nutrition tips

According to a 2016 study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, less than 3% of Americans live a “healthy lifestyle.”

What’s the definition of healthy? Meeting all four of the following nutrition tips:

1) Moderate or vigorous exercise totaling 2.5 hours each week

2) Scoring in the top 40% on the Healthy Eating Index

3) Body fat percentage no higher than 20%, for men, or 30%, for women

4) Being a non-smoker

Even if you don’t smoke and get plenty of exercise, you might not be eating as healthy as you think you are. We’ve compiled a list of the most common mistakes people make when choosing what to put into their bodies.

Mistake #1: Not Being A Savvy Consumer

You’ve heard it before, but like the best nutrition tips, it bears repeating.

Read the labels. The nutrition fact labels, that is! Not the banners on the front of the box that proclaim “Made with Whole Grains!” or “All-Natural!” or “Only 100 Calories!”

Food packaging is notoriously deceptive. Learn which bogus claims are marketing jargon, and what to look for instead.

Mistake #2: Eating Too Much Processed Food

Do you feel good about buying organic cheese puffs, cookies, and other snacks?

Organic foods are generally a better choice than their counterparts. Still, remember that any cookie, even one that’s made with organic cane sugar rather than high-fructose corn syrup, is still “junk food.”

There’s nothing wrong with the occasional serving of cheese crackers.

Just don’t fool yourself into thinking they’re a good choice just because they’re organic. Keep all processed foods to a minimum, particularly if you’re trying to lose weight.

Mistake #3: Trusting Store-Bought Green Juices or Smoothies

Green smoothies are the beverage equivalent of kale.

They are often billed as an incredibly healthy choice. These bottled drinks, however, are often very high in sugar (due to the fruit or fruit juice used to sweeten them) and in calories.

No supermarket-shelf bottled juice can compare to a freshly made version. These drinks start to lose nutrients immediately.

Mistake #4: Falling Into the Salad Trap

It’s smart to order a salad instead of a burger or wings when you’re out to eat right? Well, maybe.

Certain chain-restaurant salads weigh in at 1,000 calories or more. They also have insane amounts of fat — enough to equal a large pizza in some cases.

If a salad is loaded with non-vegetable “extras” like tortilla strips, cheese, avocado, bacon, and croutons, it’s probably not a good choice.

Mistake #5: Counting Calories Instead Of Focusing on Nutrition Tips

While it’s important to know how many calories you’re consuming, relying only on calorie intake as a measure of how healthfully you eat is a big no-no.

You could eat tiny portions of processed foods and still come in at your daily calorie allotment. You might lose weight this way, but you won’t be healthy.

A better approach is to choose lots of fresh veggies and fruit, some lean protein, beans, and whole grains.

Steer clear of sugar, but don’t be afraid to add in some fat — good oils, avocados, and fatty fish are actually beneficial.

Still confused? We offer nutritional counseling that can help answer your questions and get you back on the path to health.

- Elite Spine and Health Center
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