very high in omega-6 fatty acids. Americans in general are consuming more omega-6 than omega-3, which should be at a 1:1 ratio and is currently at a 15:1 ratio in most diets. Opt for oils like olive and canola that are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
4. Agave. Although agave nectar starts out in a natural state since it comes from the agave plant, it is processed and refined just like all other sugars, including high fructose corn sugar. In fact, most agave nectars contain 70 to 80 percent fructose, which is even more than what’s found in high-fructose corn syrup. Your best bet is to just steer clear of all sugars, including table sugar, honey, raw sugar, maple syrup, corn syrup and agave.
Want more healthy eating tips? Check out ACE’s website, and tell us: What “healthy” food do you no longer eat now? Any of these shock you? —Jenn