Healthy Food Habits: Avoid These 11 Food Habits to Stay Fit
Dr. Sneha Ganatra
November 03, 2020
Eating right is definitely something you should strive for and isn’t restricted to having a balanced diet. For many, the motto ‘eat healthy, stay healthy’ stops at consuming the right types of foods and beverages. However, simply looking up a diet for a healthy body won’t do you any good if you have bad eating habits. For instance, unregulated eating can cause harm to your body, even if you’re eating healthy foods. This is because eating foods at the wrong time of day can leading to digestion. So, it is well worth the effort to break bad habits and put the right ones in place.
To that end, here are 11 food habits you should avoid to stay fit.
Drinking insufficient water
Water is an important part of a balanced diet and it is important to make a habit of drinking enough of it. Water makes up for up to 73% of the human body weight and drinking less than the recommended daily amount leads to complications. If water is your only fluid intake, you should make it a habit to drink around 3.7 litres a day if you are a male, and 2.7 litres a day, if you are a female. A good intake of water is key to temperature control, waste disposal and optimal body function.
Alternatively, drinking less than the recommended amount can cause you to become dehydrated and this leads to a whole array of health problems. The symptoms of dehydration include fatigue, dizziness, confusion, extreme thirst and dryness in the tongue and mouth. These are the milder symptoms of dehydration and without inculcating the habit of drinking enough water, you may experience far more severe problems.
For instance, dehydration causes heat injury, which can end up in a life-threatening heatstroke, and may lead to a hypovolemic shock. This is when the low blood volume due to dehydration causes a dip in blood pressure and oxygen available to the body.
Touted as the most important meal of the day, breakfast is one meal you do not want to miss out on. In fact, it is common to skip breakfast owing to the rush of everyday life, but this is a terrible food eating habit to be used to. Not only do you miss out on a good boost of energy to start your day with, but skipping breakfast also slows your metabolism down. In fact, a study found that children who skipped breakfast gained more weight over a 2-year window than those who ate regularly.
Also Read: How to Increase Immunity in Kids
Scarfing down your food
In the rush of your day or even out of habit, you may be used to eating your meals quickly to save time. However, gulping down meals is a very bad eating habit to have as your brain doesn’t catch up with your stomach and doesn’t signal that you’re actually full for at least 15 minutes. So, this can cause you to overeat and gain more weight in the long run.
Using olive oil to cook everything
While olive oil may be naturally packed with a variety of good antioxidants and monosaturated fatty acids, using it to cook everything isn’t a good habit to have. This is because olive oil has a low smoke point and heating it beyond this point involves trading off healthy compounds for potentially harmful ones. Cooking foods that need a high amount of heating with olive oil may actually end up causing health problems.
Eating to soothe emotions and binge eating
Eating food as a coping mechanism for bad emotions is a terrible habit to have. This is because you can very easily get carried away and overindulge in the food you’re eating. Moreover, comfort foods are generally not extremely healthy and resorting to stress eating will cause you to eat even though you’re not hungry. Naturally, having this as a habit means that you will likely fail at weight-loss attempts at the first sign of distress.
Snacking at odd hours in the night
While the occasional treat at midnight isn’t too bad, it is a very bad habit to snack often in the night, especially right around bedtime. This is because your body doesn’t have enough time to digest your food and this can lead to sleeping distress. To add to that, irregular sleep cycles have also been found to cause weight gain.
Avoiding carbohydrates completely
In an attempt to only eat fit food, you may find yourself omitting important nutrients or food groups altogether. Carbohydrates are a good example of a commonly misunderstood nutrient. Some think of carbohydrates only in the context of weight gain but, however, they are the most common source of energy. Moreover, carbs are important for brain function, especially glucose as neurons can’t burn fat.
So, a bad habit to have is to consciously eat foods that have no carbohydrates in them whatsoever. This can leave you lacking important fibres that are key for digestion. Moreover, a study in 2019 found that a low-carbohydrate diet increases the risk of atrial fibrillation, which increases the chances of stroke or heart attack.
Cooking at home on a regular basis can be difficult, especially with a busy schedule. However, it is extremely unhealthy to habitually order restaurant or take-away food. Cooking at home allows you to control the sodium and processed-food content in your meals. These are used extensively in food cooked at restaurants and can cause numerous problems with your health. Additionally, cleanliness is also a factor and unclean food can result in diarrhoea or even food poisoning.
Overeating is an obvious bad eating habit to have and it has numerous emotional and physical disadvantages. On the emotional end, following a bout of overeating, you’re likely to feel guilty about your poor choices of food. On the physical end, overeating strains the organs and overworks them. This is also true for the pancreas, which must release higher amounts of insulin. The net result is that you store excess energy as fat. To add to that, you may feel pain arise from indigestion too. Lastly, overeating puts you at risk of chronic diseases like diabetes or heart disease.
Besides the food you eat, the fluids you consume also contain calories. This is why it is important to pay attention to your intake as regular branded beverages typically contain a lot of calories. The high sugar content, in addition to the dairy and fat content, could easily amount to a small-to-medium sized meal without any of the nutritional value. So, if you’re used to drinking your calories without knowing how much, you should definitely look to change that.
Adopting trending diets
In the pursuit of weight loss or for the love of experimentation, you may want to keep trying new and popular diets. This is a habit many struggles with as a misconception with weight loss or gain is that you can experience it quickly. In order to see results, you need to be consistent with your diet and shifting between food groups often does very little for your health. In fact, a common fad diet for weight loss is the mono-diet, which requires you to eat just one food type, for instance, fruits only. This deprives your body of important nutrients and can cause a major health problem depending on the deficiency.
When the goal is to maintain a healthy lifestyle, simply relying on body fitness food isn’t enough. How you consume your food is just as important and this is why you should take note of your eating habits and make the right changes. Even something as small as consistently snacking at the wrong hour can greatly disrupt your body’s ability to digest food properly. However, if your lifestyle or obligations don’t allow you the liberty to adhere to perfect eating habits, you should consider getting a customised diet from a specialist.
This way, you can tailor your food consumption to your metabolic system and energy needs while ensuring that you do not put your body in harm’s way. One of the best ways to find specialised dieticians to put such a tailored plan into motion is to use the Bajaj Finserv Health app. Through it, you can not only find dieticians but can also book appointments and schedule virtual consults. This allows you to avail the professional care you need from the comfort of your home and in an easy manner. Another particularly smart offering is the app’s Health Vault which allows you to store personal health records and share them easily for accurate digital healthcare. To know more about this app and download it, visit the App Store or Google Play.