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Even when not on a diet, most people make at least a stab at eating healthily. Perhaps you’ve started ditching soft drinks for smoothies or become obsessed with superfoods, but have you actually done your research? Not all ‘healthy’ foods are as good for you if you eat a lot of them, so here we look at which might be doing more harm than good.


This is often tipped as a great alternative to grains, which it most definitely is. It has double the protein of rice and barley and is also full of calcium, magnesium and vitamins B and E. But there is a downside too – quinoa has a protective covering which contains molecules that can cause inflammation. This will reveal itself in headaches, painful joints and weight gain, plus it can make you feel tired. So while it should remain in your diet, don’t go overboard.


We all know this leafy green is one of the best things you can cram into your diet. It’s full of iron, vitamin K (which helps with bone health and blood clotting) and calcium, but there is something else to keep in mind too. Nutritional therapist Gabriela Peacock explained to that it can have an effect on the thyroid if it’s not properly cooked, so it’s advisable to eat “iodine rich foods in the diet too (iodised sea salt, seaweed and saltwater fish)” to counteract this.


For many people, a bowl of cereal at the beginning of the day is a staple – but they aren’t all made equal. Top of the pile for many is granola, which has been tipped as a healthy option for years – but you may need to think again.

“Granola got a reputation as a health food in the 1960s, because it was in fact, healthier than the heavily sugared, frosted cereals that were being sold,” New York University School of Medicine’s senior clinical nutritionist Samantha Heller told WebMD. “But by today’s standards, in terms of fats and just sheer calories, granola is not your healthiest choice.”

The same goes for some cereal bars, which are often packed full of sugar and fat. Instead it’s better to go for porridge, which releases energy slowly, keeps you full and doesn’t have empty calories.

Light version

Here we’re particularly talking about oils. Did you know that if one is labelled ‘light’ it doesn’t mean that it’s got fewer calories in, rather that the colour isn’t as deep. Even so-called healthy oils aren’t actually that slim-line; a tablespoon of almond oil still boasts 117 calories, despite its widely-tipped benefits of being good for skin and hair.

Juices and smoothies

These are seen by many as a quick way to get your five-a-day, but you have to be careful. For example, drinking a huge glass of orange juice might seem appealing if you want to top up your vitamin C and it is – but to a point. Your body can only absorb so much, so after it’s full, you’re just guzzling calories.

Similarly smoothies can be stuffed with sugar and syrup, which will cause your waistline to balloon.

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