If we are perfectly honest with ourselves, most of us can admit that our diets need improving. We've all been there - when the day-to-day stresses of our lives get a bit too much, it can be easy to comfort eat and have a cheat day turn into a cheat week.
However, when it comes to the foods that are making our insides squirm and our sugar levels rocket, most of us think we know the culprits. It's no secret that eating fast food regularly won't do our health any favors, or a diet high in carbs in fat.
But now, nutritionists have revealed the foods that we should be avoiding for better health, and many of them are unexpected, to say the least. In fact, if you didn't know better, you'd assume that you were making a healthy choice by eating them.
1. Diet Soda
You might think that you're making a healthy choice by opting for a Diet Coke instead of a regular one. However, research has now found that it can result in a reduced sensitivity to sweets, which can increase a person's cravings for them.
"Drinking diet soda does not seem to encourage the majority of its drinkers to make healthier choices," said dietitian Maya Feller.
2. Artificially-Colored Foods
Unless you've been living under a rock, you'll have noticed that many of the foods which went viral in 2017 were artificially colored. But these colors could be causing a lot of damage as they have been known to cause itching and hives.
"I want people to eat real food with natural colors, not artificial ones," said dietitian and author Frances Largeman-Roth.
3. Veggie Chips
While they might ostensibly be a healthier choice than regular potato chips, most of them still contain potatoes and are fried which makes them no better nutritionally. Store bought kale chips also receive too much attention for being a healthy choice.
"They're a great snack option, but you can save a whole lot of money and get even more nutritional value by following a super easy kale recipe at home," said dietitian Keri Glassman.
4. Acai Bowls
Don't worry, my heart broke with this discovery too.
So what exactly makes acai bowls unhealthy? Well, it's because they are crammed full of sweeteners and often include fruit, which doesn't help the situation. While the berries themselves have nutritional value, in this form, you're basically tucking into a bowl of sugar that won't leave you full for very long.
5. "Light" Ice Creams
Although "light" ice creams might be marketed as being a healthier option, they are often crammed full of artificial sweeteners (some of which can cause bloating), which make them the same as choosing diet soda over regular soda. As a result, if you want some ice cream, it's recommended that you have a half cup of regular ice cream instead of the light option.
6. Protein-Enhanced Foods
While many people believe that adding protein to regular foods makes them healthier, this is a myth, and according to dietician Glassman, "Chances are you're [already] getting enough protein, so added protein might not be necessary."
Mandy Enright, another dietician, also has a problem with protein shakes, saying, "Depending on the ingredients included, these drinks can lead to excessive amounts of protein intake and decreased intake of high fiber-containing foods like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Protein shakes will not provide the same level of satiety as consuming a meal."
7. Seasonal Coffee Drinks
I don't know about you, but I love a Pumpkin Spice Latte when the fall rolls around. Sadly, these seasonal drinks are loaded which sugar, which, instead of waking you up as intended, actually leads to an energy crash.
8. Pressed Juices
Whenever I don't have time for breakfast in the morning (which is most mornings, as I value sleep over food), then I'll grab a healthy-looking pressed juice. But it turns out that this isn't the quick fix it appears to be, and when the pulp is removed from the fruit during the juicing process, it actually loses its nutritional value. Now I'll never look at a smoothie the same way again.
9. Cauliflower Crust Pizza
While this might look like a perfectly Instagrammable and healthy meal, it's not. In reality, it's less healthy than many normal pizza, which contains more fiber. So unless you're allergic to gluten, it's best to give it a miss.
So there you have it - nine foods to avoid if you want to have a healthier 2018.
I don't know about you, but this list has made me want to hire a dietician because my understanding of what is and isn't healthy has been completely off the mark!