We all try to eat healthy, and that’s a great thing. But sometimes in spit of our better interests, our attempts to eat healthy can backfire. If we mistake the true principles of healthy eating, or if we overdo our attempts, we only contribute to health problems or make ourselves feel sick. Let’s talk about some different ways trying to eat healthy can cause discomfort or sickness.
According to the National Eating Disorders Association, “Orthorexia Nervosa isn’t currently recognized as a clinical diagnosis in the DSM-5, but many people struggle with symptoms associated with this term.” The term essentially means becoming fixated on right eating and obsessing about food quality and purity. This leads to an overall decrease in life satisfaction, causes stress and guilt when “slip-ups” occur, and can actually—ironically—interfere with health by cutting out too much foods. In the end, it can interfere with relationships and enjoyable activities, and it can actually be dangerous.
Even as you try to eat healthily, try not to become dogmatic about it. Allow yourself some leeway, try to find joy (not fear and guilt) in your healthy eating, and remember that a healthy diet is meant to support a happy life, not supplant it. Professional help may also be helpful in recovering from orthorexia.
2. Raw Salad and Acid Reflex
If you’ve been diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), you know that acid reflux is no laughing matter. Given that losing weight has been associated with a reduction in acid reflux symptoms, a number of patients try to lose weight by replacing meals with large salads. Now, ordinarily eating salads is a great idea, but in some patients with GERD, salads can themselves lead to additional problems with acid reflux.
If you experience this, try temporarily cutting salads out to see if that was really causing your symptoms. If it seems that the salads really are the culprit, try replacing some of the raw veggies in your diet with cooked veggies, as they may be easier to digest. You might also try eating smaller amounts of raw vegetables more frequently. It may take some thought and creativity, but you can still find ways to eat healthily.
3. Fruits and Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Fruit’s great for you, right? Well, usually. But sometimes people have a hard time digesting fructose, the type of sugar that many fruits are very high in. With these cases, too much of these fruits can worsen problems with irritable bowel syndrome.
Examples of fructose-rich fruits include cherries, dried fruit, grapes, apples, pears, and mango. Some vegetables can also be problematic. These include jicama, artichokes, and asparagus.
Reduce the amount of the former fruits in your diet, and replace them with some other, less problematic fruits such as bananas, berries, honeydew, cantaloupe, grapefruit, oranges, and pineapple.
4. Smoothies and Blood Sugar Spikes
Nothing like starting the day off with a smoothie, right? Well, sometimes. While smoothies can be great for you, you do need balance here as in everything else. A lot of smoothies contain fruits that are high on the glycemic index, which means that they can cause your blood sugar to spike. This in turn leads to high insulin levels, potentially leading to weight gain and even to serious health problems like diabetes.
When you make your smoothies, try to steer toward foods with a low glycemic index, such as leafy, green vegetables. If you need to add some fruit to improve the taste, try using relatively low glycemic fruits like berries, apples, or pears. You can also try adding some protein or fat to your smoothie, which will make it take longer to digest, thus slowing the entry of the sugars into your bloodstream.
5. Is Low Fat Healthy?
For a long time, a healthy diet was virtually synonymous with a low fat diet. As a result, people who care about their health have tried assiduously to avoid fat in all its forms. But is low fat actually healthy?
While you shouldn’t necessarily go out and gorge on fat, research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found no benefits associated with a low fat diet. Contrary to expectations, women on a low fat diet did not have lower incidences of breast or colorectal cancer, weren’t protected against cardiovascular disease, and didn’t even seem to lose weight.
While more research obviously still needs to be done, it seems that the type of fat one consumes may be more important than the mere quantity. The Harvard School of Public Health recommends replacing trans and saturated fats with natural vegetable oils.
6. Kale and Thyroid
Much though kale is touted as a superfood, there have been some recent concerns that eating too much raw kale can interfere with thyroid function. There is disagreement regarding exactly what these concerns mean, but no matter how healthy a food is, there are limits to how much you want to eat of it. While you probably don’t need to cut kale out of your diet, you do want balance, and you want a varied diet.