Registered Dietitian Dylan Bair and IFBB Fitness Pro & Registered Nurse Lauren Bair debunk these common food misconceptions.
In the world of nutrition, it's easy to get caught up in fad diets and restrictive eating patterns that label certain foods as off-limits. However, not all “banned” foods are created equal. Many popularly demonized foods can actually be incorporated into a balanced diet when approached mindfully and in moderation. We've consulted with Registered Dietitian Dylan Bair and IFBB Fitness Pro Lauren Bair to debunk the myths surrounding these 10 controversial foods.
Scroll on to see the pair’s picks, and explore how these 10 foods can be part of a healthy and balanced diet.
Bread often receives a bad rap due to its carbohydrate content. However, whole grain and sprouted bread varieties can provide essential nutrients, including fiber, vitamins, and minerals. When consumed in moderation, whole grain bread can be a valuable source of energy and contribute to a well-rounded diet.
While excessive sugar consumption is linked to health issues, indulging in an occasional treat can be part of a balanced lifestyle. To really go the extra mile, opt for dark chocolate with higher cocoa content, which offers antioxidants and may provide cardiovascular benefits. But ultimately, remember it's all about portion control when it comes to sugar. You don’t need to cut it out completely; just be mindful of the amount that you’re eating.
Dairy products contain a lot of nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D and protein; all of which perform a key role for bone building. Dairy products also contain the sugar lactose. Unless you are lactose intolerant and cannot optimally digest the lactose found in dairy products, then incorporating a variety of dairy products into your diet can be extremely beneficial for your health.
Moderation is key when it comes to alcohol consumption. Some studies suggest that red wine, in particular, may have heart-healthy benefits due to its antioxidant content. If you choose to drink, do so responsibly and consider options with lower sugar content, like a vodka soda or tequila with lime. And whatever you choose to drink, make sure you’re hydrating with water simultaneously.
While energy drinks shouldn’t become a staple in your diet, they can be helpful when you need that mid-afternoon pick-me-up. Opt for options that are naturally sweetened, and don’t contain heaps of sugar, caffeine, and artificial ingredients.
Fruit is rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. While it contains natural sugars, the nutritional benefits far outweigh concerns about sugar content. If you’re still concerned about adding sugar to your diet, opt for low-sugar fruits like berries, citrus, and apricots.
Peanut butter is a source of healthy fats, protein, and essential nutrients like vitamin E and magnesium. While it is a calorie-dense and high-fat food, it’s more than possible to fit peanut butter into a healthy and well-balanced diet. Opt for natural peanut butter without added sugars or oils, and enjoy it in moderation as a spread, dip, or in smoothies.
Sodium is an essential mineral, but excessive salt intake can contribute to high blood pressure. Rather than cutting out salt completely, focus on using it mindfully and flavoring your meals with herbs, spices, and other seasonings.
While brown rice is often touted as the healthier choice, white rice can still have a place in your diet. It provides quick-digesting carbohydrates, which can be beneficial pre- or post-workout. Pair it with lean protein and vegetables to create a balanced meal.
Though water is the best beverage choice, diet sodas can be consumed occasionally as a low-calorie alternative to sugary drinks. While they shouldn’t replace water as your primary source of hydration, the Bairs assure they’re certainly not going to ruin your diet if consumed in moderation.
When it comes to building a healthy and sustainable diet, flexibility and moderation are key. The foods listed above can indeed have a place in a well-rounded eating plan when approached mindfully. Remember, there are no inherently "good" or "bad" foods – it's about making informed choices that align with your nutritional goals and overall well-being. Consulting with a registered dietitian can provide personalized guidance on how to incorporate these foods into your diet while maintaining a balanced intake.