As if following a weight loss plan weren’t confusing enough, occasionally nutrition experts and the media like to invent new slang words. Lately we’ve heard a lot of buzz about “health halos” and why you should watch out for them, and the experts do have a point. But if the new lingo confuses you, read on to learn more about this new concern.
A “health halo” is a false attribution that we tend to apply to certain foods. We decide that because they’re “healthy” (and they truly are) then they’re a “freebie” food and our dietary guidelines don’t apply to them. In other words, you hear that olive oil or avocados are healthy, so you assume that you can eat all you want of those foods.
Obviously, these foods still contain calories, so eating too much of them can still throw off your caloric allotment for the day. For example, a tablespoon of oil contains about 120 calories. Yes, it’s healthy, but if you get too generous with the salad dressing you will consume way too much fat.
The same goes for avocados. They’re terrific, but one fruit contains about 300 calories. You probably don’t want to go hog wild with the avocados! One half of an avocado makes a terrific addition to a salad, but if you’re eating two whole fruits per day you will likely consume too many calories.
Dips are especially dangerous. Hummus is a healthy food, but two tablespoons contain about 80 calories. Most of us eat more than that in one sitting, and we might consider it a free-f0r-all if we’re dipping veggies into it!
So, just watch out for food that wears a “health halo”. Keep in mind that all foods contain calories, especially those that also contain “good” fats. Keep an eye on your portion sizes, and you can continue to enjoy these foods in the context of a healthy weight loss plan. And if you have any more questions about the nutritional choices appropriate to your plan, call us and we’ll be happy to help.