The human body is an incredibly sophisticated machine that even the most next-level scientists are still trying to fully understand. And perhaps we’re all a little too intimidated by that. We’ve made being healthy a bit more complicated than it needs to be. For years, it seemed that the avenue to optimum health was through counting calories and fat intake and calculating macros and micronutrients. The reality is a lot easier—and way more enjoyable. Read on to find out about five “healthy” habits that are wasting your time and money—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You Have “Long” COVID and May Not Even Know It.
You’re Taking Multivitamins
For decades, taking a daily multivitamin was marketed as a shortcut to good health. But in 2019, researchers from Johns Hopkins undertook a massive review of studies—involving almost half a million people—and determined the science doesn’t quite back that up. Specifically, the scientists found that taking multivitamins didn’t lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, dementia—or early death from any cause. Their advice: Don’t waste your money on supplements; concentrate on getting the vitamins and minerals by eating a variety of whole foods every day.
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You’re Doing a “Detox” or “Cleanse”
“Detoxes” and “cleanses”—be they diets, drinks, soups, supplements or others—have become a white-hot internet sensation in recent years, advocated by a number of celebrity adherents. Trouble is, they’re mostly just reheated snake oil. The body has its own built-in detox system. The liver and kidneys will “cleanse” your body efficiently, as long as you support them with a balanced diet, exercise, and limiting your use of alcohol and tobacco.
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You’re Eating a Low-Fat Diet to Lose Weight
If you think eating only “low-fat” foods is the key to weight loss, you’re not alone: That message was gospel for more than half a century. Today, we know better. Our bodies need fat to feel satiated, otherwise, our brains just keep signaling us to consume more calories, which can lead to weight gain. In addition to lean protein and plenty of fruits and vegetables, all your meals should include a source of healthy fat, like the unsaturated kind found in nuts, avocados and olive oil. Avoid processed foods labeled “low-fat;” they’re often packed with sugar.
You’re Doing Only Cardio to Lose Weight
Physical activity is key to maintaining a healthy weight, and even losing a few pounds if that’s your goal. Experts recommend 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week (or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, such as running) to lower your risk of heart disease and cancer. But spending hours plodding away on the treadmill can be counterproductive if you need to lose weight. Long periods of intense exercise inspire the release of cortisol, a stress hormone that tells the body to hang on to fat. Instead of marathon cardio sessions, look into HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts, which have been shown to be effective for fat loss. And try to add activity to your daily routine wherever you can, even if it’s just a walk around the block.
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You’re Counting Calories
This used to be the golden rule of weight loss or maintenance, and although portion control and minding your food intake is essential to getting and staying slim, experts have discovered that weight loss is more complicated than simple calories in, calories out. Today, instead of counting calories, experts advise grounding your diet in whole foods (such as lean protein, non-starchy vegetables and healthy fats) and avoiding processed foods and added sugar. You’re more likely to feel satisfied and not deprived, which makes any healthy-eating regimen more sustainable. And now that you’ve got a great foundation, don’t miss these additional 19 Weight Loss Foods That Really Work.