Health Trends to Avoid This Year

Losing weight, getting more exercise and eating healthier is always among the most common New Year’s resolutions.  Because of this, we are always bombarded by diet fads at the start of every year.  Some of these health trends are worthy of consideration.  Others, however, are actually unsustainable at best or at worst simply unhealthy.

Coconut Oil

Coconut is everywhere now.  There’s coconut chips, coconut ice cream, coconut milk and coconut water.  Some folks are even promoting coconut oil as what is known as a “weight-loss-friendly fat. Many are also making coconut oil a kitchen staple. But this raises a concern for culinary nutrition expert Jessica Fishman Levinson, RDN.  After all, coconut oil is significantly high in saturated fat.  More recently, the hype has been that some saturated fats in coconut oil might be metabolized in such a way that it results in the production of less fat. Levinson states that saturated fat remains “linked to heart disease.”  She adds that there is presently not enough scientific evidence to warrant substituting coconut oil for such proven healthy unsaturated fats such as avocado oil or olive oil.

Nut Milk

Nut milk made from hazelnuts, cashews, and almonds are becoming quite popular.  Nut milk is not just for those who are lactose intolerant anymore.  People hoping to lose weight are drinking it in place of regular milk because nut milk is generally lower in calories compared to full-fat dairy.  In fact, unsweetened nut milk has significantly fewer calories than fat-free milk. Dietary experts confirm, however, that where nutrition is concerned, nut milk is not the best way to go.  Why nuts themselves are a great part of a healthy diet, nut milk is inferior to cow’s milk when it comes to nutrition.  Additionally, one cup of any of the nut milk--original or flavored--contain seven grams more sugar than regular milk.  If you must be dairy-free, soy milk is the better overall choice.


For those unfamiliar with the term, souping is similar to juicing except one drinks soup rather than juice.  Levinson acknowledges it is already a big weight-loss trend but suggests avoiding it.  If you consume a soup that actually contains whole foods such as whole grains, vegetables, and beans then you are more apt to get a number of key nutrients so it is, in that sense, better than a juice fast. However, Levinson points out that souping is generally low in calories.  This means that if you engage in souping then not only is it possible you will still not get all the key nutrients but you will also not get any fiber or protein. Purchasing the “designer” soup meals can also be bad for your budget as they are expensive.  If you make your own soup it can be notably time-consuming which in itself is enough to make it unsustainable for some people.  Finally, most store-bought soups are heavily laden with sodium which can also be unhealthy.   Don’t get us wrong.  No one is telling you not to enjoy the occasional hot bowl of make-you-feel-better chicken soup.  Soup can be a good part of any well-balanced meal.  It should not, however, be the only item on your daily menu

(All photographs are courtesy of the original owners unless otherwise indicated)

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