Some unhealthy foods are more obvious than others. You probably shouldn’t stock up on chips, for example, while shopping for foods to help lose weight. However, there are a few more inflammatory items that might make their way into your cart if you don’t know any better – and that’s because they’re advertised as healthy! As it turns out, many “best for you” groceries can take a toll on your health.
To discover some of the worst deceptively labeled foods to avoid at all costs if you suffer from chronic bloating, we spoke to health experts David Culpepper, MD of LifeMD; Jesse Vader, personal trainer and registered dietitian with Strength Warehouse USA, and nutritionist Mona Rassi. They cited three of the worst offenders.
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Whole grain products
If you see something called “made with whole grains,” you might automatically think it’s healthy. However, both Dr. Culpeper and Rasi caution that this is not necessarily the case. Culpepper warns that “in fact, wheat can cause inflammation for many people, not just those with a clear gluten intolerance,” and nothing “even for those who can reasonably tolerate gluten, eating wheat can cause inflammatory symptoms.” Such as bloating, gas, constipation, itchy skin and fatigue.” Yikes!
For this reason, whole wheat varieties can be just as bad for you as their processed wheat counterparts. Rasi agrees, adding that recent research shows that “wheat in any form can play a role in stimulating the inflammatory immune response in some people.” So, instead of reaching for whole grain bread, you may want to opt for gluten-free grains, such as amaranth, buckwheat, millet, and quinoa.
If you’re on the go, a protein bar can be a quick and easy meal option to grab in a pinch. Unfortunately, it is possible that these bars are not as healthy as advertised. In fact, Vader says it can exacerbate problems like inflammation and bloating. He points out that while “most of the popular protein bars on the shelves have a good amount of protein in them,” they contain other ingredients that can do damage to your body. “It’s full of sugar and sometimes high in fat,” Vader warns. “Sugar, fat, sweeteners, and other additives cause inflammation and sometimes an upset stomach.” Say it is not!
If you’re really looking to eat protein, a better option is to opt for whole foods rather than processed snacks like protein bars. While it may take a bit more work to produce a rich and nutritious meal for yourself, your body will eventually thank you for it. Trust us!
Low-fat salad dressings and dairy products
Rasi says you shouldn’t be fooled by “low-fat” labels. She stressed that anything labeled low-fat, especially dairy, was likely to be “gassy, processed, and inflammatory.” Excuse me! “These originally healthy foods are especially problematic because they contain added sugars and other additives to offset the lower fat content,” Rassi explains, citing low-fat yogurt, ice cream and salad dressing as some of the worst culprits.
Instead of buying these seemingly “healthy” items, it’s better to eat them in their original form. Rasi says you should “always choose full-fat dairy products instead of fat-free and low-fat products.” And if you really want to turn up the heat, you can even make your own dressings and condiments in your kitchen – it’s a surefire way to keep inflammatory extras out of your diet!